Throughout 2016, we’ve discussed different SEO techniques you should be using to show up where customers are looking for solutions to their wants and needs. We’ve also talked about SEO strategies that are old news and that won’t work anymore, including methods that might get you blacklisted by Google if you use them. There have been some recent big changes to SEO and we chatted with you about how that aforementioned search engine giant now decides who ranks first on the coveted Page 1 of search results. Our dialogue about SEO must-dos in 2016 ranged from getting local with your content to making sure you understand that any content you develop absolutely has to be relevant. So, what will we be conversing about next year when it comes to SEO? What are the 2017 SEO trends, and will we need to shift gears with our tactics as we’ve so often had to? Or, do 2017 SEO trends simply include more of what we’ve already been implementing?

As you prepare your business for Operation Successful SEO 2017, it’s helpful to remember that trends in SEO are like other trends. They’re a general direction that we can anticipate based on analytics (or some data) showing what’s working and what’s due to change given what’s happening in an industry. Since SEO happens in the field of technology, and we know that amazing and exciting changes always occur in this space, it makes sense to assume we will need to evolve with dynamic times to be a leader in the New Year. But, given the extreme success of some SEO strategies currently used, and the invariable function of businesses as providers, we can guess that 2017 SEO trends will include deeper attention on giving consumers what they need in the ways they require it.

The following are our top 7 predictions for 2017 SEO trends:

1. SEO That’s Closely Aligned to Business Goals

Entering 2017, companies who succeed at SEO will realize that SEO isn’t something outside of business goals. It’s not a corner of the web you need to play in. It’s the universe and it encompasses everything related to the success of your business in today’s tech age. This is because SEO strategies for businesses should be actions that help position a company as a trusted commerce partner, a valuable resource, and a leader an industry. SEO for 2017 will work as an extension of a business’ goals and missions to deliver outstanding products, and services, and it will offer the company enormous rewards in return.

2. Expanded Use of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs)

Accelerated Mobile Pages will be on the lips, and the proposal pages, of SEO marketers who realize that the open-source protocol can allow websites to open almost instantaneously on mobile devices. Websites that load in a flash (up to 4 times quicker than current load times) have the potential to use up to 8 times less data and they can catch attention in a fraction of second. Both are attractive and desirable to the consumers companies want to reach.

3. Machine-Learning and Artificial Intelligence Further Refine Search Results

Google’s full-scale launch of RankBrain in late 2016 altered the search ruler’s “Hummingbird” algorithm to give users results that better match what they’re searching for, even if they don’t explain what they’re looking to find ways that marketers anticipate. We expect RankBrain to continue to refine SERPs based on the data it receives and compares, in effort to integrate and clarify results. And, we think RankBrain is only the beginning of where machine-learning and AI will go in 2017.

4. Greater Focus on User Experience

AMPs already offer fast page load times to enhance user experience, but it’s probably safe to say there’s more good news ahead. Google likes it when websites contribute to a mobile device’s value, so look for SEO trends that integrate better encounters when browsing, researching, shopping, or enjoying a smartphone or tablet in other ways. Jump in on these opportunities early.

5. Personal Brands Will Shine

Branding is an important part of SEO strategy because it offers invaluable chances for guest posts that lead back to your website and it increases consumer trust, both of which lead to conversions. Many business people and companies don’t leverage the power of branding in their SEO campaigns. For 2017, we think a good number of those who at least use Facebook and Instagram to connect with consumers will take it to the next level and go all out with personal branding.

6. An Explosion in Voice Search

The fabric of mobile search during this past year included voice search, but the strategy was greatly underrated. Companies looking for stellar results in 2017 should not only implement voice search or give it a boost, they have to make it integral to the overall SEO process. With increasing laws that don’t allow key input while driving, along with the difficulty some users have entering data into their phone by hand, it makes sense to zero in more on voice search and try to grow an SEO segment that’s brilliant in some ways and in need of attention in others.

7. Discovery of Deeper Content

We round out our 2017 SEO trends with the approach that will likely still reign supreme and get even more extraordinary than web users might imagine. Content. Over the past year, the Internet has immensely outgrown content that doesn’t expand the ability to discover new thoughts, places, people, and perspectives.

Users don’t want to see the same stories rehashed on dozens of websites, and they’ve become tired of content that says nothing. They long for emerging information and sensory experiences that, admittedly, are difficult to find in a vast web. But, they continue to search because this web is their world now and it’s where they will look for the information they need, the pleasure they seek, and the ideas they long for in the foreseeable future. We believe companies will step up and meet these users in the places they go looking for insight, because these businesses too want to make connections that are exceptional and meaningful.

Are you ready for the thrill ride that is SEO 2017? We are, and we look forward to moving forward on it alongside you.