For anyone who’s been exposed to the world of SEO, you know just how complex the strategies can be and how quickly the industry can change. With hundreds of ranking factors impacting how your site performs it can be a challenge to keep up with the latest SEO trends.
That’s why this week we’ve decided to provide a top-level round up of what’s new in 2018. Quality content will always be a must but there are several new SEO practices that should be considered.
Here’s what you need to know about SEO in 2018:
Google is switching to a mobile-first index
The modern web is in a state of transition; desktop browsing is going out of fashion with the mobile web rushing in to take its place. Today, nearly 60% of searches come from mobile devices and as a result Google has changed the way it looks at your content. Google now uses a ‘mobile-first’ indexing process which means their algorithm looks at the mobile version of your site for ranking rather the desktop version.
Having a mobile responsive website has always been an important aspect of your digital presence, but with the recent updates it has now become critical. A great place to start for your brand is to review your current mobile experience and make sure it follows the latest guidelines from Google. Be sure to submit a verified mobile version of your site to Google Search Console when everything is up to date.
Voice search will continue to rise
The desktop to mobile transition isn’t the only change on the horizon for the modern web. In 2017, virtual personal assistants such as Google Now, Alexa, and Siri changed the way people think about searching the web. Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, has discussed this trend at several events and stated that voice searches make up as much as 20% of mobile queries in select countries. Forecasts indicate this search type of behavior will continue to grow in 2018 so optimizing for voice search is a great way to get ahead of your competition.
To standout in the world of voice search, marketers need to analyze user intent and optimize their content for natural language searches. Though it is still in it’s infancy, based on the last year of data, it seems users have four primary query types:
- Knowledge (educational content and exact answers)
- Places (“near me” queries and addresses of local businesses)
- Activities (how to’s and other types of guides)
- Purchase Opportunities (online shops of their favorite brands)
To optimize your website content for voice based search consider creating a well-structured FAQ section on your site. This allows more precise information snippets to get indexed and increases the likelihood that it will be pushed to the top of queries. It’s also important to consider relevant long tail keywords as voice searches are often longer than text based and optimize your content for conversational language.
Link building is not going anywhere
A recent study conducted by Stone Temple has once again shown that link building is a critical tool for search engine optimization. The reason why link building remains so important is quite simple; a high-quality backlink profile signals to search engines that your website is a reliable resource that provides value to readers. The logic goes that if your website has reputable websites linking back to it, then your site is also likely a reliable source.
In addition to traditional link building efforts, you should also explore the concept of link earning. The difference between the two is subtle, but link earning is far more focused on the overall user experience and can help establish your brand as a leader in your industry. Link earning revolves around producing high quality content that thoroughly answers the questions your customers are asking. From there, other websites in your industry link to your content as a source for their own piece.
SEO is a complicated space that is constantly changing but by getting the fundamentals right and staying on top of the latest trends you can build a solid foundation to grow your business. If you’d like to learn more about what SEO can do for your business reach out to us at On Q. We’ll be happy to create a bespoke strategy that’s perfect for your brand.