Only 10 days into the 2017, and we were hit with an update that targets mobile websites with intrusive pop-ups or interstitials. As both a consumer and an SEO – I’m all in with this change. Why didn’t they think of this sooner?! After all, there’s the right way to do a pop-up and there’s the wrong way to do one because no one likes pop-ups that take up the whole screen. Google finally recognized that the bad way lessens the user experience and happens on low-quality pages. The Intrusive Interstitial Penalty points to Google’s growing focus on the mobile search experience.

The Growing Trend Towards Mobile

At the end of 2016, Google announced they were experimenting with mobile-first indexing. This means Google will soon primarily get their data from mobile sites as opposed to from desktop data, which was their main source in past years.

To pile on the mobile trend, accelerated mobile pages (AMP) were created to provide a fast way to get the content to the searcher. It has now become noticeably prevalent in the Google search results page. There hasn’t been an official announcement, but the SEO trends for 2017 all point towards a mobile friendly Google search algorithm.

What We Can Expect in 2017

This leads us back to 2017 and what we think Google has in store for us. The reins were loosened on backlinks thanks to Penguin 4.0, but we don’t know for how long. Google has said they are not planning on announcing any new updates to their Penguin algorithm, but I would expect them to eventually tighten up the reins again. People in the SEO community will see how far they can test the limits, which will eventually lead Google towards placing more control on the issue.

AMP and Structured Data Will Rise in Prominence

We can certainly expect more updates that emphasize a positive mobile experience for Google users. I suspect it’s going to expand the use of AMP and place greater importance on those pages. Also, the growing trend is to enhance the search results page with search features that include carousels, rich cards, knowledge graphs, and answer boxes. With Google favoring these types of search results, this will place more emphasis on adding structured data. Google keeps adding more types of rich cards and if you have a website that applies, you’ll want to mark up your site. In 2017, your goal could be to rely less on ranking #1 and more on showing up in other search feature areas on page 1.

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