It’s 2017 already and if you’re among those SEO practitioners who haven’t yet planned and strategized for this year’s SEO success, then you might find this post informative. The last 12 months were pretty intense, and the world of SEO witnessed many a development, including the Google’s Penguin update. Over the years, a lot of components of SEO have remained the same and would continue to work just fine. But, a new year means new trends and that is exactly where you need to shift your focus. Let’s take a look at some of the trends that would keep us on our toes:

1. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP): Loading almost instantaneously, AMPs, by no means are ranking signals. They were designed just for a faster user experience. Some simple structural changes can make your website up-to 4 times faster consuming incredibly less data. What’s in it for you? A whopping 40% of users would abandon your page if takes more than a few seconds to load. Nobody wants a bounce rate that high, right?

2. Mobile before desktop: Mobile traffic is growing by leaps and bounds and isn’t very likely to stop. Google’s recent announcement of mobile first index, confirms that Google plans to crawls the mobile version websites before the desktop version. Their intentions are clear, Mobile search is all search.

3. Voice Search: Halfway through 2016, Google’s CEO dropped the bomb and announced that 20% of android searches are voice searches. With Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Google’s Google Now, users are getting more and more comfortable speaking to their devices. It is yet another facet of modernity that simplifies our life and that is why we are most likely going to witness an exponential growth in voice searches in the coming months. SEO specialists need to re-plan their strategies because voice search queries tend to be more inquisitive and are question based.

4. Schema markup: Schema or structured data markup can make your website’s intent and purpose clear to the search engines. Schema markup basically is a semantic vocabulary added to the website that lets the search engines understand the website better and that leads to improved SERP rankings. Search engines are constantly looking for ways to crawl to websites faster than before, and using structured data and schema can help you prepare for anything that search engines might come up with.

5. HTTPS is just not an option: Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) keeps the data exchange between the website and a consumer’s computer secure. Google recognizes the secure connection and prioritize the websites that apply an SSL encryption. Non-HTTPS websites that transmit passwords would be deemed non-secure. Switching to HTTPS doesn’t cost much and has security benefits. It is also an important ranking signal. Since people are getting better at technology, anything less than a secure connection puts them off. As focus on trust continues to intensify, it becomes more and more important to switch to HTTPS.

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