Traditional SEO techniques are still going to be effective in 2018, but a number of trends are in the works that could significantly alter the practice of optimizing for search. That’s why it’s useful to keep up with the latest trends and discover how your brand can maintain a successful SEO strategy for the year ahead by blending established and growing trends.
In 2018, building valuable backlinks will still a critical factor for ranking in the search engine results pages (SERPS). This is one of the major ways that Google knows that a website can be trusted.
Quality should be used over quantity when backlinks are created. It’s better to have one link from a highly trusted website than it is to have multiple links from directories.
Link building is not expected to disappear in 2018, but it will be more important than ever to create a strategy that seeks out quality links. There’s no need to aim for new links if they don’t add value and help you build an authority in your target niche.
Smartphone use has skyrocketed in the past few years. This has increased the use of mobile search at the same rate. Traffic that used to flow to desktop computers is now starting to flow to mobile devices. This makes mobile optimization a top priority for search engine optimization 2018.
Google already announced that they are experimenting with mobile-first indexing, which shows that it’s one of the most important SEO trends that they are serious about prioritizing. While Google still favors the desktop point of view for its search index, it’s probably a good time to start optimizing for mobile too.
Accelerated mobile pages
Site speed is critical for search engines and your page’s performance at the SERPs and Accelerated Mobile Pages can make a page load up to four times faster than a standard mobile page. According to specialists, AMP load in a second and they also see a 35% improvement in engagement time.
Google’s focus on AMP has made more publishers consider their use, currently counting more than 2 billion Accelerated Mobile Pages.
The demand is expected to grow in 2018, helping companies improve their engagement and the overall user experience through fast and responsive mobile pages.
Strengthening the brand of a business is also one of the top SEO trends for 2018. When a brand is listed and recognized in the top search engine results pages, customers are more likely to purchase their products or services. A top brand is also more likely to collaborate with other organizations in their industry or niche.
Social media sites are free and should be utilized to heighten the brand awareness of a business. While social media sites are not typically used in the decision-making of ranking, they do provide another avenue for traffic. Videos and images are more likely to get shared on social media sites and that helps potential consumers recognize a brand.
User experience for SEO will become even more important in 2018. Google has made it clear that the focus is on the user and this should make more sites deliver a smooth UX for their visitors.
A good user experience increases the chances of people engaging with the pages that they visit. This helps search engines discover which pages are more useful for people, favoring them over others.
The first step is to monitor a site’s speed, its readability, and its navigation structure to examine how these can be improved through the right changes.
Moreover, as more people consume content from their mobile devices, there is a growing need to provide an excellent user experience across all devices.
AI and machine learning
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are already changing the way that search results are ranked. Machine learning can also facilitate the way searches take place, helping users find contextualized results.
This will lead to a more personalized experience, while the rise of voice search and digital assistants can offer the ideal ground to develop artificial intelligence and reward successful SEO strategies that keep up with the trends.
In 2016, Google began to roll out their Quick Answers feature. These are small snippets of information that Google highlights at the top of their SERPS.
A way to reach the top of the SERPs is to create content that serves as a Quick Answer. Google’s Answer Box is an enhanced type of featured snippet that aims to answer a question in a more appealing way.
It usually follows a “how” or “what” structure and is Google’s attempt to use search intent to organize the search results in a more useful way. It has been observed that the results that show up in an Answer Box can see a CTR of 32.3%.
An increase in voice search
Leveraging voice search is another one of the top SEO trends that will be affecting search engine optimization in 2018. Many users are now speaking into their devices instead of taking the time to type out questions. It’s much faster, it’s more convenient, and it’s catching on fast!
In fact, studies indicate that if the current growth of voice search sustains its pace at the same rate, in three years about 50 percent of the searches will be via speech or by clicking on images.
Keyword strategies for on-page content should incorporate keyword phrases with more of a conversational tone.