Marketing over the Internet is a game that involves staying one step ahead of your competition and what Google will spring up next on you. While there are a whole host of players today, the fact is that some of the major changes that Google announces or makes in their approach have a staggering effect on internet marketers, the world over. India is no different since Google remains the predominant tool used across the board.
To ensure we are not taken up by surprise, let us look at some of the trends that are likely to rule 2017. As is the case with most of the updates, changes and projects initiated by Google, the user is at the helm of all things. Which is why most of the trends that we see in 2017 emanate from basic user needs as the tech world is changing around us.
User Experience is King: Optimize for User Intent
Days when you could do keyword research on the Google Adword tool and decide the specific words that you want to optimize your website for are the past. Today, you cannot afford to just look at specific words that users are typing in to reach specific sites related to what you are offering. Search engine algorithms (and by that we mean the Google algorithm) have become smarter and are beginning to understand what the consumer wants when they type a specific query in the search bar. As users type longer sentences in the search bar, search engines have also started using heuristic models to understand intent better; thus, becoming better at guessing what the user wants.
Websites, therefore need to understand the reasons why visitors come to their site, why are they leaving the site at specific pages, and what they did not get when they left the page. These are questions that will help marketers create the right kind of content and provide the right kind of experience to the consumer ensuring better rankings too.
User wants Answers Quickly: Feature in Snippets and Direct Answers
Have you noticed how Google seems to provide answers to questions you type into the search bar immediately? You do not even have to venture into clicking a specific search result to get the information you need. These are called featured snippets, direct answers or rich answers. To provide a great experience to users, Google picks up these snippets from sites after crawling and pastes them as the topmost post as a rich answer on the SERP.
If you want to give your site a chance to be picked up as a rich answer or a featured snippet, you need to make sure that the structured data markup or schema markup is up to date and perfect. This is the only one thing that will help you get noticed by the bots. Of course, your content should be answering the question that the user is asking for it to work best!
User is Always Moving: Prepare for Mobilegeddon
Google announced its Accelerated Mobile Pages project in 2015 and officially integrated AMP listings in February 2016.This should have given search engine optimization companies enough cues about where the company is headed. Mobile searches took over desktop searches across the world in 2015 and given the growth rates for each, it is obvious that mobile searches are growing at a phenomenal pace. No doubt then, that Google announced the Mobilegeddon update which has changed search engine rankings dramatically.
Making sure you use responsive Web Design and other mobile friendly features will ensure better success in 2017.
User has Many Tools and Apps: Use Cross Channel Marketing
The number of apps and tools that people use today are numerous. Cross selling should not be confused with multi-channel selling. Cross selling means that you serve the right content at the right time on the right platform to the user who has given you a cue that he or she is ready for it. What this means is that if a user has been searching on Google for something specific (let’s say treks in India), he should be served with related ads y your company on all the other apps or tools that he uses. This user should see your ads prompting him to click and purchase trekking related items online.
User Uses Phone While Multi-Tasking: Get Ready for Voice Search
Industry experts have been working on voice recognition for some time now. However, the high proportion of error that voice recognition software results in has ensured that the technology has not taken off. However, the errors in the latest voice recognition software have reduced from 25% to 8%. In addition to that, the focus is now on ‘voice understanding’ instead of voice recognition alone. This will be based on previous searches, location, frequently used apps places visited and other such data gathered about the user.
Lastly, Google acquired MoodStock and EyeFluence in 2016. This indicates their interest in image and video recognition and searching. Clearly, that is the next area of search that they are focusing on. While image and video marketing is already a preferred type of content, it is likely to start making a huge difference to online SEO services if this technology is perfected. So, stay prepared!