Search engine optimisation (SEO) is changing faster than ever, with local search and voice searches on the rise, how will this affect your business?
Search trends show that the way we search online is set to change massively over the coming years. Comscore report by 202, 50% of all searches will be made via voice. On the other side 72% of users who perform a local search are likely to visit a store within a 5 mile radius.
SEO is a competitive market place, typically the top 3 organic search results get the most clicks yet tens of millions of businesses fail to rank anywhere near page 1.
The common SEO trends making the headlines in 2018 are:
Voice Search – With voice search on the rise and systems like Alexa and Google home only giving one result, how can you ensure that single result is yours?
Link Building – Still at the core of SEO, is it quality or quantity that drive SEO?
Mobile Search – Will there be more of a benefit to those offering an incredible mobile experience compared to those who don’t?
Search Terms – How will the phrases, words or keywords that we type in or speak into our devices be likely to change?
We’ve managed to sit down with some of the UK’s leading SEO experts to get their thought son what they expect the top SEO trends for 2018 to be – Read on to find out more…
Alex Mungo of GoMungoSEO:
I think we’ll continue to see many changes in 2018 relating to new technologies. While backlinks will still be important, website owners will need to think about optimising their content for voice search. As more people than ever before now use their mobile devices to search, we’ll also start to see SEO companies encouraging clients to focus on the mobile first index, and ensuring their websites are optimised for mobile users. Google may also begin to roll out algorithm updates related to mobile search so those who still haven’t updated their sites may find themselves getting left behind.
Dave Robinson of RedEvolution.com:
With respect to SEO we’ve always been advocates of using keyword research to establish what people are looking for, married with great content that answers their questions. In this respect not much has changed since Google’s inception. Much of what has pretended to be SEO over the years has in fact, in my view, been little more than an attempt to trick Google and let’s face it, faking it is rarely as good as the real thing.
Now, this approach to SEO might work some of the time, indeed for some people it might work most of the time but long term we’ve found the honest approach is what creates lasting results.
So, what might change through 2018 and beyond?
I think the type of searches will change in that with voice search they will be much more conversational. Freeing people’s thumbs in favour of simply asking the question using voice search will change a search such as “plumber Blackpool” into something like “looking for a plumber in Blackpool to fix my leaking tap”.
This means, in my humble opinion, that businesses using blogs and transcribed video content, and by that, I mean genuinely useful blogs and videos, could hoover up more traffic.
As for algorithm updates well again, these are most often pushed to nudge out those trying to game the system, yet another reason to play by the rules and create a site that deserves to rank.
Ultimately businesses have a choice, they can take on Google’s team of PhD’s, aka their spam team, or spend the time understanding what their ideal customers are searching for. I know where my money’s going.
Simon Ensor of weareyellowball.com adds:
2018 will represent a continuation of strategic changes to SEO campaigns where SEOs focus on solution led content. Whilst content strategies will still be heavily influenced by inbound sales funnels and associated search volume, the most effective campaigns will be solution led, satisfying more complex search queries that are proliferated by an increase in voice search as well as Rankbrain.
Expect mobile specific updates (including the eventual roll out of the Mobile First Index) to be a primary concern for those that have not yet taken steps to alleviate issues with their sites. Technical SEO will be paramount in ensuring that traffic via mobile searches is retained.
Backlink profiles will continue to be critical to the success of any SEO campaign. Campaigns that deliver the highest returns will be focussed on generating economies of scale through link earning content blended with more traditional outreach techniques.
The complexity of Google’s algorithms (and other search engines) has meant a swift transition from more linear SEO processes to ones that take a more comprehensive outlook. Value for the user will remain a paramount concern and those that commit to this principle, rather than manipulation of search results, will see not only greater results but greater sustainability.
The team over at SmarterDigitalMarketing.co.uk:
I believe voice search has a bigger role to play over the course of 2018. The increasing development of voice search is becoming a more personalised option for users which will ultimately affect how marketers optimise their SEO strategy for voice. This may mean changing the way we think about keywords to make them more conversational and create a more natural phrasing of search commands. Marketers may need to redefine their focus on phrases that make sense when spoken.
Seb Dean from Imaginaire Digital:
One of the key areas that I see the landscape of SEO changing in is content and, in particular, how we’re optimising our content. I think most SEOs worth their salt have realised that they don’t need to throw “Keyword Area” all over their pages when it doesn’t read well for humans, and have realised that Google is pretty good at associating a keyword and then using the location as a modifier for that. So I expect to (or hope to!) see agencies smartening up on this side of things in 2018.
