When focusing on digital trends you always need to make sure you are fleet of foot for the ever-changing digital landscape. Here are our thoughts on the three main digital trends that will have an effect on your SEO strategies for the coming year.
1. Mobile First Search Results
This is likely to have the single biggest impact on the search strategies of companies with non-responsive websites. Last year Google announced that it planned to go ‘mobile first’ with search listings. In simple terms, this means that it is looking at mobile versions of websites in order to rank websites rather than desktop experiences.
The ramifications of this are wide ranging. Businesses who fail to offer a mobile version could lead to big drops in market share. Organisations who offer mobile experiences which are limited (just a cut down version of the desktop site) may also find that their websites are poorly optimised because they don’t offer a good enough experience.
2. Voice Search
This is steadily increasing due to the increase of accuracy in this area (errors have dropped from 25% to 8%). According to Google 60% of smartphone users now use this function.
Interestingly there is some evidence that Google treats voice searches differently,assuming that the user has limited ability (as they are hands-free) to navigate to specific pieces of information from a landing page and instead using predictive insights to take them to what it suspects is the most likely match against their search term. This supports my argument that your SEO strategy should be extensive. We might find that Voice Search leads to further shifts in the pages which act as landing pages on websites.
3. Content Marketing and Marketing Automation
Finally, and broadly related to SEO, almost everyone worth talking to in digital marketing circles is talking about the importance of Content Marketing. This is referenced by Dr Dave Chaffey on this blog for Smart Insights.
One area I can see as being particularly interesting is where Content Marketing fits within ever maturing Marketing Automation models. Put simply, big organisations are now realising that marketing automation is much more effective when you have better quality content. This is as true for attracting initial interest and in supporting conversions. SEO can assist this too, by using insight based on customer intent to optimise which Content Marketing appears in the search engines for specific keyword terms. As website strategies become more focussed on conversion it becomes even more important that your SEO strategy is fully integrated.
I suspect that Mobile First is the biggest potential disrupting factor to consider in 2017. For businesses without this as a live problem which needs to be fixed, opportunities are most likely to exist within integrated Content Marketing and SEO strategies.
In simple terms it is more important than ever to get the right message, in front of the right person, at the right time and no matter how they choose to find you.