Everyone is curious about what is new coming in 2018 for SEO. In this post, we will be discussing the 8 important things that every SEO should start implementing to stay ahead in the SEO game.
The Top SEO things to lookout in 2018 are
- Voice search or Voice Assistants (like the Amazon Echo and Google Home devices)
- In-Depth Content and Link Building
- The Mobile First Indexing
- AMP Pages
- The Knowledge Graph: Featured Snippets and Quick Answers
- Google RankBrain: AI & Machine Learning
- User experience for SEO
- Video and image search will vastly improve
So let’s get started and break each of these down:
#1 Voice search or Voice Assistants (like the Amazon Echo and Google Home devices)
Voice search was popular in 2017 but in 2018, we will see the continued popularity and increase of voice searches. The main reason why usage of voice search increases is because of its convenience and no one likes to type longer keyword searches on their phone.
People commonly use voice searches on a daily basis to call someone, ask for directions, and to get information without using a keyboard. For multitasking addicts, Voice search offers a great way to search online while doing something else, such as cooking, watching TV, and driving.
“Voice Search is 2018’s one of the next Big Thing in SEO and this is something we can’t ignore as a marketers”
The following interesting facts make the Voice search or Voice Assistants the Next Big Thing in SEO for 2018:
- “50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020” according to comscore.
- Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced during his Google I/O keynote that 20 percent of mobile queries are voice searches.
- 40% of adults now use voice search daily.
- Google’s Voice search can recognize 40 different core language. It also recognizes various accents, including Australian, Indian, English, Irish, American and more.
Now question arises what you can do about it from SEO perspective.
When it comes to optimizing content for Voice Search and Virtual Assistants, SEOs or brands should start thinking and implementing a different type of SEO strategy i.e. they need to focus more on long-tail keywords or Natural Language Queries (the terms and phrases people are carried out in everyday language)
The following term is the example of long-tail keywords or Natural Language Queries.
#2 In-Depth Content and Link Building
We all know content and links are the most important ranking factors. In-depth content and backlinks always play a vital role and without both, we cannot rank higher on the first page of search results.
Google spider always loves to index fresh, valuable and detailed content that can help searchers learn about a particular topic. If we talk about In-depth content, the following points- need to be considered:
- To write the in-depth content on a subject, try to include all the information a user could be searching for. What do they need to know? Include it, and aim for 2000 words or more.
- Find the synonyms whose meaning adds value to your keywords and are worthwhile to your content. This helps the search engines and your potential readers.
To find synonyms or related keywords, you can also do the following:
Search your main keywords, and look for the keywords around the bolded keywords. Many of these are your important keywords and you should consider adding them to your content.
Now scroll to bottom “Searches related to…” section, the words in bold here are also your important keywords.
There are free tools available that can help you to find the related keywords like KeywordTool.io and Answer the Public.
Links are still important and this will not change in 2018, but it is important to focus on more quality links than quantity. In 2018, Linkless mentions (Backlinks) are also becoming a trust signal for search engines, as Search engines now have the ability to connect the mentions of brands with their corresponding web pages.
#3 The Mobile First Indexing
Mobile-first indexing is the latest development by Google to make the web more mobile friendly. A recent study by BrightEdge found that 57% of web traffic comes from mobile devices, which means most people love to search on their mobile devices. But Google’s current ranking system was typically based around the desktop version of the page’s content and shows the same content to mobile and desktop users. This can cause issues with mobile pages as the current algorithms are not evaluating its relevance to the mobile user, and to make the results more relevant according to search query, Google now focused on Mobile-first indexing.
Simple steps to help you prepare for a Mobile First Indexing
Your content should be consistent across desktop and mobile
With the mobile-first index, Google will first see the mobile content instead of looking at your desktop content. This is the reason you should prepare your site for the mobile-first index. If your mobile site has less content on a mobile page than the desktop site, then Google will probably consider the mobile version with less content in Mobile First Indexing. This is why you want to display the same amount of the content for your desktop version and mobile version.
Let me explain that:
The content that is hidden in tabs, accordions, and expandable boxes is not given the full ranking weight. However, with mobile-first index, Google will give full weight to these types of content if implemented to enhance the user experience.
John Mueller confirmed this:
“So the mobile-first indexing will index the mobile version of the page. And on the mobile version of the page it can be that you have these kind of tabs and folders and things like that, which we will still treat as normal content on the page even. Even if it is hidden on the initial view.”
- Move your m. version to Responsive Design:
if you have m.xyz.com version of the site, switch over to responsive design straight away.
- Don’t forget to add structured schema markup:
Adding Schema markup code on your website can give your website a significant boost in your rankings.
- Improve your pages’ loading time:
Site speed is still an important factor for SEO and with mobile-first index it is critically important.
Head over to Google’s PageSpeed Insights. Enter your website URL and click to “Analyze”. It will give you results within seconds to improve your page speed.
