From stricter rules for Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) to an increase in voice search to more of a focus on hyperlocal marketing, 2017 was a busy year in the world of SEO. But SEO is ever evolving, and 2018 is sure to see its fair share of exciting developments, along with the continued growth of proven SEO marketing tactics.
To help you keep up, here are 6 SEO marketing trends to focus on in the new year.
Video and Image Search Will Continue to Improve
Personalized Search Results Will Influence Rankings Even More
Voice Search Will Gain More Traction
The Knowledge Graph Will Become More Prevalent
SEO Will Move Beyond Google and Bing
There Will Be a Greater Emphasis on Hyperlocal Marketing
During the past several years, images and videos have played a more prominent role in our online interactions. Many factors have contributed to this, including faster Internet speeds, social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook that champion visual content, and the simple fact that those who use social media interact more with visual content because it evokes more emotional reactions, which leads to increased engagement.
As a result of this increased engagement, Google and other search engines have been tweaking the way images and videos show up in search results. For example, Google recently acquired the video and image sites Anvato, Eyefluence, Famebit, and Moodstocks, which focus on the visual elements within videos and images and/or attempt to improve how users interact with them. Given the increasing importance of graphic content and visual marketing, SEO marketing with images and videos is sure to become more complex and there will be more of an emphasis placed on it.
Personalized search results have steadily developed during the past decade, and they will continue to take center stage in 2018. Whether it’s individual search history, browser cookies, location, demographics, and/or interests, Google has long emphasized the importance of customizing search engine results pages (SERPs) for individuals.
With the proliferation of smart speakers, along with other technological advances and the increasing ease with which searches can be conducted, personalization will continue to be a point of emphasis in 2018. This will make it more challenging to determine how your business will rank and even what it will be ranked for.
Speaking of smart speakers, as sales of Amazon Echo, Apple HomePod, and Google Home continue to increase in 2018, voice search will also grow in importance. Rather than keying in a search query on their computers or mobile devices, users can simply use their voices to get the search results they’re looking for, which will ultimately save them time.
As a result, search queries may differ from what users type into search boxes. For example, with voice search users typically focus on natural-sounding phrases and questions, rather than query language that may be more convoluted. This will affect how businesses evaluate SERPs. As a result, tools such as Rank Tracker are likely to help with optimizing voice search SEO rankings.
Google’s knowledge graph has been around since 2012, but during the last couple of months of 2017, knowledge panels began to more frequently replace featured snippets when users asked questions in Google searches. Unlike featured snippets, which include an extracted summary of the answer from a webpage, along with the title and link to the page, knowledge graphs offer users so much more. For example, if you searched for a movie, the search results would provide the usual summary, but also movie times and theaters, information about the actors in the movie, top stories about the movie, and the movie’s social media pages, among other things.
Often when people search for a topic, they’re looking for more information than what they can uncover by asking a simple question. They want more than a link to a webpage. The knowledge graph connects related topics, which provides users with a more enriching and meaningful search experience. There’s no doubt that knowledge graphs will increasingly replace featured snippets as Google continues to provide users with the best search experience possible.
Undoubtedly, Google will continue to be the dominant search engine; however, digital assistants such as Siri and third-party review sites such as Amazon and Yelp have earned a seat at the search engine table as well. In other words, when focusing on SEO, you also need to consider other search engines so that you can be found by a wider audience.
After all, although it may be difficult to believe, not everyone uses Google all the time, and you don’t want to have to rely on one source when it comes to search engine traffic. Another important factor to consider is that Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo all have higher overall conversion rates than Google; although it certainly depends on the industry.
Last year hyperlocal marketing really began to take off as a way to target customers in close proximity to one’s business; that is, in the local community. Granted, before the Internet, television, radio, and newspapers, it was the only way to market one’s business. However, businesses now have the technology to closely analyze their local market and target certain individuals, rather than shouting from their storefronts in the hope of enticing customers to visit their stores.
As mobile usage continues to increase and virtual reality and augmented reality become more mainstream, businesses will need to place more emphasis on local SEO by focusing on hyperlocal keywords and catering to the nearly instantaneous needs of those who are close by.
Google has played an important part in this trend by reducing the number of pages available in their map search results. And perhaps more importantly, Google continues to see an increase in “near me” and “nearby” searches, which they refer to as “I-Want-to-Go moments.” In turn, businesses need to consider mobile first, which means