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SEO in 2017, Pt. 1: Mobile SEO

By Andy Mullins on March 14, 2017 in SEO
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2016 saw plenty of controversy and speculation in the tech world. From accusations of electioneering to announcements made by the biggest names in tech, we certainly have heard a lot about plans to change the world in 2017. One company, perhaps the biggest of them all, however, has shied away from big, bold statements, opting to rather hint at the moves they’ll be making in the coming year. This, of course, is the way Google seems to do things, particularly when it comes to mobile SEO.

Thankfully, as SEO strategist Gianluca Fiorelli lays out in his recent “SEO and Digital Trends in 2017” Moz article, many of the moves Google will likely make in 2017 have been illuminated by announcements made regarding their mobile platform. Here you’ll find a summary of important mobile SEO moves you should know about in the coming year.

The Mobile-First Transition Will Change Mobile SEO

The integration of AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is one of many indicators that 2017 is the year Google transitions from desktop-first indexing to mobile-first. According to Fiorelli, one shouldn’t neglect and disregard their desktop website, but the balance is most certainly shifting to mobile.  The impact this will have on mobile SEO is still not entirely obvious, but several implications and actions steps are already foreseeable.

If You Haven’t Yet, Create a Mobile Version of Your Website

A mobile version of your website that is responsive or created as a PWA (progressive web application) is imperative for mobile SEO in 2017. According to Fiorelli, you should pay as much (or perhaps more) attention to this mobile version as you did with your desktop-website in the first place.

Uniform Content Throughout Mobile/Desktop

When it comes to your URL’s SEO rankings, uniformity between your desktop and mobile versions matters. Pages and content that were discarded on mobile versions in the past could cause a decrease in your ranking. What’s the best way to avoid this problem? According to Fiorelli, “Google suggests [going] responsive as the easiest way to avoid this problem.”

Utilize Implemented Structure in Mobile

Google’s crawling algorithms are looking for more than just uniformity between desktop and mobile pages and content. Another opportunity for improving one’s SEO ranking has to do with the particular coding structure used on mobile versions. Google suggests presenting data in the JSON format (JSON stands for JavaScript Object Notation for Linked Data).

Reconsider UX and Conversion Optimization

This particular category isn’t necessarily one you can figure out now. But it is something you should be prepared for when mobile-first indexing shows up. Many sites have transitioned from tabs to placing all their content on the same page to make their mobile versions simpler. The impending shift to mobile indexing implies the need to reevaluate the mobile version of your site when it comes to tabs v. one-page-only content.

Develop New Link-Building Strategy

Another area that can’t be fixed yet but will need to be addressed in 2017 is that of inbound links. If the nature of your mobile site is, shifting to mobile-first indexing may create issues with inbound links unless (and this is Google we’re talking about, so it’s likely that) Google finds a way to make the Link Graph independent of the nature of sites.

Key Takeaways

  1. The coming mobile-first transition will most likely take place in 2017.
  2. Preparing for this transition will require placing an emphasis on your mobile site if you haven’t already. Ensure the content on your mobile and desktop versions are uniform. Per Google’s suggestion, use implemented structure to present data in JSON format.
  3. Round out the preparation process by revisiting your UX/conversion optimization and developing a new link-building strategy and your preparation for 2017’s mobile-first indexing transition will be complete!

In Part 2 of SEO in 2017, we’ll take a look at two new features you should know about when it comes to mobile-indexing: Accelerated Mobile Pages and Progressive Web Apps.

About the Author

Andy MullinsView all posts by Andy Mullins >