Video will be big.
LSI and Semantic Indexing will continue to be big.
Backlinks will continue to be big.
Optimizing longform content over blogs will be big.
Content gaps and structured data will be big.
Let me know if you want to chat about any specifics, I can lend a hand!
Trends are really tough, especially for SEO.
Although Rand puts out his predictions every year which are entertaining, none of these are actually that helpful this year to helping you actually rank - https://moz.com/blog/9-predictions-for-seo-in-2018
Here's what I think will be new this year:
1. Google will continue to shift their algorithm to be more specific to the industry.
What this means is what works for a local printing company isn't going to work for Buzzfeed. What works for an ecommerce site is going to be different from a news site.
Search results have exploded in diversity of types of results over the last 5 years, and we're a long way past just 10 blue links.
This isn't new - Google's algorithm has been heading this way for awhile, but I don't think it's appreciated enough, and it will only get more accurate this year.
2. Featured Snippets are still up for grabs, but will get more accurate.
Featured Snippets inform voice search, and are actually really powerful if you earn it. Right now there's some logic to them - make sure you answer succinctly, use tables and bullet points, markup your content, etc - but Google is still experimenting widely on them.
This is an opportunity now to take advantage of, but keep an eye on how these things are changing.
3. Image and video recognition will improve and impact the algorithm more.
On my Moz post, item #6 here discussing how to use text in images - https://moz.com/blog/how-to-fix-14-technical-seo-problems - and it references an interesting study by Cognitive SEO on the subject, https://cognitiveseo.com/blog/5909/did-google-read-text-image-can-affect-my-rankings/.
But the result from the test is that image-to-text extraction technology is not being used for ranking search queries.
I think that will change this year. Google's machine learning is just too good to not use it. Right now image search is a joke and very simple. They're going to understand image and videos even more this year.
Humans want rich content, and Google recognizes that.
Already Google can extract answers from YouTube videos and display the exact time sequence where that question is answered. That's kind of creepy. I think they're able to recognize this based on their voice algorithms, not so much video, as that's tougher to crack. But images will be next, and they'll play a bigger part in informing the content of the page and therefore contribute to ranking.
4. Sites will realize the power of their homepage and optimize it for search in some cases.
This is a random trend, but I've noticed a few sites doing this recently.
Naturally, a website gets most of their links to their home page, but most sites just generically target their home page, or make it just a portal to the rest of the site. This makes sense if you're Nike or Apple, but smaller companies need to be more tactical.
This is an opportunity to optimize for your best keyword. I detailed out how some home pages are targeting here - https://www.greenflagdigital.com/homepage-seo/ - and when it makes sense.
That's it for these quick predicted SEO trends. Happy to chat more if you're interested!
If your site is not mobile-friendly, HTTPS, and at least as fast as your competition, don't expect to rank.
Focus on matching searcher intent to the keywords you are trying to rank for. Take notice if all the top results for a given search phrase are informational results or shopping results. Adjust the pages on your site accordingly.
Getting back links from topically relevant sites is still important, no matter what anyone says. Not just any old back links will suffice. I would be looking for back links to your site that you would seek, even if search engines did not exist.
SEO trends in 2018 are as follows:
1. Increased Search Engine Results Page Features: It is the goal of any SEO professional to achieve and maintain a high volume of traffic to a given website. Ideally, this would be the result of reaching the top spot on a search engine results page. Not only is it important to achieve this coveted position, but to also maintain it if possible. However, with the latest developments in the search engines, achieving this #1 ranking may no longer be enough to get the traffic you desire. Gone are the days of the ten search results listings, highlighted in blue hypertext, and a couple of clearly marked ads. Now, when you look at a SERP, it is cluttered with images, videos, links, social media mentions, in-depth article listings, various widgets, and ads. It has become easy for a #1 result to get lost in the busy jumble of other page features. While keyword and key phrase optimization are still important, you now have other offsite elements to consider. Popular search engine results page features include AdWords, news block, featured snippets, local packs, reviews, tweets, video, image pack, shopping results and site links.
