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People live in an era where it is possible to use several options to access information and make critical buying decisions online. Most of these options are constantly changing day in day out. Therefore, it is important for businesses to keep up with these changes. In 2016, we saw a lot of changes in SEO marketing strategies, and the trend is expected to continue into the next year. Here are some top trends to expect in 2017.

User Intent Optimization

User intent optimization is the key to more customer engagements online and offline. Many people today know what they want online. As a result, search engines have come up with new ways to identify user intent. Gone are the days when people used to write inaccurate phrases in the search engines. They are now entering full questions and phrases in search boxes. In the coming year, brands will need to improve their game when it comes to intent optimization. They will have to go beyond the specific keywords and focus on phrases for effective results. SEO strategists will have to investigate what bring users to a web page and the questions they have. They must also adjust and keep up with the analytics to improve ratings.

More Accurate and Detailed Answers

A study done by Stone Temple shows that search engines, especially Google are now showing rich answers, representing an 8.6 percent increase from 2015. The research examined more than 800,000 customer queries since July. If the trend continues, we are likely to come across larger figures in 2017.

Google often display relevant information when a user types a query. The search results will contain texts, videos, images and related websites. One way webmasters can benefit from rich answers is through structured data markup. It helps search engines understand the contents embedded on the website and display information that is useful to the customers. With a robust structured data markup, your website will appear in a rich content list, improving your score in SERP ratings.

Cross-Channel Marketing

Cross-channel marketing involves combining several channels into one platform. It is all about creating customer engagements from across any digital channel and device. More consumers prefer an integrated approach when it comes to marketing. Such consumers are likely to spend three to four times more than consumers who use a single channel. Cross-channel is slightly new. However, many people are still reluctant to utilize the invaluable benefits associated with cross-channel marketing. Some of them who give it a try rely on guesswork during tracking, which is devastating. However, most businesses that use cross-channeling have reported a significant increase in the number of conversion rates. With the increasing success stories, we expect cross-channeling to gain popularity in 2017.

Increased mobile usage

The number of consumers that access the internet via their mobile devices now surpasses those who use personal computers and desktops. Though most webmasters take mobile search seriously, there are some who are still lagging behind. Google recently reported that the number of mobile searches outweighed desktop searches on its platform. There are strong indications that the company may soon shift to mobile as its main platform to enhance user experience.

Mobile payments are also the next big thing in 2017. Today, consumers are more comfortable with mobile payment options. Businesses should make sure that their websites and operations are set up to enable consumers to pay for goods and services at their convenience. According to a prediction done by IDC in 2012, mobile payments will reach a $1 trillion mark by 2017.

Mobile apps are expected to make a significant impact on how people access the internet through their mobile devices. Over 70 percent of Americans access their phone every one hour, and 90 percent of this lot use apps. Mobile apps increase consumer engagement and increase the way one connects with the audience. Mobile is already an important factor in SEO, but it will become a mandatory thing for serious businesses in 2017.

Voice Search

Voice search is currently an important feature in thousands of smartphones across the world. Microsoft has already integrated it into its Windows 10 Cortana version. Apple has Siri and Google has Google Now. This new development has caused a drastic shift in the world of SEO. The conventional typing in search engine boxes will soon be archaic to many consumers. Google is going to rely heavily on answer boxes and machine learning to improve customer experience. Given that it is hands-free and fast, many people will prefer it in 2017.

However, voice search has encountered some technological challenges, including errors. Google’s director of communication recently announced that the error rate has moved from 25 percent to just 8 percent, which is good news for consumers. The main aim of technologists is to improve the voice recognition capability and increase search engines’ understanding capacity in 2017. It is wise for SEO strategists to make some adjustments and go beyond contents based on texts.

In conclusion, 2017 is going to be a busy and revolutionary year for SEO marketers. Consumers all over the world are increasingly becoming smart technologically. Millennials nowadays cannot settle for anything else more than a smartphone and a tablet. They are increasingly becoming connected and knowledgeable about the contents they will consume. As a result, it is vital for SEO strategists to pinpoint these emerging trends and use them to their advantage. This way, they will not only become relevant but also have an upper hand in tackling future problems.

Article by Jared Sherwood