#56 – Our SEO Predictions 2017 Edition

What you will learn

  • All our predictions for how SEO will change in 2017
  • Why "mobile first" is about to become big
  • The evolution of keyword research into topic research
  • All about the conciseness update
  • On onpage factors becoming less relevant

1. Desktop becomes secondary

Google lives in a mobile first world now. Ranking signals will be mobile first, desktop second as both indexes go in their own separate direction.

Mobile search may become a lot more like an app with call buttons, subscribe buttons and knowledge graph directly in search. Desktop traffic will stagnate more and more. Mobile monetization will become a really big deal. Also, beware of the pop up update.

Here are our traffic stats for our sites:

Health Ambition

Traffic Source 2015 2016
Desktop 34.44% 31.35%
Mobile 53.94% 58.95%
Tablet 11.63% 9.7%

Authority Hacker

Traffic Source 2015 2016
Desktop 72.16% 68.95%
Mobile 22.46% 26.36%
Tablet 5.38% 4.69%

2.  Keyword Research Becomes Topic Research

As Hummingbird matures, it’s slowly concatenating lots of search results. Google will focus more on ranking the same pages for keywords related to a topic. There isn’t much point in having more than 1 page about a topic. This will an extra layer to keyword research in grouping keywords.

3.  Conciseness Update

In a mobile first world, nobody wants to read a 5,000 word article on their phone. Getting to the point will be a ranking signal.

4. Fake News Will Suffer

Fake news during the last US presidential election started a conversation that will intensify in 2017. Big ports are putting together teams that will work on algorithms to fight fake news. That means that there may be a new Google animals that obliterates your rankings if you spread inaccurate information – be careful of cheap writers here!

5. Traditional onpage factors also become less relevant

Google gets better at knowing what your content is about. You don’t have to tell Google so much by excessive on page signals. Things that will becomes less important:

  • Title Tag
  • Meta description
  • URL slug
  • Alt tags
  • Long tail keywords (topics become more important though)

6. Links become less and less relevant

No, link building won’t die. But as Google develops AI that now truly understands pages, relying on the link graph is less needed. It’s not that they want to kill links, it’s that they need room in the equation for the new ranking signals.

It’s also safe to say social signals are a failed project. No big partnerships with Google and social media sites. If Google truly cared about social signals they would have bought Twitter by now.​

7. Hard link reset on dropped domain

Google has done a good job at cornering grey hat people. The only thing that still works is PBNs. They will gradually make it tougher to recover dropped domains authority to fight PBNs. First signs of this will show next year.

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2 Comments

  1. Great points Mark and Gael!

    I agree with pretty much everything you said. I’d just like to mention something that goes under your point of mobile becoming bigger and bigger I think AMP will be huge in 2017, although it’s fairly new I think if you optimize your websites for AMP now you will be ahead in 2017 for sure.

  2. Hi Mark.
    With regards to the point 3, Google loves in-depth articles, do you suggest having two different versions of the same page?

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