- Make your site mobile-optimized, not just mobile-friendly:
Many sites technically work on mobile devices, but when it comes to quality of website, there is really a huge gap when a user actually uses the website.
A truly mobile-optimized site should resize for multiple screens and resolutions. If you are not sure whether your website is mobile optimized, do check Mobile-Friendly Test tool from Google. Enter your URL and hit “Run Test. The tool lets you know if you are on the right track or not.
#4 AMP Pages
Google is currently rolling out accelerated mobile pages in its mobile search results. Question is what is AMP?
Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP short form), a framework designed to create fast-loading mobile web pages.
AMP consists of three basic parts: AMP HTML, AMP JS and AMP CDN. While creating the AMP, we need to be aware of the followings:
- Certain HTML tags you can’t use for your AMP
- You need to use a streamlined version of CSS
Recommended read: Quickstart guide to get you up and running with AMP here and for more details on how to create your AMP HTML page and how it differs from basic HTML, check out the basic list of required markup that your AMP HTML page should have here.
Google also starts highlighting AMP pages in its mobile search results and you can test your pages on the tool from Google AMP Test.
#5 The Knowledge Graph, Featured Snippets and Quick Answers
According to Wikipedia: The Knowledge Graph is a knowledge base used by Google and its services to enhance its search engine’s results with information gathered from a variety of sources.
The Knowledge Graph, Featured Snippets and Quick Answers are the next big things in SEO, the popularity of these has increased and brands are now trying to appear in “Position Zero” in the SERP.
Featured snippets are the summary of user queries, displayed on top of Google’s organic results. To rank for the position zero, work on the following steps:
- 1. Identify which questions Google users are asking according to your niche.
- 2. Create your best content that answers questions. By doing this there is a chance that Google will pick your content as featured snippet.
- 3. Add a Q&A Section to your website with attractive, illustrative image.
- 4. The content should be between 40 and 50 words, according to SEMrush’s analysis.
- 5. Search result for queries like How does, How do, How to, What is, “why” and “what” is more likely to earn a spot in the featured snippets, says stonetemple.
#6 Google RankBrain: AI & Machine Learning
RankBrain is the third most ranking signals in Google’s search algorithm and in 2018; it is going to be even more important.
Now the question is, what exactly RankBrain is? And How to optimize for Google’s RankBrain?
RankBrain is a machine learning, artificial intelligence system that helps Google sort their search results out. Google RankBrain has already changed the whole search space and Google is showing the organic search results with Answer Boxes, Ads, Carousels, featured snippets, Quick Answers sections, and more for a personalized experience.
What is machine learning?
Machine learning is where a computer teaches itself how to do something, rather than being taught by humans or following detailed programming.
What is artificial intelligence?
True artificial intelligence, or AI for short, is where a computer can be as smart as a human being, at least in the sense of acquiring knowledge both from being taught and from building on what it knows and making new connections.
RankBrain mainly refine queries according to user searches and then measure how user interact with the search results and ranks the pages accordingly.
For example: if you search for “padmavat” in Google. Google is contextualizing and personalizing the search engine results pages for your search term.
Second, when you search the keyword “masala chai”
The #1 result, appealing you. Therefore, you clicked on it, bounce back due to its content, clicked on #4 result, and find the content worth reading. So you stay longer on the site and check everything.
Rank Brain considers these metrics and give the #4 result a ranking boost.
RankBrain focuses mainly on the following things:
- 1. How long do users stay on your web pages?
- 2. Click-Through-Rate (The percentage of people that click on your search result)
- 3. RankBrain mainly used in complex long-tail search queries.
#7 User experience (UX) for SEO
User experience will play a greater role in search rankings and will become even more important in 2018.
Following are some UX factors that affect rankings:
- Page Loading Speed
- Mobile Responsiveness
- Quality, informative and In-Depth Content
- User behavior and interaction with content
- Structured Markups
- The navigation of your site also matters
- Bounce rate matters
- The security of your site is important
- Optimization of text, images and internal links
#8 The rise of Video and image search
Video and image search, we can call it as visual search content and both these take user experience to the next level. In 2018, we can see a huge growth and should start creating and prioritizing the importance of visual content.
Some of visual content stats:
1.37% of marketers said visual marketing was the most important form of content for their business
2.74% of social media marketers use visual assets in their social media marketing
Following types of awesome visual content you can use:
- 1.Data-driven visuals content, which can be easily embeddable to other sites
- 2.Add infographic with relevant data
- 3.Use infographics
- 4.Embed videos on your blog or page content
- 5.Use screenshots
So these are the trends, we should look for SEO in 2018. Feel free to share any other SEO things we should keep consider for 2018. Don’t forget to incorporate these SEO things: featured snippets, rich content (like videos), links, and UX in your strategy.