Google didn’t make many changes in its algorithm in 2017 but is spent the year strengthening the updates made in 2016. What Google has in store for 2018 isn’t known but there are some trends like mobile first index that will continue in the New Year.
Here’re the five important SEO trends for 2018
1. Mobile-First Index
2017 was the year of mobile-friendly sites but 2018 is going to be mobile-first for websites and SEO. Google has clearly indicated that it will consider mobile indexing for ranking websites and Google shouldn’t be taken lightly. In 2018, the ranking signals will come from the mobile version of your website. Time has come when you should start thinking about mobile first while designing and optimizing your website.
2. Semantic search
In 2013, Google updated its algorithm to improve the accuracy of search by understanding the search intent of the user. The Hummingbird update sowed the seed for a semantic search that’s now grown.
In 2017, the semantic search further evolved into a mechanism to understand search intent and establish a relationship between search intent and keywords. The objective is to improve understanding of the search intent so that better results could be served.
If you aren’t preparing well-documented content that gives satisfactory answers to the queries raised by your targeted audiences then you are certain to lag behind in the competition. Google would choose the webpage that best describes the search intent.
3. Machine learning
In 2016, Google announced RankBrain as the third most important ranking signal. It was start of machine learning and it supports semantic search. Users are free to select words to search information and it is for the search engines to understand what users want to search.
Earlier the search engines used to match search queries with keywords but now the process is changed to include artificial intelligence that can examine user behaviour and guide search engines to deliver the best results matching with the search query.
Machine learning( Rank Brain) improves search results but it also creates difficulties for SEO. What is good for one search might not be good for other queries even if the queries are related to the business. The best you can do to optimize your site is to create comprehensive resources that can come up in semantic search and also that give high user experience.
4. Features snippets
In 2014, Google introduced Quick Answers in a bid to improve the search results. The process was to get the right answer to the search query and place it above the number one position on SERP. The answers are called Featured Snippets and the snippets are taken from 2nd to 5th ranking sites most of the times.
Only crisp, straightforward and comprehensive answers are published in boxes. Also, the snippets have links to the sites they’re taken from. Today it is seen as an opportunity to grab the 1st Rank and get targeted traffic that converts.
You should get your site in Featured Snippets by providing short and intelligent answers to the queries searched by your customers. A thorough keyword research on keywords relevant to your business is needed to write snippets.
5. Virtual assistance & voice search
In 2017, a study conducted on the popularity of voice search device gave startling revelations. It was found that more than 33 million voice search devices were in circulation. It was a meteoritic rise in the popularity of voice search devices that were only 25 million in the year 2016.
To optimize your website for voice search, you first need claiming your Google My Business listing and then searching long tail keywords for optimization.
Machine learning is expected to play a much bigger role in web search in the year 2018. Previous years’ experience shows that Google will tighten the noose around the sites that can’t provide satisfactory answers to search queries. The New Year has just started hence it’s time to set your SEO strategy right according to the search engine signals.