Domain Authority (DA) is a metric that serves as a handy heuristic in the SEO industry. Put simply, it provides insight into how likely a site is to rank for
Quality content will remain in focus, but what else can we expect for SEO trends in 2018?
Those involved in the SEO world know how complex and ever-changing the industry can be. With over 200 ranking factors and the constant updates of the algorithm, keeping up with SEO trends is mandatory.
One thing never changes, though: providing the best possible experience for users. In 2018, quality content will certainly remain in focus, but there are other novelties in SEO practices that come with changes in user behavior and evolution in technology. Take a look at a few of those things to look out for in the new year:
Google is switching to a mobile-first index
Today, we are witnessing a shift from desktop to mobile when it comes to the preferable way to surf the web. Nearly 60% of searches now come from mobile devices, and Google has finally decided to roll out the mobile-first index update. This means the algorithm will primarily use the content your site offers in the mobile view for ranking it in the SERP.
Mobile-first index was mentioned for the first time in 2016 on the Google Webmaster Central Blog, where the team shared recommended practices. Without any doubt, this will be a big historical change in the way websites are indexed.
Having a mobile responsive website is becoming an imperative, as well as having a structured markup for both desktop and mobile version. Webmasters do not need to make changes to their canonical links. Adding and verifying a mobile version of your site to the Search Console is also advisable.
Voice search will continue to rise
Virtual assistants such as Google Now, Cortana, and Siri have shortened the path between users and the answers they need. Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai announced that voice searches make up to 20% of mobile queries, which puts new challenges in front of SEO experts. Forecasts say this type of search has a growth tendency, so optimizing for Google Voice Search is a good idea.
Marketers have to analyze user intent in order to optimize well for voice searches. Typically, users have four different queries: they seek knowledge (educational content and exact answers), places (“near me” queries and addresses of local businesses), activities (how to’s and other types of guides), and purchase opportunities (online shops of their favorite brands). In order to optimize content for voice searches, you should definitely include a well-structured FAQ on your website so that precise information will easily get indexed and put in front of users. Use relevant long tail keywords (voice searches are often lengthier opposed to text) and optimize your content for conversational language.
Link building is not going anywhere
A study conducted by Stone Temple has proven once again that link building is not going anywhere and it’s not hard to understand why. A good quality backlink profile acts like a signal for Google that your website is a great resource that provides value to readers. But in addition to your standard link building efforts, you should also think about the concept of link earning. Although the difference between the two is subtle, the latter puts user experience in the center of attention.
Link earning is all about focusing on producing engaging content that actually answers the questions users are interested in, which inspires people to organically link to you. So, you are rewarded with a link naturally. If you want to hold a great ranking position, you should focus on building and earning links from reputable domains with high authority. Make sure none of the links pointing to your website come from shady and spammy sites. Disavow bad links.
High quality content + smart keywords will get you far
Smart SEO techniques always come down to creating great content with both users and search engines in mind. To truly stand out in the sea of average content across the web and earn better rankings, you need to create unique, original content that not only educates – but provides a concrete answer that satisfies user intent. That is the only way you will increase your organic visits. Of course, smart usage of keywords will help crawlers index your website easier. Use Google Keyword Plannerto map out relevant words and phrases and optimize your content. Reoptimize your old content in accordance to new keyword trends.
When it comes to content, ensure your text posts are scannable and easily consumable. Add eye-catching visuals, make your website navigation logical, and always keep UX in mind. Dwell time matters: give your site visitors a reason to stick around.
Featured snippets matter more than ever
Marketing and SEO experts such as Bill Slawski, Eric Enge, and Marcus Miller believe the chase for a featured snippet will become the focal point in 2018. If a featured snippet appears on the SERP, it’s far more likely users will click on that link opposed to the listed results below. According to the Ahrefs study, a featured snippet will actually steal clicks from the #1 ranking result. Optimizing for rich snippets or “People Also Ask” boxes pays off, specifically because it instantly grabs the attention of users. This helps you generate more traffic, save money on PPC, and gain more visibility.
