The Top SEO Trends You Can Expect to Dominate in 2017
As 2016 draws to an end, the speculation over 2017’s SEO trends begins. SEO’ers from around the world are currently busy attempting to predict where the focus needs to lie in their upcoming strategies. After adjusting to the adorably-named Penguin algorithm changes (which had not-so-adorable connotations), 2017 will see this update become part of Google’s core algorithm, making it real-time. This is huge news, as we will no longer have to rely on infrequent refreshes in order to resolve devastating penalties; therefore perhaps making the year ahead a lot more manageable.
As we know, SEO is not a science and none of us can be 100% certain of what will satisfy Google in reaching those top spots. However, I have put together the top five predicted forecasts we envisage must play an integral role in our SEO strategies over the coming year.
1. Mobile responsiveness
With the majority of digital growth coming from mobile devices, mobile responsiveness has become an absolute must for websites. This importance will only increase over 2017 – where it has previously been suggested to simply consider the mobile usability of a website, 2017 will see it become uncompromisable. And why shouldn’t it? With mobile usage continually suppressing desktop, the need for enhanced and uninterrupted user experience heightens. A mobile-first mentality needs to be applied in considering how technically compatible a website is in getting information across.
2. Load speed
Hand in hand with mobile responsiveness comes load speed. Historically, load speed has not been considered a heavily weighted ranking factor, but in 2017 that will change, with a particular focus on mobile load speeds. With solutions such as AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages), websites must get behind the growing need of allowing users to get to information as soon as possible. Time is precious and people don’t have time to waste on a slow loading website – and neither does Google.
3. High-value content
We should all know this by now… but content will remain king! But not the over-stuffed, cram-as-many-keywords-as-you-can-in kind. Content writers should focus less on attempting to write content that will trick RankBrain into thinking the page is of significance, and instead, focus on the creation of unique, data-rich content that is both topically relevant and provides a form of added value for the user which they cannot seek elsewhere. Semantic SEO will become more important – that is, concentrating on the topic of a page as opposed to a set of keywords. Consideration also needs to be placed on how digestible the content is. Is it easy for the user to find what they are looking for? Is it engaging and does it make you want to read until the end? Finally, is it actually in relation to the enticing meta title and description which has got the user to your page in the first place?
4. Voice search
Gone are the days of asking Siri a question and getting a completely unrelated answer – digital advancements in interpreting human voice are constantly improving, and with that comes an opportunity for consumers to get their information quicker. The potential to optimise a website to gain more traffic from voice remains fairly untapped, and in 2017, marketers will have to start getting more creative in considering how they can bring users through to their site in this way. Keyboard search is so 2016.
5. Integrated marketing campaigns
A well-thought-out SEO strategy is fundamental and should be used as a catalyst in opening up a website for further digital opportunities. 2017 will see integrated marketing plans replace simplistic SEO strategies, which should encompass social, paid and on-page optimisation. But beyond this, companies should consider their offline activity in their digital plans, creating one seamless approach to their entire marketing efforts. Online marketing should not be seen as a replacement for offline, but instead, treated as an additive, giving further touch points for the consumer to reach your brand. The more offline work a company is doing will only encourage people to get talking about it, in turn urging them to search online and naturally come across your website.
Remember, there is no ‘one size fits all’ SEO approach. These trends are interlinked, and it is the combination of all of these factors that contributes to a well-ranking website. SEO is not a quick fix and it needs to be viewed as a long-term investment, whereby the trends and technology are regularly recognised. Approach 2017 with a well-maintained SEO campaign and a mindset that puts the users’ experience first, and give yourself the best chance of hitting those page one spots.