Gone are the days when backlinks and keyword placement guaranteed success in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). With the sophisticated technology and as Google gathers increasingly more data about us, search results have become more accurate, timely, and personalized than ever.
As such, now-a-days, the SEO’s job is more than keywords and backlinks. It’s more than metadata optimization. It’s more than even content. It’s the assurance of a frictionless user experience while delivering the right information at the right time- and in a timely manner.
A lot has happened in SEO 2018, but we don’t want to burden you with technicalities. Instead, we’ll discuss what we see as the most important trends in SEO on a macro level, which will give you a big-picture view of where SEO developments are headed.
You’ll notice how these trends build on each other, signaling the importance of a systematic and integrated SEO 2018 strategy.
- The rise of voice search
This is indeed a hard fact. According to Google reports, 1 out of 5 searches already come from voice queries. And that’s not surprising: Voice-activated smart speakers like Google Home and Amazon Echo are on the rise. With its new flagship phone Pixel 2, Google is leaving no stone unturned to advance the adoption of voice-activated hardware.
In addition, Google recently released Google Assistant for all Android devices. This is very important because, contrary to popular belief, the adoption of voice search will largely happen on mobile devices, not on home speakers. As the voice assistants accuracy continues to improve, we gonna witness more and more people utilizing voice search for timely search queries. That’s why optimizing your SEO strategy for voice search today is of very important.
- Featured snippets
Over the last few years, we’ve seen a surprising growth of featured snippets displayed in search results across all electronic devices. As of now, nearly 30% of all search queries on Google have instant answers in the form of featured snippets.
This trend is giving rise to new forms of content, such as Q&A content, which is optimized to provide short answers in response to long-tail search queries. SEO 2018 also pays more attention to the formatting and structure of content to make it easier for Google to pull applicable information for featured snippets.
- A massive shift to mobile
We are probably only months away from Google’s roll-out of the mobile-first index. This means that Google will rank pages based on the mobile version of the page. Till date, Google has been evaluating a website’s relevance to the user based on the desktop page. However, as mobile searches today account for over 60% of total searches, this ranking system has become outdated.
- User experience at the forefront
It’s not only just mobile. User expectations and demands for search are also enhancing with each passing day. Today users want instant solutions to their problems no matter the device they are using. Want a hard fact? Google’s studies have shown that sites that load longer than three seconds lose about 40% of visitors. In other words, the bottom line of your business depends on seconds.
- Optimization for intent
Search results are turning more timely and contextual. Google leaves no stone unturned on its part to integrate AI into its search algorithm so that it can blend historical information, present context (location, device, etc.), and the intent of the query in order to return the most relevant and tailored answer to the customer in the quickest and easy way.
Well, that is the reason why SEO development is the main factor behind each search query and optimizes the content and user experience accordingly. As such, we see a transfer from generic content optimization for keywords to more contextual intent-based content optimization.