You should definitely keep these SEO trends in mind but also commit to white hat techniques only. Everything you do as a webmaster leaves a trace on how your domain is perceived by Google. I have already discussed domain ranking factors, and while agility remains one of the most important skills for an SEO expert, don’t get carried away and forget the crucial basics. Take the holistic approach and you will nail SEO in 2018.
The coming year is going to be a landmark year for local SEO. Google has begun to roll out its mobile-first index, putting more focus than ever on mobile optimization.
Mobile searches are intent-driven, with an immediate local focus at play. Local and national brands will reap big rewards by targeting users when and where they search.
Approximately 50 percent of individuals who perform a location-specific search will visit a store location on the same day. Given the increasing trend of high-intent searches and limited search-engine results page real estate, brands need to work harder to get in front of consumers when they are most likely to purchase.
By adopting a mobile-first focus and aligning with on-the-go user intent, brands can succeed at the local level even if they are competing with brands several times their size at the national level.
What this means is that local search-engine marketing is one way small businesses can truly compete with huge brands — and succeed.
So, how can you put a limited marketing budget to use to reach high-intent customers, edging out bigger brands? Here are five ways to successfully implement location-based targeting in your SEM campaigns in 2018.
1) Adopt a mobile-first mentality
The rise in location-based targeting goes hand-in-hand with the surge in mobile searches. Google noted that searches including “nearby” or “near me” (hyperlocal searches) increased twofold between 2014 and 2015.
Interestingly, this trend is already changing with “near me” and other location-modified searches declining as searchers know their results will be relevant because they were conducted on their phone. Eighty percent of those hyperlocal searches occurred on mobile devices, so you should stop treating mobile optimization as optional.
Implement a responsive design on your mobile website, prominently feature your contact information above the fold and include a click-to-call button to make the path to purchase simple for mobile users.
2) Optimize Google My Business
How can anyone hope to find your business on a results page if you haven’t properly optimized your Google My Business profile? Get featured on the local three-pack when users conduct hyperlocal searches by making your business appealing to Google and to customers.
Pay attention to the details: Ensure that your business is connected to the correct categories to appear in relevant searches; upload attractive, professional photos of your business; and encourage satisfied customers to leave a review to boost your visibility.
3) Account for voice search
At the Google I/O conference last year, we learned that one in five queries via the Google app and on Android devices come from voice search, and that number is poised to increase substantially in 2018. Digital assistants like Siri are improving, and voice searches are becoming more convenient.
Voice searches are all about convenience, and users who are walking or in transit will be posing hyper-specific queries with an intent to buy that day.
To take advantage of this rise in voice search, center your SEO around long-tail search keywords that reflect conversational language. And remember, voice searches aren’t limited to smartphones: Smart home hub sales increase every year, and voice search is a substantial component of these devices.
4) Consider in-store customers
Many shoppers look to their smartphones for information even after they’ve entered your store. This is not cause for alarm. Often, they are searching for product reviews or clarifying which model, size or color of a product they want to purchase, according to Google.
Optimize mobile functionality to assist customers in these moments. Tools like Google’s Proximity Beacon API can help developers create in-store messaging associated with promotions or featured products. Leverage APIs to create an app that can connect in-store customers with product reviews, discounts, related products and helpful FAQs in order to increase conversion and drive brand loyalty.
5) Create compelling local content
An organic method of driving traffic to your website is to write content that is useful for local customers. For example, if you sell mobile devices and electronics in the Houston area, consider writing an evergreen piece of content highlighting the best neighborhoods for cell reception.
In addition, write content featuring any popular geographical landmarks around your business. If anyone searches for businesses near that landmark, your content will improve your location-based targeting capabilities, placing you on more users’ search results.
Using these strategies, you can structure an SEM campaign around hyperlocal searches, driving conversions and increasing overall brand awareness. And the best news for small business owners is that these hyperlocal strategies can help your company compete against competitors and budgets many times the size.