2018 – SEO Predictions

5 SEO Predictions you should be aware of in 2018

SEO is a changing requirement for business, and we need to adapt. Change is happening all the time¾just look at cryptocurrencies and chatbots. We want the companies we partner with to be prepared. There could be big changes coming in SEO¾changes that require upgrades, and a fresh approach to keeping your business at the top of its game.

Here at Amaze Digital, we’re predicting some pretty specific changes to SEO in 2018. Are you ready?

  1. Voice Search will lead the shift in SEO.

Voice search will have even more of an impact on your SEO. With the growing use of virtual assistants (our friends Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant), the way people search for information online is undergoing a dramatic revolution. Virtual assistants are more likely to recommend businesses if they can confirm the business listing. Make sure to claim your business listings¾Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp, and Foursquare, to name a few.

Understand the searchers’ intent. For example, voice search makes reviews even more critical for your business. Not only do voice assistants take online reviews into account when displaying results, but savvy searchers are now specifying business ratings, too: “Find me a three-star hotel nearby.”

  1. RankBrain will still be relevant (and more important than ever).

Which means: more competition. Introduced in early 2015, RankBrain is a machine-learning artificial intelligence system that helps Google process some of its search results. RankBrain focuses on:

  1. How much time visitors spend on the page
  2. The ratio of people that click on your result

Optimizing for RankBrain is difficult. How can you start beating the competition when it comes to RankBrain? The simple (but not easy) answer is two-fold.

  1. Make sure people spend more time on your page. Craft long-form, high quality, interactive content.
  2. Get more clicks on search results, by using rich snippets.

RankBrain, being a learning machine, challenges you to write your content in a natural, conversational tone. Put simply: make sure you sound like a human in your blog posts.

  1. Local SEO competition will heat up.

Be prepared for fierce Local SEO competition, and plan to:

  • Capture your space on all local business directories
  • Leverage the power of local link building
  • Use local structured data markup
  • Utilize local long tail keyword phrases when building content. If your business is local, base your keyword research on local long tail keywords phrases.
  • Google has given us the heads up, too. They’ve announced a move towards mobile-first indexing, which basically means: your site’s mobile version is now the primary one. You can adapt by making sure your website is perfectly optimised for mobile searches. If you need more proof, a recent study found that approximately 56% of on-the-go mobile searches have local intent.
  1. Organic keyword clickthrough will go down.

Let’s look at Google search results today. They’re already being pushed further down the page, as Google fills the page with:

  • Ads
  • Answer boxes
  • Carousels
  • Sections like “People also ask …”

Even with the best SEO practices, searchers are likely to click on the first results or options Google gives us. Clickthrough rates are dropping, as a result.

Don’t panic! This just means you need to take advantage of other channels¾PPC, social media, and video.

  1. Video is your new best friend.

Video content will capture 80% of all online traffic by 2021. That’s huge, and we want you to be a part of it.

Google responds to public demand, which is why searchers will be seeing more YouTube videos in their search results in 2018. Video SEO is another game entirely, with ranking factors that include:

  • The video filename
  • An optimised title
  • Tags
  • Description (Include your keyword 3-4 times in the description)
  • Videos
  • Social Shares
  • Comments
  • Watch time and retention
  • Lengthier content. As with text-based articles, longer videos rank better.
  • Number of subscribers.

For Google to better understand and rank your video, use captions and upload a transcript.

Quick trick: embed videos in your posts. This has the added benefit of boosting the time people spend on your page, which helps with RankBrain, too.

If you’re planning 2018’s business goals and budgets now, nice work! Embrace your practical side by identifying how your customers will find your business this year. What devices will they use? Is your website optimised for new interaction formats? Is your business ready for the new SEO algorithms?

You’ve got a big job ahead of you. We can make it easier, so schedule a fireside chat today and let’s get this show on the road!