I also think that Google are pushing more and more aggressively toward answering questions in the SERPs which is going to change the way that blog articles are structured, so that we can maximise exposure. I expect to see blog articles begin to move away from click-baity headlines like “15 ways to” and move more toward answering questions that users are asking.
In general, I think the push towards usable, human readable content will gain momentum through 2018 and this should create a better web.
Neil Walker see’s an even greater focus on Mobile:
In 2016 Google removed the side ads from SERP’s in favour of a ‘best mobile layout’ introducing four ads at the top of SERP’s this has impacted some businesses organic traffic. That said the rise of CPC’s within Adwords still make’s organic as viable a channel as ever and Google’s local SERP results are still a very strong channel to capture traffic. What is clear going into 2018 is that long tail traffic is still as abundant as ever and with voice searches continuing to increase the way in which searches are linguistically carried out will continue to shift to the need for more tailored content.
Mobile has played a huge role in the past two years and realistically will still play a major part in the shape of Search, whilst technologies like AMP are becoming more prevalent in search results, new mobile led web technology which allows instant loading content of Non AMP based pages is on the horizon and brands need to be at the forefront of these technologies.
Its safe to say that voice search is growing and the impact for search could be huge, I think its important that brands don’t make the same mistakes which have gone on with mobile, such as “Mobile doesn’t convert as well // they may have a responsive website but the brand isn’t testing the mobile site for conversion”. One of the main tings to look out for in 2018 is how Google is approaching Voice Search Ads, its still unclear, but from an organic perspective optimising for featured snippets in general indicates being picked up for a voice search even if your actual listing doesn’t rank number one.
Matt Kirkman of Grapefruit Digital:
We’re only a couple of months into 2018 and already the SERP landscape has seen some significant shifts, a pattern which looks like it will continue for the rest of the year. In terms of where to focus to stay ahead of these shifts, we think two areas are probably going to be important. The first is content, and more specifically the quality and optimisation of the content pages that site owners are trying to rank – it seems that once a site is ‘trusted’ in the search engines’ eyes, the visible and non-visible content on the page can have a significant impact on what that page ranks for. The second key area is likely to be mobile search, but this could effectively cover a wide range of sub-topics, such as mobile-first indexing, mobile speed as a ranking factor, and the sort of voice/question searches that are becoming more and more popular. Optimising for mobile is no longer a choice but a necessity for sites that want to rank, and making sure any SEO project includes optimisation for the new generation of search phrases and keyword topics is another essential.
The SEO Team at https://poddigital.co.uk
As an ecommerce agency staying up to date with the latest SEO trends is incredibly important, as it can, quite literally, make or break a business.
We’re noticing several shifts in SEO and if the trajectory of the industry continues in this way web design, conversion and user experience will all come under the SEO umbrella rather than being separate entities.
Everything we’re seeing is geared around user experience, whether that’s video, speed or content and we think this is all a precursor for when Google finally rolls out the Mobile First Index.
SEO is about creating relationships and it’s becoming harder and harder. If a website isn’t able to connect with its audience, then Google just won’t take it seriously and this will harm the probability of success online in 2018 and beyond.
Nirav Dave, CTO & Co-Founder of Capsicum Mediaworks
If I had to pick one trend that is a front-runner in the field of SEO for 2018 it would undoubtedly be Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). With a shift to mobile-first indexing by Google, in order to enhance user experience and boost ranking in mobile search result one needs to make use of AMP to optimize web pages for mobile users. The benefits of doing this include – improve site speed and reduce bounce rate, which will ultimately boost your site’s ranking on SERPs leading to a higher conversion.
Qualitative link building is another SEO technique that is bound to be prevalent in 2018 and beyond and can prove to be quite valuable to your site if done the right way. Creating benefit-focused content is another must. In addition, implementation of LSI keywords is also important as this will ensure that you find success in all your online marketing campaigns – be it SEO, Social Media or other PAID campaigns.
Looking to push ahead with your SEO campaign? ALT Agency have a proven track record in offering SEO in Birmingham and surrounding areas. Whether you are confused about SEO or looking to expand from a local SEO to national SEO campaign, ALT Agency can help, call us on 0121 663 0202 to discuss your SEO requirements.
Here is some bonus SEO content from Brian Dean over at Backlinko: