2016 is over and the next couple of months is going to be ALL about 2017. In SEO land, there has been a vast array of prominent trends dominating 2016, and most of these trends will continue influencing a large chunk of the coming year. It is therefore wise to familiarize yourself with the latest trends and prepare your website accordingly.

Remember that the early bird catches the worm! The following are some of the latest SEO trends for 2017 that you should pay attention to:

1. The growing popularity of rich answers and snippets

Google is the largest and most popular search engine, and it has prioritized rich answers and snippets in its search engine results page (SERP) to meet the prime need of users: relevant information at the speed of light. According to a study by Stone Temple Consulting, the volume of rich answers appearing in SERPs has nearly doubled from 2014-2016. This is expected to grow in 2017.

In order to take advantage of this trend, you will need to include structured data markup (schema markup) on your website so as to help search engines understand your website content and serve it up for rich answers, snippets and knowledge panels for branded searches.

2. Voice search is going to be bigger than it is now

As the kinks and barriers to voice search are being ironed out and expunged altogether, it would be wise for you to implement voice search innovation strategies on your website in 2017. This means thinking of something more than simple text based search queries on your site.  Voice search is going to be bigger than it is right now because it is hands-free, futuristic and faster than typing. Search engines will be moving from voice search to voice understanding, with a focus on:

a) Previous searches

b) Contextualized search, for example location based search

c) Frequently used mobile apps

d) Personalized and precise information

e) Keyword research on spoken queries

Focusing on voice search in 2017 will be a winning strategy.

3. Accelerate mobile pages (AMP)

AMP is a project that was announced by Google in 2015. It is an open source protocol that helps webmasters create pages that can load almost instantly on mobile phones. No one wants to wait forever for a site to load on their smartphone, and it is highly likely that users will have moved on to the next site if the wait is too long. There are approximately 600 million AMP-enabled documents at the moment, and you can spot them easily as they have a grey lightning bolt.Focusing on AMP for your mobile website would be a wise move to make in 2017.

4. User Experience

User experience has always been integral to any website’s SEO strategy. However, users have grown used to good speeds and relatively easy to navigate sites. Their expectations have risen, and Google and other search engines have incentivized behavior that prioritizes user experience. There is a focus on favoring websites with fast load times, an emphasis on mobile optimization and indicators showing users are enjoying the site (low bounce rate and high average time on page). This means that you cannot go wrong with an increased focus on user experience in 2017!

SEO is a giant changing Rubik’s cube. Anticipating the coming SEO trends and capitalizing on them will change your online portfolio of sites and businesses for the better in 2017.

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