Search Engine Optimization Trends that Are Going to Turn SEO on Its Head in 2018

March 24, 2018

Are You Ready to Dominate SEO in 2018? Here Are the Trends You Need to Know About

2017 has been a great year, but who isn’t ready to say goodbye and welcome in a new year with new possibilities. Now is the time to take inventory of your yearly goals and decide what has worked for you and what has fallen flat.

One of the goals you need to be looking at is your SEO strategy. The world of SEO optimization is rapidly changing, transitioning to the point where previous undercurrents like personalization and becoming mobile friendly are now prime strategies.

What direction should you take with SEO in 2018?

Here are 4 trends that you need to know about for your business to grow in the coming year.

Voice Search

Voice Search Facts

Voice search currently accounts for about 20% of all Google searches, and it is estimated that by 2020 a whopping 50% of searches will be initiated by voice. Considering that Google processes over 3.5 billion searches per day, the 30% increase in voice search in just the next two years translates into huge numbers and an even bigger potential for optimizing your SEO strategy to begin meeting the demands of voice search now.

The challenges that business will face in adapting to this new search trend involve learning how to recognize the differences between a standard text and voice search. To optimize their voice SEO strategy, business will need to begin thinking in terms of how people speak and interact with one another, rather than how they interact with the keyboard.

Voice search brings the need to focus in on long tail keywords and natural language patterns. A text search might be only 3-5 words long, composed of keywords without any real sentence structure. For example, a search for a pizza restaurant might be “pizza restaurant near me”.

The same inquiry, done via voice search could be “What is the best pizza place to eat at in (town name)?”. The tone is conversational and different keywords are used. Optimizing your SEO strategy in 2018 means adapting to the different language and tone used in voice searches, and we will see a strong shift in businesses changing their SEO strategy to accommodate the voice market.

Mobile First

Mobile Only

So, we know that voice is big.

But, what is the driving factor behind the huge jump in voice searches? The answer is in the palm of your hand, literally.

With 1 in 5 voice searches being initiated from a mobile device, 2018 proves to be the year that brands begin to fully realize the potential of mobile first SEO. It isn’t just mobile voice searches that are growing, its mobile searches in general.

In this graph, we see that mobile searches continue to climb year after year, while desktop searches have flatlined. This illustrates a major trend, but there is more than just the upward slope of the graph that is fueling a mobile-first trend in 2018.

We also have Google to thank.

There have been not-so-silent rumblings in the SEO industry about Google finally deploying their mobile first index in 2018.

Currently, sites are ranked based on a set of analytics that applies primarily to desktop searches. In the past, mobile SEO has had the challenge of optimizing their mobile sites for Positive UX, while still trying to cram itself into a system of analytics that didn’t quite fit.

A mobile first index would change that.

Google wants its search results to represent its users, who just happen to be holding a lot of mobile devices.

Even without Google’s influence in the mobile first trend, brands need to be optimized for their mobile customers to generate engagements and leads. Optimizing your SEO strategy, which includes site speed and content, to reach your mobile customer will become more important than ever in 2018.

Local SEO

SEO Local Business Marketing Strategy

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The grand prize of SEO has always been to land somewhere between position 1 and 3 on Google search results. But for some businesses, position zero is the place to be. And, one way that you can land there in 2018 is through optimizing your local SEO.

Local SEO is a means of marketing to a targeted local market by using the specific keywords that they use when completing local searches. For many users, a local search is done to meet an immediate need. This means that local searches, especially those done from mobile devices are often in question form.

The featured snippet that appears in position zero is the first thing a mobile user sees. Connecting with a local business through a featured snippet is much easier than scrolling through pages of similar search results while trying to decide which one to click on.

For example, let’s look at this voice search for “How do I change a tire?”

From the results, we can see that Bridgestone Tires optimized their site content to reach mobile voice users through SEO. A flat tire happens to everyone at some point, so what if you owned this tire company and this inquiry was made by someone local to your business? Then, what if it happened again…and again?

Of consumers who conduct local, mobile searches 50% of them will visit the store within one day, compared to 34% of desktop users. Smart businesses are planning now on how to optimize their content to rank among local searches in to boost revenue in  2018.

User Experience and Rankbrain

What is the most important SEO trend to pay attention to in 2018?

It’s something that shouldn’t really be a trend at all, but instead an expectation. We’re talking about user experience.

Google rankings and analytics are not as complicated of a puzzle as they seem to be. The main thing that Google will care about in 2018, possibly the only thing they will care about, is how satisfying an experience your site is for the user.

A positive UX means more return visits, more clicks, and more revenue in Google’s pocket, so of course, it makes sense that this is a priority, but we will really see the point driven home in 2018.

There are, of course, certain indicators of a positive UX. Sites with favorable navigation, readability and speed rank highest for UX. How does Google determine if your site provides a positive UX?

Well, they have their ways and one of them in Rankbrain.

Google Rankbrain For Dummies

Rankbrain is an algorithm based AI system that helps Google rank process some of its results. Rankbrain is programmed to target sites that provide quality UX.

To be competitive in SEO in 2018, it is crucial to understand how Rankbrain is assessing user experience on your site. For example, the AI technology looks at your visitor’s browsing habits. Once they land on your page, are they staying for 5 minutes, or 20 seconds. A visitor who stays longer is indicative of a positive UX, where someone who lands and then immediately backs out sends a signal that something about your page or content scared them away.

In 2018, we see less of a focus on the sheer numbers associated with driving traffic and more of a focus on creating mobile friendly, targeted quality content that adds value to the user’s experience.

A Farewell to 2017

The focus on a more personalized user experience as the driving factor behind SEO strategy should make for an interesting and exciting year in SEO. Now is the time to say goodbye to conventional thoughts on SEO and welcome in the new year with a fresh strategy for optimizing your SEO strategy in ways that will really make a difference in the year to come.