Search engine optimization, or SEO, is constantly changing, and those that practice it must keep up to date with these changes. What was effective last year, or possibly even last month, might not work as well today. As the importance of ranking in a search increases, the more difficult it becomes. Companies must speak to specialty SEO companies to see what they can do to adapt and evolve to remain relevant and visible in the SEO landscape.
Many changes started a while ago, but their effect on search engine results are becoming increasingly important. These are the major SEO trends and changes one can expect in 2018.
There is little doubt that voice search is already significant and growing exponentially. Recent studies have shown that more than half of teenagers and around 40 percent of adults use voice search every day. Voice searches are quite different to a typed search, and if your site is not optimized for voice search, you will start to see a decline in traffic. This trend is only going to become more important and it is critical your site ranks well in voice, as well as traditional, searches.
Along with the growth in voice search is a growth in mobile search. The most important SEO factors are a mobile-friendly user experience and the page-loading speed. Given that more than half of Google searches are done on a mobile device, those pages not getting this right are going to suffer. There are several technical changes that web developers and SEO companies can do to fix this, so do not neglect it. If your competitors have a fast mobile-friendly site and you do not, you will lose traffic and business to them.
AI and Machine Learning
RankBrain, just one of the AI/machine learning developments used by Google, has been around for a while. Initially, it only affected a small percentage of searches. It is now used for all searches. As the technology improves, the influence will become more noticeable. Technology will disrupt the way searches are performed and SEO will need to adapt accordingly.
SERP features include featured snippets, local packs, and knowledge panels. Many sites that were ranking near the top in the Search Engine Results Page, or SERPS, are finding less traffic because they have ignored these features. Organic ranking is still extremely important, but many users simply look first at one of these features and follow those links, ignoring the sites at the top of the SERP. One has to make some investment and effort with SERP features to protect traffic.
Quality content with high relevance has never been more important. Google is constantly changing the way in which it evaluates content, so it is important to understand what it wants and ensure your content measures up. Useful content that answers users’ questions and gets them to engage is necessary for a high ranking.
Backlinks Become More of a Challenge
Backlinks were always one of the main efforts in SEO, but Google has become a lot stricter on what qualifies as a quality backlink. This trend started some time ago and has continued to evolve. One must understand Google’s thinking when it comes to backlinks to get any value out of them.
Many of the solutions to the above challenges are relatively simple, while some will take a bit more effort. It is vital to the future success of your online marketing and SEO effectiveness that you get the right people with the right skills and knowledge to help you make the necessary changes. This will have to be done more regularly in the future. Those businesses that fail to adapt will see a steady decline in traffic, sales, and, ultimately, profit.