10 SEO Trends That Are Huge in 2018
When it comes to building an online presence for a website, there’s no doubt you have to be using SEO tools. But, with so many new tools and algorithm updates, it can be hard to stay ahead of the game.
It seems like just yesterday blogs blew up the online space and everyone started to understand content is king. Now, there are many various forms of content and different ways to utilize it.
This means you have to keep updating yourself on SEO trends.
Luckily, we have the most important ones of 2018 right here. The following are the top ten SEO trends to be aware of as you build this year’s content strategy for your business.
1. Everyone Is Going Mobile
In 2015, Google announced mobile searches had surpassed desktop searches. More and more people were using smartphones and tablets to access online information, and this couldn’t be truer today.
As a result, Google is launching a mobile-first approach to indexing. Put simply, the same bots that crawl your desktop pages will now be putting a priority on the mobile version of your content.
What should you do about it? Create a mobile responsive website if you haven’t done so already. Make use of expandable content while you’re at it.
2. You Have to Be Fast
Whether you’re scrambling to get a mobile version of your website together or if you’ve already noticed this change, make sure all your pages are fast.
Specifically, make sure they load in three seconds or less.
That is how long you have to hold a user’s attention. Otherwise, you risk having a boost in bounce rates. Not to mention, you can expect to see a drop in your rank performance if you don’t get up to speed.
3. Visuals, Like Photo and Video, Matter
It might be a little too early to tell, but it seems visual content is the way of the future. UX trends are emphasizing the use of photo and video to capture user’s attention on a website.
As a result, it wouldn’t be surprising to see SEO trends shift to focus on visual, too.
Currently, there are many ways to optimize your photos, videos, and graphics. Make sure all of these are high-resolution so that they don’t slow down your load time. Name them with your targeted keywords and play with your placement options, too.
4. Voice Search Is on the Rise
Whether a user is looking for a cool photo download, a nearby restaurant, or the final score of the game they missed, they are more likely to do so via voice search this year.
This is partially due to the rise of voice-enabled devices like Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa. These tools make voice more accessible, on top of things like Siri and Cortana.
Right now, one in five mobile searches is a voice search. As SEO trends continue to develop, it is safe to assume this number will rise.
5. AI (Artificial Intelligence) Is Getting More Intelligent
AI is the driving force behind Google’s search processing.
For example, RankBrain, Google’s machine-learning AI system, used to help the engine process about 15% of its queries. Today, RankBrain handles all of the searches Google operates.
The AI team didn’t stop there. These days, you can buy your own Google-made Cloud AI product.
Taking this development one step further, Google HQ now says they have an AI system that knows how to build more AI. This could potentially mean changes in how the search engine’s intelligence picks up search results.
At the moment, AI seems to be behaving just fine with long-term, tried and true SEO trends. Moving forward, the best way to navigate the new AI features will be to continue focusing on content for users and not for bots – with the thought process that bots are meant to imitate user behavior.
6. Hyperlocal Results Are Gaining More Traffic
You’ve heard of local SEO trends in recent years. These are things like the use of NAP (name, address, phone number), regional terms and phrases, and even adding “nearby” or “near me” to some keywords.
This year, local is getting even more focused. Instead of ranking for search results that are within a user’s town, zip code, or even their neighborhood, search wants to get as close as possible. Think, within a mile’s or even a block’s radius.
Such a focus will likely shake up those who are using local search strategies already. It could make it even harder for those who have neglected local search to get started.
7. Genuine Guests Posts Will Stay While the Fakes Go Away
The crack-down on black-hat SEO trends is nothing new. But, Google is getting smarter, and it’s taking a stronger stance against paid links and manipulative link building efforts.
Not to say guest posting is going away. On the contrary, it can still offer a significant amount of benefit for your brand’s authority in your industry and your site traffic as a whole.
Just always be sure to ask yourself if what you’re blogging about is truly relevant, new information. If you are spitting hot air on a site that anyone has access to, you’ve got some work to do.
8. “Linkless” Backlinks Are a Thing
Speaking of manipulative link building, let’s talk about linkless backlinks. Yes, that is now an SEO concept, and it’s actually a good one.
Linkless backlinking is basically a fancy industry term for brand mentions. It is the concept of search engines using off-page brand mentions as a way of recognizing authority.
Basically, whenever a user or even a competitor talks about you on any online space – from social media and forums to personal blogs and digital PR platforms – they are increasing your level of authority. This SEO trend places a newfound importance on reputation management.
9. Individualization Is Increasing
At the end of the day, SEO is all about the user.
Traditionally, this has meant the more you optimize the keywords your users are typing in and starting conversations with them, the easier it will be to connect. General facts about your target audience lead you to specific individuals.
It seems, though, search is about to get even more personal. With the increasing use of AI and local search, other unique factors will come into play.
These include a user’s search history and interests. Such details will begin to cater each user’s SERP more and more, making it harder for companies to figure out SEO.
10. New SERP Features Are Coming
On top of more customized SERPs, there are new SERP features entering the search space altogether. In addition to Google’s snack pack, expect a Knowledge Graph panel and the use of featured snippets.
Such search features are made to make the user experience easier and more efficient.
As beneficial as this is, it’s another SEO trend for companies to keep track of.
New SEO Trends and Site Performance
Just when you thought you had SEO, link building, and guest posts all figured out, something new comes into the search space. The one constant about SEO to always keep in mind is that it is constantly progressing.
You have to be pushing content that is not only relevant to your users but also updated to play the search game. To stay in the know about the best SEO tips and tools, click here.