Backlinks, rich, quality content, and focused keyword usage are essential for a healthy SEO ranking. However, these are tactics that have been crucial to search engine optimization for years and are not going anywhere in 2018 (or the foreseeable future). Let’s take a minute to move beyond these long-standing trends and take a focused look at the most critical, up-and-coming SEO strategies for 2018 and what you can do to ensure that your organic Google presence is as strong as possible next year and beyond.
Strategy #1: Focus on Creating a Superb User Experience (UX)
To prove the claim that UX is a top, critical SEO trend for 2018 and beyond, look no further than Google’s recently launched UX optimization platform, Optimize 360. This should be a clear signal that Google is invested in a continued, growing convergence of user interface and SEO goals. Focus on having the best all-around user experience possible for your website and you will be setting the foundation to not only rank higher in the search engine results, but also have customers who will be much more likely to convert.
Strategy #2: Begin Optimizing Your Content for Voice Search
The sooner you begin taking action to implement voice search into your SEO strategy, the further ahead of your competition you will be as we move into the 2020’s, where voice search will become the norm for the vast majority of all search queries.
Strategy #3: Prepare for Mobile-First Indexing
An official mobile-first indexing for all websites will happen more quickly than you or I probably expect. 2018 could be the year that a full-fledged mobile-first index goes into effect. If you want to invest in SEO and truly have your efforts pay off, you must begin taking action to ensure the content, user experience, and web design of your site is fully optimized for mobile users.
Strategy #4: Begin Strategizing to Rank for a Google Featured Snippet
A featured snippet is a summarized answer to someone’s search query, and it is placed at the very top of the Google search results page. You have probably seen them many times before when casually searching for “how to” do something.
There are some very good reasons to want voice search data. Optimizing for voice search requires some slightly different tactics from those for traditional SEO, and having insight into these queries could help you provide a better experience for those searching by voice.
More visibility on featured snippets.
Understanding voice search queries could help us better understand the types of queries that surface featured snippets. As marketers, we could then devote time and resources to providing the best answer for the most common featured snippets in hopes of getting promoted to position zero.
This helps marketers drive credibility to their brand when Google reads their best answer to the searcher, potentially driving traffic to the site from the Google Home app.
And this helps Google because they benefit when featured snippets provide good answers and the searcher is satisfied with the Google Home results. The better the service, the more consumers will use it — and potentially buy more Google Home units or Android phones because they think the service is worthwhile.
Better way to meet consumer demand and query intent based on context
Consider this in the context of voice search. There are certain types of queries that only work on Google Home and Google Assistant. “Tell me about my day” is one. We can guess some of the others, but if we had voice search data labeled, we wouldn’t have to.
How would this be useful to marketers and site owners? Well, it’s hard to say exactly without looking at the data, but consider the context in which someone might use voice search: driving to the mall to get a present for the holidays or asking Google Home if a store down the street is still open. Does the searcher still say, “Holiday Hut store hours?” Or do they say something like, “OK Google, give me the store hours for the Holiday hut at the local mall?” Or even, “How late is Holiday Hut open?”
Google should consider all these queries synonymous in this case, but in some cases, there could be significant differences between voice search behavior and typed search behavior that will affect how a site owner optimizes a page.
Google has told us that voice searches are different, in that they’re 30 times more likely to be action queries than typed searches. In many cases, these won’t be actionable to marketers — but in some cases, they will be. And in order to properly alter our content to connect with searchers, we’ll first need to understand the differences.
Understanding extent of advertising and optimization potential for new voice-based media
As with mobile search in 2005, we don’t know how many people are using voice search in Google Home and Google Assistant yet, so we can’t yet know how big the opportunity is or how fast it’s growing. Voice search is in the “innovators and early adopters” stage of the technology adoption life cycle, and any optimizations done for it are not likely to reach a mainstream audience just yet. Since we don’t have data to the contrary from Google or Amazon, we’ll have to stay with this assumption and invest at a later date, when the impact of this technology on the market will likely mean a significant return on our investment.
If we had that data from Google, I would be able to use it to make a stronger case for early adoption and investment than just using survey data alone. For example, I would be able to say to the executives, “Look how many people are searching for branded queries in voice search and getting zero results! By investing resources in creating a prototype for Google Home and Assistant search, we can satisfy navigational queries that are currently going nowhere and recoup our investment.” Instead, because we don’t have that data from Google, the business case isn’t nearly as strong.
Google has yet to monetize voice search in any meaningful way, but when advertising appears on Google Home, this type of analysis will become even more essential.
Google algorithm is updated hundreds of times per year. It can feel overwhelming to keep up with all of these changes - and to know what to put the majority of your focus on.
In 2017, Google accounted for over 79% of all global desktop search traffic, followed by Bing at 7.27%, Baidu at 6.55% and Yahoo at 5.06%.
Google receives over 63,000 searches per second on any given day.
50% of search queries are four words or longer.
More Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the U.S. and Japan.
According to Andrey Lipattsev, Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google, high-quality content and link building are the two most important signals used by Google to rank your website for search.
The average first-page result on Google contains 1,890 words.
A July 2015 study by Moz and BuzzSumo analyzed the shares and links of over 1 million articles and found that long-form content of over 1,000 words consistently receives more shares and links than shorter form content.
Marketers see SEO as becoming more effective, with 82% reporting effectiveness is on the rise and 42% of this group stating effectiveness is increasing significantly.
61% of marketers say improving SEO and growing their organic presence is their top inbound marketing priority
Google “near me” searches have increased by two times over the past year.
72% of consumers who did a local search visited a store within five miles
30% of mobile searches are related to a location
Updating and republishing old blog posts with new content and images can increase organic traffic by as much as 111%.
We know links are one of the top Google ranking factors. Google has said that social media shares don’t count as individual links, but there most likely is a correlation here.
In 2018, the average firm is expected to allocate 41% of their marketing budget to online, and this rate is expected to grow to 45% by 2020
Marketers are spending more on SEO, which means more competition.
Providing value to your persona is still the best approach to ranking in search engines
Mobile is increasingly becoming a larger factor in ranking -- especially when it comes to local marketing