Search Engine Optimization techniques evolve continuously and if you want to succeed, you need to have experts’ opinions on recent trends.
Hence, I have contacted 15+ SEO experts and asked them which SEO trends are going to rule in 2018. They have offered detailed analysis for our readers and we have included all their views in this post.
Before you start making your digital marketing strategy, go through these tips and make the most out of them.
I predict creating content audiences want while targeting topics over individual keywords will continue to get marketers farther, faster, than hacks or shortcuts. It also seems as though there may be a renewed interest in technical SEO, and ensuring you’re not inadvertently holding yourself back with poor site structure or other issues. In short, while staying current with trends is important, I project that consistent execution of the basics will still be the shortest path to success.
We’ve watched searcher behavior change and Google evolve in lockstep. The mobile-first index is rolling out as we speak and adapting to that is an SEO priority in 2018. Voice search is another user behavior that has a big impact on SEO and how web content is packaged, with answer boxes in the line of sight for organic search optimization. As always, content and links are powerful SEO levers, as is page speed. And SEOs would do well to continue studying the effect of machine learning on search results, as we’re seeing more informational content getting top spots over transaction content. Read my 2018 digital marketing trends for more.
I think the top SEO trends for this year will pretty much be in line with what Google has already been trying to improve over the past couple of years:
– More accurate Featured Snippet results – and interestingly, Google has also begun to test displaying “zero results” search results. Featured snippets are also what Google is using to serve content to voice search users. So it’s definitely going to get bigger.
– Mobile-first SEO – site speed, AMP, voice & personalized search, and building towards more engagement-driven metrics.
– Utilizing more brand signals to identify authoritative entities (through co-occurrence, unlinked or linkless brand mentions, and brand searches).
Jason Acidre is the Co-founder of Avaris.
– Ensure your website is 100% mobile responsive. You need to be ready for mobile first.
– Ensure that you have a fast website that loads quickly. Speed is important for SEO.
– Check your top pages by revenue, ensure that you have the best possible titles and descriptions for CTR. Making small changes on a high volume search term can provide huge value.
– Focus on quality not quantity with link acquisition and content production.
SEO and content marketing go hand in hand. For the last several years, the majority of SEO’s and content marketers have been churning out a lot of content in the hope to rank for every keyword that they target. I believe this will now change. The best marketers are now focusing on quality content, over the quantity of it.
For example, the SuperOffice blog used to publish 3 pieces of content per week and it barely moved the needle. Today, we only publish one piece every 4 to 6 weeks and we’ve grown to 170,000 readers per month!
2018 is no different than 2017. A lot of people will focus more on content and on-site structure. Manual link building has fallen in disgrace I might say. In general, people say it is harder to be done. I would suggest though to be creative about it. Having a valid technical structure of your site is essential. Tools like Google Search Console may help you know how you stand.
But that is not enough in this age of ever-increasing competition. You need professional tools to help you in your quest.
Writing content for people is the first step. But SEO (Search Engine Optimization) exists as a concept because Google needs to understand easier what you are trying to say there.
Even if the Google algorithms are very advanced, nowadays it is always important to give them easy to digest content that they can understand.
We use the Content Optimization Tool to do that. It gives you a Content Performance metric and topic/keyword suggestions that you should use to boost your rankings.
It’s normal to see pages boost from 7 to 5 or from 30 to 8 using this.
Don’t kid yourself!
Your brain is your master tool.
The other tools are only helping you understand the big picture.
But You have to connect the dots and take the final decision.
No tool can do that for you. You are the key to your SEO!
“Simple content, deep content, and smart content structure, including semantic markup.
Simple content to answer basic questions. Think voice search. Give the facts.
But simple content and its structured markup are also what Google consumes to be the destination: it’s them providing the answer, not you. You’re essentially writing for Google.
That’s why deep content is even more important now than ever. Deep content is where you go show you know your stuff, you have the expertise, you have the answers. It’s where Google can’t easily pull out a blurb simply because the material doesn’t answer a simple question with a yes or no, a single fact, or a list.
Yet here too, you want Google to be able to parse information and feed it searchers bite-wise, so you’re going to follow the rules of semantic and structured markup, making it easier and more likely Google will use your content, and not that of your competitors.”
In terms of SEO practices, I can definitely see more and more automation when it comes to outreach. You might have noticed it already, you guys might be getting tons of these automated, impersonal emails with a 4 step follow up sequence.
In terms of SEO as a whole, the trend will be more on speeding up the site, whether it’s for mobile, AMP or whatever, more people will start getting into optimizing for speed. Design and content will start to change because of that for sure.
“I think a focus on semantic SEO is going to be big in 2018. It’s been talked about so much over the years and I know more and more editors who are requesting this of me as a writer, and it absolutely follows the natural progression of Google and other search engines. Using tools like MarketMuse is a great way to focus on semantic SEO when writing, and I’m excited to see how this changes the way content marketers write and optimize!”
– I think we’ll see more growth in the area of structured data and I see that businesses will have to really take this seriously to mark up their data correctly. Far too many companies don’t fully take advantage of this.
