Business is a game, and as an entrepreneur or marketer, your role in this game is to use any tool at your disposal to stay ahead of your competition. And one of the most effective tools to fulfill that role is SEO.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the lifeblood of online business . And while it might be simple to master in theory, the fact is that the algorithms and search patterns that inform your SEO efforts are in constant fluctuation, changing, shifting, and increasing in complexity like a giant Rubik's cube.
This means that one of the most important ways to gain and keep a competitive advantage within your industry is to carefully watch the subtle changes in SEO trends and alter your campaigns to match the new realities of the online world.
Related: 4 Ways You're Undermining Your SEO Efforts
So as we gear up for 2017, let’s take a look at what you can expect from the wonderful world of search engine optimization in the coming year.
1. An increase in quality content and “density.”
Have you ever noticed how in a given day, you can go to a dozen different websites and read the same content over and over with slightly different wording? Well, so has Google, Bing, Yahoo and the rest of the world.
And they are sick of it.
However, this problem was addressed this year with the meteoric rise of long-form, detailed “ uber-guides ” that covered topics in extensive (borderline excruciating) detail. The problem now, however, is that there is no happy medium.
People are either subjected to bite sized remakes of the same boring filler that you have seen plastered across websites for the past several years, or they are forced to endure guides and articles that are so long and drawn out that they make Tolstoy’s War and Peace look like a children’s bedtime story.
The solution? Dense content.Content density can be described plainly as content’s “per word value.” So for example, even though you might write a 3,000 word article that explains all the nuances of Snapchat marketing , the actual amount of value you deliver per-word might be very low. However, by providing denser content that is focused more on function than form, you can deliver the same value in only 300 words.
Every major SEO authority agrees that 2017 will be the year where we see the rise of content density across the board. And this is a good thing. The world of content marketing is adapting its standards to the decreasing attention spans of the American populace, meaning that you get to spend less time writing and your audience gets to receive more value.
2. More brands will leverage personal branding.
Personal branding is one of the online world’s secret weapons . Just think about all of the entrepreneurs who are multi-millionaires because of little more than a personal brand. People like Casey Neistat, Pewdiepie or other big name YouTubers are shining examples of the power of personal branding. They don’t even sell products, yet they out-earn some of the brightest young business people.
Related: 5 SEO Techniques You're Doing All Wrong
But personal branding isn't just a tool for YouTubers. It is actually one of the most powerful ways to ensure the success of your SEO campaigns and the growth of your business. You see, having a well established personal brand massively simplifies the process of securing guest posts, boosts user trust and engagement, and typically drives more traffic to your site.
Yet a shockingly low number of companies are taking advantage of this tactic. I can’t see this trend continuing much longer and fully anticipate a large influx of organizations utilizing the power of personal branding to grow their business.
3. User experience will be an integral to SEO.
Over the past few years, the expectations of the average users have increased exponentially. People are no longer satisfied with good speeds and reasonably navigable sites. They now expect websites with nigh on instantaneous load times and sites that are easier to navigate than the back of your own hand.
Because of this rise in expectations, UEO or user experience optimization has become almost synonymous with SEO. Google has started to show clear favoritism towards sites with fast load times, mobile optimization, and indications that users are enjoying their overall experience (low bounce rates and a high average time on page ).
If you want to maintain a high search engine ranking in 2017, then you need to invest heavily into your user experience. This may require only a few simple tweaks that improve your site’s speed and navigation, or a complete overhaul that implements responsive design and brand new hosting.
Regardless of what is required, take the necessary steps now so that you can maintain your momentum before it is too late.
Related: 6 Essential SEO Strategies to Incorporate in 2016
Part of the job description of entrepreneurship is paying attention to the trends in the modern market and tailoring your company's plans and actions accordingly. With the importance of SEO to the modern entrepreneur, it is absolutely crucial that you pay attention to the trends and advancements within the world of SEO. And the above three predictions are a great place to start.
What SEO trends do you expect to see in 2017?
Sam Oh is a web strategist, digital marketer and founder of Money Journal. There he publishes in-depth guides to help entrepreneurs gain traction and grow by leveraging online marketing tactics. Oh has also created profi...