With over 200 ranking factors in Google’s search algorithm, SEO is now a highly complex process. These factors continuously change. Some get modified, some sink into oblivion, and some new ones emerge over time.
SEO is now a fast-paced game and SEO professional need to understand the rules to stay on course, i.e. by getting tech updates and changes in the digital business environment.
Here is a list of the most prominent SEO trends that will make a smashing impact in 2018. Let’s dig deeper and learn what the future holds.
1. Voice Search
According to Google, 20% of all online searches are returned for voice search. This number will most likely be around 50%. We are standing at the threshold of a new era of the Internet, which means there are new things we should learn and master. Voice search will change the search market in 2018 for good.
With the pace at which voice speakers are getting sold, we’ll see an increased prevalence of voice search in people’s everyday lives – from mobile devices to finding solutions to their answers. Voice has now made it significant to analyze the user intent in order to provide more accurate results and help the search engines show the best answers.
That’s one reason optimization for voice search has become the top topic of 2018. When it comes to creating an SEO strategy, website owners need to focus on question-centric long-tail keywords in natural language because they are close to user’s conversational speech. To find all long-tail voice keywords and questions, you can use Keyword Tool, Long Tail Pro, and SE Ranking keyword suggestion tool. These will help discover a lot of global and local search queries for any keyword of your choice to know their competitiveness.
2. Local SEO
For the majority of the website owners, ranking #0 is like hitting the jackpot. Gaining local business info, requires a combination of factors such as adding a verified phone number (on My Business page and Website), verified address, some reviews as a bonus, and a logo – all this reflects your online visibility and worth paying attention as well. To check your local search results, I recommend to try out the position tracking tool form SE Ranking.
However, there’s more to local SEO than just gaining featured snippets. Make sure that the website is submitted to Google My Business and other relevant local directories. Also, focus on website optimization for mobile devices, NAP citations and location targeting keywords. If you are good at creating awesome targeted content and showing people what you do, that will be a great bonus.
3. Video Content
We all understand that video marketing is gaining momentum and the video boom in recent years has been prodigious. Based on Buffer research, over 80% of marketers want to create more video content. Moreover, according to Cisco, a million minutes of videos will cross the Cisco network1. Doesn’t that sound awesome?
Video content gives a huge opportunity to people to grow their businesses online by leveraging the power of visuals.
If you are not into video creation yet, it is time to make a debut and start with a portfolio of your video content. YouTube has become so huge that people are searching it for different things without turning to Google anymore. Moreover, Google counts YouTube videos in its search results, which makes them easily viewable on page one.
People love video content, and that brings a great opportunity for website owners to integrate videos on their websites. This will allow the users to spend more time on site and rank higher in search results. In addition to the benefits of video content mentioned above, text to speech can also be a great way to create video content if you don’t have the time or resources to record your own voice. There are many free and paid text to speech services available, and you can choose a voice that matches your brand or target audience. This can be a great way to reach a wider audience, as text to speech videos can be accessed by people who are deaf or hard of hearing, as well as people who prefer to read rather than listen.
4. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
Fast-loading website is crucial for ranking higher in search engines, as Google now focuses counts site-speed as an important ranking factor. Moreover, users hate slow page loading speeds and won’t stick around to learn more even if the content is highly valuable.
To overcome these problems, Google started considering AMP that can increase your website speed by changing the structure in which the page is displayed. Google has announced that more than 900,000 domains have implemented the AMP standards as of now.
AMP is a great help for webmasters who want to improve user experience with fast and responsive mobile pages. Multiple websites that have adopted AMP report that it enhances user-behavior factors such as bounce rates and CTR. AMP is not a ranking factor for mobile indexing yet, but most believe it may become one in future.
5. Visual Search
Internet has now become visually-oriented. Search engines now index and display images just as they do with text based content. As a result, this has created a greater need to develop content that increases user engagement and social shareability.
To get more exposure in visual searches, make sure that likes, shares and comments on social media posts all have SEO relevance. Similarly, images on social media can also increase the reach of a brand. Buzzsumo reports that Facebook posts with images get 2.3 times more user engagement than the ones without the images.
Using rich visuals as an SEO strategy should be a major focus in increasing your brand presence and reach via content marketing.
6. User Experience
Google likes websites with a good user experience. Period.
If your visitors are leaving the site right after entering because your it is hard to navigate, or if the images are not loading fast enough, or the content is not relevant, then forget about high rankings.
To monitor user behavior on your site, use Google Analytics as it helps you understand how people are interacting with your pages. If the analytics reflect a high bounce rate, you should take a closer look at website’s speed, design, navigation and readability to improve the situation. Make sure you are providing a great UX through all devices.
7. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
The Google RankBrain algorithm also impacts the search landscape. We should expect more changes in search engines in near-future that will correlate with advancements in AI and ML algorithms.
It looks like year will be an awesome year for SEO. Of course, traditional tactics are still practical, but there are a number of new trends that will most likely change your optimization practices.
What more can we add to this article? Let us know through the comments below.
Disclaimer: This is a guest post by Diana Ziletskaya of SE Ranking. The opinions and ideas expressed herein are author’s own, and in no way reflect Cloudways position.
Jamil is an Organic Search Manager at Cloudways - A SEO friendly hosting Platform. He has 14 years experience in SEO, and is passionate about Digital Marketing and Growth Optimization. Jamil is a Minimalist, Observer, Loves Nature, Animals, Food, Cricket & Mimicking :)