Posted on 12/29/2017 at 12:00 AM
Each year that passes brings new and exciting changes to the world of SEO. If you’re a search engine marketer, you can’t get too attached to your processes and strategies because in a year, they will likely be out-of-date. So what kind of changes can we expect in 2018? Read on!
This is the year! Though Google has warned us about a Mobile-First Index for some time, the ultimate rollout has been delayed repeatedly. However, 2018 looks to be the year when the mobile first index will finally launch. This means that no longer will we have one search results page determined by one algorithm. Now, there will be two: a mobile (primary) index and a desktop index, each with two distinct ranking algorithms!
What does this mean for you? It means that if you have yet to go responsive, now is the time to do so.
Voice Search will be Bigger than Ever
Mobile devices, smartphones, and smart home devices utilize voice-controlled digital assistants like Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant. Through the act of asking a question, a user can request information from their device.
So how can you optimize for voice? Be sure you are providing content that seamlessly answers or provides all of the information a user could be seeking because searches are no longer be query-based but Semantic – our next trend for 2018.
While we are on the subject of voice search, this provides the perfect opportunity to talk more about the growing importance of semantics. In 2013, Google’s Hummingbird update had goals to improve search accuracy by gaining a more clear understanding of searcher intent.
Since that update in 2013, search engines are advancing further, becoming much better at interpreting intent from natural language queries.
So how can you optimize for the trends of voice search and semantics?
Ultimately, both of these trends require that webmasters provide authoritative web pages that provide complete, in-depth information about a specific topic. Providing a single comprehensive resource with all the answers a user is looking for will provide Google the context it needs to satisfy the intent of searchers.
Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are already utilized heavily by Google when it comes to determining rankings. But these technologies also help deliver contextualized results to users, which is delivering a much more personalized experience to searchers.
While some think it’s impossible to optimize for AI algorithms like Google’s RankBrain, or Google’s deep learning algorithm, we think otherwise. In fact, it should become more natural to optimize your content because you just need to focus on your user’s needs. Machine learning algorithms are simply placing heavier importance on an already established SEO best practice: Creating quality content that is highly relevant to your users.
Google has made it clear that their priority is on the user. They will rank content based on the experience you deliver to users through your website. This is why in 2018, you’ll need to focus on creating a smooth experience for your visitors so that they will be more likely to engage with your pages. This engagement sends signals to search engines about which pages are most useful to the people visiting them.
To improve user experience, you must pay careful mind to your website’s speed, its readability, and its navigation structure. Take a close look and analyze how each of those items can be improved upon. Most importantly, don’t forget to consider the experience mobile users are having on smaller screens.
Is Your SEO Strategy in Need of a Refresh in 2018?
SEO is an ongoing endeavor, and the ever-changing best practices mean the job is never truly done. Global Reach can help you stay on top of trends and implement strategies that will help you maintain and improve your search results standings. Contact us today to get started!