Savvy marketers will need to master the art AND science of SEO best practices to stay ahead of the pack this year. Here are our top four tips.
1) Mobile will grow (but don’t forget about desktop!)
We fully expect Google’s focus on mobile to march on through 2017, as more and more search traffic is generated through these devices. The caveat here is that the increase in mobile is driven by the demographic your business is targeting and the functional purpose of your website. E-commerce and more sophisticated conversions still largely play out on desktop, so companies will need to stay focused on both platforms.
2) Great content will not be enough
In recent years there has been a trend in the SEO world to focus mainly on content marketing, with some even going so far as to question whether the technical aspects of SEO were still relevant. If the roller coaster of changes at Google and Bing have taught us anything in 2016, however, it’s that knowing how algorithms parse, index, and process content is key – and will be increasingly important in 2017. Google has bought into artificial intelligence in a big way through Rankbrain and other machine learning initiatives around voice search, and Bing is also very much focused on natural language processing for search. Having fantastic content will not be enough – especially in more competitive markets and verticals.
3) Keyword sets will be key
We will continue to see a move away from the focus on individual keywords and keyword volumes, and towards a focus on ranking for keyword sets, or broader topics. We predict this will be a very rich area for content testing and optimization in 2017 – and that the websites that rise to the top will be the ones that find the strongest balance between specific keywords, keyword sets, and how they present technically to search algorithms.
4) Personalization will get local
Finally, personalization will continue to be a big trend in 2017 – especially for mobile search. The combination of location, personal history and social connections will continue to drive organic search results and will force us to develop strategies that incorporate social actions focused on location. Because clicks from multiple queries (including paid search) appear to positively influence personalization, we will be looking at more ways to integrate paid and search campaigns in order to maximize SEO results.