SEO Trends to Watch in 2018
As we reach the fourth quarter of 2017, it’s time to start thinking about the year ahead and what to expect from SEO in 2018. There are number of search industry trends that we’ve seen the very beginnings of this year and last, which will come into greater prominence in 2018. The online SEO journal Search Engine Watch has just published a great post on this. Here is a summary of the posting.
Voice Search and Digital Assistants
Voice search technology presents a big opportunity for changing the way we communicate and process information. The rise of digital assistants has presented a growing market that can change the way search queries are performed. According to Google, 1 out of 5 searches already come from voice queries. This changes the search market and we’re expecting to see an even bigger shift towards voice search in 2018. When it comes to setting up an SEO strategy, the rise of voice search brings out the need to focus on more long-tail search keywords and a natural language that matches the user’s conversational tone.
Link building is not expected to disappear in 2018, but it will be more important than ever to create a strategy that seeks out quality links. There’s no need to aim for new links if they don’t add value and help you build an authority in your target niche.
User experience for SEO will become even more important in 2018. Google has made it clear that the focus is on the user and this should make more sites deliver a smooth UX for their visitors. A good user experience increases the chances of people engaging with the pages that they visit. This helps search engines discover which pages are more useful for people, favouring them over others.
Featured Snippets and Quick Answers
The popularity of featured snippets has increased the competition among companies trying to appear in “position 0” in the SERP. Gaining a featured snippet in search requires catering to a specific combination of factors, which has opened up SEO beyond the traditional race to the top of Google.
Mobile First index
2018 is more than likely to be the year that brands realize the potential of putting mobile first, rather than catering to mobile as an afterthought. This is particularly true if Google decides to make 2018 the year it finally deploys its mobile-first index. Mobile optimisation for local users, along with the rise of voice search, can provide an excellent way to create a successful SEO strategy in 2018 by facilitating the search experience through personalised and relevant answers.
An SEO strategy in 2018 needs to consider the way we consume visual content and how search engines now go beyond text to explore the changing habits of search. Rich visuals now become more engaging and the use of neuroscience and innovation bring out an interesting and competitive market. As the competition increases, more companies seem to acknowledge the potential of a successful visual search, while brands need to focus even more on optimizing their visual content for SEO purposes.
AI & Machine Learning
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are already changing the way that search results are ranked. Machine learning can also facilitate the way searches take place, helping users find contextualized results. This will lead to a more personalized experience, while the rise of voice search and digital assistants can offer the ideal ground to develop artificial intelligence and reward successful SEO strategies that keep up with the trends.
Improving SEO in 2018
As it seems, 2018 will be an interesting year for SEO. Traditional SEO techniques are still effective, but a number of trends are in the works that could significantly alter the practice of optimising for search. What is useful to understand while we proceed towards is 2018 is that SEO is already changing, and the ranking in the first organic spot is not the ultimate goal anymore. As search engines evolve, there are multiple opportunities to increase your search traffic without necessarily focusing on organic SERPs.
The rise of featured snippets, PPC, voice search and local SEO can often yield better results than an organic ranking. That’s why it’s useful to keep up with the latest trends and discover how your brand can maintain a successful SEO strategy for the year ahead by blending established and growing trends.