Keeping track of all the changes in the vast world of SEO is difficult. You might finally get the hang of one SEO strategy, only to learn that it’s outdated or now forbidden by Google, and you have to learn a whole new strategy.
Among the main trends identified by experts are optimization for Mobile (18 votes), Quality and Epic Content (13 votes), Voice Search (9 votes), Micro Formats (7 votes), Artificial Intelligence (5 votes).
Technical SEO (AMP pages, Mobile Apps SEO, as they now show up in search results) is becoming important. With the rise of AI as the trend, content might end up being generated by machines.
It is important to optimize for micro formats and local SEO. Whether it’s long form or short form content, it has to be epic. With YouTube being the second largest search engine, Video is on the rise.
1. Ultimate user experience
It’s no secret that speed matters. Multiple research has shown slower-loading webpages are associated with higher bounce rates, and up to 40% of visitors are likely to abandon your site if it loads longer than 3 seconds.
Will AMP pages really solve the speed problem? You bet!
Thanks to the “lighter” HTML and CSS they use, and the fact that AMP content is cached in the cloud and delivered not from your server, but from the Google-hosted cached version, AMP pages load 30 times faster (the median load time is 0.7 seconds for AMP and 22 seconds for non-AMP pages).
2. Content Experience
The SEO industry’s approach to the content experience will evolve. Search is one of the most powerful intent signals, and with data modeling allowing us to finally realize the promise of people-based marketing at scale, the user journey will be more personalized than ever in 2017. We’ll wait to see if that’s a good thing for users (we know it’s a good thing for marketers).
3. Positive effect on rankings and CTR
According to Condé Nast’s John Shehata, AMP pages tend to perform better in search both in terms of rankings and CTRs:
And even though this improvement is not going to bring your floods of traffic straight away (we have to understand that the majority of mobile search traffic still comes from non-AMP search results), it’s quite likely that getting AMPed will pay off soon — AMP already dominates fresh content and its share will only grow.
The big trend in 2017, then, is a shift in mentality where your entire digital strategy (not just SEO) will be focused on understanding who your customer is, what they want, and using the data from search engines to better understand customer intent. By making something your customer needs – something that solves their problem – you will win the algorithm of the future.
Think about the different content groups, types, and maps and optimize around that. Keywords must be subordinate to content that aligns with your customers. Embrace customer-first marketing in 2017!
Machine learning and mobile will be the focus: The two biggest changes to the algorithm in recent years has been the introduction of RankBrain and more focus on mobile. With further changes to the way search engines and Google in particular deal with mobile starting from January, it will be an area of focus for most SEOs, specifically those in the technical arena. With a mobile-first index, it is no longer adequate to just have a mobile website, as this is what you are going to be judged on.