2017 SEO & Digital Marketing Trend Predictions: The Future Is Now
It’s that time of year again, the time for excessive holiday cheer and copious amounts of predictions about the coming 365 days of SEO and digital marketing. Love it or hate it, in an industry like ours, if you aren’t looking ahead, it’s incredibly easy to be left behind. So, without further ado, here are some of the changes we think you can look forward to in 2017.
In the Realm of SEO…
The Mobile Takeover Continues
A shock to no one: improvements in mobile search will continue to rise. Though this is not exactly a prediction and more of a 100% certified fact that has been confirmed by Google, the buck doesn’t necessarily stop at Google’s index. In 2017, expect in-app indexing to become increasingly important as the search engine expands the mobile experience further and further.
Algorithmic Clarity of Sorts
Though we’re 99.9% sure that there will never be a day when we fully understand how Google’s algorithms work, with the release of the real-time Penguin 4.0 update, we’ll likely get more insight into how Google values backlinks. How so? With real-time updates, we’ll be able to get more clarity into how successful site recoveries work, and how long a site can expect to feel the effects of poor link-building practices.
The Rise of the Simplistic Title Tag
We do not believe that keywords or title tags are “dead,” because in all likelihood they aren’t going anywhere — no matter how many predictions there may be to the contrary. What we do believe, however, is that the exact word order of title tags is no longer going to be anywhere near as important as it once was. As Google gets better at parsing out user intent, title tags will become less of a word puzzle and more about ensuring that readability and user-friendliness take a front seat.
Interactive or Bust
With the undeniable rise in popularity of VR devices and “digital experiences,” video and interactive content will go through the roof in 2017. It’s not to say that static pieces of well-written, informative content will be obsolete, but as more content is produced, interactive elements will be given an edge — but only if it’s done right.
The Road to Success is Paved with User Intentions
Piggy-backing off the title tag prediction above, it isn’t just title tags that will likely experience an overhaul. Due to the rise of RankBrain, on-page optimization strategies will likely shift from relatively formulaic to extremely fluid. We’ve moved beyond stuffing our webpages with keywords in order to rank. Now we must create content tailored specifically to user intent — and though user intent and keyword strategies are not mutually exclusive, this delineates an extreme shift in focus.
Moving into 2017, the Possum update will spawn countless babies that will affect more specific groups of businesses. Locksmiths, plumbers, attorneys, and other local businesses will all become more fed up with the updates, but it will end up benefiting those businesses playing by the rules. Those getting more reviews from clients will also find a better bump in ranks, as the algorithm starts to take “qualified” reviews into account more heavily.
Tackling Voice Search
As more virtual home assistants are introduced, we’ve been seeing a lot of buzz around optimizing for these types of devices. With that said, yes, business will need to evaluate where they can gain quick wins in the voice search department, but more so for mobile voice search than Google Home or Amazon Echo.
In the Social Media World…
Expiring Social Content
The trend just won’t stop as companies continue to emulate Snapchat’s bread and butter. Just like Snapchat, Facebook’s Instagram was the latest social platform to produce a feature that enables expiring content. Along with Instagram’s Stories, in Facebook messenger you can now send messages that expire within a certain time frame as well. What will 2017 hold? Probably more of the same.
#Snapchat Is Where It’s At
And it doesn’t seem like it’s going to slow down any time soon. Snapchat has grown in one year as much as Twitter did in four. The video views are higher than Facebook, growing 400% from May 2015 to May 2016, and the app is continuously moving up on the most used and most favorite app among US users. Geo-filters are available for businesses and events and cost as little as five dollars. So moving forward, where do you reach your biggest demographic and try to re-brand? Snapchat.
Merging Platforms and Shredding the “Social” Label
Though it’s already begun, many entities will continue to try to move away from the term “social” in 2017. Today, agencies don’t want to solely offer “social services” and instead want to shift to a “digital services” offering. Social platforms are also trying to shed the social label and work toward a brand that offers multiple functions and services, which will likely only continue.
The Explosion of Influencer Marketing
Consumers don’t trust ads, so marketers need a new way to create some traction. According to a Tomoson study, “Influencer marketing was rated as the fastest-growing online customer-acquisition channel, beating organic search, paid search, and email marketing.” In 2017, companies will continue to develop relationships with industry leaders to increase brand awareness and create future trends.
Last but Not Least, Search Engine (Marketing) Land…
Big Brother Is (Better at) Watching You
Not really, but kind of. In 2017, tracking and attribution will likely continue to improve as Google makes clear strides towards following transaction from desktops, to smartphones, to tablets, and even in-store. In the coming year, we foresee that advertisers will have the ability to more accurately account for budget that results in purchases far after the initial ad interaction.
The SERP Takeover Will Yield Results
Due to the larger percentage of search marketing ads on SERPs, it seems more than likely ad engagement metrics will continue to rise. Google may be in the business of helping users find what they need, but they are also very much in the business of making money. Look for more tweaking of SERP ads to lead to even higher ROI for advertisers moving forward.
Going Beyond the Banner
2017 will be the year of (increased) interactive content, and that includes advertisements as well. Static banner ads are going to struggle to gain – and keep – user attention as they are today, so look for more interactive HTML5 ads to appear on the sidebars of websites across the internet in the next 365.
Ad Placements Where?!
As Google continues to test out new ad formats like Gmail advertisements, look for more of the same in 2017. Where exactly these ads will live? That is for Google to know, and us to find out, but one thing is for certain – Google isn’t likely to stop being creative with their ads any time soon.
Want to create tablet specific campaigns? No problem. Only looking to target mobile devices? You got it. With recent changes to the AdWords platform, we predict we’ll see an increase in device specific campaigns in the coming year, which in-turn will allow advertisers to tailor their messaging even further towards their audiences. Seems like a win-win to us.
And So It Goes…
In the world of SEO and digital marketing only one thing is truly certain, and that is change. Though we love to make educated predictions for each year, who knows exactly what will come to pass – especially after a year like 2016! With that said, you can likely expect to see at least some of the above changes in the very near future.