Planning 2017 is likely taking up a growing amount of your dwindling free time during the holiday season, and much of that development planning probably revolves around determining which SEO trends are expected to have significant impacts in 2017.

It’s important to stay as ahead in the game as possible since the SEO industry is always evolving, so take into account these trends while concurrently keeping your eyes out for any others that start to take hold as the year progresses so that you can keep up with and surpass your competition.

AMP

Google launched the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project in October, and it has been proven to cause web pages to load four times as fast as had previously been the case. This impressive open source project is being worked on by 5,000 developers who are continuing to decrease load speeds even further.

The importance of speed is significant as a considerable number of website visitors will quickly get impatient if your website does not load quickly enough and go to your competition instead.

Mobile-First Index

In November, Google started shifting its focus from desktop search results to mobile content as far as SEO goes. Although the technology company described this as an experiment, few doubt that it will be permanent before too long now that more people use search engines from a mobile device than they do from desktop computers nowadays.

If you have a dynamic serving or responsive website, you do not have to make any changes. However, if your site configuration provides different content for the two setups, you will want to ensure that the two versions are as identical as possible; your mobile website having less content could become an increasing hindrance in relation to SEO as this progresses.

Google Penguin 4.0

The search engine’s Penguin algorithm, which has been used to determine which websites had been spamming search engine results and penalize them, is now working at its fastest speed possible: real time. This is significant as websites that had been penalized in the past would not be unpenalized for months or even years, even if the websites had been improved the next day.

Another adjustment in this version is that just because some of a website’s pages are penalized, that does not necessarily mean that others on that website will be.

Google’s Quick Answers

Another way to improve your SEO in 2017 is to ensure that you are represented in Google’s Quick Answers. These Quick Search Boxes provide users with answers to their questions without them needing to click onto a website. Although this may seem counterintuitive, most websites received an increase in visitors as a result of ranking high in Quick Answer boxes. For example, Adobe welcomed millions of new visitors thanks to the impact of it.

Google tends to focus on websites it ranks highly when it determines which answers to post here, so make sure that yours ranks as highly as possible.

Google RankBrain

Google uses RankBrain, an artificial intelligence system, to help process its search results. It involves machine learning, which means that a computer is essentially self-taught instead of being programmed by people. RankBrain has been deemed as the third-most important factor in search queries as it helps people find the websites that they’re looking for while not necessarily typing the most straightforward words or phrases into the search engine.

What you can do in response is create pages and content that focuses on more than just specific keywords and keyword phrases. In other words, expand upon keywords and discuss its many aspects.

Engagement Metrics

Engagement metrics take into account what visitors do on your website once they arrive. Many have believed that the job of SEO was simply to get somebody to your website. However, how engaged they are upon arriving is just as important. Part of this is because you always want visitors to not just stop by, see your website and quickly leave, and part is due to the fact that search engines are starting to take into greater account how long people are on your website when determining where to place you in future search engine results. Simply ensuring that your website is as useful as possible will help quite a bit.