2. Rich Snippet Will Need Careful Structuring: There are rich snippets and regular snippets. Both include a clickable title, a URL, and a meta description. Rich snippets have more condensed titles that include “|” instead of a dash (-), reviews and an image. How you structure the data, however, is important in how search engines will display the information. While the difference may seem insignificant, it has been shown that search results with properly formatted rich snippets receive more clicks and have a higher click through rate, which in turn increases potential sales.
3. Page Speed: In today’s fast-paced, on-demand society, people want things, including information, immediately. Nothing is more frustrating than clicking on a website that appears to answer your question exactly, only to have to wait for the page to load. If the page does not load in 5 seconds, you’re off onto another website that can hopefully give you the answers you need. People do not like slow webpages. If your page is slow, your site traffic will suffer. Page speed is a user experience feature that is expected for all websites. If you are wondering how fast is fast enough, take Google’s recommendation of 3 seconds or less. To see how the speed of your website stacks up, you can take Google’s Page Speed Insights. Speed has been a critical component for years, but moving into 2018, we are going to see even more emphasis on it in the future.
4. Increased Page Relevance: Google continues in its quest to provide the best web browsing experience to users. Besides offering users websites that are safe, Google searches for sites that best match the user’s search intent even if that is a little different from their actual query. This means that search engines will evaluate the relevancy of the content on your website. One of the ways that Google assess the relevance of a website’s content is with Latent Semantic Indexing. Through Latent Semantic Indexing Google can gather content from billions of websites and parse through the content, scanning for related terms and words. Latent Semantic Indexing also enables Google to determine whether the content on a website is “comprehensive” and flows well. Google also can analyse top ranking pages as identify similarities and shared features among them.
5. Voice Search is More Real Than Ever: Just like in 2017, voice search will continue to pick up steam. Many consumers prefer the convenience of speaking over typing. Not only is it faster, but the queries can also be more detailed. More importantly, voice recognition software has reached the point where users are comfortable trusting it to understand their normal speech. The increased detail of search queries means you will need to go beyond the simple keyword and phrases to rank and focus more on terms and phrases people are naturally going to say out loud. People speak differently than they type, so your SEO strategy should try using conversational terms and sentences.
6. Mobile Will be Even More Important: Smartphones dominate the landscape, and more and more web browsing is occurring on mobile devices. In fact, the amount of people using their smartphones to browse the Internet is higher than the number who browse on a traditional desktop computer. It is no longer optional to have a mobile-friendly website. It is now required and expected by the search engines and the users. In fact, mobile friendliness is now a search ranking factor. This is nothing new, and something you’ve probably heard about in many other years, but as each new device comes out and includes some kind of voice search function, you are going to have to really think about it going into 2018.
7. The Rise of “Linkless” Backlinks: Backlinks have been the bread and butter of SEO for many years. In the past, this linking from another source to bolster a webpage’s authority in the eyes of Google was abused, prompting Google come up with the Penguin algorithm in 2012. Since then, it has become the best (and most ethical) practice for websites to try and get links from more reputable, outside sources. While links from authoritative, outside sources gave websites some search ranking juice, the further sophistication of Google search robots are slowly taking away the coveted power of backlinks. It is not just about who and where your links come from, anymore. A simple link just is not going to stand out of the crowd. Search engines now can associate mentions of brands, institutions, organizations, and people without the need of linking to their corresponding webpages. While links are going to still carry some weight, the other content around the hyperlinked text is going to also be especially important.
8. SERPs Will Continue Getting Personal: Besides the traditional search ranking factors, such as page speed, content relevancy and page authority, search engines are also using information about the user, such as interests, browsing history and location, to provide a personalized search results list. Google, along with some other search engines, have been utilizing personalized SERPs for many years. An SEOer’s goal of getting to the top of search results will have larger implications. Pages that succeed in dominating search will not only get more initial traffic, but when a user clicks to their page, that business’s page will subsequently appear in future searches by that user. This will give you a greater opportunity to dominate that user’s SERPs in the future. There is nothing one can do to land on the top of a user’s personalized SERP except making sure your traffic data is accurate and testing your page’s rankings in private or incognito mode for unbiased results.
Besides if you do have any questions give me a call: https://clarity.fm/joy-brotonath