SEO is never static. It changes all the time, both due to Google’s constant tweaking and to the general evolution of technology. In the coming months, a few noteworthy trends are likely to stand out, and define all 2018 SEO activity. Here’s a quick rundown.
This first one needs a quick clarification. It has long been important for websites to be optimized for mobile users. What’s changed, just in the past few months, is that Google now looks to the mobile version of your website first and foremost; in terms of SEO rankings, your mobile site is even more important than its desktop counterpart.
So what does this mean? If you don’t have a mobile website, or if your mobile website is slow to load, you could see a rankings loss. For all intents and purposes, your mobile website is now your primary website—so invest in it accordingly.
Google’s ongoing mission is to provide search engine users with helpful, relevant answers to their queries. A big part of that hinges on knowing what it is, exactly, that search users are looking for. Semantic search—attempts by Google to understand the finer points of user language, and what it says about user intent—demonstrates this.
One practical implication to consider: Generally speaking, a piece of content that delves deep into one specific topic will work better than a page that’s more scatterbrained. Focus on creating blogs and website pages that are true information hubs.
This third SEO concept is closely related to semantic search. Here’s the short version: If you type a search query that’s a little vague or nebulous, Google will actually employ AI to help figure out exactly what it is you’re trying to find. Its primary machine learning program, RankBrain, is now one of the most significant SEO signals.
The implication, again, is to focus on creating strong, compelling resources that take into account semantic search and user experience. In many ways, it’s best to just think about the end user, rather than get too caught up in the algorithms. Create valuable content, and the rest largely takes care of itself.
You’ve seen featured snippets on the Google SERP, even if you didn’t know that’s what they were called. These are Google’s “rich answers”—simple answers to factual queries, embedded within the SERP itself. It’s part of a larger trend for Google to make the SERP itself a treasure trove of information, without any need to click on a specific listing.
Featured snippets occupy invaluable online real estate—so if you can rank for one, that would be handy. Focus on creating topical resources, formatted as tables, bulleted lists, or Q&As, that answer very specific, factual questions.
Finally, any article about 2018 SEO trends must touch on voice search—maybe the biggest game changer of them all. Voice search has become so prominent, it’s actually poised to overtake more traditional search within the next few years.
So what should you do to engage with voice search queries? Mirroring the conversational style in which voice search queries are phrased is a start. And once again, formatting in a Q&A or list format helps, too.
Preparing for the Future
There’s no better way to future-proof your SEO efforts than by getting a broad, comprehensive strategy in place—and that’s something the Driven2020 team can help you with. We’re always on the cutting edge of what works in SEO. Learn more by contacting the Driven2020 team today. Make sure you ask about scheduling a full marketing audit!