The Top SEO Challenges of 2017: Meetup Highlights

30th January 2017
Elizabeth
Elizabeth

The first Botify Meetup of 2017 in Paris was a big success! Our panel of experts discussed the biggest SEO challenges for the coming year, and shared how they plan to tackle each one.


The seats of the round table were filled by Search Foresight Co-Founder and SEO Director Mathieu Chapon, Déborah Botton, Product Manager of SEO & Web Analytics at Radio France, and Acquisition Manager Benoit Perrotin of Nature et Découverte for a well-rounded group representing Agencies, Retail, and Media enterprises. They were joined by Botify’s own Alpha Keita as moderator to keep the conversation flowing.

So, what exactly are the SEO topics on everyone’s minds this year?

The top SEO Challenges of 2017 decrypted

The Top SEO Challenges of 2017

1. SERP (Search Engine Results Page) Structure

SERP structure changed quite a lot in 2016, how do our speakers see the evolution of SERPs in 2017? Well, it looks like mobile is the big push from search engines, making results pages and web content easier than ever for users to access from mobile devices. Optimizing for mobile is key.

To not work on Featured Snippets is to lose out on whole market shares

2. HTTP/HTTP2 Migrations

Security and speed are on everyone’s minds. “It's better for the web to be on https2,” says Déborah. It’s faster, which means better performance for users and search engines, which SEOs know is an important factor in organic ranking. “In terms of roadmap, I think everyone has this in mind for this year.

3. Website Performance

Speaking of speed and organic traffic, website performance is on the top of the SEO to-do list this year, like every year. Page load time is a critical aspect of SEO for both better user experience (a ranking factor) and for optimizing Crawl Budget so Googlebot can reach as many of your strategic pages as possible to index and rank them.

4. Mobile-First Index

The Mobile-First Index is upon us, and SEOs are focusing on how to optimize for it whether in Publishing or E-Commerce. “People are on the couch with a tablet or smartphone, looking at bags or shoes, and it's a completely different usage,” says Mathieu, on how customers are interacting with websites. Optimizing for mobile use is critical for SEO success in 2017.

For Google’s Mobile-First Index, (ideally) do Responsive in HTTP2

5. AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)

One way to approach the mobile movement? AMP. Accelerated Mobile Pages are encouraged by Google and mean users can reach your content faster. “After implementing AMP, we quickly had much fewer problems and greater views and traffic!” - Déborah

6. App Indexing

Though App Indexing seems like a hot topic, for our SEO experts it’s not a challenge. In fact to some, it even appears to be a dying concern. Particularly since Google no longer updates the documentation and some industries favor AMP or may move to Progressive Web Apps in the future.

7. JavaScript

Many Enterprise sites rely on JavaScript for important pieces of their sites, like links to related products or articles, user-generated reviews, and other features. “Normal” SEO crawlers can’t see these links, but Googlebot can! Crawling JavaScript is big in 2017 for ensuring that you can see what search engines see - and index - to optimize every corner of your site.

8. Voice Search & Machine Learning

Optimizing for Voice Search is the SEO of the future, according to our round table panel. As Benoit said, “Sites are starting to see their pages show up in results for voice search” and SEOs need to see how to industrialize optimization and structure product pages to show up in voice search results. According to Mathieu, for example, “In the US, a third of people do voice searches, like with the Apple watch, so it’s really developing.

Challenging Future for SEO

A big thank you to everyone who attended and, of course, to our great speakers who brought their SEO expertise to the table and shared their big challenges and advice for 2017.

Every year brings new changes and challenges for site optimization, and 2017 is certainly no different.

The key to SEO success? Clear data and insights into how Google sees your site, and how you can optimize structure and performance to take full advanced of search engine bots’ precious crawl and indexing power.

Botify Meetups

Stay tuned for future Botify Meetups in London, New York, and Paris! Join us to learn the ins and outs of technical SEO from the people who know it best.

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