As you well know, the rules of SEO are ever evolving as a mutating virus. Old tactics won’t cut it anymore. As you work on ranking on top in 2018, here are 9 leading SEO trends that will definitely set you on your way to becoming a trending name on the web.
1. Rich Snippet Will Need Careful Structuring
As SEO best practices evolve, a very unlikely ranking hack is emerging.
Yes, snippets, but not just any snippets. Rich Snippets. Perhaps before we go further, some quick definitions are in order.
A snippet is the result search engines show on the results page for a query made. Here’s an example:
A rich snippet shows more information, helping the user to select the more relevant result. Take a look below:
- Notice how this snippet has more information: an image, rating, cooking time and a number of calories in the pie.
- Rich snippets don’t directly affect rankings per se. Rather, due to the extra information they provide, they increase the click-through rate. An increase in click-through rate means an increase in traffic and hence ranking.
If you haven’t started, now’s the time to employ rich snippets in your SEO strategy. Careful structuring of your snippets will give you that much-needed boost in SEO ranking.
2. Page Speed
According to Google, page speed is a major ranking factor. Slow loading pages (3 seconds or more) have detrimental consequences:
- Search engines crawl fewer pages
- Increased bounce rate
- Time on page is lower
Improving your page load time is critical if you want to rank well. Let’s look at some tweaks that can help bring your site up to speed.
- Optimize your website's code.
- Reduce redirects.
- Resize images before uploading them to your CMS.
- Cache your website and pages.
- Limit the number of plugins on your site.
Your main task, as we step into 2018, is to work on your page loading speed.
Recommended Link: On-Page SEO Factors of Optimized Page (Infographics)
3. Increased Page Relevance
Page relevance will never become outdated as a ranking factor. Search engines want to give users the best experience possible on the web. That means showing relevant results.
“When dealing with search engines, the term ‘relevance‘ describes the extent to which the content of a website corresponds to the search term used”. Search Metrics.
Search engines place great value on relevance when it comes to query results. For example, when searching for pie recipes, pizza recipes will not be included in the search results. Even if the pizza recipe tops in other SEO ranking factors, because that page is not relevant to the search query, it won’t appear.
In short, page relevance is decided by your content. To optimize for relevance:
- Publish more long-form content as opposed to short form.
- Cover your topic in detail.
- Don’t stick to a keyword, use synonyms and related phrases as well.
If your page is not relevant to the categories you want to rank for, your publishing efforts will be wasted.
4. Voice Search Is More Real Than Ever
“Voice search is characterized by its prevalence on mobile devices and its focus on local searches.” Search Engine Watch.
Because talking is more natural than typing, voice search is fast becoming the way people search the internet. A simple voice command and the answers will be right at your fingertips. To rank better in 2018, make sure to consider optimizing for voice search. How?
- Integrate questions into your SEO strategy. Most searches by voice are question-based.
- Maximize on local SEO. Oftentimes voice searches are location specific.
The future of search is the voice. Take advantage of this technological advancement and smooth talk your way to Google’s top listings.
5. The Rise Of “Linkless” Backlinks
This sounds like an oxymoron but yes, there is such a thing as a “linkless” backlink. And these are fast becoming strong ranking factors as we head into 2018.
A “linkless” backlink is simply a mention of your name or brand by other web users. Search engines pick these mentions and use them as trust signals. They work the same way that “real” links work, thus they are “linkless” backlinks.
“Duane Forrester, formerly Sr. Product Manager at Bing, points out that unlinked mentions can be just as strong a signal as regular links…..”. linkassistant.com.
Not all mentions will be positive though. To protect your brand's reputation, you need to invest in “mention monitoring” software like AWARIO. Track all mentions of your brand and reply to them. If negative comments are made, quickly implement damage control measures.
6. Natural Language Queries
As search engines evolve, they are making strides to making a search as natural as possible.
Enter natural language queries.
This is the search that is carried out in everyday natural language. And it’s on the rise, typed or spoken. Because it’s easier than keyword-based searches which may require different combinations of keywords before you get the right results, natural language queries are becoming popular.
Search engines have become so advanced they can process longer, complex queries. Take a look at the example of a natural query below:
“Your keyword strategy must now be more conversational in nature and mimic how real people talk and ask questions verbally.” Search Engine Land
7. Personalization Of Search
Search results are becoming more personalized. Search engines give results that are “personal” and tailor-made for the user. Besides the generic search results, search engines include results based on the information they have about the user, such as:
The 3 main pillars of personalization being:
- Location. Search engines personalize results according to the user’s location.
- Browsing history. Search engines learn your interests and preferences from your browsing history. This influences the results Google will show you.
- Device. Search engine results are device specific. Mobile-friendly pages rank higher on mobile devices but are relegated to oblivion on desktop devices and vice versa
8. Link Building Is Still Your #1 SEO Hack
If you thought link building was dead, you are dead wrong. Contrary to all the fake news of link building being obsolete, it’s still your number one SEO hack.
Link building still reigns supreme is because it’s the #1 trust factor as far as search engines are concerned. Be warned though, not all links are good. , It’s not the number of links but the quality of links that matters.
Though getting quality backlinks is becoming more difficult, you can still get them through:
- Publishing awesome content that warrants backlinks
- Guest posting
- Web directories
- Commenting on other sites
- Building relationships within your niche
These and other link building techniques, applied properly, will set you on your way to position #1 on the SERPs.
9. Rank On Mobile Before You Rank On Desktop
“The combined traffic from mobile and tablet devices tipped the balance at 51.2 percent, vs. 48.7 percent for desktop access, marking the first time this has happened since StatCounter began tracking stats for internet usage.” Tech Crunch.
People are spending more time on mobiles than they do on desktops. So if you want to be found on the web you have to rank well for mobile, otherwise:
- You will lose traffic.
- Search engines won’t consider you relevant.
Factors To Help You Rank Better On Mobile.
- Make sure your website loads fast.
- Content structure. Content should be easy to read on a small screen.
- Should be easy and fluid.
Is your SEO strategy ready to compete for position #1 on Google? Put these tips to work and watch your ranking improve.
Navneet Kaushal is the CEO and founder of India’s most award-winning SEO Services Company: PageTraffic. Navneet's expertise has established PageTraffic as one of the most respected and successful search marketing agencies in Asia. Navneet also conducts corporate workshops and is a much sought-after speaker at prestigious events. You can follow him up on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.