SEO Trends For 2018

 In SEO

With the new year upon us, we thought it would be good to highlight some SEO trends we predict for 2018.

Over the year’s Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has become increasingly difficult, and it is essential to keep on top of what is recommended and what is not.

Back in the day when we started doing SEO, it was possible to get website ranking with low-quality keyword rich content followed by questionable link building via articles, directories and link attribution from free resources. While these techniques will still have some benefit, if you rely on them too heavily, it is possible that Google will carry out a manual action on your site and you will lose all your valuable rankings.

Regarding link building, it is also important not to rely on one technique. Google can and will change their algorithm without notice, often they will devalue the importance of specific links, or the algorithm will automatically ignore them altogether. So, if you have become reliant on one technique, you might not get a manual actual, but the devalued links will result in massive drops in organic listings. Trust us, we have seen it!

That being said, many of the trends of recent years have been less about link building.

Mobile dominates

With pretty much everyone owning a smartphone, and the decline of the desktop PC, it is no wonder that mobile searches now dominate. According to Google over half of the searches carried out are via mobile. We already know mobile friendliness is a ranking factor, and it is likely to become an increasingly important part of an SEO strategy. In general, the best technique will be to develop your website using a responsive layout, that will adapt to the resolution of the device it is on. In recent years all the sites we produce use this method.

Voice search booms

Going hand in hand with the mobile domination, Voice Search is now a thing, and it is here to stay. Google reports that 55 percent of teens and 40 percent of adults use voice search daily; and, according to Google’s Behshad Behzadi, the ratio of voice search is growing faster than type search. Voice search calls for a whole new keyword research routine: Voice searchers use ordinary, conversational sentences instead of the odd-sounding query lingo.

Feature-rich search results make organic listings even harder

A blessing and a curse, page one results in Google are no longer dominated by the top 10 organic listings. There are now numerous features employed by Google and an increase in PPC exposure.

For example, for Hotels Manchester the top 4 listings are PPC, then a hotel search feature. The first organic listing is only just visible at the bottom of our screen.

In another example searching for reviews of a popular dashcam resulting in Google Shopping results which are PPC followed by a standout feature, then several reviews using rich snippets to show the rating of the product.

Along with growing competition, achieving the sacred No 1 spot in Google is becoming harder, and sometimes less effective.

Structured data

On the flip side, while getting no 1 in Google is not always as good as it was, you can use Googles feature-rich search results to improve click-through ratio considerably.

Following the guidelines set out by Schema.org you can make your results in Google stand out considerably by adding star ratings, or some things like cook times, calories, and event dates.

Quality of content is more important than ever

If you want to be picky about Googles rules, any form of link building shouldn’t be done as you are artificially increasing your backlinks. Instead, you should rely on the quality of content of your site to naturally grow links.

While very few companies follow that route, each year it becomes more important to have good quality content on your website. Google uses something called RankBrain and Latent Semantic Indexing to assess the quality of the content on your website.   Google learns which terms are related and builds expectations as to the terms that are likely to appear in a given context. This helps Google decide whether a piece of content is “comprehensive.”

As this machine learning technology becomes more advanced, conventional ranking signals applied to popular searches will decline in importance, including backlinks and domain age.

Don’t rely on guest blogs

As we highlighted at the start of this post, you should never rely on one link building technique. Guest blogging has been one of the most dominate link building methods in the past five years or so. It is still valid, and will always likely be useful to a certain extent, but with the improvements in Googles machine learning tools, and the war on paid links, it is imperative to diversify your backlink profile.

Overall

SEO and online marketing is a minefield; it always has been. Performing well in Google can make or break a company, and this is one of the reasons why we offer SEO as a service for clients. We sometimes suffer from information overall trying to keep on top of things; we certainly wouldn’t expect you to stay up to date and run your successful business.

However, dependant on your goals, and willingness to learn and commit significant time to online marketing, it is entirely possible to do all this yourself, and we hope the above points help you in 2018.

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