The landscape of digital and SEO marketing is very fluid as new trends and best practices emerge each year. User behavior is constantly evolving as more people turn to their mobile devices for online searches and browsing, and Google’s updates and algorithm changes continue to affect the way websites are crawled and ranked. At the beginning of each year, people across the SEO marketing industry speculate on what new trends will emerge in the coming year. The SEO trends discussed below are the most likely to emerge and affect the SEO landscape in 2018. It is important for online marketers and business owners to be aware of these possible major SEO trends so they can prepare and adjust their marketing strategies.
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Continued Rise of Voice Search
Voice search is quickly becoming the preferred way to make online searches as it experienced a massive jump in 2017. The use of voice search started when the feature became common on smartphones, and the rise in popularity of devices such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home has helped it grow. Approximately 20 percent of Google searches are currently done using voice search and ComScore expects half of all searches to be done through voice search by 2020. Voice search has made enough of a mark on the SEO industry already that industry professionals must acknowledge and account for its use.
The biggest impact that voice search will have on SEO marketing is the use of keywords. Search queries that are typed out on a computer or device are always different than queries from voice search. People type out shorter phrases with their search queries that often include exact match keywords. Queries made with voice search are done in the natural syntax of language and they typically include longer, broader phrases than typed queries. SEO marketers must change the way they think about search queries to better understand the make up of voice search queries as well as the user’s intent. Optimizing your website with search queries that are more compatible with voice search will help increase incoming traffic, especially from mobile devices.
There have already been changes to the SEO landscape brought on by voice search including Google SERP changes, the rise of Google AMP (accelerated mobile pages), rich snippet reformatting, and the use of HTTPS. While some of these trends are likely to continue in 2018, some may simply disappear.
Mobile First Index
Mobile-first indexing has been tested by Google since late 2016, and Google has made it known that it plans to fully implement this indexing system at some point. Many SEO experts believe that 2018 will be the year that Google rolls out its mobile-first indexing. Under Google’s current indexing, the desktop version of a website is indexed first, and if the website is mobile friendly, Google will give it a more generous ranking. With mobile first indexing, the mobile version of the website will be indexed first, making it more important than ever to have a website that is mobile friendly.
Over the last few years, more people have been doing online searches on mobile devices than on desktop computers which is why SEO marketers have been preaching the importance of a mobile friendly website. It is highly beneficial for your website to display and function properly across all mobile devices, even without Google’s mobile first indexing.
Google considers mobile friendliness a search ranking factor because it strives to deliver search results that will give its mobile users the best experience. This means that Google will favor your website if it enhances the user experience by displaying and functioning properly on mobile devices with fast loading speeds. Having a website that is already mobile friendly will have you prepared for the transition to mobile first indexing.
Good Link Building
Every successful SEO marketing strategy includes quality link building which has always been an important practice. However, Google has changed the way it values backlinks to a website. You cannot just plant a link to your website anywhere on the internet, Google values quality links that help promote the brand or authority of your website. Think of link building more as a networking strategy in which you develop long term relationships with other companies to exchange links that provide value for both websites.
Search engines have evolved to be able to recognize mentions of brands, organizations, people, and institutions across different webpages without direct links. Building quality links to your website is still important, however, as well as the content of the hyperlinked text.
Rise of Visual Search
Content marketing will forever be the most important part of any SEO marketing strategy. The changes that Google makes to its algorithms help ensure that the search results present users with quality, valuable content that is relevant to their search. Google also recognizes and favors well-written content as well as freshly created content. It is important for your content marketing strategy to include the consistent creation of new, valuable content to give your marketing campaign a boost.
In 2018, your content marketing strategy should include more than just textual content as visual content has become much more valuable for your website and social media presence. You can double the engagement of your social media posts by including images and this increased engagement can also have a positive impact on your organic rankings. Google, Pinterest, and other tech companies have already developed visual search engines to help capitalize on this growing trend. With the growing emphasis on visual content, it is important to include engaging, optimized images on your social media posts and landing pages of your website.
2018 SEO Marketing
The major theme that these new SEO trends share is an emphasis on quality, including quality content, visual content, backlinks, and mobile responsive web designs. This is because search engines like Google are only going to get better at recognizing quality content and websites to ensure that its users are presented with the most relevant and valuable results for their searches. As you work to refine your SEO marketing strategy for 2018, make the quality of your website, images, content, and backlinks your main priority.
If you need to adjust or create an SEO marketing strategy for your company but don’t know where to begin, contact Proceed Innovative for help with everything from on-site SEO and web design to mobile SEO.