As in previous years, this year I am also presenting to you the SEO trends I regard as dominant in 2017:
AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) enables creation of web sites that can be downloaded to mobile devices almost instantly. Having in mind that Google itself started using this option, more and more brands are starting to adhere to it. In general, AMP includes three sections: AMP HTML, AMP JS and Google AMP Cache. The basis of this protocol is the idea that several simple changes in the website structure can enable its download four times faster while using considerably less data at the same time. It has been noticed for some time that the websites which had adopted the AMP protocol have better rankings in Google searches (in addition, they are marked with a small thunderbolt icon, which improves their visibility). In my opinion, this trend will only be strengthened in 2017 and a growing number of websites will switch to using this option. A set of rules constituting the AMP protocol is becoming a new standard for creating contents for mobile devices.
Quality content has always been an important factor in determining the position of a webpage in Google results, but is gaining even more importance along with the improvement of search algorhytms. This is a natural consequence of an aspiration to favor contents written in natural language over contents that are often burdened with excessive use of keywords in an attempt to gain better position and thereby potentially increase traffic to a website. Recent researches conducted by SearchMetrics have shown that in the top ranked results there has been a significant decrease in presence of keywords in title- and h1 tags, which clearly indicates that something that used to be a norm slowly falls into the background and gives way to different trends that are more orientated to quality and naturalness of content. It is expected that in 2017 the ranking of websites that set their priorities this way during optimization will be further improved.
SEO for mobile devices comes first
The improvement of performance of mobile devices and the emergence of the possibility to view web contents this way has led to the need to conduct optimization in this domain as well. Until 2015 and the introduction of AMP, however, optimization for mobile devices was considered only a part of a wider optimization process for desktop computer and was not given particular attention. In the next two years, an increased presence of AMP websites as well as the announcement that the web page indexing will be conducted taking into account the degree of optimization for mobile devices has brought about a new situation in which desktop computers are no longer the main initiators for the application of SEO methods: their place has been taken by mobile devices.
An increased number of mobile users imposes the need to adjust the look of websites for smaller screen resolutions while keeping the clarity and attractiveness of content as well as the functionality of the page itself. Software manufacturers keep making new tools that are supposed to facilitate the achievement of this goal.
More rich answers and snippets
Nowadays, internet has become the main source of information, and Google is the main tool that is helping us to get them. The responses to our queries often have a form that implies a lot of related contents and certain structure. Such “rich” or “direct” answers are becoming more and more prevalent, hence websites that are optimized for them get better positions in search results. Rich answers are obtained by extraction of metadata from content which are later used in many structured displays, tables, diagrams and the like. A recent stydy has shown that the number of rich answers in Google results has doubled in the last three years.
Other factors worth mentioning are voice search, optimization for user intent…