5 Hot SEO Trends that Will Make Waves in 2017
Yes, it is once again that time of the year when everyone tries to predict the landscape of digital marketing in the near future. With the fourth quarter of 2016 almost coming to an end, digital marketers are looking forward to what the next year has in store.
This is especially true for search engine optimization (SEO), an aspect of digital marketing that’s all about being one or two steps ahead of the competition. Much of this has to do with how fast search engines evolve, forcing marketers to adjust their SEO strategy—just ask anyone affected by Google’s Penguin and Panda updates.
In other words, the SEO industry is always in a state of flux. So it helps to be on your toes and keep an eye out for trends and potential changes to best SEO practices.
In this guide, I go over a few of these changes to help you do just that. Based on what we are seeing so far, 2017 is shaping up to be an interesting year for search engine optimization, at least as far as trends go.
1. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Will Make a Splash in 2017
Google has long hinted that mobile friendliness would be used as a key ranking signal on the search engine results pages. And true enough, the company announced in 2015 that, “Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal,” a change that would affect “mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”
And it’s not exactly a surprise why. That same year Google announced that the number of Google searches on mobile had exceeded desktops. In response to this major shift, the company initiated the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project, an open-source protocol that allows publishers to create faster and leaner versions of their web pages that load instantly on mobile pages.
The gist behind the entire project is that it allows webmasters to make simple HTML tweaks to their pages in order to make them load up to 85 percent faster and consume up to 8 times less mobile data.
But for SEOs, perhaps the biggest reason AMP is important is how Google is starting to prioritize AMP content. AMP might not be an explicit ranking signal, but as Matt Southern of Search Engine Land points out, this matters little, not when Google gives AMP pages prime real estate on mobile search results.
I expect that AMP adoption will continue to grow in 2017, so expect to see AMP-optimized content occupying the top spot of your mobile search results—watch out for the lightning icon and the AMP label.
2. Optimizing for User Intent
Although keywords are still an important part of SEO, search engines have gotten much better at recognizing user intent. Already, we’re seeing many marketers make the transition to directly answering searches instead of just using traditional onsite optimization.
Content will be your primary tool to address user intent. It’s no longer enough to have an optimized title, relevant meta tags, and a few keywords sprinkled within the content body. The content asset itself needs to deliver the information your users need.
In other words, your content needs to live up to any promises you make on your meta tags and title to be of any real value to your audience.
3. Juicy Content That Offers More Value
In the old days, the SEO school of thought when writing content was to keep assets as bite-sized as possible in order to ensure maximum readability. After all, attention spans on the Internet were notoriously short (they still are), so it was thought that brief and concise content was most effective.
This makes a lot of sense right? However, in the past few years we’ve seen longer and denser content assets generate higher levels of engagement.
SEO guru Neil Patel is one of the strongest advocates of long-form evergreen content, which he describes as blog posts that are at least 2000 words long or more. And he makes a strong case by citing compelling stats from his own content assets.
Of course, just stuffing a 2000-word article with nothing but fluff won’t do any good. Long-form content works if and only if, it has anything valuable to offer. So it’s not exactly a question of length, but rather value. Whether it’s 500 words, 1000 words, or 4000 words and more, content with valuable information will always perform well.
4. Strides to Be Made in Voice Search
While voice search has yet to reach full maturity, it’s only a matter of time until it changes the way we search for information on the Internet.
Progress will be connected to growth in the Internet of Things (IoT) arena, where it’s expected that voice control will shape the way we interact with Internet-controlled devices such as cars, thermostats, lighting systems, and security systems among others.
When voice control reaches a point where it becomes seemingly human, it’s inevitable that voice search will also reach a similar level of functionality. Your personal assistant won’t just be on your phone, it will follow you on your television, your car, and the office.
Of course, this kind of sci-fi future won’t exactly happen in 2017, but it helps to pay attention to the direction voice search is taking. You can also start experimenting as early as now, using the Google App and Siri to run brand searches to see what results are generated.
If you run a voice search for “dentists in X city” and see Google Business Listings, it won’t hurt to focus your efforts on Google My Business.
5. Influencer Marketing
Social proof will be as strong as ever in 2017, which means that influencer marketing will still play a critical role in your SEO efforts. As opinion leaders continue to attract and keep an engaged audience, brands will likewise continue to see them as a cost-effective avenue for reaching out to their respective audiences.
Linking your campaign to an influencer means your brand is suddenly visible to a larger audience, creating a spike of traffic that, if used correctly, should create leads and conversions. Connecting with an influencer who has a high domain authority site is also a classic link building strategy; except now you’re not just creating links for search engines, but also for actual people to see.
In other words, influencer marketing lets you optimize your SEO campaign for real people.
Ultimately, what Google plans to do with search in 2017 is anyone’s guess, but these trends are something we’re already seeing now. In fact, some of their earlier signs have been around since 2014.
What this means is that there is no pressing need overhaul your SEO strategy or anything like that. If you’ve been observing best practices in SEO, you can rest assured knowing that your efforts will continue to bear fruit next year.
Still, it helps to study how these trends will develop and affect your campaigns in the near future. The more aware you are, the easier it will be to stay ahead of the competition.
If you need help with SEO for your business, speak with our Dallas based Internet Marketing Experts at KISSPR.com