The future of search in 2017

We’ve been gazing into our crystal balls and planning for 2017. Here is what we think will be big this year in the ever-changing world of search marketing.

Future of search

Mobile Comes First 

With the percentage of people using mobiles to search growing, Google are moving to prioritise mobile devices: mobile-first indexing was announced in November 2016 and will start in 2017.

Google has already made moves to hold onto the mobile search market and officially integrated AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) listings into its mobile search results in February 2016. Originally created for news and blog sites, AMP results are now also shown for ecommerce and recipe sites. AMP pages typically load faster than responsive pages, indicating these pages may be favoured on mobile devices in the future.

Despite these changes, desktop search remains the main source of organic traffic in the majority of industries and shouldn’t be neglected.

Video and Image Marketing

Live streaming and virtual reality are huge right now and the next generation start at a very young age with visual content on smartphones and tablets. This move towards visual content would suggest SEO will soon need to take more interest in optimising for video and images. A move already made in this direction by Google is they are now showing product schema rich snippets in image search results. Structured data is also a favourite tip for big things to expect in 2017 by Google employee Gary Illyes.

Progressive Web Apps

Google is now actively promoting Progressive Web Apps publicly on the webcaster blog and developer site. Given the fact that Google are huge on security and speed and PWAs only work with https sites, we could see the rise and favouritism of these in 2017.

Voice Search

The rise of voice assistant software such as Siri and Cortana mean now 20% of mobile queries are voice search. Google announced the fact that they are looking into ways to show voice search reporting in Google search console in the future, hinting that this may be a focus point in 2017.  With this trend we will see the average length of keywords increase, as people ask naturally worded questions in voice search.

Local Search        

As the rise of mobile search continues the relevance of local search increases and so does Google’s mission to personalise search results. People are growing accustomed to localised search results and no longer feel the need to search specific locations, more searches are being found for ‘near me’ and ‘nearby’.

We expect local search to go a lot further than Google My Business in 2017 and have already put in place measures to complement this trend; ask us about our local search ballistics service and how they can work for your business.

Paid Advertising becomes more personal and more mobile

Google has been pursuing their ‘Mobile-first’ strategy by building out these features into paid search, increasing the need for cross-device optimization. We’ll also see Google shopping adverts evolve with prices and ratings on adverts, as well as location-based options.

In the world of social advertising, we’ll start to see people actually making purchases or enquiries on social platforms, rather than clicking through to websites. Retargetting will get even smarter, with dynamic product ads helping businesses reach Facebook users who have previously visited their brand’s website or mobile app, showcasing an entire category of products.

Video advertising will also dominate this year across all paid channels – it’s estimated only 10% of businesses have this as part of their marketing strategy for 2017.

If you need a fresh look at your digital marketing for 2017, get in touch!