Can someone tell me what SEO is? A common question most of Digital marketers come across from senior management often, especially new start-ups.

Well for me the SEO is a combination of different recipes blend to make a fruit cake, which is fruitful for a while, but then needs to change ingredients for next baking.

Search engine optimisation will be one of the most important skill to have in your organisation or via your Digital agency in 2017.

Any content marketing, Digital marketing strategy must be aligned with SEO strategy, so each of the following will have a substantial impact.

Some of the SEO strategies to consider in 2017:

1. Schema and structured data

Google is increasingly leaning toward artificial intelligence, so the use of structured data and schema or other microdata will become more important in helping search engines to understand your web pages.

Schema markup is most useful in providing additional information about:
♣ Creative work
♣ Events
♣ Products
♣ People
♣ Places
♣ Recipes
♣ Flights
♣ Services
♣ Organisations

And the list goes on.

2. Voice Search and Google Home

As per Google, voice searches on mobile increased 300% between 2014 and 2015. Google Assistant is competing with several other virtual assistants including Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana.

Google Home and Amazon Echo are the biggest of the new intelligent home assistants run through a speaker that can perform a multitude of tasks.

Optimising for Voice Search primarily involves the targeting of featured answers by creating content that specifically answers these questions. The shift away from screens will present some exciting challenges for Google. As their business model is on inserting ads into screen based results how can they monetise a voice search without being intrusive?
Consider asking a question and being presented with a solution that says “This solution is brought to you by…”.

Will voice search work?

2017 will no doubt include a series of tests to see how Google can make this shift without losing revenue.

Content producers should produce more contents and give content away for free, in return expect free advertisement.

3. Technical SEO

High level of Technical optimisation is the way to move forward for organisations in 2017. Technical expertise, use of software to research keywords, optimise your site, content marketing and blogging will make the difference between mediocre or outstanding results.

Consistent auditing and analysis have become an essential feature of any web marketing strategy. The speed of change at the major platforms has grown this requirement significantly, and Google’s constant war against manipulation would be a key driver.

A million-dollar question: What should be my priority?

2017 is the time to look closely at your technical SEO expertise. Starting with your server configuration and working through content optimisation, metadata, microdata, page speed, mobile optimisation, AMPs, schema.

Improved UX/UI design, will play the key role along with the other main factors.

Some SEO software to consider SEMrush, Moz and SEO power suite.

4. Mobile first index and AMPs

Google has a serious commitment to AMP (Acerbated mobile pages) so I don’t expect this one to go away. AMP pages can load up to 30 times faster as they have lighter HTML and CSS and are delivered from a cloud-based Google cached version.

In 2017, Google will move to a mobile first index which means that they will be taking the majority of user experience and technical efficiency signals from the mobile version of a website.

Here are Google’s recommendations to prepare for the mobile first index.
1. There should be no issues for responsive or dynamic sites where content is the same across mobile and desktop
2. If the content is different you will need to serve structured data on both versions, check that the mobile site is not blocked via robots.txt.
3. If you have a separate mobile version verify this as well as the desktop version in Search Console.
4. If you just have a desktop site Google will continue to index it.

Google suggestion:

“If you are building a mobile version of your site, keep in mind that a functional desktop-oriented site can be better than a broken or incomplete mobile version of the site. It’s better for you to build up your mobile site and launch it when ready”.

Google is being careful with this major change which is why they are testing it. The speed of page load will continue to be an essential element and will become even more crucial with the mobile focus.

Any questions? Contact Google here

5. Digital marketing & campaign strategies

Digital marketing and social media campaigns are buzz words of 2016, and I expect that intensity will increase in 2017. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Snap Chat and list goes on.

Email marketing has played a significant role in 2016. Be prepared for an avalanche of well-written, personalised but templated emails that compliment your posts and your website.The fever pitch in late 2016 has got so crazy that almost anyone can be a prospect.

2016 has seen the increase in automated software for Digital marketing. We all know content play a crucial role in lead generation.

Marketo, Hubspot, Mail Chimp and Salesforce Pardot (B2B) are few to mention here.

Next Week: Leading SEO Software review.

Article by Tauseef Sarwar Digital Marketer and Creative Director.