Search engine optimization (SEO) lives on trends and has to adapt constantly to algorithm changes. By now, there are no universally valid SEO ranking factors for all areas anymore, according to the Search Metrics ranking factor study 2016. Just the content must still always be relevant and suitable to the users.
The study "Rebooting Ranking Factors" revealed as well that there are in principle different ranking factors that change continuously for each Google search. The reason for this is today’s development and application of machine-learning algorithms, which are used by Google in the evaluation of websites and search queries to cover different user needs and search intentions.
Anyway, relevant content, which perfectly fulfills users' intentions, is and remains the most important ranking factor, but let’s look now at what else is important for SEO this year:
- A.I. and Machine Learning: Google said that the algorithm learning artificial intelligence system, RankBrain, is the third st important ranking fnks and content. RankBrain helps Google to process search requests and provides more relevant results for users. Technically speaking, Rankbrain is nothing else than a self-learning, intelligent system, which Google is using more and more for search queries. If RankBrain sees a word or phrase it isn’t familiar with, the machine can make a guess as to what words or phrases might have a similar meaning and filter the result accordingly, making it more effective at handling never-before-seen search queries. Furthermore, it considers all kind of user signals besides many other details. The goal is having a search algorithm that is as smart as possible. Thus, it is clear that artificial intelligence (A.I.) and self-learning computers (machine learning) will become very important for search engine optimization – far beyond the year 2017.
- Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP): For years, mobile has been predicted to be the trend and still every year the situation gets more dramatic. One should think that by now everyone would have recognized the importance of mobile websites, but far from it. Google just announced recently that mobile will soon even have its own search index, which means it will have to be taken even more serious in 2017. In the wake of the mobile trend, the search giant is increasingly focusing on the open standard AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages), that allows to create pages do load on mobile devices faster than ever. Even in the search results, the AMP usage of a page is already displayed, making AMP as well one of the 2017 trends.
- More Diversity: Google is the number one among search engines and this will not change in 2017. However, there are many other search functions on the Internet that search engine optimizers should know. For example, that there are various marketplaces, which can reward an optimization quickly with sales. Especially Amazon SEO will gain in importance, but also the second largest search engine in the world - YouTube – which is constantly working on optimization, and for sure Baidu, Bing & Co. as well. Not to mention that the search gets a different significance in many social networks as well, since for some time more and more content has been posted on Facebook & Co. that certainly wants to be found.
- Multifaceted Content: As we all know, content marketing and search engine optimization are going hand in hand, resulting in many long, detailed and well researched articles that bring SEO success with it. However, another consequence is that there is much of this content, which not only resembles itself more and more often, but partly passes the respective search query. Sometimes the search intention is a simple answer to a question, or even just a word or a number. Here, shorter content can also score points for search engine optimizers. Especially since with RankBrain the actual search intention can be seen faster than ever, we can expect experiencing more multifaceted content diversity in 2017.
- User Experience: Much has been written about user signals and their impact on SEO and the trend will continue this year: The more satisfied users of search engines are, the better the long-term impact on the overall ranking. This simple formula will accompany search engine optimizers in 2017. Of course, optimizing the user experience is not an easy task, as the term means something different for each individual. A good start, however, is for sure to work on a seamlessly good user experience across all channels and devices.
- Voice Search: Voice search technologies are meanwhile so sophisticated that complete sentences and search queries are correctly understood. Therefore, adjust to the changed search behavior: In future, more words will be used in a text search, and the search request is often given as a short, natural conversation using interrogative pronouns. Undeniably, we will talk with more and more devices in the future - whether it's the smart home, media centers or search engines. The language replaces more and more the typing in 2017and for this reason, search engine optimizers should adjust their content to this trend without neglecting their previous work.
The commonly known basic SEO factors that ensure a clean technical implementation of a website certainly remain important in the future, such as page load time, file size, internal linking, page architecture or mobile friendliness.
By Daniela La Marca