We’re almost one month into the new year, which means it’s time to be focusing on effective SEO strategies to apply for the rest of 2018. With 93% of online experiences starting off with a search engine, it is important to consider the latest SEO trends and to stay ahead of the times. Here are some things to think about when it comes to SEO and 2018.

Voice Search Is Bigger Than Ever
Voice search tools and digital assistants are becoming more and more popular every day. If you have a question, of any kind, Google will find it for you without you lifting a finger.  Some users find it more practical while others still prefer to use their phone manually.  However, the average human can only type 40 words per minute, while they can speak 150 words per minute.

This changes the nature of the search market because the rise of voice searching means that we need to consider including long-tail search keywords and a more natural sentence structure when thinking about SEO. For example, people are more likely to ask their phone or digital assistant ‘How old is Donald Trump?’then ‘Donald Trump age’.  Focus on answering questions. It’s possible that voice searches will increase to a healthy percentage, so optimising for voice search is something that will help your business flourish in 2018.

Think About Featured Snippets

The prominence of voice searches means being more aware of featured snippets. Featured Snippets are what we describe as Rich or Direct Answer results that appear in a question-answer format at the top of a search and include a link to the source of the answer. Today nearly 30% of all search queries on Google have instant answers in the form of featured snippets. This is why more and more people are talking about optimising for featured snippets.  

How can we use this information about both voice searches and featured snippets in regards to SEO? If  you focus on ensuring your site ranks well organically, you’ll increase your chance of getting a featured snippet and the added bonus of being read out as a voice result. This means considering the format and structure of content so that Google is able to use relevant information in a featured snippet.

Super Fast Load Speed

In today’s digital era, people are more impatient than ever. They want their answers fast. There is nothing more irritating than waiting for a page to properly load. Visitors are more likely to remain longer on your page if it loads quickly and page speed in general has a significant impact on user experience.

And with more users than ever on mobile, Google has announced that from July 2018 page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches. If you’re wondering how fast your page should be loading, Google suggests the ideal time is in under three seconds. Improve you page speed by investing in high-performance web hosting, properly scaling and compressing your images, compile and minify your code and leverage browser caching. By doing this, you can make sure your business continues to grow.

Smartphones Are Taking Over

Mobiles are everywhere these days – over 50% of search engine queries come from a mobile browser. For this reason, fast-loading, mobile-optimised sites will have more success in 2018. Make sure you consider how user-friendly your mobile site is. It is essential to incorporate mobile-first content as keyword rank is different for mobiles and desktops. Revisit the design and user experience of your mobile site to make sure it is likely to engage visitors.

Video and Image Searching

Our online interactions are becoming more visual, which has led to the development of visual search engines allowing users to search image and video content more easily. In 2018, SEO strategies should be more oriented towards visually-focused content because it means a more interactive and engaging experience for web users.  Brands will need to pay attention to optimising their visual content to stand out in the crowd. This could mean including video and images on your site to heighten user experience.

Quality Link Building

Backlinks have been an essential part of the SEO for years and link-building is still a highly important tactic when considering SEO strategies. However, link-building is not what it used to be due to various algorithm updates and a crackdown on poor link profiles. As Google becomes more sophisticated, the power of a backlink has become less about the link itself and more about the brand, organisation and other content around the anchor text. For example, keep in mind for 2018 that the best link doesn’t always come from the most popular site, but from sites that are more relevant to your business or brand. Brands also need to ensure that they alight Digital PR efforts with your SEO campaign. 

By considering these different factors in your approach to SEO you can ensure that you can maintain a successful SEO strategy for the rest of the year. If you are looking to take your SEO to the next level in 2018 be sure to review some of our client case studies.