SEO trends are the ever-changing phenomenon like all other areas in the digital world. In its continuous shift, sometimes SEO practices that once dominated the industry get lost in the oblivion while others become increasingly significant.
All these developments in the search engine optimization techniques depend on Google algorithm change. Such introduction of newer trends creates a massive impact on the online marketing scenario.
This blog is intended to let you understand the SEO trends 2018 and what to expect from the recent Google algorithm changes.
SEO trends 2018 – A Comprehensive Analysis
SEO or search engine optimization is a complex science among all other dominant Google algorithm’s 200 or more factors. SEO is mainly the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to a website. It’s a practice of optimizing web content for better ranking. By following the SEO best practices, an online marketer can place content on top of other similar topics.
According to this approach, people who are actively searching for particular information will be able to view your web content the moment they enter a query.
But it’s to keep in mind that search engines are continuously refining their algorithms. Each year, Google changes its search algorithm for several times. Although, many changes are minor, yet there are specific algorithmic updates that might affect the search results in significant ways.
Hence, it’s important to keep track of each Google algorithm change to improve rankings, organic website traffic and finally boost SEO.
SEO trends & digital marketing
Search Engine Optimization techniques play an influential role in the digital marketing campaign. It’s an integral component of driving customers to a business. In previous years, SEO best practices involved only adding keywords for better ranking but in this current year, SEO is becoming more complicated. So, as an online marketer, you should have a clear insight into the recent SEO trends.
Before you find out the SEO trends 2018, it is also necessary for you to understand what’s trending on the web right now.
Expanding the business in the digital world comprises of the following:
- Mobile friendly web applications
- Secured website with HTTPS protocol
- Optimized user experience
- Rich content and structured data
- Introduction of faster pages – AMP
Below, we’ve listed the major algorithmic changes that will have the biggest impact on search. Take a look at the Google algorithm changes & SEO impact.
1. Increase in SERP features is the new SEO Trend
SERP or a search engine results page is the page displayed by a web search engine in response to a searcher’s query. The results that are returned by the search engine in response to a keyword query forms the main component of the SERP. Sometimes the page also contains advertisements and other results too. These results are of two types, organic (retrieved by the search engine’s algorithm) and sponsored (ads). The results are typically ranked by relevance to the query.
Nowadays, a SERP takes in images, social media information, videos links, article listings, ads and several widgets. Although keyword and critical phrase optimization are still relevant, yet according to the present Google algorithm change, now a digital marketer has to give importance to several other off-site elements also. Popular search engine results page features AdWords, news block, featured snippets, local packs, reviews, tweets, video, image pack, shopping results and site links.
What does it mean for you?
This year, the SERP features will dominate the search engine results. With this phenomenon on the rise, it will be critical to track rankings of your pages. So, if you want to rank #1 on the search engines, you need to keep up with these features and monitor those keywords that are potentially taking away the traffic from you.
Keep track of SEO PowerSuite’s Rank Tracker
The good news for SEO practitioners; you can track all the requirements with SEO PowerSuite’s Rank Tracker. The tool is devised to monitor 15 Google SERP features and the organic results. When you start a project with SEO PowerSuite’s Rank Tracker, the Google SERP Features column will display all elements generated by your keywords, with the ones you rank is highlighted in green. Moreover, you can also measure the volatility of SERP features day-to-day using SERP Analysis tab.
2. Voice Search Optimization and its significance in 2018
Like the previous year, 2018 will also be time for Voice Search Optimization. Besides being faster, these query results present more detailed information. This year with algorithm updates, voice search will continue to pick up force.
Everyone’s using the Google’s voice command feature to search. Surveys reveal that nowadays both adults and teens alike use voice search to make a search query. In this busy schedule, people prefer to receive search results without experiencing the hassle of typing the query.
Winston Burton, VP of SEO, Acronym Media puts forth, “Voice search is changing the way users are communicating with Google and other search engines to find relevant answers to their questions and it is becoming an integral part of the Google experience. SEMrush and other providers offer tools that show you what traffic is from featured snippets, etc. and it is rumored Google is working on something for voice searches in Google Analytics.”
Therefore, as a present-day digital marketer, you should align your projects accordingly. Figure out those factors ruling the conversational voice search queries in your industry. Optimize your content for those queries.
How to do it?
Rank Tracker will help.
The increased detailed search queries mean you’ll have to think beyond the simple keyword and phrases. When you want to rank, focus more on terms/phrases that people use while making a conversation. Hence your SEO strategy should be focused on using conversational terms and sentences. A Rank Tracker will assist you to track conversational search queries and optimize your site accordingly.
3. Important SEO trend – Faster Page Speed
In this extremely busy world web, visitors want quick results. So, a faster loading site will attract more traffic for providing a better user experience.
