5 SEO Trends to Avoid in 2017

seo trends

Whether you’ve been in the online marketing and SEO business for years or not, there comes a time when you realise how negative SEO trends are something to watch out for and avoid.

When the rest of your fellow humans aren’t performing, it’s easy and tempting to join the herd. But if you resist temptation, you can rise above the rest and achieve gains in SERPs and conversions.

1. SEO Trends To Avoid: NOT Going Mobile

A little less than 50% of marketers have not adjusted for mobile. And yet everyone carries a smartphone around in their pocket these days. And you can pretty much do anything with your smartphone too! Order pizza, manage your finances, spy on your boyfriend, really anything!

And yet everyone carries a smartphone around in their pocket these days. And you can pretty much do anything with your smartphone too! Order pizza, manage your finances, spy on your boyfriend…really anything!

But the fact that marketers aren’t getting with the game is distressing. Because consumers are expecting a mobile experience every time they visit your business website. They want to do things on the fly. They want to be able to multitask. Buy their latte while they are still on the treadmill.

And if you can’t cater to their round the clock, on the go schedule, you will be left behind. The world doesn’t wait for slow turtles to figure out they need rollerskates to beat the rabbit.

2. NOT Keeping Up With Updates

SEO is a constantly shifting target. Which has led some people to claim it’s just snake-oil. The latter isn’t true at all. But the former makes the SEO business extremely challenging.

In fact, 40% of SEOs struggle to keep up with the changing streams of updates to Googles ranking and search signal algorithms and crawlers.

Google comes out with updates all the time. Some years more than others.

But recently Google has gone dark on a lot of their updates, especially with their major algorithm Penguin. They announced on September 23, 2016, that they would no longer announce updates to Penguin. This was due to two things: Penguin was now real-time and Penguin was a part of the core algorithm.

This means that SEOs have to work even harder to detect changes. Google’s response was that if webmasters focused on creating excellent content they would be fine.

But this doesn’t take into account that SEOs do not want to be left in the dark. They need to know what’s going on to determine how not to end up at the bottom of page rankings.

3. NOT Creating Fresh Content

One of the SEO trends we’ve seen lately is almost akin to black hat SEO. It’s really on the border between white and black. And maybe we could call it a grey-hat practice.

But if you check out some of the top results for some keywords, you might see a pattern. Content is getting rehashed and reworded to route around Google’s crawlers. You will see the same topics used as headers and mildly different words below.

If you find yourself or your writers obviously re-wording someone else’s content without attribution, stop. Google is probably working in the background right now trying to figure out how to analyse websites for re-worded content.

Sooner or later we’ll see these sites that blatantly plagiarise content penalised.

The best way to write fresh content is to do a thorough survey of a topic and then write about what you’ve learned.

If you need to jump off of an idea from another site, that’s ok. But don’t directly steal those ideas without attribution. This practice will eventually sink your ship.

4. NOT Spending Money On Conversion

Without profit, you lose. Right? And leads are a way of eventually making money.

Ok. Now that we have that sorted out, why aren’t marketers spending money on conversion efforts?

While this isn’t particularly an SEO trend, if you focus on optimising your landing pages, you will see greater traffic there. It only follows that you will see more conversions if you have more traffic on your funnelling landing pages.

5. NOT Paying Attention to the Voice Search Revolution

Voice search is already possible. And something big is on the horizon when it comes to voice search optimisation. We just know it.

Right now, speech recognition is down to an 8% error rate. That’s down from 25% just two years ago. This technology is moving rapidly. And it won’t be a surprise if the search box disappears entirely someday.

But we’re looking at the fact that Google home, Siri, and Amazon Echo already exist. And they’re searching the web for people already.

How this will change the game in SEO it’s really hard to tell. But knowing how Google and other search companies intend to implement speech recognition along with machine learning should be something SEOs and marketers pay special attention to.

Voice Search and the Answer Box

It may be a boon to marketers and the Answer Box has actually become to some. When the Answer Box first came out, people in the SEO business fretted as to whether this would be detrimental to SEO. It threw out the first position search result in favour of a result that answered a specific question.

It also seemed like Google was just going to steal the information and answer the question. But this was far from the truth and anti everything Google has worked for in their search engine anti-spam programs. They instead give a partial answer and people have to follow a link to get the full answer. Especially if it’s a more complex answer.

Beyond Voice Recognition

Google also just announced it wants to go beyond just voice recognition. They are always looking toward the next step. They went beyond regular search and went for “user intent.” Now they are going beyond voice recognition and going for “voice understanding.

This is probably akin to what humans do when they listen to each other. We don’t just communicate with words. We communicate with tone and body language. In essence, we have our own “machine learning” of each other.

This is most likely what Google will focus on, machine learning through voice recognition.

They plan on using previous searches, location-based context, context based on app usage, personal information, and keyword research.


There are plenty of SEO trends you should follow. We aren’t saying those don’t exist. But don’t follow the herd off the cliff.

Do you want to know where your website is in terms of SEO? Use our free SEO audit tool to analyse your site.  And if you need help crafting an SEO strategy, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Finally, what’re your views on the SEO trends to avoid? Join the conversation in the comments section below.