As we enter into a new year, it’s helpful to have an idea of what to expect moving forward. SEO is one of many components of an effective marketing strategy. Econsultancy talked with several experts to get their impressions of what the 2017 SEO landscape might look like.
- New search considerations. Andrew Girdwood, head of media technology at Signal, says that chatbots will be seen more in 2017. He also believes that voice apps, such as Alexa and Google Home, will become more relevant. He encourages brands to consider how their Alexa “recipes” can be found, as another form of SEO.
- Mobile growth and semantic strings. Max Holloway, senior search manager, Pi Datametrics, believes that the dominance of mobile search will continue to increase into 2017 and that mobile search volume will remain higher than desktop volume. He sees more emphasis on mobile-first design and tailoring copy to better accommodate semantic search strings. Pi Datametrics conducted research in 2016 and found that there is still a lot of room for improvement in understanding user search input and in optimizing content for semantic search strings to achieve the best search returns.
- Artificial intelligence and voice. Will Critchlow, founder & CEO at Distilled sees an explosion in machine learning, which he believes will bring about an improvement in voice search throughout 2017. He sees continued progress in tasks that only humans could do previously – voice recognition and lip-reading, e.g.
- Accelerated mobile pages (AMP). Both Ruth Attwood, SEO consultant at 4Ps Marketing and Andrew Girdwood at Signal see AMP on the rise due to Google’s influence.
- A change in SEO procurement. Andrew Girdwood thinks that as people become more proficient at SEO, procurement focus may shift to other areas such as delivery techniques, creative ability, transparent costs and tech access.
- Mistrust in advertising leads to organic focus. Glynn Davies, head of search strategy, Pi Datametrics, sees digital strategy moving to an increased emphasis on organic reach as a result of the negative impact of click fraud, misreporting, ad blocking, etc., on the performance of paid channels.
- SEO closer aligned to business strategy. Felice Ayling, SEO and Social Director at Jellyfish, sees traditional SEO performance becoming an intrinsic component of the overarching business strategy, which means that SEO will no longer be a stand-alone channel for implementation. An organization's customer service record, competitive position, price points and service offerings will continue having a greater impact on the overall performance of its digital assets.
- Progressive web apps (PWAs). Glynn Davies sees an opportunity for content to move out of the mobile app ecosystem and back to the web, which will provide new opportunities and challenges for SEO.
- Growth in experiential marketing – and possibly VR. Felice Ayling sees "content is king" moving to "experience rules" in 2017. Not only must brands serve up the right content at the right time on the right channel, but they must also deliver the best possible experience to their customers. She believes that the role of SEO and improved organic performance will rely on its ability to utilize new technologies, including in-app use of VR.