Search engine optimization (SEO) is a very complex science. With over 200 different aspects that factor into the Google algorithm alone, it’s hard to figure out how to win at the SEO game for your business. Often times, marketers think it’s the quantity of content that improves SEO. In reality, SEO needs change on a constant basis, which makes it such a challenge.
Search engines large and small are on the constant hunt to improve the quality of their search results to the masses of queries they receive. This causes many of the ranking factors that meant so much yesterday to fall into oblivion today. To help you with some perspective on the future, here are a few important trends in SEO that are on the rise today and will see important application in the following years, especially in 2018. If you haven’t established an SEO strategy for 2018, it’s time to start now.
1. The rise of SERP features
If you still believe that No. 1 organic rankings will get your business noticed in 2018 and future years, it’s time to rethink your SEO and digital marketing strategy. There is an increasing instance of SERP features that are stealing the attention of the major searchers. These include knowledge panels, local packs, and even featured snippets.
Of course, when you take a look at the history of the Google SERP, you’ll see why this is justified.
The evolution of the SERP requires a few important actions. First, you must track all your rankings and, second, you must monitor the results that appear for your keywords and ensure that none are stealing your traffic.
This can be accomplished by starting up a project for your site on the SEO PowerSuite Rank Tracker. This tool has the capacity to track 15 Google SERP features, as well as organic results. You will be presented with all the features triggered by your keywords with the Google SERP Features column. These are the ones highlighted in green. You will also be able to use the SERP Analysis tab to measure the volatility of these SERP Features.
Using this kind of collective data it is easier to come up with a few opportunities presented by the SERP features. Is it possible to squeeze into the pack? Would you be able to apply a Knowledge Graph here? This brings us to the next and another very important SEO strategy for 2018: structured data.
2. Structured data
Structured data uses a specific vocabulary and a special format to HTML. This explains how search engines should interpret content. And how this is displayed in the SERPs.
But, wait a minute – Google has never actually confirmed structured data is a ranking signal. Even more, it isn’t much in itself so why should anyone try?
The truth is that structured data still has benefits. Structured data allows you to enhance your search listings in a few important ways. Consider how you will apply your Knowledge Graphs and snippet. Snippets can increase the all-important click through rate by as much as 30%. Studies have been performed that show clicks equal greater rankings.
As search results become more and more diverse, the opportunity to make a splash and stand out is invaluable. This is truly an opportunity that can't be passed up.
What can you do about this situation?
Get a move on this right a way. There are a few structured schemas that can be used but most will apply the Schema.org option. This is really a good place to start and the step-by step formats are easy to understand.
3. Survival of the fastest
Speed is an important aspect of your SEO strategy. In addition to being an important SEO ranking signal, it’s also an important UX factor. UX can then improve your ranking and in the end it all loops around. But, what is “fast” by the definition of the search engines, and what can you do about it?
Begin by taking the speed test with the Google Page Speed Tester. You will find this is integrated into WebSite Auditor, so all you have to do is open it and begin a project. Find the Content Analysis section and enter the page you want to test. I matter of seconds you will have a full read out of on page factors. You can view this at technical factors and page speed.
4. Relevance 2.0
It’s getting harder and harder to convince the Google search bots you have relevant content and much easier to land a penalty for trying. Google search bots have a large number of tools they will apply to assessing the quality of their content and one of them is called Latent Semantic Testing. This means that Google looks at and studies billions and billions of related texts and gets an idea of what other text to find in any context. This gives a “comprehensive” quality to the search results.
What can you do about it?
The key lies in making your content comprehensive. Take a look at all the top ranking pages in your topic today and look for the features they share. This is what rankbrain does and it really works. Obviously this can't be done manually, so here is a way that uses the WebSite Auditor and a specialized TF-IDF tool. You will then receive a full list of closely linked terms and phrases sorted out by the number of competitors that use these terms.
5. Voice search is the real deal
Still having second thoughts about voice search? Take some time to consider the options. According to Google Reports, over 30% of adults and well over half of all teenagers use voice search regularly, if not each day. Google’s Behshad Behzadi has also been quoted as saying that this is the fastest growing type of search available. Voice search is special though and it requires different type of keyword research routine.
Rank Tracker is one of the best ways to solve this issue. It has a precision system of researching questions that your voice searchers might ask. After launching Rank Tracker you can use the free version, as it will work just fine. Simply choose the features from the list and the keywords you need.
6. Mobile is too big to be ignored
Since the advent of voice search, over half of all the Google searches will be coming through mobile devices of all shapes and forms. Furthermore, the vast majority of the user will be accessing mobile devices. This means that mobile friendliness is now more important than ever. It’s no longer a viable option to be ignoring the mobile option anymore.
The first thing to do is to check if your pages are all mobile-friendly. Google has a test in WebSite Auditor that handles this test in the content analysis section. Simply enter the URL of the page you want tested, look at the technical factors, choose Page usability for mobile and Voila!
7. ‘Linkless’ backlinks
Since the beginnings of the beginnings, links have been an important point of trust for search engines; SEO would spend continuous time on creating these. Nevertheless, times have changed and today linkless mentions are gaining tractions and can pull equal weight in today's world.
What can you do about it?
In addition to checking the backlinks, a web-monitoring tool can be used to find where your brand or products have been mentioned online. Your best content may be lurking on other websites and blogs without you even realizing it! More importantly, you should also consider building up your website’s backlinks by working with guest bloggers. This way, you can increase your website’s own SEO organically.
SEO is strategic and involves a lot of planning in order to have your website recognized before a competitor’s. By being diligent with your SEO strategy for 2018, and staying up-to-date on the latest technologies and advice, you’ll surely see an increase in your website’s ranking.