2017 SEO Trends and Predictions: The Year So Far

search engine optimizationAs always, Google is keeping the SEO (search engine optimization) and SEM (search engine marketing) world on its toes in 2017. Between the hundreds of little updates to the search algorithm and the massive surprise updates we see several times a year, it can be hard to keep track of the latest SEO trends and best practices.

Fortunately, that’s our job.

If you’re trying to figure out the latest SEO trends and website optimization practices, then you should keep the following trends in mind. So to help you stay on top of it all, and on top of the rankings, here are the top SEO trends of 2017:

Mobile First (Last and Always)

A recurring theme on any search engine optimization trend list is mobile optimization. In fact, since at least 2014, mobile optimization has been at the top of many of these lists. In 2017, mobile optimization is less of a trend and more of a basic reality. We’ve certainly come a long way from the clunky mobile versions of websites that were essential in the past.

In 2017, it appears that Google has moved on from mobile optimization to “mobile first” thinking. It’s the idea that your website isn’t just responsive to mobile devices, but rather that your website was specifically designed with mobile users in mind. Given that 50% of people with smartphones now use them as their primary internet source, it’s clearer than ever that mobile SEO is here to stay.

So if you want to boost your rankings online, then you need to think beyond the responsive web design tips of 2016 and look towards the increasingly mobile future. When crafting your website’s overall user experience, think about your mobile visitors first.

AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)

AMP is an open-source protocol that allows webmasters to create pages capable of loading near instantly on mobile devices. Initially, AMP was mostly relevant for publishers who produced large amounts of content and depended on search traffic from Google and Google News. However, many SEO gurus believe that AMP sites have a clear advantage in the race for rankings.

With a few simple structural changes, you can make your site load up to four times faster and use eight times less data. Google is already moving to favor websites that have switched over to AMP protocol, and we don’t expect that to change in 2017 or 2018. However, that doesn’t mean switching to AMP should be a top priority for the typical small business website.

It does mean that Google is increasingly concerned with user experience, particularly mobile user experience. To succeed in today’s cutthroat digital marketing world, your business’s landing pages and loading times need to be sharper than ever.

Voice Search(?)

This is one of 2017’s most questionable SEO trends, as voice search is another topic that has popped up on trend lists for years now. Despite the predictions that voice search and long tail keywords would take over, not much has come of it so far. It might be a sleeping giant waiting to take off in the SEO world, or it might just be a fad that’s waiting to die. Either way, keep an eye on those long tail keywords for now.

Apps Getting The Love

Apps have seen a much larger presence in the search engine results pages in the last three years. In keeping with the mobile theme of this year’s SEO trends, Google has begun integrating apps into its search results. Not only has Google experimented with allowing searchers to download apps directly from search results (bypassing the Google Play store), but Search Engine Land reports that Google is getting better at ranking apps within search results. Soon, app makers may need to worry about the latest SEO trends just as much as traditional business owners.

Why Should You Worry About SEO Trends At All?

Never forget that Google’s top priority is improving the experience of its searchers (and turning that experience into advertising revenue). That goal is in direct opposition to your SEO campaign, which is designed to get people to your website in particular. With 80% of business marketers reporting that increasing conversion rates is the top priority for their digital marketing, it’s crucial to understand the larger trends driving online behavior.