December 29, 2017
“Growth in voice search, expansion on importance of mobile, and of course AI advancements.” – Barry Schwartz, CEO of RustyBrick, on his SEO predictions for 2018.
It’s no mystery that 2017 brought a myriad of changes to the world of SEO.
As Google continues to prep itself and webmasters across the globe to be plunged into the future of search, the company is placing its focus squarely on providing users with faster answers, higher quality content, and an all-around streamlined search process.
This year, business owners got a small peek of the trends and changes to come in 2018. It’s not an exaggeration to say next year could be the most dynamic one for SEO yet.
Aching to have an inside peek regarding what the year has in store for SEO marketing?
Here are the top four SEO trends to watch out for in 2018.
1. Mobile-First Indexing Arrives
For more than a year, Google has been preparing webmasters for a 2018 mobile-first indexing. This essentially means that the search giant will soon be ranking destinations based on the mobile version of their websites as opposed to the traditional desktop destination.
According to the latest news on Google’s mobile-first index, however, the company is already testing live mobile results. While only a “few sites” have been initiated into the future of Web indexing as of now, 2018 will ramp up the intensity.
For those who have yet to be inducted, now is the time to become hyper-focused on crafting the best mobile experience possible to ensure that it is optimized for the forthcoming changes.
Webmasters can accomplish this by reading over Google’s initial blog post on mobile-first indexing and using the company’s free mobile-friendliness tool. Be aware that the tool is page specific so different pages of your site might get different results.
Beyond Google’s demands, business owners should be invested in meeting the expectations of consumers. This means creating lightning-fast load times and an engaging mobile experience, devoid of popups.
You can accomplish much of this by simplifying your site’s code and implementing Accelerated Mobile Pages to boost your site’s speeds.
2. Voice Search Takes Over
A massive increase in voice search is a major evolution in SEO that will come to pass in 2018. This technology presents incredible advantages into the way people search and consume information because this tech is deeply tied with Google’s Quick Answers Box; we’ll touch on that again in a moment.
According to Google, voice search accounts for 20 percent of queries placed through its mobile application, with the number continuing to climb steadily.
Moreover, major research institutions such as ComScore believes that voice search will dominate 50 percent of all searches by 2020.
In 2018, the trend toward increased voice usage will continue to surge, ultimately contributing to such predictions coming to fruition. This uptick will not only be driven by mobile devices, but by smart, hands-free devices like the Amazon Echo and Google Home.
As this relates to SEO, marketers and business leaders will continually need to place increased focus on boosting long-tail keywords and natural language that aligns with user’s conversational tones.
As voice search becomes increasingly accurate and popular, more users will leverage the technology to access quick answers.
This brings us to our next major trend.
3. Increased Intention to Land in the Quick Answer Box
Most have encountered the Quick Answer Box by now. This is the short blurb of information that appears at the top of the SERPs when a “how-to” or “what is” query is entered, among other questions.
As mobile usage continues to shift the search and SEO landscape in dramatic ways and voice search alters the way that folks search, optimizing content for this space will become increasingly necessary.
The Quick Answers feature scans the Web for a bite-sized, relevant answer capable of solving the user’s query. These are most often in the form of short, information-rich sentences or bulleted lists.
To rank for the Quick Answer Box, business owners need to craft content that directly addresses specific queries and the intent behind them. This can be done by focusing your efforts on search queries that start with “why,” “what,” and “how” because these are the most common types of questions.
A great way to optimize content for landing in the Quick Answer Box is to craft a Q&A page that addresses many of these types of questions or to naturally weave in short, explicit answers into long-from content.
The most important thing to remember is to be concise and to follow through on your standard SEO best practices.
4. A Greater Focus on User Experience
User experience (UX) has always been an important centerpiece for Google. In 2018, as the Web shifts to become increasingly mobile-friendly, new and higher expectations related to UX and design will emerge.
As always, the goal is to create an intuitive and responsive experience for site visitors; the more enjoyable the interaction, the more Google is likely to reward you for your efforts.
It’s important to note that creating an ideal experience for visitors doesn’t mean that you need to redo your entire website. A few things you can do to upgrade your site experience are:
- Increase your site’s speed (as discussed in section No. 1)
- Improve your site’s readability by ensuring your font style and size are well-suited for small screen devices.
- Implement a navigational menu that is streamlined and straightforward. No one likes clicking a section only to have 20 more sub-sections revealed.
SEO is a perpetually changing practice. As we move into 2018, these trends (along with many others) are likely to emerge. In the meantime, focus your efforts on creating the best mobile experience you can for consumers and optimize your content to be concise and valuable, and you’ll have an edge as the year unfolds.
What other SEO trends do you foresee coming in 2018?
Conscious online marketer, web executive, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney has been creating and fostering online innovations since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, influencer marketing, community management, lead generation, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, and accomplished life coach. Learn more on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.