The SEO Landscape in 2017 (And Beyond)

Well folks, it’s that time of the year again, time to look into our Posirank crystal ball and see what trends have been important in the SEO world in 2016, and what you should be watching as we head into this new year of 2017.

Content Is King — And The Kingdom Is Growing

We all know, and have heard, that “Content is King.” But it seems that the king is growing his kingdom, and the big buzzword in SEO these days is content marketing. The response within the SEO world has been predictable – churn out as much as possible, and a lot of it is not hitting the mark. We are now awash with all sorts of third-rate blogs, blog posts, ebooks and white papers galore. Uggh!

But the innovators are going way beyond all that — they are focusing on different types of content, such as visuals and infographics, podcasts and webinars, and teaching/info videos.

In particular, video that is information-rich is really coming into its own as a marketing and SEO tool. This makes perfect sense if you keep in mind that YouTube is now a part of Google, and the big G will often present YT items in the SERP’s. Key for content marketing going forward will increasingly be making it niche-specific and precise in targeting of audiences, rather than generalized treatment of subjects.

As a part of the increasing reliance on content, SEO’ers are going to have to become more focused and refined in their use of metrics. SEO clients are now looking at the “bottom-line” more and more, and metrics need to be focused on ROI more than ever. Business owners are demanding proof that their SEO efforts actually improve the business, not just SERP’s position improvements, or more general site traffic.

“Can You Hear Me Now?”

voice

The revolution in HOW search is done continues to evolve — and voice search, we predict, will become (in time) a major component of search. We expect to see a big jump in the total number of voice searches done in 2017.

This is going to require a mind-shift for the SEO community, as voice search queries can be different from typed search queries, and you need to begin to research what types of voice search queries are being done for your clients, and begin to target those searches. Whenever you do keyword research, don’t forget to look at voice-search-oriented phrases.

In a similar vein, so-called voice search applications will also be changing the rules of the game, as users of these types of applications are avoiding traditional web search completely. A great example of this is Amazon, with its Alexa/Echo rollouts. No need for a PC or even smartphone. Just speak to do your search, but with no displayed SERP’s where will your clients be in all of that?

The Changed — And Changing — SERP’s Landscape

serps

As you no doubt are aware, the very look of the SERP’s has changed dramatically, and it’s no overstatement to say that more change will be seen in 2017.

We are seeing the overall organic SERP’s real estate shrink. Look for even more screen real estate to be taken up by paid insertions in some form. “Pay-to-play” is the wave of the future, unfortunately, as that ties in to the fact that big G makes their money that way. More and more SEO companies are going to be offering PPC management or ad platform management as a part of their suite of services as a necessary way to compliment client organic SEO campaigns.

And as more and more players come on board with paid search (of some type) look for those CPC numbers to climb. This means that client SEO/marketing budgets will be increasingly squeezed tight, so if you are going to offer organic SEO to clients (and you should!) you will definitely need to be prepared to prove the ROI of those efforts.

This is one reason we here at Posirank recently introduced our new Reporting & Insights suite. SEO is filled to overflowing with metrics, but we understand that, before all else, you need to prove ROI for your client, so our metrics are uniquely geared in that way, to help you to hold on to every client you have, as well as to land as many new clients as possible.

A Contrarian Fact — And The Reasons Why

We love this industry – and all its interesting twists and turns. Lots of people make wrong guesses, because they use “logic” instead of research, data and testing.

Here’s a good example: You might assume from the above discussion (the reality of overall organic screen real estate) that spending on organic SEO would be declining.

If you assumed that you’d be wrong — dead wrong. Because, in fact, SEO organic SPEND is on the rise

Projected SEO Spend:

  • 2016: $65 Billion
  • 2018: $72 Billion
  • 2020: $79 Billion

This increasing organic SEO spend, according to these sources, is due to the following factors:

  • More User Searches Overall
  • More Search Users
  • More Outlets for Search Visibility
  • Lower Returns for Old-School, Traditional Forms of Advertising
  • More Sophisticated SEO Tactics

In addition, we can also point to the following factors to clearly demonstrate that organic SEO is stronger than ever:

The big takeaway is this: although the SERP’s shrinking screen real estate issue is challenging, companies continue to spend more and more as the remaining real estate becomes ever more important.

This means that if you can get results for your client’s cash outlay, you will have THE best business model for years into the future — because ROI from organic SEO is #1 and a better client value than any other source of traffic they can get.

A Few Other Items Worth Noting

Among all the social platforms, it seems that Twitter and Facebook will continue to remain critical communication channels for companies doing business on the web today. If set up and managed properly, they can serve as an outstanding platform for advertising, particularly retargeted ads. But be careful not to go overboard, and please try to be unique in your ad presentations, in order to rise above all the noise out there.

There is a new(er) search engine out there: DuckDuckGo. Interestingly, the data suggests that their share of SE queries is growing significantly. Will this be the SE to finally clip Google’s wings? This seems virtually impossible to most of us, but they are worth keeping your eyeballs on.

SEO specialization is growing by leaps and bounds. More and more SEO agencies are targeting specific markets or types of businesses. This makes perfect sense if business owners know a certain type of business from the inside out. They can speak the lingo, and know what owners of these businesses need exactly — which gives them the competitive edge over SEO companies who take on all comers. What unique markets can your Agency target?

There is a big opportunity for those who are doing web design. Modern trends of web design, which favor visual over text, result in wonderful-looking and great functioning sites… that can’t be ranked for SEO purposes.

But web designers who learn the basic principles of critical on-site SEO can put their clients in a site that can actually be ranked once it has been developed. We are seeing this happen with more and more of our own clients who happen to be web design companies. (And it’s easy to get started learning what is necessary by going to your Posirank dashboard and downloading our PDF best practices guides.)

OK… So that’s how we see the field evolving in 2017.

What are your predictions? Please share some in our comments section below!

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