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Top SEO Trends for 2018

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Just when you think you’ve figured out SEO and Digital Marketing, something changes and now you’ve got to start from scratch again. Marketing and the rules of SEO are always evolving and constantly changing.

2017 saw the rise of AMPs and backlinks, but by 2018 we expect to see changes and new trends. Old tactics won’t cut it anymore. As you work on getting your website to rank on top in 2018, here are few SEO trends that will definitely set you on your way to becoming a trending name on the web.

Rich Snippets

As SEO best practices evolve, a very unlikely ranking hack is emerging.

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Snippets. Yes, snippets, but not just any snippets. Rich snippets. Perhaps before we go further, some quick definitions are in order. A snippet is the small tiny block of information that can be found under the result on your search engines pages. Rich snippets don’t directly affect rankings per se. Rather, due to the extra information they provide, they increase the click-through rate. An increase in click-through rate means an increase in traffic and hence ranking.

If you haven’t started, now is the time to employ rich snippets in your SEO strategy. Careful structuring of your snippets, where you provide more information along with appropriate keywords, will give you that much-needed boost in ranking.

AI To Change The Search

Google first introduced it’s RankBrain two years ago. RankBrain was a machine learning AI system that was assigned to handle about 15% of Google’s search queries. However, fast forward to two years later and RankBrain now handles all of Google’s search queries. With AI becoming more deeply integrated into our daily devices, we can expect to become a major part of Google’s search algorithm in this future.

Google already has a few AI-powered projects in works and it recently introduced it’s powerful Voice Assistant Technology that can now handle making appointments on the user’s behalf. This is just the beginning and you can definitely expect more AI integration including in SEO and Digital Marketing.

Page Speed

According to Google, page speed is a major ranking factor. Slow loading pages (3 seconds or more) have detrimental consequences:

  • Search engines crawl fewer pages
  • Increase in the bounce rate
  • Time on page is lower

Improving your page load time is critical if you want to rank well. Let’s look at some tweaks that can help bring your site up to speed.

  • Optimize your website’s code.
  • Reduce redirects.
  • Resize images before uploading them to your CMS.
  • Cache your website and pages.
  • Limit the number of plugins on your site.

Your main task, as we step into 2018, is to work on your page loading speed.

Page relevance

When it comes to ranking, page relevance will never become outdated as a ranking factor. Search engines want to give users the best experience possible on the web. That means showing relevant results.

According to Search Metrics, “When dealing with search engines, the term ‘relevance’ describes the extent to which the content of a website corresponds to the search term used”

Search engines place great value on relevance when it comes to querying results. For example, when searching for pie recipes, pizza recipes will not be included in the search results. Even if the pizza recipe tops in other ranking factors, because that page is not relevant to the search query, it won’t appear.

In short, page relevance is decided by your content. To optimize for relevance:

  • Publish more long-form content as opposed to short form.
  • Cover your topic in detail.
  • Don’t stick to a keyword, use synonyms and related phrases as well.

“Linkless” Backlinks

This sounds like an oxymoron but yes, there is such a thing as a “linkless” backlink. And these are fast becoming strong ranking factors as we head into 2018. A “linkless” backlink is simply a mention of your name or brand by other web users without adding a link. Search engines pick up these mentions and use them as trust signals. They work the same way that “real” links work, hence they are “linkless” backlinks.

Simple language queries

As search engines evolve, they are making strides to making searches as natural as possible. Enter natural language queries, this is a search that is carried out in everyday natural language. And it’s on the rise, typed or spoken. Because it’s easier than keyword-based searches which may require different combinations of keywords before you get the right results, natural language queries are becoming popular.

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Keyword search personalization

Search results are becoming more personalized., meaning search engines give results that are “personal” and tailor made for the user. Besides the generic search results, search engines include results based on the information they have about the user. You can also use Keyword search tools for searching effective keywords that are more relevant.

The 3 main pillars of personalization being:

  • Search engines personalize results according to the user’s location.
  • Browsing history. Search engines learn your interests and preferences from your browsing history. This influences the results Google will show you.
  • Search engine results are device specific. The pages are very different on desktop and mobile devices. This is because pages are ranked according to the device being used to browse. Mobile friendly pages rank higher on mobile devices but are considered as normal on desktop devices and vice versa.

Link Building

If you thought link building was dead, you are dead wrong. Contrary to all the fake news of link building being obsolete, it’s still your number one SEO hack. Link building still reigns supreme is because it’s the #1 trust factor as far as search engines are concerned. And trust is important when it comes to ranking. Be warned though, not all links are good. links. Speaking of links, it’s not the number of links but the quality of links that really matters. Though getting quality back links is becoming more difficult, you can still get them through:

  • Publishing awesome content that warrants backlinks.
  • Guest posting
  • Web directories
  • Commenting on other sites
  • Building relationships within your niche

These and other link building techniques, when applied properly, will set you on your way to position #1 on the SERPs.

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Mobile First

Traffic from mobile and tablet are finally surpassing the traffic from desktops, something that is changing the way we are accessing the internet.  People are spending more time on mobiles than they do on desktops. On-the-go has become a new mantra in today’s busy world, where people would instead reach for their phones and tablets, instead of having to turn the entire desktop on. So if you want to be found on the web you have to rank well for mobile, otherwise:

  • You will lose traffic.
  • Search engines won’t consider you relevant.

Factors To Help You Rank Better On Mobile:

  • Make sure your website loads fast.
  • Content structure. Content should be easy to read on a small screen.
  • Should be easy and fluid.

Is your SEO strategy ready to compete for position #1 on Google? Put these tips to work and watch your ranking improve.

Saurabh
Saurabh Mukhekar is a Tech Blogger from Pune, India. He is also thinker, maker, life long learner, hybrid developer, edupreneur, mover & shaker. He's captain planet of BlogSaays and seemingly best described in rhyme. Follow Him On
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