Search in 2017

As 2016 nears an end, we can look forward to search trends in the new year – not before we indulge in Christmas roasts and yuletide celebrations, though.

Search is constantly evolving, algorithms are being updated and the search engines are expanding.

But what sort of changes can we expect in 2017?

Speech will advance

Speech recognition has been around for years, but it is always improving.

From the iPhone Siri that struggled to understand Scottish users┬áto speech recognition technology now that has achieved ‘human parity’.

What does this mean for search? Well, it means that we can use speech to trigger searches with a much higher accuracy.

Handsfree search with a headset could take off, and it opens up new horizons.

Could advances in speech recognition lead to the user not physically looking at a page of search results but having them dictated to them, and how would this change our approach to ranking?

Of course, it is not likely that speech search will overtake traditional search, and even if it does it is likely to be used in conjunction with a visual display, but it will be interesting to see where the technology leads.

Search will engage in dialogue

seconds in year

The relationship between the user and the search engine is changing.

Traditionally, we enter our search and then browse relevant websites to satisfy our query.

However, search is becoming more conversational.

You can see from the example above that search engines are becoming more adept at recognising questions and answering them immediately – without the user having to click on any links.

How does this affect businesses online?

Well, if search continues to become more conversational then many users will be able to satisfy their query without ever clicking on an ad or organic link.

Of course, that is only true when the query is an objective question – so it shouldn’t interfere too much with customers looking for a service.

However, it may impact blog traffic. Many blog titles are common questions, and if the user can get the answer before seeing your blog then it may reduce the number of clicks.

This just means that users should be looking to write quality and detailed blogs, as the search engine will only offer a brief answer to a query.

Spam won’t work

Year on year the search engines are becoming more advanced in detecting spam and penalising the sites that use it.

If you are approached by an SEO company that are offering things that seem too good to be true, then do your research.

SEO is not an overnight thing, and it takes a lot of quality and creative work to get a good ranking for a competitive term.

Google and other search engines will continue to clamp down on spam in 2017, so make sure your tactics are in line with their recommendations.