At the end of each year, I set time aside to reflect on the changes and trends that took place over the course of the year in the digital marketing industry and evaluate what I think will be important in the search engine optimization (SEO) industry in the upcoming year. In this blog post, we’ll go to over my predictions for SEO in 2018. I will break each topic down and provide tips for how you can implement these items on your own blog.
What Will Be the Top 7 SEO Trends for 2018?
- Focus on Mobile-First Optimization and the User Experience (UI/UX)
- In-Depth Content Writing for your Audience/Readers
- Blog Posts Writing with Voice Search in Mind
- Focus on Featured Snippets and Quick Answers
- Focus on Secure Site (HTTPs)
- Link-Building Will Continue to Be Important
- Visual and Shareable Image/Video Creation
If you’d like to learn more details about the top trends and how to devlop and implement a strategy for them, keep reading below:
1. Think Through the User Experience and Always Implement Mobile-First Optimization
Over the past few years, Google has continued to emphasize their focus and shift to mobile-first optimization. In fact, they have started to roll out mobile-first indexing and will continue to do so in 2018. Google takes mobile content and site organization into consideration to prioritize their rankings and provide the best possible results and top user experience in their searches. With so many users browsing online with their phones, tablets and other portable devices, Google seeks to reward the sites that have paid extra attention to crafting an excellent mobile experience.
How to Optimize for Mobile Search Indexing
Is your website/blog responsive (mobile-friendly)? If not, you’ll want to make it a priority to upgrade your website in 2018 to a mobile-friendly design. If you’re using WordPress for your blog or website, there are a number of responsive theme templates available for purchase. I would recommend finding a theme through Bluchic. Their website templates are simple, customizable, and they offer great support! (If you’re still in the research phase for creating your blog, you can read my blog post on the top 5 things you should look for when selecting a theme for WordPress.)
After you have secured a responsive design, there’s still work to be done! You’ll need to continue to optimize your content for mobile. You should format your copy and images so mobile visitors can easily browse your website. Here are some tips to help you improve your copy:
- Include headers throughout to break up the copy on the page
- Create bulleted lists so visitors can easily skim and digest your content
- Add more images throughout the post
2. Write In-Depth Content for your Readers
In 2018, I believe it will continue to be important to create in-depth and relevant content for your audience. With so many sites and blogs online, you’ll want to make sure the content you write is unique and gives your audience reason(s) to continue to come back to your blog.
How to Write In-Depth Content for your Readers
Each blog post you write should have between 1,500 – 2,000 words. That way, you can adequately explain your topic to your readers and provide enough for Google to crawl and index. Each blog post should also include latent semantic indexing keywords (LSI keywords). LSI keywords are words or phrases that are similar and are commonly used together. You can find these phrases a number of ways:
- Look at the phrases Google provides in their “related to section” at the bottom of the search results page
- Look at the additional keywords that are provided when using keyword research tool(s)
- Use this LSI keyword generator tool
3. Write Blog Posts with Voice Search in Mind
Ask yourself – how often to do you use Siri, Alexa or other voice tools to search for you? According to Google, 20% of mobile searches come from voice queries, and that number is predicted to continue to rise in 2018. In conjunction with voice search, users are now asking more questions and using longer keyword phrases. You will want to keep this in mind as you write copy and complete keyword research for blog posts and topics.
How to Optimize for Voice Search
Try to anticipate questions that your audience may be asking and ensure your content includes the answers. This will help your copy to continue to adapt to the ever changing voice search trends.
4. Think About Featured Snippets and Quick Answers While Generating Content
Have you ever noticed Google’s quick answer box at the top of your search results page? (I.e. the first result that comes up when you search how many quarts are in a gallon?) This item is referred to as Google’s featured snippet / quick answer and is also known as “position 0 ” – the most coveted spot on Google’s search result page.
How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets and Quick Answers
While there is no guide book on how to optimize for “position 0”, we can identify what types of content Google has selected for this position. Lists, tables, charts and Q&As tend to be favored items for this section. Content formatted this way is easy for Google to pull and feature, so keep this in mind as you write in 2018.
5. Have a Secure Site by Purchasing or Enabling an SSL Certificate and Switch to HTTPS
Late in 2017, Google announced that having a secure site is extremely important. Sites that were not yet secure, received a notification in their email and on their Search Console dashboard. We do not know the extent of the impact for 2018, but we do know that Google has stressed the importance and desire to make the web a safer place for users to search and browse.
How to Switch Your Blog From HTTP to HTTPs
Switching your site from HTTP to HTTPs is an important, yet daunting task to complete for your website. To learn more about the importance of switching to HTTPs and how to do it, you can read my blog post here.
6. Don’t forget about Link Building and Building Your Blogging Community
Link building will continue to be important in 2018. As you work towards gaining backlinks, you’ll want to make sure you work with reputable sites and blogs. It will be important not to implement any black hat/shady SEO techniques as you work through this strategy. While some quick-fix solutions and techniques might drive instant traffic, chances are it’s not quality traffic and Google may penalize your site if you use them.
How to Create a Link Building Strategy in 2018
A successful backlink strategy starts by building relationships with other bloggers in your niche. Look for opportunities to create guest blog posts for their site and your blog. Keep in mind, you’ll want to make sure that the guest content you feature on your site is in line with your overall message/branding and will not hurt your reputation.
7. Create Visual and Shareable Images and/or Videos
When visiting websites, users have come to expect images and shareable content. For each blog post you write, you’ll want to include images and/or a video to help describe your topic. This will not only provide your visitors with items they can easily share, but also helps your readers understand what your post is about before they even start reading/skimming. Afterall, a picture is worth a thousand words!
How to Create Visual and Shareable Images for your Blog
If you’re not a graphic designer and aren’t well versed in Photoshop, creating beautiful images for your blog can be extremely intimidating. Don’t you worry, there are now great online tools that provide you with templates to easily format and add text to images. For my blog, I use Canva to quickly format my photos. There are also a number of affordable image subscriptions sites you can join like Haute Stock.
Do you have any predictions or thoughts on what will be important for SEO in 2018? If so, please feel free to share in the comments below or contact me directly.
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