Every year, website marketing experts anticipate the upcoming changes to Google’s search algorithm to see how they will affect current SEM plans. With 2016 bringing many changes to improve mobile and local search, every website marketing company is naturally wondering where things will turn in 2017. Based on what is already known from Google, 2017 promises an even greater focus on mobile search as well as some anticipated improvements that could be released at some point throughout the year.
Penalties for Mobile Interstitials
In the continued drive to provide relevant content in a user-friendly and mobile-friendly way, Google announced a few weeks ago that it would penalize mobile pages that included interstitials. According to Google’s definition, an interstitial is any advertising page that pops up during page load and covers the entire content screen. These are disruptive and annoying, making it more difficult for the user to reach desired content. Google is finally cracking down on these ads by penalizing those sites using them, so website marketing teams need to be aware that this update is in effect as of January 10 2017.
Mobile First Search Index
Last October, Google announced that it would be implementing a mobile-first search index that would become the primary index for search overall. Although this update is not yet known to be active, recent moves toward accelerated mobile pages and higher preference for mobile websites has grown throughout the end of 2016 and into 2017.
Mobile first search indexing does make sense for mobile use, but it has left many website marketing experts with questions on how this will affect desktop use since many users still search on desktop computers. Google has previously stated that it will still be possible for desktop websites to generate good page rank; however, few other details have been offered.
Primary mobile search seems to still be an idea in development that does point to one important conclusion - every website marketing company needs to also prioritize search for mobile to keep their pages ranking more easily. Whether this focus means fewer desktop pages with the ability to make it to the top of the SERPs is yet to be seen.
Continued Improvements in Voice Search
This past year has resulted in marked improvements in voice search as well as a huge jump in its popularity. Considering this fast moving trend and Google’s attention to voice throughout 2016, it’s reasonable to suggest that the focus on voice queries will continue. It is not unreasonable to suggest that a website marketing company may need to concentrate more on SEM for voice because traditional search for mobile may begin to take a back seat. Considering how Google’s primary focus in past years has been to continually improve and expedite user experience, this idea may not be so far-fetched.
Though it is impossible to predict what Google plans to roll out for its algorithms this year until the updates are actually revealed, any website marketing experts that have been paying attention can surely guess at what some of these changes could involve. While waiting to see what is in store for 2017, the best advice for a website marketing company is to continue developing the most user-friendly sites for both mobile and desktop search, as being user-friendly can help maintain page rank. The definition of user-friendliness continues to evolve; however, the goal to provide the best content and results to the user should always be the same!