SEO is constantly changing and marketers must always be on the lookout to stay ahead of the changing technological environment and Google algorithm updates that will make or break your organic search results. To help you stay ahead of the game in 2018, I will introduce you 4 SEO trends that will make a big impact in 2018.
1. Link Building
Link building will remain important in 2018. For ranking in SERP (Search Engine Result Page), creating backlinks will play a crucial role. Link building helps Google to know that a website can be trusted and relevant to the topic. Remember, the best link may not necessarily come from the popular sites.
It is still crucial to seek coverage from sites that are relevant to your industry. Referral traffic can still contribute to your site’s organic search rankings, while it is also useful to start thinking of link building as a long-term process.
In 2018, SEO strategies are oriented towards making a long-term relationship, helping brands to create strong networks and links that will remain active for a long term. A point of concern that will develop an anxiety will be guest blogging. Last year, Google made very clear to publishers who rely on the guest blog that there will be a close check on the guest blogging site to halt spam links. If you are trying to find out which blogs accept guest posting, you can look at this curated list that features 1500 guest posting blogs!
Thus, SEO strategy will aim to create a backlink profile to avoid spamming in 2018 and backlinks will remain an important key to making your business rank on top in search ranking.
2. Google's Mobile-First Index
It’s old news that mobile search has surpassed desktop searches. This year, Google is responding to this shift in user behavior with mobile-first indexing. What this means is that Google will create and rank its search listings based on the mobile version of content, even for listings that are shown to desktop users. For increasing visibility on mobile, it is essential to incorporate mobile-first content as keywords rank appears differently on both mobile and desktop. Therefore, if your website fails to work on a mobile device, your site may soon become obsolete.
Google introduced an open source project that allows mobile to load web pages at 4x faster speed then regular load time using 10x fewer data. AMP will reduce your bounce rate which will boost the website up in the ranking chart. There are more than 2 billion Accelerated Mobile Pages (ABM). Thanks to the faster loading speed, there has been an increase of 35% user interaction and this number will continue to grow. Thus, mobile optimization is key for a better SEO result.
It is crucial to ensure that the mobile experience (e.g. load time, page speed, navigation etc.) is optimized from a user perspective. A website with a better mobile experience would potentially receive a rankings boost even for searchers on a desktop.
3. Voice Search
In 2017, it is observed that 20% of Search Content is Voice Intent. The increase in the use of the digital assistance has changed the market in the way search queries are executed. Voice search technology has brought a whole new way of communicating and processing our information. In 2018, SEO strategies will be greatly influenced by voice search as the focus will be on long-tail search keywords.
Voice queries are becoming dominant for two primary reasons – the way you search for information is natural and conversational and users prefer direct answers to cold links.
Virtual assistants such as Siri, Alexa, and Google Home are driving this change.
The reason for the spike in popularity is because of Google’s leading search algorithm, Hummingbird. Hummingbird was the overhaul of the core search filtering algorithm that, in addition to focusing on the searcher’s intent, analyses conversational phrases and full sentences instead of direct keyword matching.
Surveys reveal that nowadays both adults and teens alike use voice search to make a search query. In this busy day and age, people prefer to receive search results without experiencing the hassle of typing the query. In fact, a study in 2016 showed that 1 in every 5 Google search was a voice search through a mobile device.
As accuracy improves in digital assistants, there will be more people using voice search from their mobile devices, seeking for quick and relevant answers. It becomes important to research the voice user intent that will provide more accurate results, helping the algorithms provide the best answer.
4. Topic Clusters
Technology has changed the culture of SEO from keyword to topic cluster. The future of content strategy is going to focus on brand visibility across several recognisable core topics that directly relate to your industry's buyer personas.
Content drives your website traffic and social media engagement. With the steady increase in content creation, Google’s search algorithm had to adapt to ensure people always receive the best search results. That’s why topic clusters are emerging as the best way of linking related content online.
There are thousands of keyword variations and long-tail keywords. It is stressful to consistently produce content to rank for every variation. This is where topic clusters come in. Instead of choosing keywords, you select a general topic you want your website to be a leading resource on. For example, if you are providing inbound marketing services, make inbound marketing a topic. To boost SEO, brainstorm sub-topics that go with inbound marketing.
After selecting your topic and sub-topics, create a pillar page around your topic that extensively covers your chosen topic. From your pillar page, link to all of your sub-topic pages that address one area mentioned on your pillar page. For example, with inbound marketing as your pillar page, you can link to a page on lead generation strategies.
To complete your cluster, link all subtopic pages to your pillar page. This shows search engines there is a semantic relationship between the content. If one of your subtopic pages performs well on search, pages that are linked to and from that successful page will also be boosted by search engines.
Instead of focusing on picking the right key words, we can center our attention on building technical resource libraries on topics that drive the right visitors to our websites.
Stay on top of the SEO trends in 2018 and start planning your SEO strategy today!