While certainly not a new concept, search engine optimization (SEO) remains one of the most effective ways to keep your brand and your products and services front and center on search engine results pages. Even so, some naysayers continue to predict the demise of SEO. But the fact is that SEO is highly adaptive to what matters most to searchers. In fact, more than 40,000 searches are made every second on Google and just over 80 percent of shoppers are in the habit of doing some research online first before making a purchase. When it comes to levering the power of SEO, there are some important trends to be aware of as you plan your online engagement strategy in 2018…
Voice search is probably something you do without even realizing it every time you speak to your phone. It’s also the way many consumers are finding the info they need online in 2018. While half of all teens perform at least one voice search per day, it’s not a trend that’s relegated to younger searchers. Approximately 40 percent of all adults are doing the same thing. And voice search isn’t a passing fade. It’s predicted that within the next few years more than half of all searching will be voice-generated rather than text-based. Be prepared for the voice search trend by:
• Using more conversational keywords (people are more likely to speak in longer sentences)
• Optimizing for Google’s answer boxes and featured snippets since this is what typically shows up as the initial results of a voice search
• Including answers to FAQs pertaining to your business within your content or featured snippets since many voice searchers ask questions to their devices (e.g., “Where can I find…,” “How do I get to…”)
• Using “location implied” keywords like “near me” since most voice searchers know their device will automatically detect their location
While standard apps come in handy, they also take up space on devices. The great thing about progressive Web apps (PWA), which mix elements of mobile and Web applications, is that they function like a website — plus they show up on search results pages. Basically, websites that work like apps, PWAs are also appealing since they’re accessed via browsers, so they don’t have to be stored on devices.
Sure, there’s something to be said for being concise and to the point with your content. But Google also prefers more comprehensive content, which means word counts around 1,200 to 2,000 words. This doesn’t mean you have to start randomly stuffing more content onto your website. But you can find ways to provide access to more detailed on content where it makes sense to do so, like on your blog page or via social media with things like Facebook’s Instant Articles. It’s also easier to naturally work keywords into longer forms of content.
SEO can be affected in some ways that aren’t so obvious, such as the security of your website. Sites without HTTPS, the secure version of HTTP, are likely to be displayed with a warning that the website isn’t secure, which could drive some visitors away. There’s already research showing that non-secure sites don’t rank as highas secure ones.
Google started making plans for mobile-first indexing in 2015. Full implementation is expected in 2018. In a nutshell, it means Google will consider how a website appears and functions on mobile devices first. The simplest way to be prepared is to opt for a responsive website design, which means your site will adjust to whatever screen it’s being viewed on. Since most consumers now use mobile devices anyway, it’s a good idea to make mobile a priority if you haven’t done so already. Accomplish this goal by:
• Sizing your images for smaller screens
• Removing anything that’s significantly slowing your page load times
• Using short paragraphs and descriptive headers and subheads
• Leaving space around anything that’s meant to be tapped
• Making website navigation as convenient as possible
• Eliminating sources of “hidden text” like what’s sometimes in accordions (text that appears when a prompt is clicked) or hamburger-style menus
Another important trend that affects SEO today is the increased access to data on just about every type of customer behavior. Dive into this data to gain valuable insights about your intended audience you can use to produce content that will likely be relevant to what they expect. It’s the nature of your content that will ultimately drive traffic to your website. This should be kept in mind regardless of what’s trending with SEO in 2018.
Not sure what SEO trends are right for your needs? The team at Create Web Studios is here to help. We offer a wide range of services designed to maximize your online visibility, including Web design and online marketing that includes blogging, social media, and all aspects of SEO. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you.