The SEO game in 2017

Ashish Bahukhandi   New Delhi     Last Updated: May 5, 2017  | 15:42 IST
The SEO game in 2017
Ashish Bahukhandi

Change is the seed of all revolutions that happen time to time in our evolving ecosystem and the Web world is no exception. Therefore, the search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques that used to be perfect in the past are not effective enough to rank a website up on Google due to changing algorithms. Playing the SEO game - right from a complete understanding of the basics to maintaining a keen lookout for changes in Google's algorithms - and staying at the top have always been a tough nut to crack. A dynamic entry of Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird into the Google family has also made things significantly ingenious yet impactful.

From structured data mark-up and accelerated mobile pages to long-form content, the year 2017 is going to emerge as a big turning point in SEO techniques. So let us go beyond geo-specific keywords and inbound anchor link text, and focus on the grand paradigm shift which is making waves.

Structured data mark-up

Structured data mark-up can do wonders for your already search-engine-optimised website. This feature is used to define the 'things' and 'properties' of a site. It means if a website is on sports, the types of sports are the 'things' and the ratings, photos, and bios are the 'properties'. The idea is that if your website has well-defined structured data mark-up, that may lead to an enhanced search engine results page (SERP) listing. Which means if users type in certain search keywords, Google can easily pick up the most relevant content from your site and present it in a rich answer format, leading to a jump in your website traffic. A clear indicator being that there was a 40 per cent increase in the quick answer ratings on Google in 2016, paving the path for way more in 2017.

Accelerated mobile pages

A website may show up with just the right amount of SEO, but one has to be aware that major users and buyers of today surf the Internet on phones and hand-held devices rather than desktops. Accelerated mobile pages (AMP) enables the website to load well on mobile devices. This includes three segments - AMP HTML, AMP JS and Google AMP Cache, which should be taken care of if the company wishes to stay ahead in 2017. It is a fact that major purchases do not take place via mobile, but according to Deloitte, accelerated mobile pages impact major offline purchase decisions and it has led to about $970 billion dollars worth of transactions in 2016.

Long-form content

It has been proved that long-format content placed with optimum optimisation leads to higher visibility than shorter content pieces. Long-form content, ranging between 1,000 and 2,000 words and going up to 10,000 words will lead to quality enhancement and higher ranking of a website. This is why businesses in 2017 are focusing on getting two or three long-form content pieces rather than going in for five or six short pieces.

Greater role of infographics

Infographics are pretty much the call of the day. The more image-oriented content you incorporate, the more attention it will, resulting in more leads. Higher use of interactive infographics is highly recommended for those who wish to stay ahead in the SEO game in 2017.

Arrival of cross-media platforms

Social media is the place to be if higher visibility is what you wish for your business. This platform plays a significant role in the branding of any product or service, and SEO trends are hugely drawn from the massive amount of traffic social media platforms get. Users mostly resort to social media for reviews, updates, ratings, photos and so forth, increasing the traffic and defining the SEO trends in 2017.

Rise of strategic content

This is an old strategy but it will play a huge role in setting 2017 trends as major businesses often forget to ensure that their content is reflecting user intent. Content should fall under two categories - it should either provide information or should be there for transactional purposes. As per this SEO strategy, content should be developed with the user intent in mind, leading to the desired outcome. The audience will start bouncing off the website if it fails to take into account the user intent angle.

Google reacts to comments

This has been an ever-present strategy and will remain so even in 2017. The comment backlinks lead to higher lead generation, and this has the power to bring much more traffic to the website through organic searches. But business houses should know that the comments one posts on these blogs have to maintain a high quality to remain relevant with this year's SEO trends.

Gist of the change

In today's digital age, business is the art of presence and presentation. It is the SEO that enables businesses to make their presence noticeable and also helps brands optimise their presentation in the world's largest market - the Internet. Smart entrepreneurs don't just realise it; they also use their acumen to adopt smart changes in the smartest way. Keeping that in mind, one can easily see that SEO will continue to rule in 2017 and beyond.

Ashish Bahukhandi is Chief Executive of AppsDiscover Technologies.

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