Google is constantly changing their platform and algorithms, as many as 500 times a year. With noteworthy changes to Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) including features like the knowledge graph and rich snippets, the one thing we can expect from Google is a dramatic change when no one expects.
Digital marketers, website owners and copywriters have to stay on top of SEO trends if they want improved organic search results, visibility and higher return on investment. To keep your search engine fully optimized for search, here are some of the top SEO trends we might see from Google in 2018.
Digital assistants and voice search
Digital assistants is a growing market that changes the way search queries are performed. Voice search technology aims to transform how internet users communicate and process information. Data from Google reveals that 1 in 5 search queries are voiced and we expect to see a major shift in voice search soon.
This might affect how websites tailor SEO strategies as the rise of voice search calls for natural language and long-tail search keywords that matches the user’s tone.
For a long time, content has remained a key feature of any successful digital marketing campaign and its’ not looking to change soon. We expect consistency and quality of content to determine how your pages rank on search engine. Google bots will read content, index and rank accordingly in search engine. A few things to incorporate in your SEO strategy are
- Start blogging
- Use Google keyword planner to optimize keyword search
- Hire a copywriter to create engaging content for your blog
- Improve your link building tactics.
- Quick answer box
This is the information that appears when you type keywords like “what is” “how to” in a search engine. Hence, websites will have to optimize their web pages for the Quick Answer Box in the near future. Your SEO consultant can help you focus on words like “what”, “why” and “how”. Your content must be optimized for the upcoming snippet feature to ensure online users get information in a quick, concise manner instead of reading the entire content.
We expect Google to keep favouring websites that provide excellent user experience. Consequently, defaulting websites will drop in ranking so don’t fall behind. User expectations will rise as the quality of websites improves.
- Use free tools like Google Analytics to observe user engagement on your site. If you have a high bounce rate, its’ time to call the professionals to analyze your site and proffer solutions that fix the issue. Mobile SEO
Google made several changes regarding mobile search and we don’t expect them to slow down as mobile search increases. Many online users use their phones first thing in the morning and last thing before bed. Search results are also guiding buyers purchasing decisions and as the numbers continue to increase from mobile devices Google is planning further changes.
News from Google’s webmaster blog reveals that Google is experimenting on a mobile-first index to rank content from the site’s pages. A few tips to help you prepare for this change include
- Test your site for mobile-friendliness
- Avoid pop-ups and flash
- Minify code, leverage browser caching and limit redirects to increase page speed.
- Organize data
- Extra caution with link building
One of the most powerful ranking factors for your website is inbound links and its’ not changing in 2018. Google made changes earlier this year when it noticed increased spammy link in Guest blogs. If the aim is to promote a brand, only include the link ONCE in the post. Your competitor’s backlink profile is a great source for link building.
Use online tools to keep your link profile clean or Google will penalize you if you don’t adhere to rules. Focus on building relationships with influential brands and bloggers in your niche, which will benefit you more in the long run. Google also warned publishers that it would pay closer attention to websites that rely heavily on guest posts to control questionable and spammy links.
Jump on the RankBrain train
RankBrain is a machine learning system from Google that sorts search through user interaction with search results as the standard of measurement. If you search for pizza parlour in Devon, RankBrain takes note of the search result users click on the most. If it’s the #4, or #6, it will receive a ranking boost.
RankBrain focuses on two factors for ranking
- Length of time spent on your page
- Click through rate for your page
As Google continues to refine its algorithm, we expect RankBrain to become a top ranking factor in 2018. It all comes down to providing spectacular content on your site enhanced with excellent user experience.
Greater focus on PPC
Some digital marketers are of the opinion that Google Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is a waste of money and effort because organic search generates more clicks than PPC search. Studies reveal that first page results have 15% PPC and almost 72% organic. This is a serious problem for Google who generates revenue from advertising, about $100 billion annually.
They depend on advertisers willing to pay top dollar for AdWords and if people stopped advertising on Google, it would affect their operations. This explains Google’s plans to increase Ad-focused SERP in 2018 and the need for organic marketers to prepare for the change.
Google recently intensified efforts to generate cleaner search results for users. When you search for weather forecast in your area, it might produce a result like the image above. The content looks good, smart and effective. The bad news is the negative impact for businesses who rely on organic traffic for on-site conversion.
Recent statistics show that 34% of searches don’t result in a click because users find what they need right on the search results page. To mitigate this problem, online brands should focus on rich cards and rich snippets to deliver full information and deliver results.
The goal of every Google change is to improve user experience. This translates to faster, better, enriched content. Optimize your site for mobile friendliness, improve user experience by enhancing every feature. Create captivating content to keep readers engaged and prepare for PPC to become a big focus in 2018.