What is on the Horizon for SEO in 2018?

One of the most cost-efficient forms that inbound marketing can take is search engine optimization. Big picture, your customers are using the internet primarily for research, news, purchase, social media, and email. A website needs to be well-positioned on the search engines to get more impressions and capture more leads. 

Inbound marketing, in general, has been shown to be over half as inexpensive (61 percent more affordable) per lead than outbound marketing. Further, search engine optimization is particularly effective at moving beyond leads and driving up your conversion rate: SEO has an eye-popping close rate of over 14 percent on leads whereas outbound marketing's for same doesn't exceed 2 percent. 

The results are in, and they show that search engine optimization is markedly more efficient at driving more and better traffic to your website than social media engagement alone. Search engines are still the leading engine for external traffic on content websites and the battlefield for grabbing and holding attention on search engines is increasingly winner-take-all, as three-fourths of consumers don't go beyond Google's first page of results. 

Steps to Take in 2018 to Make Your SEO Campaign More Effective 

The rules governing how a company's website and online content is positioned on search engines is constantly shifting. So too are best practices when it comes to optimizing your online presence. Google has over 200 individual details that it takes into account with its algorithms and ranking system. 

Drivers, Start Your Engines: Why Speed Matters 

Still, there are a few very basic principles that it will be to your advantage to optimize. A pivotal one when it comes to pulling down page-one status on major search engines is speed and load time. Since 2010 Google has been placing more emphasis on using site speed in search rankings. Speed is a critical factor for UX website designs and Google's internal studies show that it has marked effects on customer satisfaction and time spent on page as well. 

Google now has a tool that allows you to analyze your site's performance, including its mobile performance, and optimize your site for speed automatically through seamless integration with your Apache web server. You'll find out how page-load time, time to first byte, quality of your website's images, and the responsive of your website's pages to desktops, tablets, and smartphones impacts your SEO ranking, and how you can patch problem areas that crop up. 

Voice Search Will Grow Tremendously 

Your keyword SEO strategy needs to take into account the way that people talk conversationally. Try to incorporate spoken keywords and phrases that people actually use into your FAQ page and consider structured data markup to provide more findable, relevant information. 

Structured Data Will Continue to be Huge Through 2018 

Structured data is technically code but, in actual practice for your customers, text that appears under your webpage in a search engine search. The text can take on the appearance of a snippet of information, which is why structured data is sometimes called a rich snippet: the content displayed on search engines has suddenly gotten richer, more useful, and more satisfying for your customers. 

Since structured data is a customer-friendly way of formatting your website's own HTML, you'll need to change (or have your website design firm) change and/or add relevant text to your actual website so that search engines like Google can include, say, an item description or who your services might benefit. Here's a tool that you can use to create richer snippets and improve your rankings. 

Mobile Friendliness is Increasingly Important for Google 

Since 2015 Google has placed heavily emphasis on the mobile friendliness of your website as a ranking signal. Google's own mobile-friendly test tool can let you know what you need to work on, but know that your website is basically being graded on how seamlessly mobile users can carry out tasks like making online purchases, the consistency of your designs (templates, etc.) and stellar load times across devices. 

The Backbone of SEO Might Not be Backlinked 

There's going to be a more forceful push throughout 2018 for what's being called linkless attribution, which has supplanted backlinks as the de rigueur trust signal employed by Google's ranking system. Linkless attribution is a search engine's attempt to classify your website's authority based on a mention of your brand or company name in a review, blog, transcripts of videos, etc. Bing has already started employing linkless attribution as a ranking criterion. 

A More Personalized SERP is Expected 

SERP (Search Engine Results Page) is becoming far more personalized to take into account users' location, browsing history, interests, social media trail, devices, and other Google products used recently. Mobile optimization, thinking locally, and focusing on long-tail keywords are all recommended strategies to give your personalized SERP a shot in the arm. 

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01 Dec 2017

By Farzin A. Espahani