7 SEO Trends That Dominated 2017


7 SEO Trends That Dominated 2017

The world of search engine optimization (SEO) rarely stays still for long. Between new Google updates, new strategies, layout changes, new technologies, and new reports and studies from major influencers, the SEO community stays abuzz for most of the year.

Every year, then, I like to take the time to reflect on all these changes and discussions, and pinpoint the overarching trends that led to their development. Last year, I looked at things like the rise of video content and featured snippets—so what were some of the biggest trends of 2017?

1. For the first time ever, mobile optimization overtook desktop in importance. Last year, in November, Google announced that it was preparing to roll out its “mobile-first indexing” strategy, which prioritized mobile content over desktop for the first time ever, noting “Today, most people are searching on Google using a mobile device.” Throughout 2017, Google has continued to promote and reward sites with mobile-optimized websites, along with mobile-centric features such as accelerated mobile pages (AMPs), pages that are specially designed and structured to load instantly on mobile devices. If you spent extra time and effort on appealing to a mobile audience, you’ve likely been rewarded this year with higher traffic and organic search rankings.

2. Voice search and the Internet of Things (IoT) continued to move forward. Do you own a smart speaker? If not, you could soon be in the minority. Amazon Echo unit sales alone have reached more than 15 million as of September this year, and competitors like Google Home are starting to flood the marketplace as well. The dawn of the smart speaker revolution, along with digital assistants like Siri, Google Now, and Cortana, is fundamentally changing the way people search; they’re using more voice commands than ever before, and they’re getting used to devices that can reasonably understand and execute directions their speech patterns. IoT has been slow to take off, despite bold, optimistic predictions forecasting an explosion, but smart speakers are the first anchor point to prove the technology’s legitimacy.

3. There were minimal impactful algorithm changes. Usually, we see a handful of major and minor updates to Google’s algorithm, even if no algorithm updates are formally announced. This year was a strange outlier in that pattern. There was a major unnamed update back in February, marked by a significant period of ranking volatility, and in March, there was an unconfirmed update called “Fred,” which shook up rankings even further. But neither of these updates mandated major strategic changes, nor were they frequently discussed. For now, Google’s keeping its algorithm mostly as it has been, and its updates are increasingly small, minimally invasive, and gradually unfolding.

4. We saw a surge in “related questions” in search results. Google has been making concentrated efforts to provide more quick answers to common search queries, in part because consumer demand has warranted more quickly decipherable text; users are searching on the go, and relying on voice-based devices to handle their queries. Accordingly, there’s been a surge of “people also ask” questions, an accordion-style menu of related questions that appears after asking… well, almost anything. The selection of and answers to these related questions are likely the product of machine learning algorithms, fed by Google’s ever-increasing hunger to aggregate and distribute all the world’s knowledge.

Article source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2017/12/15/7-seo-trends-that-dominated-2017/

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