The only thing constant in the world of SEO is change. With the year 2018 just setting in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is all set to move in newer directions. The fundamental techniques like creating quality content, focusing on keywords, creating backlinks, and few others remaining the same, there are newer trends that looms large on the horizon.
Aspects like user experience optimization, optimized content for voice search, mobile optimization and snippet content are few of the trends that have come up ignoring which you would lag behind in the competition. Let’s discuss these trends that you need to look at in 2018 with a refreshed mind and rethink your strategies once again to take advantage of the newer algorithms of the search engines and enhance your site’s credibility from the search engine’s perspective.
As 2018 dawns, let’s also look at the up-coming SEO strategies that you can adopt to strengthen your organic presence in the search engine results and gain more grounds in the search engine marketing eco-space this year.
1. SERP Results
In the latter half of 2017 Google’s algorithm has undergone a change with other SERP features like quick answer boxes, featured snippets, image results, knowledge results and few others which dominating the results page. This poses a new challenge for the marketers who need to consider these offsite elements while monitoring the SEO performance. Not only that, it’s increasingly becoming tougher to convince Google your content is the best if it’s not so. Out of the myriad ways Google assesses the quality of content, Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) helps it to learn related terms for a given context. This is how Google decides how comprehensive a piece of content is and with the advent of AI-powered RankBrain Google would further analyze content from user satisfaction metrics.
Research the top ranking pages in your niche and look for the features which are similar which is much the way RankBrain does. As it’s painstaking and tedious to conduct this research for each keyword, you can use different website auditors for this purpose. These auditors would analyze the top ten ranking pages and calculate a score for each term used on each page, and you would get the list of the relevant words and phrases and the competitors who use them. You can as well use these terms and phrases in your content to give your site the ranking it deserves.
2. Optimize for Voice Searches
Currently one out of five searches already started coming from the voice-based searches, according to Google. This hints that if you want your site to rank higher and win in the competition, it has to be optimized for voice searches. The rate at which the voice searches are increasing it is well evident, and it will exceed the keyword search very soon in the near future. This means the relevance of long tail keywords will enhance in importance with more focus on natural language processing. While typing, people tend to type shorter keywords, but while speaking, they tend to speak complete sentences and ask questions. By the volume of searches conducted it is well evident that if your site is optimized for voice search, the results will follow suit soon after.
Find out the questions that people ask and the long tail keywords which are relevant for voice searches. Include these questions in the FAQ sections of your website which will ensure your site has all the questions answered that the users might ask.
3. Go Mobile
With mobile searches long surpassing the number of desktop searches and with Google responding to this shift with mobile first indexing, there is no other way but to go mobile. Google’s mobile-first indexing suggests that Google will display its search listings based on the mobile version of content. Search results from mobile devices will impact all the searches and websites which are not optimized for mobile devices will become extinct.
Consider using accelerated mobile pages (AMP) to ensure that your page load speed on mobile devices are optimized. Most of the voice searches happen through mobile, and most of these are questions regarding places to visit or what the users are trying to locate. The search engines take into account the location of the mobile device while answering queries of users from mobile phones. While searching for locations, the search engine looks into the local business listings. The first thing you need to do is to get your business listed on Google business listing with a local address. Avoid providing more than one addresses as in that case Google might ignore you altogether.
4. Get Featured on Snippets and Quick Answers
Ranking on the first page of the search engine results pages (SERPs) may be the real goal of SEO, but marketers have found an easy way to get featured on the quick answer box of Google or “Position 0”. Google seems to feature content like graphs, charts, lists and tables in the quick answer box or the featured snippet. Getting listed in the featured snippet is an easy way to rank on the top and get easily noted by users.
The key to getting featured in the snippets or the quick answer box of Google is to find out the intent of the users and the questions they frequently ask in a particular context. Structure your content in a way that answers the questions very closely. You can identify such questions asked by the users and include them in the FAQ section of the website. There is no doubt that getting your website visible in this highly visible place can work wonders for your organic visibility.
SEO in 2018 will change dramatically as user behaviors, and marketing techniques will undergo a sea change. There would be algorithmic changes ushering in new SEO practices. No wonder the markers should keep abreast with the trends and changes and adjust their strategies and practices. While the fundamentals remain the same with the routine duties of the marketers also remaining the same, the above changes have to be incorporated by the marketers to stay relevant in the search engine marketing eco-space.