SEO trends for 2017

SEO trends for 2017
Last updated: Monday December 19th 2016
Reading time: 8 minutes

I landed on a brilliant blog post on the Search Engine Journal site from SEO expert Danny Goodwin last week. This particular post, which I believe he has published for a few consecutive years provides an insight into SEO trends for 2017 based on theories from 44+ SEO professionals – SEO Trends 2017: 44 Experts on the Future of SEO.

Let’s talk SEO trends for 2017 and sum up that blog post!

Will this be the year your digital strategies always put the audience/customer first? Will this be the year companies really diversify their traffic sources as part of a holistic SEO strategy? And how will technologies such as AMP and PWAs change SEO?

Here are my best picks from reading the article. I believe these trends will be huge in SEO for 2017 so take note!

1. A focus on AMP

Google was very smart to launch AMP (The Accelerated Mobile Pages Project) and prevent a huge switch away from mobile web browsing towards native apps. AMP keeps users engaged with Google search on mobile devices. Chances are, you’ve quite possibly already used an AMP page via Facebook or Google. They are often very stripped down in terms of design with the focus on speed, minimal HTML and CSS and content and imagery as key elements of the page.

WordPress Websites and AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)

I expect Google will keep throwing a lot of weight behind AMP, and 2017 is the year that decides if AMP has a long shelf-life or if it’ll end up as another one of Google’s doomed projects.

The adoption of AMP beyond static news stories will be key to this; both in terms of the functionality AMP offers for interactive experiences, and the ease with which websites can implement these features.

Keep a sharp eye on AMP for e-commerce and the way AMP results will be highlighted in SERPs. Already we see Google highlighting the advantages of AMP to its users – if this takes a stronger hold, AMP could well become the new de facto standard for mobile web pages.

2. Mobile comes first!

The connection between device types will continue, resulting in richer and faster mobile experiences for users, with advances in PWAs and article formats like AMP. Apps will continue to have a place in the user experience, too, and indexing them for improved discovery will continue to be important. And dynamic sites and content will keep evolving.

3. On-page, technical & structural work

Structured data will get plenty of attention, too, as its application extends into virtually every field and device.

Speed will rule, and we’ll hear a lot about http/2 in 2017.

Link building for SEO purposes will continue its slow, welcome death, as marketers from social and content arenas rightly focus on marketing promotion and amplification rather than links for rankings.

4. A much improved 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 modelling allowing us to finally realise the promise of people-based marketing at scale, the user journey will be morepersonalisedd 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).

5. Answer boxes and featured snippets

We’ve been doing quite a bit of experimenting this year with answer boxes and SERP results and much of it has to do with how your structure your content. Go back and look at what is already ranking, if there’s an answer box, and if you can restructure your content.

In my opinion, there is still a ton of room for improvement in the answers Google is providing. I think 2017 will be a big test for how they get better and how they integrate voice search queries into the mix.

6. Long-form and engaging content

More than 65 million articles are published each month just on WordPress. So how can you stand out from the noise?

Creating long-form content (i.e., content that is 2,000-4,000+ words), combined with a good promotional strategy, will yield greater online visibility, as it will lead to more social shares and links, which will feed the organic growth.

7. Progressive web apps (PWAs)

Progressive Web Apps are user experiences that have the reach of the web, and are:

  • Reliable – Load instantly, even in uncertain network conditions.
  • Fast – Respond quickly to user interactions with silky smooth animations and no janky scrolling.
  • Engaging – Feel like a natural app on the device, with an immersive user experience.

This new level of of quality allows Progressive Web Apps to earn a place on the user’s home screen.

53% of users will abandon a site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load! And once loaded, they expect them to be fast, no janky scrolling or slow to respond interfaces.

8. Backlinks, backlinks, backlinks

I was looking at Matthew Barby’s blog and read an interesting post that highlighted that on average, the top 2 results on page 1 of Google equated to having 38% of all the backlinks from pages on page. On average, the higher up page 1 the result is, the greater the number of linking domains that the webpage has.

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About the author
Laurence

I am a 27-year-old WordPress web designer and SEO consultant based in Banbury, Oxfordshire, UK. I have designed and maintained sites with over 20,000 pages on large corporate websites, smaller small business sites, and tiny personal websites and blogs. I provide freelance WordPress web design services in my evenings and weekends and also work full time at Toast Design in Banbury. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and on Google+.