When looking back at the trends in digital and SEO over the course of 2016, it is clear to see that this past year was particularly intense. With endless changes to Google’s algorithms, as well as small tweaks that have been loved by some and loathed by many, the last few months is the best reflection of where these areas will grow moving forward.
First we must look at the evolution of Google over the past months:
Blue: Official Google Updates
Red: Businesses/companies acquired by Google/Alphabet
Green: Main posts in Google Webmaster Blog
Purple: Main Google patents published
Brown: Products Google launched in the market
From the above timeline we can see certain trends and traits appearing:
Google has steadily moved to a mobile-centric world, meaning mobile-first indexing seems like an inevitable result of the year’s progress- a year exclusively focused on changing mindsets from desktop to mobile preference.
While links are still essential to ranking well, the increase in individual systems with deeply personal device as well as home and mobile assistants allows for a much more tailor made experience, and as such a more detail orientated approach to customer research.
Also increased by the use of personal, mobile devices, the need for voice search has increased tenfold. This shift alters all interaction with voice searches on Google, increasing their value to businesses.
Something now used in every element of Google’s Search division, this understanding of the users and their needs is sure to increase in the coming year. This is seen to be set to tie into Hummingbird, improving it through manipulation of specific algorithms.
In what has developed into a mobile driven world, the relevance of local search has gotten even more crucial. Local has become the focus as efficiency and user experience are highlighted by these developments. With updates like Possum, and the acquisition of certain companies that track movement online, local is now the best way to capture many sectors of your audience.
Going along with Google’s acquisitions, mainly of MoodStock and EyeFluence, 2017 looks to have a focus on image and video marketing. With evidence from a collection of factors, one of the key pushers would be that YouTube is struggling against Facebook and other platforms when it comes to video and image monetization.
So what does this mean for 2017?
With an eye to the year ahead, the SEO world has been scratching their heads trying to figure out what Google will do next. With updates ranging from drops in the ocean to full blown tsunamis of alterations, this is a time to keep on track with the trends. With a huge drive behind mobile content and local interaction, these areas should be the focus of any SEO and development work.