2017 is the year everything changes.
The clunky, keyword-focused articles of yesteryear are a thing of the past. Scrappy, amateur blogs are going nowhere fast, though big name bloggers and highly professional and meticulously polished online publications will continue to thrive.
The goalposts have shifted, and search doesn’t work anything like what it used to, and it’s time to think about digital marketing in a whole new way. Success or failure is going to boil down to success or failure in four key areas.Mobile Search
Those of us who work on PCs day in and day out may find it a little bit strange, but we’re no longer targeting the PC user. Mobile sites are getting top billing across the board, especially as 83% of all industries have made it clear most of their traffic comes from mobile. Often, conversion happens in the search results themselves, not on the web page, as customers simply click to call when they find the results they are looking for.
This means two things. First, it means making sure every site is ready to rank in mobile search results by taking advantage of one of two formats.
The first is AMP, accelerated mobile pages, which is suitable for content pages of all types. Fortunately, it’s easy to convert certain types of pages into AMP pages with a little WordPress-fu. The second is Progressive Web Apps, suitable for eCommerce sites. You can read more about PWA pages here.
Second, it means being very conscious about tailoring our paid search efforts to a mobile audience, and making a fast yet compelling case for customers to make the call as soon as the result pops up on their screens.Personalized Search
“Ranking” doesn’t mean as much as it used to as personalized and predictive search has become the order of the day. While high-PR sites will continue to perform well the fact remains that customer buy-in will get more eyes on content than keyword searches.
Connecting to customers through amazing content which moves through social channels and getting them to stick with that content is the best way to ensure client sites continue to stay within each customer’s line of sight. Which leads us to the next trend.Media Mindset
As we produce content, we need to think about making it as engaging, professional, and in-depth as possible. We need to help our clients start thinking about producing magazine quality articles, lively videos and the interesting images which are dominating the search sphere.
Of course, this isn’t the only content worth producing. Buyer intent content must remain at the core of every website, answering customer’s key needs to move them through the sales funnel. The latter, of course, is an area where we currently excel.Voice Search
2016 was the year of the voice search personal assistant, and the trend is only growing in 2017. To date, we have Google Home, Amazon’s Alexa, Siri, and Cortana. Soon, they will be joined by Samsung’s Bixbypp. All these services are in a race to get smarter than their competitors, to create true assistants who can make suggestions and predict what their owners will want and need without having to be asked.
This means an increase in natural language searches. It also means an increase in far more complex local searches such as:
Pho in the Westchase district.
Late night restaurants in the Heights.
5-star with live music, north-side Houston.
While search engines do not yet have any reliable capability to give users the right answers to these questions you can be certain there’s a race to get there. Personalized, voice search means local optimization is going to be more relevant than ever, and it also means we should think about ways to work features and expanded keywords into client collateral so they show up when someone finally solves the algorithm puzzle that will make these searches accurate and useful.These Are Exciting Developments
While these developments will mean making some changes to the way we’ve approached marketing in the past they’re all very exciting. This means we can really focus on helping clients deliver an amazing customer experience from the moment a customer begins interacting with the brand. It also means we can approach our goals in a more organic way…gone are the days where we rack our brains trying to figure out how to do anything with a clunky but fundamentally important keyword. It also means we’ve got to be on the ball, paying attention as the technology continues to grow and improve, aligning our actions to search engine guidelines to get the best results for everyone who has entrusted us with their business’ future.
Fortunately, we’ve got a great team of people here, all ready to rise to the challenge.