– Voice search is already a big growth area but this will step up a notch this year. People are using their phones more than ever and typing on a phone is not fun. Also, every home will eventually have an Alexa or similar device. We will need to start thinking about the more conversational nature of the search.
– As Google rolled out mobile first indexing we need to track how our site gets indexed and if it’s getting a boost from a highly optimized mobile website or maybe a penalty.
In 2018, marketers will wrest some control from Google by creating Content Landing Pages. Marketers to date have been all about building out their traffic-building and a link-building content, but have forgotten to place calls to action on these pages with growing visitor counts. Conversion optimized content pages are becoming all the rage with strategies like “headbands”, “dripping pans”, “sticky shoes” and “wheelie poppers.” The tools needed to deliver offers to readers are growing in features and shrinking in price. In 2018, agencies that provide conversion optimization services will enter the SEO market and turn search traffic into gold.
“One of the big trends will be the continuing impact of machine learning. Many like to speculate about what Google is going to do with this, but I believe the biggest area is in the evaluation of content relevance and content quality. I think this is already beginning to impact the SERPs, as I see more and more sites ranking because of the pure depth of content.
Also of interest is that Google has begun to speak about the way that online mentions can impact SEO. I think that’s feeding into the relevance and quality machine learning algorithms. Together with links, they help Google assess whether a particular piece of content or a specific brand, is perceived to be of high value in their market space.
So what does this mean for you as a business owner/marketer/SEO? It means that you need to focus more attention on more content, and deeper content. There is a big win for you to be had by doing so. At the same time, you also need to invest energy in driving meaningful visibility for that content in the marketplace.
Learning what truly represents the content of value that your marketplace will respond to is hard. Learning how to promote it effectively to gain visibility is also hard. This is going to take practice, and therefore it won’t happen overnight. Time to get to work.”
Google & Facebook have for years ate most of the online ad growth (at least outside of China). That trend is likely to continue, which in turn will significantly accelerate the shift away from ad-based publishing business models toward subscription-based business models. The widespread rise of subscription-based publishing business models may both make people more likely to pay to subscribe to premium media channels while also creating some opportunity gaps in the market for publishers who remain monetized primarily via ads.
Over the past few years, SEO as a channel has become a harder channel for businesses to invest in without also investing in other channels. There has been an increasing share of clicks going to ads (RKG’s most recent quarterly report stated Yahoo organic search visits fell 36% year over year and Bing organic search visits fell 20% year over year as their ad click growth accelerated sharply). In addition to the broad general ad creep, many searchers are not clicking on any organic results. In a recent blog post Rand mentioned how under 39% of mobile searches lead to an organic click. Mix in the informational skew of many mobile searches with AMP and such & perhaps only something like 25% or 30% of mobile searches click onto a third party website. And some of those are simply navigational search results.
Further, an increasing number of channels are being converted into vertical ad units – be it travel search results on mobile devices that hide organic results behind a button requiring a post-search click to see any organic results, buy button extensions for ads which keep the user on the Google interface throughout the entire conversion process, or via local service ads which are replacing organic results with ads across a broad section of local searches.
In many ways, this means being a sustained SEO success will often require being a destination people seek out explicitly rather than something which just happens to rank in the search results for relevant keywords.
I expect Google to continue to incorporate structured data in SERPs and push the limits of “knowledge” displayed on google.com moving the search engine ever deeper into the arena of content.
2018 is all about User Experience, User Intent and Authority Building. How do you embrace the three biggest SEO trends?
– Build the utmost user experience with High Page Speed. Page speed becomes increasingly important, especially since we are all now moving to a new era of mobile-first: remember, mobile means providing an impeccable and fast web experience for those who are constantly on the go, and any delay, even for a split second can cost you a great deal.
– Tap on user intent by leveraging local SEO. The truth of the matter is that you have a pretty low chance to stand out oud outrank the “blue chips” in the search results. So your best strategy is to use all Google can offer – SERP features, and especially the Local Pack.
– If up to now SEO had to do with ranking for that sweet #1 position in SERPs, 2018 is all about trying to get to position zero. Featured Snippets are the “it”-thing of search engine optimization. After all, if you manage to get a featured snippet, you’ll get that visibility you’ve been craving since day one of your online presence. And keep in mind that the key to a featured snippet is to have content that builds the utmost authority for your page.
With more people using mobile devices and social media to access the internet and find what they need, the ability to rank on the first page of Google is now more important than ever. With this in mind, it’s important to focus on creating the best niche-focused content possible — not just the title and focus, but also the keyword count and getting high-quality incoming backlinks as well. Not only will this be seen as a continuing trend (that works), it’s going to be a pivotable shift between those sites that continually rank versus those who just push out new content. In short, create less (but better) content, and focus more on the promotion and incoming backlinks and references to your articles. This is one of the best ways to rank content in 2018.
I expect to see voice search play a significant role in search in the coming years as personal assistant devices become more common. I think the driving force behind this will be the search engines themselves, however, because this technology is how they will train their artificial intelligence on a large scale. What marketers need to understand about this is that voice search into a zero sum game because in most cases, only a single result will be returned.
I’d love what you think about their views, please share your opinions in the comments!