I feel like a broken record but I’ll repeat myself one more time: SEO is constantly changing and keeping up with evolving SEO trends can be challenging (but is a must if you want to rank). Despite more than 200 ranking factors and an ever-changing algorithm, one thing is constant — providing quality content and a great user experience. In 2018, this will certainly stay important but there are other SEO practices you should keep in mind.
Not all trends are worth following (glitter beards, anyone??). But you will definitely want to keep these emerging SEO trends in mind as you make your way through 2018.
Mobile-first optimization is a must.
We have experience a shift from desktop to mobile as the preferable way to search the ‘net and now Google is switching to a mobile-first index. Almost 60% of searches now come from mobile devices so it makes sense that Google is finally rolling out its mobile-first index update. The algorithm will mostly use the content that your site offers in mobile views to determine ranking in the SERP. This means that it is no longer an option not to have a mobile responsive website.
Voice search continues to rise.
I advise SEO marketers to keep the rising power of voice-enabled search in mind. Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, Siri, Alexa, Cortana – virtual assistants like these minimize the path between searchers and their answers. In fact, Google has announced that voice searches make up to 20% of mobile search queries. This presents some new challenges for SEOs. That being said, optimizing for Google Voice Search is definitely a good ideas as reports say this kind of search will only grow more popular overt time.
In order to optimize content for voice searches, marketers must understand user intent. Are your target users seeking knowledge? Searching for a location? Looking for guides? Or interested in making a purchased? Having a well-organized FAQ page will help ensure that information gets indexed and put in front of user. Relevant long-tail keywords are still important when optimizing for voice search as these types of queries tend to be lengthier than text searches. They are also more conversational in tone so try to match your language appropriately.
Link-building stays important.
SEOs know how important a good quality backlink is. It signals to Google that your website is a valuable resource to users. But SEOs should also consider link earning. What’s the difference, you ask? The latter focuses on user experience and views compelling content that answers the actual questions users are interested in as the most important factor. This is of course done in the hope that people are inspired to link to your site naturally, because your content has ‘earned’ it.
Do you think some of the links pointing to your website are from low-quality sources or spammy? Disavow those bad backlinks.
Focus on smart keywords and great content.
As I keep reiterating, SEO boils down to making engaging content that takes into account the needs and interests of users as well as the search engine’s ranking factors. How do you stand out and earn higher rankings? By creating unique content that is compelling and provides an answer to user intent. Increase organic results and help crawlers index your site easier by using smart keywords. Additionally, your content (any text like, say, a blog) needs to be scannable and easy to digest. Think about big headlines (that use those keywords), bullet points, and striking visuals. Work towards making your site architecture and navigation logical.
Use Google Keyword Planner to optimize your content and find relevant words. Go back through your old content and re-optimize it.
Featured snippet content matters. A lot.
Several SEO experts have said that they believe featured snippets will be the focal point in 2018. Basically, if a featured snippet appears on the SERP, users are more likely to click on that link rather than the results listed below.
For example, here’s what I see when I Google “seo featured snippet.”
Focus on optimizing for the “People Also Ask” box or rich snippets and you’ll generate more traffic and gain more visibility for your brand.
~ ~ ~
Smart keywords, organic linking, mobile-first optimization – all these and more should be at the forefront of SEO marketer’s minds in the new year. And, as always, SEO best practices aught to include consideration for UX.