A Recap of 2016 & Predictions for 2017

Search engine marketing continues to change from day-to-day. Working in the ever-evolving industry, we like to look back at the year and highlight some of the key changes we learned about. And also predict what will happen in the upcoming year, in an industry that is hard to predict. Read on to find out what we think.

What We Learned in 2016

Abbey Hadar
Abbey Hadar
Twitter
Since 2016 was my first year officially working in the field of SEO, I learned more than I ever thought I could. From choosing the right keywords to target, learning how to write unique SEO content, finding quality link building opportunities, and so much more. Probably the most significant thing I learned was the importance of local search and how having consistent NAP information can help with rankings, which Kyna touched more on this subject below. Also, over the last few months of 2016, I have learned how essential it is that you are using a SEO friendly website platform such as WordPress. Finding a platform that allows you to create custom and unique page titles, meta descriptions, H1 tags, and body copy for each page you want to optimize only helps further enhance your SEO strategy.
Adam Henige
Adam Henige
Twitter
Google is paying more and more attention to user experience. Taking a machete to sites with intrusive advertising was just another in a long list of steps to ensure that users are getting useful results to their queries. Of course, the other thing I learned is that Google’s hypocrisy has no bounds. Watching the above the fold ads in search results reach obscene amounts of real estate is yet another case of Google telling us to do as they say and not as they do.
Jerod Karam
Jerod Karam
Twitter
2016 really solidified the concept in my head that data is not safe. No matter what you do, the moment a thought leaves your brain either by you speaking it, writing it, or it telepathically appearing in your best friend’s Twitter stream, that piece of information is subject to being stolen and used for whatever purposes the thief chooses. About the best we can do is to make it difficult for people to steal data or, optimally, make it difficult to steal and then difficult to use after that. Like the old saying goes, “I don’t have to out-run the bear. I have to out-run the slowest person in my group.” Extending that, your data doesn’t have to be impenetrable, but it must be difficult enough to use that the bad guys move on to easier targets.
Joe Ford
Joe Ford
Twitter
The largest development in PPC this year was the roll-out of expanded text ads. This feature had major impacts on search CTR, the addition of responsive and expanded text ads in placement also had wide sweeping impacts. Click through rates increased in nearly all instances and campaigns in which we were comparing against traditional ads. Summing it up, I guess I learned what I have known for a long time… any major developments in AdWords will be linked to the further monetization of search.
Kyna Garrett
Kyna Garrett
Twitter
I’ve certainly learned the most this year about local search and that you must stay on top of Google’s changes and algorithm updates. Google’s Possum update this year is an example of that and it focused solely on local businesses. It shook up local rankings and made inconsistencies in NAP details that much more harmful. In addition to that, it’s also important to remember that it’s not always about quantity of citations but rather quality and consistency. Make sure you’re consistent before building a huge list of citations. Overall, if there’s anything I learned this year, it’s to be ready for updates Google throws at you, do your research and have a strategy in place when these things roll out.
Lexie Kimball
Lexie Kimball
Twitter
The biggest change I’ve noticed in social media is a lack of new ideas. All of the major social media companies simply copy one another. The addition of live videos shows this. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have already adapted the live video feature and it won’t be long before others continue to follow suit. The lack of originality does allow brands to create one live video stream plan that only needs to be moderately tweaked for each platform though.
Michael Hall
Michael Hall
Twitter
Adam already touched on this subject, but it deserves re-mentioning. Nearly all competitive search queries seen in Google search results display paid ads, and many queries do not display a single organic listing above the fold – meaning you need to scroll in order to view a website link that wasn’t paid to be there. I think this is an incredible shift from Google’s origins – Google was able to beat out many rival search engines like Ask.com, MSN and AOL largely in part by displaying minimal but highly relevant ads, delivering better search results than any other search engine and keeping Google search simple. While this may seem like a paid search topic, it has a huge effect on organic search. Today we need to explain to clients that #1 keyword rankings are not as valuable as they used to be and why they are seeing declines in traffic for keywords despite consistently maintained #1 keyword rankings.

What We Are Looking Out For in 2017

Going into 2017, I am interested to see how SEO changes with improvements in voice search. With voice products coming out such as Google Home and Amazon Echo, we are already seeing how fast this trend is increasing across users. Voice search currently focuses on favoring more related, natural phrases, and searches often exceeding over seven words. Voice search results also seem to be favoring websites with quality content. So, in 2017 it will be interesting to see the progress voice search continues to make and how it affects keyword research and rankings. Abbey Hadar
Abbey Hadar
Twitter
This year I’m interested to see what Google does about the funky balancing act between expansive content versus its need for user experience. Designers and many businesses still love the user experience of quick, efficient landing pages that push people to their desired end goal (purchase, sign up, etc.) However, SERPs are increasingly controlled by massive long form content that keeps getting larger and larger. At some point this would seem unsustainable and actually counterintuitive to a good user experience and will likely be something Google will have to address algorithmically. Adam HenigeAdam Henige
Twitter
I wish I could say that I truly see a mainstream movement towards data security and increased privacy protections. Yes, there are fringe actors doing their best to bring this into the public consciousness but I don’t feel a strong surge going the way of data security. To add to this, I’m very uncertain and quite nervous about the path the new administration will take on these issues. It doesn’t make me comfortable to think about… Jerod KaramJerod Karam
Twitter
On the PPC front, I expect more of the same. I expect more monetization of SERP real estate above the fold, including an influx of image ad options. Additionally, I would not be surprised to see video ads coming in search, where possibly pre-roll or click to play videos are a part of search ads. Joe FordJoe Ford
Twitter
I’m interested to see what happens in the SERPs with featured snippets. Google has been showing more and more snippets and rich answers so I’m curious how that will change or if we’ll see even more in 2017. This really means if you don’t have schema markup on your website (including on various pages where it makes sense—recipes, events, or restaurants for example), then it’s time to implement it on your website to prepare for the new year. Kyna GarrettKyna Garrett
Twitter
I am interested to see how social media changes to allow brands to provide users with proper customer service. More and more people are turning to social media for customer service and brands need to stay on top of the latest trends to keep customers happy. Lexie KimballLexie Kimball
Twitter
Along my previous point – is Google sacrificing user experience and risking losing its loyal user base by increasingly displaying heavy amounts of ads at the top of search results? At the moment no other search engine rivals Google’s search index and ability to deliver relevant search results, but is Google leaving an open door for other search engines to serve the needs of a growing user base dissatisfied with ads constantly thrown in their face? How will Google and other advertisers respond to the growing use of ad-blockers? More ads seemed to be their response in 2016. All these paid search questions will have a big impact on organic search in 2017. Michael HallMichael Hall
Twitter

 

Netvantage Marketing

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *