The evolution of Google in the past 10 months
2016 was an intense year, especially when it came to SEO and Google in particular.
The shift from desktop-first to mobile-first
Up to now, SEOs have considered mobile search to be one of the many specializations of SEO, on the same level as local search or international SEO.
That outlook did not change much when, back in 2015, Google haddeclared AMP.Furthermore, SEOs considered AMP just another "added task" to our execution checklist, and not as a signal of the real motives of Google: Mobile search is the entiresearchWith the proclamation of mobile-first indexing, although, these declarations are now 100% clear, and somehow they resemble a Copernican Revolution: After 18 years of evaluating desktop, now we have to prioritize mobile.
The reason behind this significant change is observable if we look at the source of the search traffic for our sites.AMP, then, was the important character in the Google Search-branded storytelling about mobile this year.Google launched AMP in October 2015, and by April already 37% of news sites' articles had an AMP version too, based on to a study by the GDELT Project (Global Database of Events, Language Tone).
However, the same study attributed that, globally, only 40% of all news sites articles had a mobile version of any kind.The percentage of people mostly using a smartphone isincreasing, while the percentage of people largely using desktop is declining with respect to 2015.If you examine the trends in other countries, like some Asian or European ones, the percent of people using smartphones is even higher.
Does this mean that we should ignore desktop search? No! It would be a big mistake, especially if our website were an ecommerce site.
What to contrive for 2017?
Organize for mobile-first indexing
When Google declared mobile-first indexing on last November 4th, it did not say that the modification/change would happen that same day, or even after a few days.
Instead, Google said this: To make our results morevaluable, we've begun experiments to make our index mobile-first.
This means that we are still in a desktop-first index, but it's nearly sure that it'll switch to mobile-first in 2017.
In fact, Google has constantly said that mobile-first does not mean that it won't index the desktop version of a site. If a site doesn't have any mobile version, Google will index and consider for rankings its desktop one. And this will be the case even if that same website has an AMP version.
Recent 7.0 versions, Screaming Frog enable us to find and provide crawled pages, something that was possible before only (and with a painful one-by-one URL process) via Google Search Console. Apparently, remember to set up Screaming Frog to simulate the Googlebot smartphone crawler.
Nevertheless, AMP is generating some concerns amongst some big news sites; it doesn't look like that Google will foreshorten pressure for a large number of websites to adhere it.
Furthermore, if your website is already obtaining a great volume of traffic from mobile search, you should start programming/scheduling the creation of an AMP version. It should always be a Priority for all types of sites,
Moreover, if you have an ecommerce site, it could be informative/compelling to AMP,a component to test the efficiency and ROI of creating an AMP version of it, as the AMP Project recommends here.
If you are an ecommerce site, while it can be amazing to experiment with AMP, your real strategic selection should be going PWA (Progressive Web Apps)
Progressive Web Apps (PWA)
Progressive Web Apps will be the only main trending topic in 2017.Ecommerce websites are not yet fully AMP-liable.
The only drawback to thiscould be mobile-first indexing, which is still very unsure in all its details, hence causing people to hold off.
If you're an ecommerce site, don't have an app, or are rethinking the opportunity of constantly managing two apps (iOS and Android) because of the need to justify costs, then Progressive Web Apps can be the best choice.
Again, as we sometimes forget, SEO's future will be decided on a macro- and micro-scale by business decisions.
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