All tech-savvy individuals know that if you don’t anticipate the trends of the new year before they happen, you’ll be left eating the dust of your competitors. So as we get into this new year, let’s take a look at five SEO trends that will become important in 2017.

1. Emphasis on user experience optimization

Making your website easy for users to navigate has always been critical for good search engine rankings, but there is one big warning sign that user experience optimization is going to become even more important in 2017.

About one year ago, Google launched its Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), a program designed to increase a website’s loading speed on mobile devices. Google is already starting to give preference to websites that are using AMP, and though there are many other ways to accelerate your mobile loading speed, it is possible that using Google AMP will become necessary to stay competitive in mobile SEO rankings.

And let’s not forget that Google is now penalizing sites that have obstructive popup ads on mobile devices that hurt the user experience.

Create a good experience for your users on all devices, and you improve your chances of ranking well in 2017.

2. Machine-assisted searches

You can’t escape talking about artificial intelligence when you talk about any new trends in the tech world. When it comes to SEO, there are two main types of artificial intelligence at play: personal digital assistants and Google’s search engine ranking software.

Personal digital assistants like Siri are changing the way people conduct searches. Our questions are more conversational, because we ask them aloud. Websites are going to have to adjust their SEO strategy to anticipate the new ways we ask questions.

On the other side, Google is using artificial intelligence to actually rank its search results. Google recently launched a tool called RankBrain for this purpose. With computers doing the ranking, brands are going to have to ensure their websites can be easily read by machines. For that reasons, you might see more websites using Schema.

3. Preference for “dense” content

Dense content is content that packs a lot of information into a small amount of space. Between short content that says little, and long-form articles that take too much time to read, dense content captures the best of both worlds.

Search engines might start showing a preference for dense content simply because there will be a greater user demand for it. Few people have time to read a 10,000 word article, but people are also expressing more and more dissatisfaction with content that is short, fluffy and doesn’t say much. Dense content is the solution.

4. More opportunities for apps

Mobile apps have gotten a lot more opportunities to increase their SEO over the past few years. For example, websites can include deep links to content within apps, which basically means you could be reading an article, click on a link, and be transported to app interface. Users can also stream app content without actually having to download the app.

This blending between apps and websites has led many people to theorize that apps are soon going to replace traditional websites altogether. We’re not at the point of complete takeover yet, but apps are definitely going to get more opportunities to increase their SEO.

5. The importance of personal branding

Personal branding allows you to build user trust and keep visitors coming back to your website. It also increases the likelihood that you can secure guest posts, thereby increasing your backlinks. Given all these advantages of personal branding, it is surprising that more website have not been using it as an SEO strategy.

Now that Facebook has given preference to individual posts over branded posts, companies are going to have to focus more on SEO to attract new visitors to their websites. Personal branding will likely become crucial to that effort.

Keep these trends in mind as you’re formulating your SEO strategy this year. When it comes to technology, the future starts right now.

Eric Brantner is a blogging expert who runs a number of high-traffic, niche sites in various industries. His newest blog venture is, a site where he shares practical tips on getting a better night’s sleep.