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SEO has changed tons over they years. Gone are the days when buying links would actually help your website out, or stuffing keywords into your content could get you the number one spot in search results.
As technology changes, so does the way we use that technology and as a result, our habits online change. Now that we are approaching the end of 2017, it is time to start looking ahead to understand what SEO trends we can expect in 2018!
Now keep in mind that these are just predictions, and these trends are based upon past data, however, it’s always good to be prepared for what may come.
Looking ahead to 2018, these SEO trends can help take your website and your organic traffic acquisition to the next level.
Fast Loading Mobile Pages
The trend towards faster loading mobile pages has been aided by a project called Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP). AMP is basically a stripped down version of your website (no bells and whistles, no fancy and unnecessary images etc).
With AMP, your website becomes more streamlined and the focus shifts to speed and readability. Since the world is shifting to a more on-the-go lifestyle, customers want to be able to access information quickly while on the go.
Google will not punish websites for not using AMP, however, you will get punished if your website is slow loading.
In order to install AMP, take a look at the following video in order to help you with the setup:
Voice Search is one of the most exciting SEO trends because I believe once it surpasses regular search done on a computer, it will completely change the keywords we choose to target.
Let me explain.
On mobile devices, voice search accounts for 20% of the requests with this number expected to rise. At first, the Voice Search was a unique feature that people used occasionally just to test it out.
Now it is becoming a staple for quick searches. In a previous blog post I have talked about the importance of targeting long-tail keywords for smaller websites. In order to understand how voice search will affect keyword research, we have to understand what a long-tail keyword is. So let me quickly explain that:
A keyword is generally 1-2 words such as, blue shoes or women’s dresses. They are very broad and generally very hard to rank for.
A long-tail keyword is much more specific such as, where to buy blue shoes in Toronto. Going after long-tail keywords is a great tactic for smaller websites as they are less competitive. They bring in less traffic, however, you have a higher chance of ranking for them.
Now back to voice search. Voice search is a more conversational tone and more natural flowing sentence, as opposed to how people search for questions online.
You must focus on how people talk in real life and how they would state a question, which leads to longer-tail keywords becoming more popular as voice search increases.
If you are a brick and mortar business or even if you an online business that receives phone calls from your potential customers, pay attention to how they are asking there questions and what type of questions they are asking. Once you have a list of questions people are asking, you can create a content page that primarily focuses on these.
In 2017 having a mobile friendly page is a must and not a trend, however, I still come across many websites that aren’t mobile friendly.
A mobile friendly website should include the following:
- larger text
- larger and easier to click buttons
- sections stacked on top of each other (instead of beside)
- images that adjust their size based on the screen
- no popups (bars that slide in at the top are ok, but nothing should block the content)
- a mobile menu bar that is easy for the user to expand or collapse
Your web designer should design your website so it looks different on different devices. A quick way to tell if your website is mobile friendly is by adjusting the size of your browser. If you notice the format changing, size of the text increasing, your website is likely mobile friendly.
However, if nothing changes, you probably don’t have a mobile friendly site.
You can also check if your website is mobile friendly here.
Use Different Mediums
Potential customers should be wowed by your website and your content. They don’t want to be simply reading a blog post everyday.
Changing up your content will alter your potential customer’s experience and allow you to interact in different ways.
People tend to connect to visuals and content they can interact with. If you don’t have videos posted up on your website, this is your opportunity to engage more one on one with your customer.
This is an opportunity for them to see the person behind the website and create a tie with your customers. Other platforms that are engaging are Instagram live or Facebook live!
You can use these to promote a sale, blog posts, or simply just leave a simple message. Altering your approach of engagement with potential customers can attract more traffic or help maintain loyalty from already existing customers.
Content Is Still Important
Make sure what you post is meaningful to your target audience. People want answers and do not want to be searching through a maze to uncover what they are looking for.
If you are new to the field of your business it might be a good idea to hire a writer to make sure your content is what your audience is looking for.
If you have experience and time, focus on what content your customers would be looking for. You also need to focus on speaking in the proper voice/language that is easily understood by your audience.
In April of 2017 Google announced that websites that require users to enter data (whether that be passwords, credit card information etc) will need to have Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS). HTTPS is an extra layer of security.
As of October 2017, Google now displays a “not secure” warning for your website (see picture below) if you collect user data and do not have HTTPS. This is only for websites viewed in the Chrome browser.
By doing this, Google has made it clear that it will favor websites who are secure over those who aren’t secure (and are collecting customer information).
Could less traffic to your website really be an SEO trend we are predicting for 2018? For certain queries, yes.
Featured snippets (as seen below) try to answer your query instantly in order to minimize the amount of clicks you need to take to get your answer.
With featured snippets on the rise, Google is trying to ensure their users get the information they need, without needing to actually click on any websites.
Now, in the above example the featured snippet may satisfy my query. All I’m looking for is a list of the best teas to drink, and within the featured snippet I am shown eight. I may decide that I have fulfilled my query, or I may click through to learn more.
Had I searched something like “how to make quiche from scratch”, there’s a good chance that the entire recipe (with ingredients plus instructions) wouldn’t fit within the featured snippet box, and I would need to click through in order to fulfill my query.
RankBrain is an artificial intelligence (AI) program that Google now uses to help choose and display search results. Essentially, Google makes “note” of user behavior when searching to try and determine if your content is satisfying their needs.
I’ve written an in depth article on RankBrain and I highly recommend checking it out to learn more!
Essentially, focusing on the searcher’s intent is going to become hugely important if you want to continue ranking for specific keywords.
This means you will need to take a deeper look into your customers and how/why they are searching for particular key terms.
Now, it is impossible to predict how big of an impact each one of these tips could provide for your business and it might not be possible to implement all of these to your website!
Sit down, make a list of what you think would be most beneficial for your business and take the proper steps to keep up with ongoing changing environment of SEO.
Some are harder to implement than others and might be above your capabilities but others are simple and can be easily changed on the go!
Which of these SEO trends are you most excited for? Personally, I’m most excited to see how voice changes the SEO game.
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