During the last SMX Munich in March I had the pleasure to hear Rand Fishkin introducing a keynote on the changing Search Landscape in 2017.
Almost six months later all the trends he highlighted stand steady.
He started giving some detailed numbers of the incredible amount of searches performed in Google (more than 2 trillion per year) highlighting some remarkable differences in user behaviors in desktop and mobile. The first and most evident difference being the Click Through Rates in the two different scenarios, with almost 60% of mobile searches not clicking at all on any given result.
Desktop searches remain still one of the best traffic opportunities out there, due to higher CTR. With Google continuously introducing new widgets and featured extra contents SEO opportunities are being pushed down.
But Google is also continuously adding new channels to stand out.
Rand highlighted 16 of them:
- Video units (create and optimize videos from YT, and more rarely on Vimeo).
- “People Also Ask” widget (branding, get searched for with/after the query).
- Featured snippets (try always to push content which answer briefly to popular questions)
- Maps box (claim your GMB listing and get links & citations).
- Knowledge panel (earn brand association using structured markup).
- Top stories (get in Google News, earn links and use keywords in title).
- Images (relevant images and alt tags).
- Apps (keywords in titles/descriptions and popularity in app stores).
- Books (write something with an ISBN and name it the right way).
- Related Searches (be searched+found commonly with kewywords).
- Tweets (verified account help & use keywords).
- Search Suggest (as with related searches + geo-sensitive).
- Sitelinks (get links 6 visits to several pop pgs and use markup).
- Section Sitelinks (grow popular sub-sections with popular subpages).
- In-deptth articles (author longer pieces the get attention/links).
- Carousels (be listes alongside common sets on the web).
In the last six months nothing has really changed this overview of SERP widgets besides the sunsetting of Instant Search on desktops at the end of July (you now only have search suggestions both on mobile and desktops), messaging feature in Google My Business pages (which indeed could be a powerful way to get visibility for your latest news and events directly in SERP) and the further spreading of AMP standard (with integrated ads coming from AdWords).
Even smartphones rates of data consumption are confirmed. Mobile is the most rapidly growing media consumption channel ever seen in the history of humanity. More than 3h/day per person on average among US adults (only 1h less than TV and rapidly reducing the gap).
90% of this mobile time being spent in apps with Facebook, You Tube and Google dominating the arena (and the average person really using only 3 apps on their smartphone). But be careful with mobile first integralism, this growth is not coming to desktop time expense (which stands steady on 2h/day in the last 10 years), it is gaining momentum on our free time and/or TV consumption.
In this Google driving decisions scenario marketers should especially come up in the early stages of the process, when users are still unaware of their intents, or compete in iper-focused buying oriented searches. May be with ads? We still not have the full answer, but it is likely this will be one of the main trends in future online visibility landscape.
He then closed the speech with some other potentially disruptive factors to be taken in consideration when forecasting the future of SEO landscape: voice searches functionalities (rapidly evolving towards personal search assistants) and net neutrality (which is not so sure under Trump administration) and we still can confirm these trends to be hot.
You can download all Rand’s slides at https://bit.ly/searchscape17 or join Rand Fishkin at the next SMXL (SMX+eMetrics Summit) in Milan on November 14-15 (for which I am one of the hosting chairmen). If you come, search for me and we will have a beer together speaking about whatever you want, except SEO! 😉