2018 is finally here, which means it’s time for Google to once again update its mysterious search algorithm – you know, the one that provides the most relevant search results. But how does this affect SEO pundits and professionals worldwide?
For starters, they need to stay abreast of the latest developments and trends so they can incorporate them later into their strategies and ensure their clients receive game-changing creative business advice.
Even though the core SEO activities will remain unchanged in 2018, organic search techniques must take into consideration Google’s growing bias towards websites that are secure, fast, easy-to-use, and mobile-friendly. To beat the competition at the SEO game in 2018, check out this list of key trends as well as their preparatory measures below:
Think About the Rise of Voice-Controlled Digital Assistants and Search Methods
According to Social Media Today, almost 50 percent of users now use voice search to research products. This explains the increasing popularity of digital assistants and voice search. While our smartphones have been voice-search enabled for quite a while now, their accuracy has improved greatly in the last few years due to developments made in the field of natural language search. In fact, it’s now come to a point where voice search almost resembles an intuitive and fluid conversation. All this is instrumental to its widespread adoption.
Major players like Apple, Google, and Amazon are already making headway in the voice search game thanks to products like Siri and Echo Dot. If you want to keep up and also remain relevant, start optimizing for voice search. Here are some ideas:
Focus on Natural Language Queries
The importance of keywords will never phase out of existence, but at the same time, full questions and sentences are gaining traction. Optimize for these by considering the queries you want your site to be known for. Find out your current rank by searching for them. Produce innovative content that answers those queries and also create content that features a more conversational approach to match the phrasing used by people for their queries.
Use Featured Snippets
Answer boxes also termed featured snippets, have always been considered “position zero” when it comes to SERPs, but the rise of voice search has increased their importance. When a voice query’s search result comes with a featured snippet, the answers can be read aloud to the users. Incorporate bullet or numbered points or even a table of highlights for your content to increase your chances of grabbing a featured snippet. Alternatively, create Q&A type of content.
Optimize for Apps and Actions
Know that users don’t just ask their digital assistants questions; commands are issued too. So, consider methods to optimize your site for the same. Use app indexing or deep linking to provide users with access to your website via voice search.
Prepare for Linkless Link Building
Want to employ the best 2018 link building strategies for your business? Well, linkless link building is where it’s at! As contradictory as it might seem, linkless link building is quite effective and works particularly well for small business. The truth is, Google algorithm updates like Fred and Penguin have made link building harder for websites. Employing freebie links or poor link profiles? Well, prepare to get penalized by Google. So, future-proof your SEO in 208 by focusing on long-term, strong link building and appreciating the significance of linkless backlinks.
Develop Long-Term Rapport to Get Quality Backlinks
Try to develop real-world relationships if you wish to get backlinks your competitors covet. Good PR helps you acquire backlinks for every size and type of business. Combine outreach and proper PR to create lasting relationships with good publications to strengthen the referral authority of your website. What’s more, instead of a backlink, even a mention can go a long way.
Monitor and Develop Link-less Mentions
Keep in mind that search engines are now capable of associating brands with mentions, and employ this method to decide the authority of a particular website. Search engine Bing apparently found out how to connect links to mentions a long time ago, and even Google has been doing the same for quite some time now. So, do not rely only on traditional backlink monitoring. Invest in a quality web monitoring tool to maintain records of your brand mentions and concentrate on PR activities, brand awareness, online reviews, and reputation management.
Choose Mobile-First Indexing
Haven’t yet adopted a mobile-first SEO approach? Well, change that ASAP! With the launch of the highly-anticipated mobile-first index, renew your focus on the mobile side of things. Considering how 52.99 percent of web traffic came from mobile devices until the third quarter of 2017, according to Statista, make sure your site is compatible with mobile devices as most users who reach your website now will use their smartphones or search on the go.
Ramp Up the Speed
Provide Content Through Design
Google’s search quality evaluator guidelines reveal that mobile users search for a different content compared to desktop users. Remember that someone using a desktop computer will always search for a certain number of settings, but mobile users have the opportunity to be anywhere at any moment. Thus, get a truly future-ready mobile site once you become capable of responding to the user context. Think it sounds futuristic? Well, there are already a number of ways how you can achieve this, especially when it comes to m-commerce sites.
Rely on the Power of Instant Apps, AMP, and Progress Web Applications
Google has always made user experience a priority, and brands have been encouraged to do the same. Think your app or site already offers users a great experience? Well, then stick to your strengths. However, in case you wish for an upgrade, check out the following options:
- AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) – Google has been trying to push its “lightning-fast” web solution for mobile to SEOs ever since it launched. The company has decided to make it quicker and more engaging for the program to become more popular.
- Android Instant Applications: Share and access these apps through a link without downloading it entirely. Through this process, mix some of the benefits of mobile sites with the app experience.
- Progressive Web Apps: These are mobile web that resemble an app, capable of online functionality as well as combining some of the pros of applications into the mobile web framework.
Embrace Machine Learning and AI
Did you know that Google has slowly increased the use of machine learning and AI in the algorithms used for ranking purposes? These algorithms do not follow a preset course of rules, but grow and learn every day. The question is, how do you optimize artificial intelligence? And the answer is, you don’t. Maintain the basic SEO best practices, and your site will continue to perform well. Always keep an eye on the latest news and become familiar with the important ranking factors.
Keep an eye out for new changes made to the SEO mechanism made by Google in 2018. In the meantime, follow the tips given above to prepare for the coming algorithm updates.