Our Best SEO Predictions for 2018
Changes in SEO are as common as changes in the seasons, however rather than being brought on by atmospheric conditions they are driven by the ever changing wants and needs of consumers. Unfortunately this regularity of change means that you need to stay on top of those changes or risk your hard earned rankings take a back seat to a business putting in more effort and energy. As an experienced web development company we understand that struggle which is why we wanted to share Our Best SEO Predictions for 2018.
As this year winds down, it is time to look ahead to the coming year and plan your route for continued businesses success. Part of that planning should be looking at trends and developments in technology, digital marketing and optimization to help you decide where to invest your efforts and energy to dominate your niche in the coming year.
Our Best SEO Predictions
- Direct Answers in Search – Google is going to keep finding new and better ways to provide answers for search queries. The Knowledge Panel, Featured Snippets and Local Pack are just the beginning of what could be, so ensuring your best pages are optimized will in turn provide the best chance to be included in these featured answers, which will pay dividends.
- User Experience – This made the list last year and it stays on the list moving forward. Google wants to provide the best experience for each and every searcher that uses them therefore we feel that RankBrain and other Google creations will continue to value sites that have a very positive user experience.
- Voice Search – As more users make use of voice search options on various devices the need to focus on long-tail keywords and natural language has increased. We need to move deeper than just a text-based optimization if you want to keep engagement high.
- Video Power – Video has been a powerful partner to SEO for years but people seem to still be catching on to exactly how much can be done with it. When 18-year olds with millions of YouTube followers are able to buy mansions in Los Angeles it is time to recognize that video is a prime method for gaining exposure and keeping people engaged.
- Reduced Clickthrough Rates – As Featured Snippets, The Knowledge Panel and other answer options grow that means a drop in overall traffic for everyone. If people get the answer they want on the search page why should they click through? That means focusing on other avenues than just search for traffic if you want to keep converting.
- AMP goes Mainstream – Google’s AMP Project keeps developing and getting easier to implement which means more people will use it.
- Focus on the Journey – As websites have grown larger and more complex more touch points are created rather than using a single entry point. In that regard we need to focus more on the entire journey which means careful analysis of user metrics, page analytics, heat maps, content analytics and the like to maximize each and every page along with understanding where in the journey someone will be when they land on a page and then how best to move them towards a conversion.
- Great Content – Yup, in case you were not aware, content is still king. Great content will continue to define websites and drive traffic along with engagement. Sites with a focused and solid content strategy will enjoy better results. Of course you still need to utilize a well-rounded SEO strategy as even the best content has to be found!
- Mobile First Switch – Google will slowly roll out the mobile-first index. For those not aware, the mobile-first index will be an index created and ranked based solely on the mobile version of content. For tips on how to prepare check out this How-To from Google to move your m-dot site to responsive, which is what they encourage.
- Content Audits – For larger sites that have been around posting content for a while, content audits will become very important as a way to increase the overall SEO performance of a website. By removing or republishing older content that might not be as relevant or even accurate, the overall relevancy and authority of the site will increase.
- Links Matter – Link building will not go away and should still be part of a well-rounded SEO strategy, especially on the local level.
- Search Intent – Google’s semantic searches have four vectors: intent, context, meaning and relevance. Of these four, intent will be a key factor in the coming year therefore you should look to understand the intent of users during the journey to then be able to include intent keywords to your content as well.
- SSL Certificates – Websites without an SSL Certificate (displaying https) will keep falling down the ranking ladder. Security is very important to consumers and as such to Google and other search engines, therefore sites that are less secure will be ranked accordingly.
- Speed Kills – In this case slow speed will kill your rankings. Much the many other things Google tracks in relation to the user experience, speed continues to be a big deal. A Slower sites means lower satisfaction and thus lower rankings.
- More Ads – With the addition Knowledge Panels and Featured Snippets there are simply less clicks to go around. One of the easier ways, although not free, is using paid ads. It might be time to dust off your low-cost Adwords game to help diversify how people find you.
The bottom line is that the internet is always changing and if those changes directly relate to you and how you do business then it is critical that you stay aware of them. While we most likely won’t hit the bull’s-eye with all of our choices, many of our Best SEO Predictions for 2018 will become reality, changing what we focus on for search engine optimization.
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