Another year, another chance to improve your site’s SEO. But how different will SEO be in 2018? What changes are we expecting to see? Will there be change at all? Do you keep doing what you’re doing or should you make adjustments?
These are all valid concerns. Unfortunately, the answer to these questions would depend on what you’re doing now. What we can offer is a list of SEO trends for 2018 to serve as a guide. Use this list to check your current strategies and adjust accordingly.
The value in knowing SEO trends
Before we begin, let’s talk about proper planning and why it’s essential. SEO experts have spent an entire year analyzing every update Google put out. Every change to the algorithm, no matter how big or small, is put under the microscope. They do this to gauge where Google is headed in the next 365 days.
As you’ll discover later on, Google has put a lot of emphasis on mobile user experience. They see it as the next big thing alongside voice searches through artificial intelligence. They’ve taken a big leap into the future. SEO experts who are not up-to-date with these changes will undoubtedly get left behind. You don’t want to play catch up come 2018, do you?
If you’re serious about SEO, you should have the same mindset. Rolling out an SEO plan is no small feat. You would have to coordinate with different teams and juggle multiple tasks at any given time. Planning will lift some of the burdens off your shoulders.
SEO trends for 2018
To understand trends in SEO, you’d have to step outside of your body for a minute. You need to look at SEO the same way Google does. Search engines have an end goal. These updates they keep pushing out aren’t meant to frustrate you. They’re trying to address specific issues to answer user queries much faster.
Imagine looking for information online. What would make you experience a good one? Would you like for pages to load faster? Don’t you want search results that actually answers your questions? Well, Google is trying to deliver that awesome experience to you. And it does that through its algorithm.
What you need to do is abide Google’s requirements to stay on its good side. Some of the trends, you’d notice, are the same strategies you’ve been hearing about for ages now. But, these are good SEO practices, so it’s only normal to keep following them.
Let’s look at some of the trends we can expect to make waves in 2018.
You’re probably tired of it, but link building is here to stay, folks. Maybe it’s doomed to haunt us forever. Every year is a battle to build better backlinks, and 2018 should be no different. But if you’ve been prioritizing quantity over quality the past year, use this time to fix that.
Google doesn’t mind seeing fewer links pointing to your site. Not at all. What matters to this search engine is that the links originate from high-quality sources. The links should help you build authority. Every link should add value. Flooding your content with nonsensical links will only do you harm.
You should understand what a high-quality backlink means. While getting links from popular websites is perfectly fine, what you want are links from well-known sites in your particular industry. This is how Google determines that your site can be trusted.
Of course, even if you follow the rules, your competitor can find ways to mess up your efforts. Once you gain some traction, some may start adding links to your site from shady origins. Their goal? To drag you down the search engine results page (SERPs). That’s why you should add disavowing bad links to your list of skills to learn in 2018. That is unless you already know how.
Mobile pages that load faster
Google added mobile performance as a key indicator in its algorithm. Years ago, some may have been shocked by this revelation. But today? It only makes sense for them to do that.
Mobile performance has been an important factor for Google for some time now. As people became more dependent on their phones, Google prioritized websites that are optimized for mobile users. 2018 will most likely continue the trend as more and more people use their phones to search the web.
Google even introduced an open source project called Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). This allows mobile browsers to load pages four times faster than a regular one. Even better, AMP only takes a fraction of the data it would normally take a regular page. This shows how serious Google takes mobile browsing.
Here’s an interesting development. There’s an increase in the number of people using voice commands to ask queries. Thanks to digital assistants, we now have an entirely new way of interacting with gadgets.
The implications for SEO is huge. Keywords should be phrased in such a way that it sounds natural. Don’t get the wrong idea. Keywords are still important. But if your primary keyword is “bed and breakfast Ohio” then consider adding “Where is the best bed and breakfast in Ohio?”.
It might seem like a small thing, but given where Google is headed now, they’ll be looking into prioritizing these types of pages. Google even released a product specially built for this purpose. Google Home is a smart speaker and home assistant. You can ask it questions, and it scours the web for the most relevant answer.
In 2018, conversational queries will dominate thanks to voice search.
