TOP 5 SEO TRENDS TO EXPECT IN 2018
January 24, 2018
Long gone are the days when keyword placement and backlinks guaranteed your success in the Google ranking system. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a whole ‘nother BEAST in 2018. As more and more data is gathered about us, search results have become more finely tuned and personalized than ever. Consequently, the task of SEO today is far more than appears to the eyes. We must optimize metadata.
Based on our research, Google ranks websites based on frictionless user experience while delivering the correct information in a timely manner. Although SEO has changed drastically, we’ll give you the long story short of what we foresee as the most important trends to follow in SEO in 2018.
Take notice of how each trend builds on one another, indicating the importance of systematic and integrated SEO strategy. Also, it’s important to keep in mind that SEO is a long term strategy that relies on consistent and effective management.
The rise of voice search
Let’s start with a bold fact: 1 out of 5 searches already come from voice queries, according to Google. Now this may seem like a farfetched statistic, however, it is evident that with the rise of voice-activated smart speakers like Google Home and Amazon Echo this is very realistic. With advancements in voice-activated hardware happening daily, Google is sure to highlight the importance of voice search in SEO in 2018.
Personal tidbit: I own and use my Google Home Mini daily, and will confirm that it is now my GO-TO option for search results. Why? One word... simplicity.
Although there are a massive number of searches made with smart speakers everyday, the adoption of voice search will largely happen on mobile devices. As voice assistant accuracy continues to to improve, we’ll see more and more people utilizing voice search to satisfy search queries quickly. Thus, we must optimize our SEO strategy for voice search now to achieve optimal results for 2018.
To sum voice search up, this means we must place more emphasis on long-tail keywords and syntax used in everyday conversation. Creating well-formatted content compiled into short sections will help in answering more search queries at a time. Perfectly transitioning us to our next trend…
2. Featured snippets
So what are featured snippets and how could they possibly be tied back to voice search? Well, this is the information that voice assistants supply in to response to each search query you make. But, that’s not all. During recent years, Google has been hard at work implementing featured snippets into their search engine result pages displayed across all devices. Currently, nearly 30% of all search queries on Google have instant answers in the form of featured snippets. Heads up.. In the SEO realm that’s referred to the new position #1!
Featured snippets have already consumed up to 10% of traffic that was once seen by top positions on the first page. This is achieved through structured data which increases the accuracy of instant answers. With this trend also comes the formation of newly structured content, such as short lists or Q&A content, which are optimized to provide short answers in response to long-tail search queries. HINT: Pay more attention to the formatting and structure of content to make it easier for Google to pull relevant information for featured snippets.
Want help structuring your content for featured snippets? Check out this very informative article from Hubspot.
3. Increase in mobile adoption
We believe Google will roll-out the mobile-first index in the very near future. What this means is that Google will rank pages based on the mobile version of the page. Thus far, Google has been ranking websites based on users searching via desktop. However, today mobile searches account for more than 60% of total searches, indicating that this system is dead and gone. So, mobile-first it is, let that marinate for a second.
By quickly glancing at Google’s history, you can see that this is one of the biggest algorithmic changes to this date, which may turn SEO and how we assess page rankings completely upside down.
This has also brought about the rise of accelerated mobile pages adoption, in which SEOs enhance the user experience for mobile: from page load time, to navigation, to information, to architecture, and even design.
Thus, leading us to our next trend…
4. Heavy emphasis on user experience
Albeit mobile usage is increasing, user expectations and demands as a whole for search are growing across all devices. In today’s world, users want instant results to their problems no matter the the device. Here’s a daunting fact... Google’s studies have shown that sites that load longer than three seconds lose about 40% of visitors. Basically, your business could make it or break it in a matter of seconds.
However, that isn't the only factor affecting your user’s experience. Navigation and captivating content also play a huge role in your user’s experience as well. Don’t know if your site has the right components to be a great website? Just check your bounce rate.
This is why we place such high importance on user experience in all SEO aspects not just your site’s speed. Design, readability of you content, navigation, and information architecture all play a HUGE role. In fact, Google has made it clear that user experience is a part of their ranking system. They have also stressed importance on seamless user experience for both mobile and desktop to ensure a smooth delivery of information.
Last, but certainly not least…
5. Optimization for intent
As we’ve learned, search results are based on the overall timing and context of a website. In order to achieve the most relevant and personalized answer in the quickest way possible, Google has done a lot on their part to integrate AI into its search algorithm so that it can combine historical information, present context (location, device, etc.), and the intent of the query.
In fact, Google recently confirmed their ranking factors largely depend on the keyword intent. This means for keywords with clear purchase intent, Google will rank e-commerce sites instead of major media outlets even if some sites are more authoritative. Mainly because the goal of the searcher is to buy, not uncover newfound information. Contrarily, for keywords with the intent to find more information, Google will more more than likely rank established and credible media sites.
Thus, this is why SEOs are beginning to factor in the intent of each search query and optimize content and user experience accordingly. Fundamentally, we see a shift from generic content optimization for keywords to more contextual intent-based content optimization.
Beginning to incorporate these 2018 SEO trends into your business’ or brand’s website to increase your web presence could be the best thing you do all year. Keep in mind, the digital landscape is constantly changing so you’ll need to stay up to date on your SEO tactics or hire a dedicated team who can manage your business’ digital presence.
For any additional questions on how your SEO strategy can affect your digital assets, send us an email or give us a call! All of our juicy contact information can be found on our Contact page, don’t hesitate to reach out.