The year 2018 is shaping up to be one of the most ‘game-changing’ years for SEO (search engine optimization). For your business this means that you have to embrace the new trends and make the necessary changes as quickly as possible. The times of major changes are also the times when one’s foresight can fast-track them to the top. So, be sure to learn what the new trends and strategies are, and start implementing them immediately. Start with understanding Google RankBrain algorithm and the reasons behind the rapidly dropping value of being the first Google Search result.
What Prompted the Rapid Evolution of the Best SEO Trends in 2018?
The change in SEO strategies was undoubtedly caused by the rapid evolution of Google’s ranking bots. Since its introduction in 2016, the RankBrain protocol has done what all machine learning-based machines do, it learned. Nowadays its evolution has reached a point where stuffing your website with keywords will get you banned or penalized instead of high-ranking. This system analyzes and ranks pages based on a multitude of factors that enable it to find the truly best ones.
It also pays a lot of attention to Dwell Time, which is a period of time spent on the website after clicking on the link in search results. This factor is a major component of Google’s website ranking protocol as reported by Google itself. This means that if your website managed to rank high using clever SEO tricks, but didn’t live up to the visitor’s expectations due to poor content or technical issues, your ranking will go down right away.
That’s why the best SEO trends of 2018 aren’t all about the things we are used to classify as search engine optimization. Today your entire marketing strategy should be a complex organism with SEO as one of its vital organs. And just like human bodies, this organ is directly connected with the others and the entire system cannot function if even one of its components fails.
Best SEO Trends in 2018: How Can You Boost your Website?
SERP Features Are Getting Even More Advanced
SERP, Search Engine Results Page, features used by Google are turning more complicated, thus offering more opportunities for SEO masters. Today every website strives to not only get onto the first page of search results, but to get its own featured snippet, also known as ‘answer box’. It’s exactly what it’s name states, which is the answer to the user’s query.
The snippet features a short answer to the question, link to the page with the full answer, and its URL, like this:
These snippets offer fantastic opportunities for boosting your exposure. However, they don’t seem to lead to an increase in the CTR (click-through rate). That might be because the snippets are so good in answering questions, the users don’t need further information. Keep this in mind when optimizing your own website to target this SERP feature.
You also need to remember that Google has a variety of those features, not only the snippets. There are also:
- Direct Answers
- Lists (numbered or bulleted)
- YouTube Videos
- Rich Cards (mobile feature)
- News Boxes
- Knowledge Graphs
- Knowledge Panels
- Local Packs
- Site Links (to different pages of the #1 website)
- Image Packs
- People also ask
And don’t you forget about paid GoogleAds, which are as versatile as their regular SERP features. In fact, this versatility and clear focus on monetization is one of the reasons why the authority of SERP page one seems to drop.
Better Technology for Optimization
One of the best SEO trends of 2018 is prompting you to switch your hosting service because the relevance of website loading speed has grown exponentially. Even 3 seconds of wait are too much for a today’s average Internet user, according to Kissmetrics.
As brainy Google ranking bots consider your website loading speeds as well, improving the technical performance of the pages has become an essential part of SEO. iPage Hosting is a good option for a small business that’s just taking its first steps today. It’s a flexible and affordable provider and you can check its performance easily using tools like UptimeRobot, Uptrends, or Pingdom.
However, having a great host isn’t enough to make your website load fast. You also need to optimize all your visual content. This will be quite a challenge as the users of today are looking for HD images and videos.
You can optimize those by tweaking their resolutions and using specialized tools. However, as there is only so much you can do before the visual will drop in quality, you should also consider minimizing the number of them per page. The best web design trends of today state that 1-2 striking visual elements are enough to keep your audience engaged.
You can further the SEO boost you get from this kind of optimization by tagging your visual elements cleverly with the use of relevant keywords.
Embedding Structured Data into the HTML Code
The use of structured data is not only one of the best SEO trends in 2018. It’s actually a part of the ‘appealing to SERP advancement’ trend. However, it’s big enough to deserve a separate mention.
In essence, structured data is a type of HTML formatting. This method of SEO requires you to embed specific ‘phrases’ from the structured data vocabulary into the HTML code of your website. This will result in the rich snippet showed by Google featuring the most attractive bits of information about your website. And choosing the ‘juiciest’ details can make a huge difference for your click-through rate (up to 30% as states Search Engine Land).
Increase in the Content Relevance
Remember that mention about Google RankBrain protocols in the beginning of the article? It has prompted a SEO trend of its own. Thanks to the inclusion of Swell Time into the ranking scheme the relevance of your content has become a major SEO factor.
Simply put, one of the best SEO trends of 2018 is content marketing. But not only does your content have to be keyword-optimized for highly specific queries. It has to be relevant to them and of the highest quality.
The keywords in the text must fit organically. The entire piece also must be as engaging from the literary point of view as it is from the ‘schematic’ side analyzed by Google bots. The latter focus on keyword placement, headings, etc.
To get some idea of what to strive for you can use tools like TF-IDF in WebsiteAuditor. It will analyze the top-ranking pages in your niche and provide a detailed analysis of keyword use. You can use this information for designing your own content.
Voice Search Optimization
The number of voice searches seems to be growing daily, so optimizing for them is not only one of the best SEO trends in 2018. It’s an essential step for your website survival. These voice search statistics paint an impressive picture and predict that by 2020, a half of all online searches will be done by voice.
From the SEO point of view this means that your that the complexity of keyword optimization has doubled for you. The problem is that regular search still remains strong. Therefore, optimizing for it is a must.
However, voice search queries are different from textual ones. And you have to optimize for them as well.
To further complicate the issue, you also have to combine all those phrases into a cohesive and relevant piece of content that doesn’t look spammed with keywords.
The good news is that structured data use will help with this optimization as it can target highly specific queries. You can also boost optimization by writing a higher-quality literary content. Your articles must flow and answer the user’s questions naturally. Focus on questions as they are the main query group for voice searches.
Note that unlike regular Google search queries, these tend to be longer and with proper grammar.
Only in the summer of last year mobile-first indexing from Google was an indistinct future possibility. But it’s here now and you have to adjust if you want to fit in with the best SEO trends in 2018.
The points of page optimization complexity mentioned above get all the more difficult due to this added layer of consideration. Luckily, Google itself offers essential tips for optimizing pages for mobile-first indexing. The other piece of good news is that a page well-optimized for desktop browsers will most likely work as well for mobile pages. As long as your website is well-responsive, you shouldn’t have any problems.
Best SEO Trends in 2018: Conclusion
As you can see, SEO is getting more complicated as the bots that run search engines become more advanced. Today SEO is a complex system that includes all areas of your digital marketing and web design. All the elements of your website, content included, must work in harmony to appeal to the ranking Google bots on all levels simultaneously.
In the face of this progress, hiring a SEO agency becomes the better options because business owners cannot manage this aspect of digital promotion on their own.
Before you go, subscribe to get latest technology articles right in your mailbox!.