Focus for the coming year will be on mobile technology, AMP and high quality content
As internet usage evolves, effective SEO moves at the same pace. 2017 will see new developments in mobile technology, led by AMP. But as ever, content remains king.
SEO has come a long way over the past ten years. Back then, it was a simple matter of putting in the right keywords, strategically placing some links on other websites and sitting back with a cup of coffee to watch the ranking rise.
Today’s search engines demand a far more complex approach from multiple angles to ensure they “understand” that content is relevant and authoritative. Coupled with that, the way users access the Internet and perform searches is also changing rapidly.
In 2014, mobile overtook desktop as the most commonly used platform, and in 2015, mobile media usage stood at 51% compared with 42% for desktop. The implications from this are evident – failure to consider mobile search technology means failure to reach the majority of internet users.
While mobile usage is clearly of critical importance, it is, however, important to look at these statistics in context. “Internet usage” does not equate to internet searches. 80% of people use multiple devices to access the internet, and the majority of mobile usage is for checking email and social networks as opposed to visiting websites and performing searches.
Data from Adobe Analytics indicates that despite the increase in mobile usage, the majority of website visits are still through a desktop. While mobile technology is undoubtedly important and growing as a segment, websites need focus on adaptive web design that caters for all platforms.
A major component of the advances in mobile technology is Accelerated Mobile Pages, a Google-backed project that aims to speed up the delivery of content to mobile devices by using simplified AMP HTML code. AMP allows web pages for static content to load much faster than regular HTML.
AMP has been developed in response to such projects as Facebook Instant Articles, which hosts and renders content directly within Facebook’s news feed. This means that content can be viewed far more quickly than by opening a web page in a mobile browser.
Facebook’s technology is closed, meaning it is bespoke to their platform, while AMP uses an open-source framework that can be used by anyone. It just requires content to have been built using AMP HTML.
The implications of AMP for SEO are significant. Google will use AMP to provide quick access to content on mobile devices, and pages that have a valid AMP version will be displayed above non-AMP search results.
While evolving technology, particularly on mobile platforms, will be a major consideration for SEO in 2017, this comes in addition to core optimisation activities. And at the heart of this lies good quality, relevant content.
This year’s updates to Google’s search algorithm means that it is more important than ever to make sure every piece of content adds value and provides visitors with the information they are looking for.
Tying all of these strands together is a complex procedure, providing further evidence of how SEO has evolved over the past ten years, and will continue to do so in years to come.