Organic SEO in 2018: 6 Trends to Keep An Eye On
If one of your New Year's resolutions is getting your SEO in check and really focusing on improving that organic ranking, we've got some trends to keep an eye on if you're going to reach your digital goals like the boss you are.
Organic search results is a topic some fear, others admire, but most make the best of with hard work, research and meticulous trial and error. Keeping astride of new techniques and methods can sometimes make your head spin but we've been able to narrow down some of the upcoming trends for SEO in the new year.
So without further ado...
Video's Upward Trend is Not Slowing Down
In 2017 we saw video marketing take center stage. Short, sweet-spot videos that users can easily watch have captured the attention of browsers and marketers alike. Video consumption alone has soared with over 1.3 billion people using YouTube and search engines have taken notice. Users insatiable appetite for video content has seen Google place higher preference to videos and placing them in prime real estate on search pages.
How can you get in on this trend if you haven't already?
Start by making short explainer videos or product featurettes. From there you can expand to weekly webinars or blogs and create an entire strategy. Video is addicting and the auto play feature capitalizes on the amount of time users watch your videos. Don't miss this boat in 2018!
Focus on High Quality Content
The days of short generic blogs and content are numbered and it's time to bring your content up to scratch. While we're used to providing cliff-hanger content to blog readers, users want their questions answered and their interactions with your content directly impact your organic search ranking.
Content depth is the word you'll want to keep in mind as you start writing in the new year. Give your content the heft it needs to keep people engaged. Answer questions; provide pricing where possible and leave no stone unturned. Where content used to scratch the surface to leave readers with "call us for more details" endings, it's time to progress and finish the thought. Let consumers make the decision to call you because you've openly showcased your process.
In depth articles typically range from 1,700 - 1,900 words so keep this range in mind as you develop your new SEO strategy with content depth for 2018.
Mobile-First Ranking is Definitely Here
A long time ago in a galaxy far far away (2016), Google announced it would index mobile-first, meaning it would give websites that were mobile friendly better ranking than non-mobile sites. That means content that performs best on mobile devices will trump content on an older website that's not mobile friendly. Though this hasn't been fully rolled out yet because Google is giving webmasters ample time to upgrade their websites, this is close to happening. When it does, you'll want to make sure you're not on the sinking side of the SEO float.
Consistency is key to mobile-friendly content. Don't hide content for specific devices; rather have one uniform and fluid design that can transition seamlessly between devices. Make sure your site flows smoothly for mobile users and keep load times in mind. Optimize your images to make sure they load equally on mobile and desktop.
Voice Search is Coming in Hot
If you haven't heard of voice search (Google Home, Amazon Echo) then you must have spent 2017 under a rock. The mini versions of these voice assistants were the most sought after gifts this holiday season with their reasonable price points and hours of entertaining banter.
Voice search has seen a huge surge this year with over 60% of users on the voice search map appearing just this past year. To optimize for our new best friends like Google and Alexa, we suggest researching what your customers are searching for and optimizing that content accordingly. Ensure you're structuring your content in a question / answer format to help voice searches find your content over the competition's. Focus on optimizing your content for the feature snippet as well for a double dose of SEO awesome.
The Structured Snippet Becomes a Staple
As of May 2017, 12% of Google queries come with featured snippets but this number is set to increase significantly. A featured snippet is sometimes called the 'Answer Box' and it's a brief featured answer to the query displayed in the SERP. Usually pulled from a top-ranking page, the full article is usually linked via the snippet, placed high on the SERP second only to paid ad spots, making this a drool-worthy spot.
Graphics and rich snippets continue to generate quick answers for searches which will push organic listings further down the page. To get your foot in the door with structured snippets, try to identify searches that currently don't have a featured snippet and optimize for these. The easiest way to find some ideas is to check sites like Reddit, Quora, or Yahoo answers to see what answers people are looking for in your industry. From there create content that captures theirs (and Google's) attention.
Machine Learning is Here to Stay
Google's RankBrain was confirmed in 2015 and has since begun helping searchers find the right answers to their questions. It's not the search algorithm but it's a factor and its base is machine learning. RankBrain analyzes the 2 key areas that help determine your website's ranking in a search: dwell time and CTR.
Dwell time is considered the time users spend on the landing page. When a user clicks onto your search result they'll either read the page, click through to a different page, or return to the search rankings. Low dwell time, or returning quickly to the search page tells RankBrain that the content it just ranked you for wasn't what the user was looking for, so next time it will place you lower in rank.
Likewise, CTR (or click through rate) is the probability that your link will be clicked on when it's been served in a user's SERP. A link with poor CTR is at risk of losing its rankings so it's important to look through your analytics, find the keywords with the lowest CTR that you deem important to your business and upgrade tags, titles, and copy for better click-throughs as well as dwell time.
If you're ready to grab 2018 by the horns and make the most of it with a strong organic presence, consider these trends. 2018 isn't far away so take a look at how others are leveraging these trends and see what's within your reach for a strong start.
Bloomtools stays on top of current trends to ensure our clients never fall behind. If you're interested in improving, upgrading, or getting a fresh start for your organic SEO, contact one of our knowledgeable consultants for a 1-on-1 consultation to get started.
|Tags: Content Marketing Website Performance Search Engine Optimization|