Search engine optimization is ever evolving. Any seasoned SEO expert can tell you that over the years, they have seen different SEO trends come and go. As we wrap up 2017 and make way for the new year ahead, we’re beginning to forecast SEO trends for 2018.
The SEO trend that drove so much traffic a year back, might make no clear impact on your website today. Even worse, it might already be banned by Google (yikes). This is due to constant changes in Google’s algorithms and in user search itself.
Google is constantly changing its algorithms and this has a direct impact on all your SEO efforts for search results and page rankings. Working with, as opposed to against updated algorithms, and using new, favourable SEO tactics is the best way to make these updates work for you.
But it’s not just the Search Engines that are changing the game. Users are also changing the way they search. For example, more users are now using voice search to research something. This should be on your watch list, as one of the forecasted SEO trends for 2018
How do we avoid getting lost in the pool of websites trying to gain visibility through ranking? We need to up our game. We need to consistently be seeking and applying tactics that are new, promising, and most importantly, in line with Google’s ongoing changes.
This year, we have been able to identify some SEO tactics being applied by major players, which have the potential to become key SEO trends for 2018.
Here are 5 SEO trends you should expect to see in 2018:
1. User Experience (aka UX)
Google has become more insistent on the delivery of a smooth UX for website users. Poor website performance has been flagged by Google as one of the limiting factors in website rankings. When your pages perform well, users are encouraged to engage with them and this engagement shows Google that those pages are relevant. Google will, in turn, index those pages and using its algorithms, rank them higher in search results relating to selected keywords.
A site’s user experience can be evaluated through its speed, readability and how easy it is to navigate through and find important pages.
To determine this, you can monitor visitor pattern through analytical insights. Find out what pages they come in through mostly, what they click on, and at what point they mostly exit your website. User experience is now heavily linked to the devices being used by website visitors. It is important to ensure that your device is optimized for both mobile and desktop users.
- Related: Google Analytics Training
2. Voice Search
Location World estimated that 40% of adults now use voice search at least once a day. These numbers are expected to grow in the coming year. Voice search does not require any extra tech knowledge, and users who have discovered this functionality are taking advantage of it. Today, while driving, walking, or even in moments when you’re not doing anything distracting, you can simply say what you want to be searched, and your device will run the search for you.
Home assistants such as Google Assistant and Amazon Echo have made this easier. With these devices, you can also do a lot more than search. You can speak a command and it will be processed and executed.
To keep up with these SEO trends for 2018, your website has to be voice search friendly. You can do this by including long-tail keywords people might use (we use more words when speaking than we do when typing). Also, use words like best, nearest, cheapest, etc as people run searches using “best restaurants in the area”, “cheapest home furnishings”, “nearest hospital”, etc. Adding FAQs using questions that will most likely be asked in relation to your industry might also be helpful to your rankings.
Your website should also be designed to produce voice search results as it will rank higher when specific keywords are used during a user’s voice search. For all these techniques to work, your website should be fully responsive to any type of device.
- Related: Why Mobile Marketing
3. HTTPS Stops Being an Option
Up until now, the security of your website URL wasn’t a primary concern in search results. Anyone could use the regular ‘HTTP’ with no problem. Now, ranking in search results and listings is directly affected by this. Google has made it mandatory for all websites to be secured using ‘HTTPS’.
If you’re running a business website, it is even more important for you to make this switch. It will ensure secure transfer of data on any transaction that occurs between you and customers on your website. It is also important to secure financial transactions and give you credibility and a level of trust in the eyes of potential customers.
4. Visual Search
While it is something we may not give much thought too, it’s a big concern. Several companies like Pinterest and Bing have already invested big chunks of their web development budgets into making their websites visual search friendly. You don’t need a competing budget to make your website visual search friendly. All you need is a knowledge of what your target users search on.
Our content consumption is becoming more visual, and so, more people are searching for information using images. Usually, the search is centred on something in that image they wish to identify or learn more about. It is important that all images and video content on your website are optimized to show up on related search results. The competition on ranking in visual search is expected to show a consistent growth in 2018.
5. Focus on Mobile Traffic
BrightEdge recently released a report showing that 57% of web traffic comes from mobile devices. Optimizing your website for mobile search needs to be a priority, not an afterthought. Due to the difference in design for desktop and mobile devices, your website could go higher, or go lower in search results run on a mobile device.
Your website should be fully responsive when opened on a mobile device. More people use their mobile devices to run quick searches. If a user can’t find what they are looking for at the first attempt, they will most likely move on to another website that can give them the information they need. Optimization for mobile devices also includes site speed as this also determines how much engagement your website will get.
These SEO trends for 2018 seem to be a continuation of what we’re already working with now. But focus on a greater need to optimize for fast evolving tech functionalities. Search in itself is growing quickly, as you know. Which also means there are more avenues to grow your reach if the right efforts are invested.
What other SEO Trends do you see coming (or carrying over) in 2018. Share your views in the comments below.