Predictions for the (Near) Future of Mobile SEO

2017 is behind us; don’t leave your mobile search marketing strategy with it. In order to keep pace with the dizzying progress of the mobile search environment, take heed of our predictions for what’s to come in 2018.

Prediction #1: Mobile-First Index Is Coming

Ok, so whispers of a mobile-first index have been haunting the hallways of SEO firms for the better part of the last two years…but 2018 is likely to be the year that Google and other search engines finally launch desktop and mobile search engine algorithm updates that give ranking priority to sites with a mobile version (preferably a responsive web design rather than a separate mobile website).

What this means for you:

If you do not have a mobile-friendly site, get one ASAP. If you have a responsive web design, make sure it is AMP’d—i.e., that all web pages are built using the three core components of the Google-backed AMP initiative—so that your site loads AFAP—as fast as possible (since responsive designs are historically slow yet all search engine algorithms use page speed as a top ranking factor).

Prediction #2: Voice Search-Optimized Websites Win

Voice search continues to rise. Some demographics already use it more than text-based/typed searches. Websites with content optimized for spoken searches will perform better—first in mobile results …then, owing to increased site popularity, in all organic search results.

What this means for you:

Your website needs to be optimized for spoken searches. In other words, your content should incorporate keyword phrases that sound like real human speech. A good place to start includes questions or answers to questions, like, “how do I find the best daycare for my child?” or “how to choose a good daycare provider.”

Because voice searches are mostly done on mobile devices and mobile devices are conducive to providing relevant local results, optimize your content to include your geographic location. You can also use search phrases that include “near me”.

Prediction #3: Desktop and Mobile Searches and App Stores Merge

The movement toward mobile-first indexing will pave the way for a single search algorithm applied to all devices. So, results for Internet queries and apps for desktop and mobile devices will be one and the same. In some ways, this convergence may simplify optimization because you can streamline strategies rather than managing separate desktop and mobile SEO campaigns. However, to boost or maintain performance in relevant searches, wherever they may be conducted, this desktop-mobile convergence may require some site re-engineering.

What this means for you:

You may improve your visibility for Internet searches and app store searches by being available in both…and that doesn’t require a native app (historically cost prohibitive for most small- and medium-sized businesses) any more.

Progressive web apps (PWAs) are websites that provide the functionality and appearance of a native app. They will display in Google Play and Apple App Store, allowing users to download them onto their mobile devices and access them through a home screen icon as they would a native app. The differences are all in the technical back-end stuff, but the development of a PWA is significantly less expensive than a native app.

Prediction #4: URL-Independent Mobile Results

Search engines are well aware of everything mobile users are doing on their phones—searching for local service providers, making plans and reservations, shopping, communicating via voice and text. To better meet the needs and intent of mobile users, search engines are moving toward entity-based search results.

Entity-based search results compile information about brands, products, etc. into a single search result screen/section. Unlike organic search results or even Google’s Knowledge Graph cards and local packs, entity-based search results do not display a single URL or link. Rather, a dynamic link offers navigation possibilities, including online and offline purchasing options, product reviews, related searches, etc.

What this means for you:

Search engines define and understand “entities” based on structured data. Structured data applied to web pages is what enables rich snippets. Structured data applied to the underlying database enables “entitification” (yes, we made that word up). Bottom line: you need to implement data structuring schema to your website to increase your preferability by search engines for featured snippets and compiled URL-independent results.

By now, your eyes may be rolling in your head à la Cookie Monster. That’s understandable. Mobile SEO is highly technical, and the changes coming in 2018 require sophisticated website engineering for your site to be visible with mobile, voice-reliant searchers.

SonicSEO.com ensures your website is ready for mobile-first indexing and everything that implies. If you need help engineering a forward-looking website, contact us to schedule a free consultation.