Every year brings with it new trends in SEO. 2017 should be interesting, both because of how it follows the narrative laid down in 2016 and how it breaks with the past in some regards. Below are five of the trends for which marketing students and web owners should watch out in 2017.

Local Will Continue to Be King

Local optimization will, as ever, continue to be king in 2017. With more users on their phones and more GPS functionality built into search programs, it should come as no shock that most users will want to find businesses around them. As mobile continues to dominate and voice search becomes more important, you should expect that your site will need to become more local optimized. This is going to mean more than just claiming a MyBusiness listing, so get ready to start slanting all of your search engine optimization towards local, mobile search patterns.

Mobile Overtakes the Market

It should come as no surprise that more people search on mobile than they do from traditional computers, but the speed at which mobile has come to dominate the market really is surprising. In 2017, you will need to switch from developing your mobile site alongside your standard site to putting your mobile site above all else. More people have smartphones than laptops or desktops, and thus more search engines are going to start catering to this market. It’s a good time to make the conversion, as a good mobile site can help you even before the big switch is finalized.

Users are Getting Younger

According to Moz, the average age at which children start using smartphones is now down to just over ten years old. This will skew the average age of a user down considerably and make website owners have to sit up and take notice. As users get younger, their search patterns are going to start changing. One of the biggest changes will be in media consumption, as younger viewers do tend to prefer watching videos on the web. This should make switching over to video and image marketing a priority, especially among site owners who have demographics that skew young.

Natural Language is In

In an era of machine learning, it’s become more and more necessary to have natural language on a website. Google and Bing have both invested heavily in artificial intelligence and machine learning, so there’s no doubt that upcoming algorithms will be more intelligent and rely less on things like keyword placements and tags. It’s time to start not just using key phrases, but using them in the proper context. Your site should be so user friendly that even a rudimentary AI can use it, as these programs will be the ones determining the relevance of your site.

Bing is Going to Matter

For most companies, SEO really centers around Google. The tech giant’s search engine has long been the most important, so it has had the algorithm to beat. As technology moves forward, it seems that the areas in which Bing is most competitive will quickly begin to become more important and thus need to be considered for optimization purposes. Bing is currently a leader in voice and image searches, so forward-thinking web owners really need to start paying attention to how that engine ranks sites.

2017 will be a year that sees certain trends come to fruition and new factors come into play. It’s a time of change for some and a time to make major choices for others. If you’re interested in online marketing, this will be an important year in which to watch the trends.

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