You can be in Quick Answers
Have you ever noticed how some SERPs bring out snippets of information that are highlighted right at the top? This is a feature Google calls Quick Answers. They are useful for users in a rush to find the information they’re looking for.
Through this feature, users are no longer required to click on any links. The answers Google provides are usually enough. But if the user needs more information, it’s almost a guarantee that they’ll click on the link that’s featured. Google will update the answers it provides as time goes on should it find a better resource.
You have a chance to be part of Quick Answers. Do some research and find out how answers are commonly presented. Think of them the next time you create content. Google usually pulls data from content with lists since they’re easier to digest. Make a list of solutions that answer a specific question.
Do this, and your site will be an authority figure in your area of expertise.
Build a social media following
It’s a shame that even today, some people are not using media to establish their brands. Building brand awareness is something an SEO should strive to achieve in 2018. And if you’re wondering what social media has to do with SEO, it’s actually huge part of it. An SEO will wear many hats throughout his journey. Social media just happens to be one of them.
Get your account verified if possible. Interact with the community and build relationships. And most of all, use your social media channels to drive traffic to your site. Post your blogs, make announcements, update your status regularly.
Go on YouTube
YouTube videos appear regularly on the SERPs now. There are situations when people would actually prefer video content over written ones. And making a video is so easy today, it’s crazy if you’re not doing it for your site. Adding links to video descriptions or through annotations is a good way of directing users to your site.
There are different types of content you could explore. Unboxing videos would let you showcase products. And the crazy thing is, there is a huge audience for it. You could even do a vlog of what it’s like in your office. Do tutorials on how to use your products. You’re only limited by your imagination.
If creating videos is not your thing, that’s fine. You have other options. For example, you can send your products to known YouTubers. They are willing to collaborate because they’re often looking for content as well. A partnership would serve both parties well. If their audience loves your stuff, they’ll most likely head on over to your website to learn more.
Create high-quality content
You need to create more content. What a shocker. But that’s the core of SEO, and that’s not going to change come 2018. But you should take this time to browse through your old content and see if those posts are worth updating or if they should be purged from your content library.
Swing by your analytics tool and find content that’s generating the most traffic. Try to create similar posts in 2018 and see if people are still responding to your topics. Adjust accordingly if that does not yield the results you’re hoping for.
As Google learns to distinguish good from bad content, make sure none of your live pages are substandard. Check all your links as well; You wouldn’t want backlink issues in 2018 although they can be unavoidable at times. That’s why it’s important to check.
Make sure all your articles have a common theme. If your site is all about carpentry, then all your pages should be relevant. Remove pages that don’t fit. By keeping your pages in top condition, you shouldn’t suffer from any major updates in the next few months should there be any.
Do you have an in-house content team? If not, maybe this is the year to hire one. Websites need to be regularly updated and having a group of professional writers in your arsenal would do wonders for your business. Some writers even double as social media experts so you’d be hitting two birds with one stone.
How are users responding to your site? Do they find it difficult to navigate? Can they find the information they’re looking for without help? If that is the case, maybe it’s time to talk with your web designer and see what remedies can be made.
User experience is important because it will dictate whether users stay on your site or leave. You don’t want users to go away because of a poorly designed site. Are pages taking too long to load? You could try reducing the size of your images. They may be too big.
Does your page categories make sense? You may need to update that if it’s doing more harm than good. Check your site’s font size. Small fonts make for a bad experience too. Google wants their users to have a smooth experience when browsing any site. When users have a fun time digging through your content, Google will know that your site is worth suggesting to people.
As it stands now, 2018 is shaping up to be a good year for search engine optimization. Sure, you can still dabble in traditional SEO since they’ll still be just as effective. But new innovations like voice search are undoubtedly going to change the way we do business. It will also be a catalyst for new strategies down the line. The way we optimize for search is about to change.
2018 will be a big year for SEO. And as January draws closer and closer, we should understand that being in the top of the results pages is no longer the ultimate goal. There are more ways now to get people to your site. The SERPs is just another gateway now. Your strategies for 2018 should reflect that.
The trends we listed here are by no means the only way you could improve your SEO. Try to find strategies that would work well for your business. Be on the lookout for the latest news as anything could change at any given moment.