Load speed was an essential factor in website rankings during 2010. But during that time it was focused only on desktop searches. But according to the SEO trend 2018, today page speed will concentrate on mobile searches too.
A report published in searchenlineland.com shows that page speed will be the new ranking factor for mobile search. This factor will be applicable from the month July 2018 onwards. This new ranking algorithm update will affect only those pages that deliver the slowest user experience.
How to increase the page load speed?
Use LightHouse tool or the newly updated PageSpeed report to assess your page speed and make improvements to keep up with the recent Google mobile search change.
4. SEO trend and linkless mentions
Bing usually tracks linkless brand mentions and this is one of the vital factors for ranking signal. Of late Google patents have also confirmed that it will undertake this tracking system for ranking. With the emergence of AI for ranking, now “linkless” mentions will even start playing a major role in search rankings.
In earlier years, Google used links to determine the authority of websites. According to this tactics, online marketers mentioned links of high authority pages and this had become a core PageRank algorithm. But this practice led to the emergence of numerous manipulative link move.
To stop this growing nuisance, Google announced penalties with its Penguin update. The punitive system continued for years but gradually it started to become quite confusing. In one hand publishers associate links with a risk of getting penalized and on the other hand the idea of pages connected by hyperlinks is gradually losing its importance.
It is seen that the tactics used to earn brand mentions are not much different from the approach used to obtain links. However, the number of people who mention brands is much higher than the number of people who link to them. This update is expected to have a good boost for smaller brands.
The blog ‘How to use brand mentions for SEO, or the linkless future of link building’ says, “The web today is so much more than links and pages — it’s a full-blown ecosystem where relationships can be expressed in a million ways. Unlinked brand mentions and the sentiment behind them may be the timely replacement for a site authority signal the internet needs.”
6. RankBrain Google algorithm update 2018
RankBrain, a part of Google’s Hummingbird algorithm is another significant factor to create an impact on website ranking. It was initially launched in the year 2016 which incorporates a machine learning system. This system helps Google to understand the meaning behind the search queries and present the accurate results in response. RankBrain is the third most crucial ranking factor. In the current year, Google has updated Rankbrain and with this change, it will now become the most critical factor.
Dave Davies, CEO, Beanstalk Internet Marketing “As machine learning improves, we’re seeing a rapid growth in Google’s ability to understand not just language, but user intent. As these both advance, what we’re really seeing is Google’s ability to judge a page/site’s ability to fulfill the searcher’s intent improve dramatically.”
How to align yourself with Rankbrain update
You need to develop relevant and comprehensiveness contents to follow the continuous changes in search engine optimization techniques.
WebSite Auditor‘s TF-IDF tool helps you with competitive analysis and enables you to discover related terms and concepts used by your competitors.
7. Mobile first indexing
It’s old news that mobile searches have outpaced desktop searches and more then 60 percent of traffic comes from mobile devices. Now the story is, 2018 will be the year of mobile-first indexing, meaning- Google will develop and rank its search results based on the mobile version.
Especially, it means in this current year signals that create an impact on searches from mobile devices will impact all other searches too. But those sites that are not mobile friendly will soon lose the game.
How will this SEO trend affect you?
Google is combining both mobile and desktop search indexes, if you want to be ahead of your competitors create a responsive website.
Google suggests, “If your website is responsive or otherwise identical in its desktop and mobile versions, you may not have to do anything differently.” Just ensure that the mobile experience (e.g. load time, page, page speed, navigation, etc.) is correctly optimized from a user perspective
But things would be different if you have a separate mobile site, make sure that your mobile version contains everything that your desktop site does and this could be a little extensive. However, the bottom line is you will win the game and rank top.
Bridget Randolph (freelance SEO and marketing consultant) aptly defines in her blog, “It’s called “mobile-first” because it’s not a mobile-only index: for instance, if a site doesn’t have a mobile-friendly version, the desktop site can still be included in the index. But the lack of a mobile-friendly experience could impact negatively on the rankings of that site, and a site with a better mobile experience would potentially receive a rankings boost even for searchers on a desktop.”
Google Algorithm updates
The final focus of Google is to help you earn more traffic compared to your competitors. Google updates algorithms to help you deliver faster and more productive results to the searchers while improving overall search satisfaction for users.
Andy Betts (Global Marketing Adviser & Consultant) says, “In 2018, SEO marketers need to up their game and shift their focus beyond rank and towards revenue. Having experience that spans multiple channels with an integrated mindset – especially on SEO and PPC synergy, combined with a performance mentality—sets up people who are new to the market for success. For marketers who were brought up in the ‘traditional SEO market,’ 2018 is a time to adapt or die.”
Google has come a long way with introductions of AI, linkless mentions, distracting advertisements. It is still introducing new trends, so be prepared for the long-term. Develop your SEO strategies with the growth and be at the top amidst your competitors.