The ever-changing rules of the game are what makes Search Engine Optimization complex and challenging, yet exciting. Because search engines constantly improve to give searchers the most relevant search results possible, what was once an important ranking factor has been reduced to nothingness. Algorithms change and in a blink of an eye, they also arise out of nowhere.
2017 introduced new trends in the search engine landscape, which we predict will go full blast in 2018. Here are some trends to watch out for in order to stay ahead of the game:
While it is still close to being unheard of here in the Philippines, in other countries, particularly the US, 1 out of 5 searches come from voice queries. This 2018, voice search will grow more and more in popularity and is predicted to surpass type search. This completely changes the game on how SEO keyword research is done. Long-tail keywords must be taken into consideration, as well as normal and conversational sentences that match the everyday language.
It was in 2016 when Google first announced its Mobile-first Indexing policy. In 2017, everyone was anticipating the full roll-out of this policy that makes mobile-friendliness a ranking factor. While the impending roll-out of this factor may or may not happen in 2018, mobile-friendly sites are something you cannot ignore anymore.
To date, more than 50% of Google’s search queries are made from mobile phones. Websites that rank on the desktop version do not necessarily mean that they will bear the same ranking in mobile search. Make sure your website is optimized for mobile use.
The New Era of Link Building
Backlinks were one of the biggest ranking factors … before. While building relevant links will not become obsolete in 2018, the way how these links are obtained changes the game. Guest posting is no longer a strategy as Google has already sent a warning on this tactic. Relevant links obtained through relationship-building will become the new norm. Links must offer help or assistance to brands and must remain beneficial in the long term. This entails a lot of creativity and a diversified strategy.
Moreover, linkless backlinks are gaining momentum. Unlinked brand mentions are becoming a search ranking signal that determines a site’s authority. Make sure to build your brand to gain authority in the industry.
The Need for Speed and a Good Experience
SEO in 2018 will focus more on the user experience a website brings and can bring a huge impact on rankings. A good user experience means that people are engaging in the content you provide, giving search engines signals that a certain page is useful for people. In turn, such pages will be favored by others.
One of the main factors of a good user experience is speed. Fast loading sites give people enough reason not to hit the X button. Also, take into consideration their browsing habits. If they leave your site within a few seconds, it means that your content is not providing them with what they need. Ultimately, an engaged audience wins in search rankings.
Quick Answers and the Position Zero
Quick answers and featured snippets have changed the game in SEO and will continue to do so in 2018. Top 1 is no longer the goal, “position 0” is. The key is to develop a content strategy on how to get featured in a SERP’s featured snippets. Combine this with the growing trend of Voice Search and you have yourself a winning strategy for the year to come.
2018 is indeed looking to be an exciting year for SEO. With the many changes that are constantly happening, ranking in the first spot for a popular keyword is not the ultimate goal anymore. There are a lot of other opportunities to increase traffic coming from search. Featured snippets, voice search, mobile-friendliness are among them. That’s why it becomes of utmost importance to know the trends and find out how your brand can have favorable results from SEO.
Reach out to us to get your SEO strategy started. Contact us today!