Let’s talk SEO first...
Mobile Will Continue to Grow
This just in: phones are still popular (gasp). All jokes aside, Google has confirmed that mobile search will continue to be developed and improved in 2017. We expect that in-app indexing will advance within search engines in order to meet high demands for mobile search experiences.
Thanks to Google, More Targeted Attacks on Spam Websites
Catching “spammy” websites will be quicker and more efficient than ever with the release of the Penguin 4.0 update. The update will run in real time with the Google algorithm and will target specific webpages rather than an entire website. Penguin 4.0 update also will give important insights into how long it takes a website to recover from poor linking techniques.
Title Tags Will Become All about Intent
We disagree with predictions that title tags will become obsolete. Title tags or keywords, in our opinion, will simply become more about user intent rather than matching exact order of keywords or phrases. Google is only getting better at understanding what the user is truly searching for online and we expect keyword searching to follow this trend.
Let’s Get Interactive
Technology such as virtual reality has increased expectations for interactive digital experiences. In 2017 we will continue to see an upsurge in content more engaging than ever before. While there will still be a need for quality written content, there’s going to be a continuing trend for content that interacts with the consumer.
Did We Mention Intention?
That’s a good segue into another discussion on user intent-based content (say that five times fast). Overflowing a webpage with keywords is going out of style, as it has become blatantly apparent that understanding where users want to get to is the key to ranking success. Programs like RankBrain are leading the way in artificial intelligence systems that pinpoint the user’s desires, rather than simply matching keywords and phrases.
Google’s new Possum update is going to be heavily location-based. In an effort to make Google your number one for directions and suggestions on where to make a pit stop, Possum will weed out spam or businesses that don’t actually exist at a location listed online. The update will benefit users who get quality reviews from clients and will give them a little jolt in the rankings.
Expect More from Siri
We anticipate that there will be a big push for voice search optimization going into 2017. While businesses are aware of Google Home and Amazon Echo, the new year will likely bring about revamped mobile voice search for incredibly convenient in-home or on-the-go assistance from best friends like Siri.
What about Social Media?
More Content that Disappears in Seconds
Who would’ve guessed that some of the most popular social content would be the kind that expires before you can read it? Snapchat started this trend and in 2017 other social platforms will follow in their footsteps. Instagram just added the (expiring) story feature and now Facebook Messenger has the option to send messages that expire after a certain timeframe. Our advice? Brush up on your screenshotting skills.
More Chatting on Snapchat
If you haven’t used the dog filter on Snapchat yet, you’re probably living under a rock. Snapchat was booming in 2016 and will only continue to boom come into the new year. It took Twitter four times as long to grow as much as Snapchat did in the past year. Snapchat surpasses Facebook in video and has had a growth rate of 400% in one year’s time. Geo-filters are now popular among businesses and cost the price of a Starbucks coffee.
Transforming the Term “Social”
In 2017, we can expect to see the world “social” disappearing from descriptions of agencies and online platforms. Advertisers will transition from offering “social services” to “digital services,” in order to step away from traditional ideas of what the word social means. Social platforms will follow suit and offer more in-depth and multifaceted capabilities.
The Age of Influencer Marketing
A Tomoson study found that “Influencer marketing was rated as the fastest-growing online customer-acquisition channel, beating organic search, paid search, and email marketing.” Distrust in ads has grown and will continue to grow in 2017, which makes influencer marketing essential for advertising success. The new way to gain brand awareness is through industry leaders that consumers feel loyal to.
Did We Mention Search Engine Marketing?
You’re Never Alone (Online)
As time goes on, Google will only become smarter at monitoring our online patterns and purchasing trends. We expect that consumer sales habits will be able to be pinpointed from online advertisement all the way to in-store purchasing.
SERPS Are on the Rise
The number of search marketing ads on SERPs is going up, which means that ad engagements will follow suit. Ads are going to become smarter about landing on SERPs to gain higher ROI for advertisers.
Better Banners (Say that Five Times Fast…)
As we said, interaction will be one of several most important aspects to ads in 2017. This also applies to banner ads. Stay on the lookout for HTML5 ads that will be more engaging than in years past.
Surprising Ad Placements
The more consumers decide not to trust ads, the harder Google will push for creative and enticing online ads you won’t be able to resist. While we look forward to ads that will surprise us in 2017, we’re not sure where those ads will be. Google recently tested a new ad format in Gmail advertisements, and we expect to see more fresh formats like this as the year goes on.
AdWords has recently adjusted its capabilities to be even more device specific. In 2017, we will see an increase in campaigns that are scary specific to certain technologies. Whether you’re on a tablet, laptop, or mobile device, you can be sure that the ads you are seeing are meant just for you (and your device).
But We Can Only Best Guess...
The best (and perhaps most frightening) thing about digital marketing and SEO is that we simply don’t know for sure where the times will take us. We love making predictions and planning for the year ahead, but at the end of the day, the most important thing is...to be prepared for anything! The year 2016 surely brought some surprising challenges, and we expect 2017 to do the same.