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December 28, 2016

4 SEO Trends to Keep Your Eye on in 2017

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Photo Credit: Augur Marketing via flickr

“Search engines aren’t trying to make life harder for website owners. They see search as a product, and as they improve their product, the game changes by default.”

Kathryn Aragon, Chief Educator at Ahrefs

SEO will never stop evolving. The object of search engine optimization is not to craft a strategy that you will cling to indefinitely. No, it is to change with the times and stay one step ahead of your competitors as the maturation unfolds.

The single most effective way to ensure that you are leading the corporate pack in the SERPs is by maintaining awareness of how engines are adjusting their algorithms so that you can pivot before your competition even knows what happened.

As you start to retool your strategy for the year to come, be sure to account for these four major shifts that are poised to rock the SEO landscape.

1. User Intent Optimization (UIO)

As long as the current incarnation of search engines continue to reign supreme, keywords will still be incredibly important to SEO.

What has changed significantly is the type of keywords that are used. As the average consumer has greatly matured over the past decade or so, their queries have followed suit. And search engines have kept pace with this evolution as they are becoming more sophisticated at identifying user intent.

In 2017, while keyword importance will remain, much of the conversation will shift from specific keywords and phrases to user intent.

Brands can upgrade their digital strategy by first investigating the driving forces that pull users onto their websites; this will help to inform you on the type of content to craft and what questions need to be addressed in those materials.

Once you understand what brings consumers to your site, begin to optimize those areas to ensure greater effectiveness in furthering your company goals by getting visitors to take the desired action.

And, as always, continually monitor your site’s analytics and A/B test various features to ensure that the elements you have implemented speak to user intent and are properly converting.

2. Increased Schema Support

Schema markup, or structured data markup, is rapidly increasing in significance as Google continues to implement more and more featured answers for user queries and denser snippets for websites.

A recent study conducted by Stone Temple Consulting revealed that Google’s direct answers have nearly doubled since 2014. And, assuming that this trend continues, schema will play an increasingly important role in SEO.

Schema not only assists search engines in understanding your site’s content offerings, but helps to provide users with the most informative results possible. Thusly, bolstering your website’s schema markup increases the chances of your content becoming a featured snippet.

Users love these kinds of quick answers because it helps them gain exactly what they are looking for with speed. More importantly, however, is that content that is used for a featured snippet gains far more clicks and credence than those that are listed as normal.

But this isn’t the sole reason to further implement best practices for scheme. Now that Google has confirmed Rankbrain, its AI system, is the engine’s “. . . third most important signal contributing to the result of a search query,” business owners need to go the extra mile in ensuring that their websites are easily understood by the algorithm. This is where schema implementation is a massive benefit to a brand’s SEO blueprint.

3. Personal Branding Blowout

In recent years, personal branding has been taken to new heights thanks to the capabilities of social media. In 2017, this trend is going to be taken to an entirely different level.

Personal branding already supports SEO in a myriad of ways; it amplifies content desirability because it is attached to a person and not a company, increases trust because consumers are wary of most any informative materials produced by an organization, and other beneficial perks.

The problem is that most business leaders are not taking advantage of the opportunities personal branding presents.

As social websites like Facebook continue to alter their algorithms in ways that negatively impact the reach of business pages, personal branding becomes more vital to social media success.

Personal branding serves to benefit the SEO of an organization as it becomes easier to land guest posts and thus drive traffic to a business page. Moreover, as personal brands begin to gain more followers, the corporate counterpart attached to the individual becomes ingrained in the minds of consumers as it is permanently linked to the personal brand.

While this explosion will make the space more competitive, this same competition will present a myriad of opportunities and collaborations.

4. A New Kind of Content

Some believe that written content will soon fade into obscurity as video’s online dominance continues to grow. This is absolutely not the case.

While writing will not disappear, in 2017 it will start to transform in the way that it is presented.

More antiquated versions of content marketing centered on pumping out as much short and easily-consumable content as possible. This later shifted as various studies uncovered that long-form, in-depth content ranked better in the SERPs.

As Google embarks on its mobile-first indexing “experiment,” a new form of content is ready to take center stage.

Mobile’s continued growth and eventual dominance of the Web means that long-form content is poised to largely disappear because it is not conducive for smaller screens. Instead, marketers will come to focus on writing short content that is packed with as much useful information as possible to cater to mobile users. The SEO implications of this are clear and it is only a matter of time before this new content format begins to take hold.

While it is challenging to definitively say what will transpire SEO-wise in 2017, these trends are likely to take shape in a meaningful way. Be sure to account for the upcoming changes when reviewing your strategy to stay one step ahead of your business rivals.

Which of these trends is most surprising to you? What SEO predictions do you have for 2017?


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Conscious online marketer, web executive, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney has been creating and fostering online innovations since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, influencer marketing, community management, lead generation, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, and accomplished life coach.  Learn more on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.

18 Responses to “4 SEO Trends to Keep Your Eye on in 2017

    In 2017 SEO will be more focused on client engagement. Marketers need to work on their analytics skills to get effective results. Focus on Quality Content always plus point.

    SEO in 2017 is definitely going to present itself with something new and different. Publishers and online marketers need to follow the basic trends. Any deviation from this trend is certainly heading towards disaster

    We must keep an eye on these 4 trends in 2017 but as far I am concerned I will focus more on “A New Kind of Content” as I don’t believe that the written content will soon fade away as video’s online dominance continues to grow, the way it is going to be presented will alter or change so much so that the readers will engage more. For example, I am already finding Facebook’s implementation of Instant Article engaging as well as Google’s AMP articles, takes no time at all to load, keeps audience engaged.

    avatar Amit Thakre says:

    Hey Tina,
    The points related with SEO that you cover into your article are so important with respect to new Trending Changes into the Google Algorithm. Thanks for that, but there are some point are missing like High Quality Backlinks, Backlink still have the Most Important Factor.what you say??

    This site is very good and very helpfull for seo .
    I am fresher in seo

    I am particularly interested in part 4 of your article. I have noticed over the last 2 years that my longer product descriptions and in-depth product data is being ignored and in some cases creating worse conversion rates. I have started reducing the length and detail of product descriptions only to see an increase in sales. It seems that imagery is increasingly more important, while the text is considered supplemental and not even ready by many users before making a purchase.

    The most suprisingly is the long form in depth content due to mobile… Is mobile friendliness not considered for this?

    avatar smailez says:

    In many cases i always found a different view about keyword. some people drive to ignore keyword because its not relevan today. but all of my friend said “without keyword your idea will comes to nothing..”

    You haven’t mentioned backlinks, don’t you think it’s going to be important?

    Though i agree with your article.

    I was a bit surprised to not hear “live video” mentioned. You’d think one of the most engaging and hot trends of 2016 would become more of an incorporated part of search in 2017. I suppose this article suggests indirectly live video to be one of the many ways to build Personal Branding as in sub-head #3.

    avatar Geek Squares says:

    Thank you for sharing this article. Contains important information.

    Great post, thank you for the in depth information. I think 2017 will be most focused on content quality and mobile integrations. It seems to be the direction this year has gone, so I expect more of the same, just more critical to details.

    You have shared really important article. All the points you have mentioned is really important and relevant. It is going to help a lot.

    avatar PCNTECH says:

    Nowadays without concentrating on SEO its really difficult to improve or rank higher in google search. In 2017 it will be more difficult to rank. your information will be really helpful for us, thank you.

    avatar Luke pais says:

    Thanks for the tips. As SEO will be more competitive in 2017 .The points will definitely help my business in order to get good traffic as well as to earn profit. The fresher in the market should definitely look this blog and collect good information

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