If your business isn't taking advantage of using SEO strategies on its website, blogs and social media pages, you're missing the boat in terms of ranking your business in internet searches. SEO is one of the most effective ways to ensure your customers find your business and buy your products.
As simple as SEO can be to utilize, it is a constantly evolving technique that needs a good understanding and a knowledge base of what is new or on the horizon for ranking schemes. This year is no different, as several SEO trends are coming to light that can help your organization achieve a top result in a Google search, giving your business an edge over your competition.
Twelve members of the Forbes Agency Council share the SEO trend or change that is impacting their work this year.
1. Voice Search
Voice search will change how we create content. Valuable content will have a more conversational tone that answers questions directly. The idea of creating content around a specific keyword bucket will no longer exist. It's about creating content for searcher intent. Search engines can interpret context so that content that answers a question and contains information about a topic will win. -Loren Baker, Foundation Digital
2. Link-Worthy, Useful Content
In 2018, engagement will play an even larger role in achieving SEO success overall. Creating link-worthy, user-driven content that answers relevant questions and provides useful information to prospects is pivotal. Schema is another area that will continue to be a focal point in achieving measurable results within organic search online. - Bryan Shetsky, Lamark Media
3. Secure Links (SSL)
A couple of years ago, Google announced that secured website certificates (SSL) were starting to impact the ranking of websites. Recently, we noticed that browsers such as Chrome are flagging sites that don't begin with HTTPS as being potentially unsafe. At $39/year, this is one of the least expensive and easiest fixes to boost SEO ranking in 2018. - Ahmad Kareh, Twistlab Marketing
4. Searcher Intent
Google’s focus on matching search results to the unique intent of a searcher’s query will most impact our SEO work this year. We now must look beyond keywords and traditional ranking factors to understand the types of content the search engines deem relevant for priority terms. We’re also looking beyond the first page to understand unique opportunities and threats by vertical. - Nina Hale, Nina Hale, Inc
5. Subdomain Versus Subdirectory
We recently migrated our blog from a subdomain to a subdirectory in our root domain. We have been seeing how this can be beneficial for our root domain to increase domain authority. We have also put all of our efforts into our blog to not have the benefit of increased visibility for our top-level domain, which is the most important one in the long run. - Martha Madero Gonzalez, GROU Crecimiento Digital
6. Video SEO
A study done by Cisco last year predicted that by 2021, video will account for over 82% of all consumer internet traffic. That means in the next few years, video content will by far surpass all forms of other content. On top of that, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. The massive opportunity to get your brand in front of your prospects is creating optimized video content. - Marc Hardgrove, The HOTH
7. Battle Of The Snippets
The biggest change is the expanded Google SERP features. In addition to achieving page one, top three rankings, our goal is to have our clients be featured with expanded schema usage, as well as varied featured snippets. - Charles Kim, Executive Digital
8. SEO-Rich, Long-Form Content
We are writing more long-form content in 2018. Content pages of 1,500 words or more are performing better in the search engine rankings and drawing more organic traffic than shorter pages. Studies show that users stay on these pages longer and long-form content receives more backlinks and social shares. Focusing on evergreen topics and high-quality writing is key to success. - Peter Boyd, PaperStreet Web Design
9. The Power Of Social Media
While this may not be news to many, it certainly is to others. Google and other search engines are placing a seemingly ever-increasing priority on content engagement across platforms, making likes, retweets, shares and social clicks more important than ever before. Ensure you have a strategy that incorporates social media and that you are posting content your audience will engage with. - Jacob Hanson, PR with Panache!
10. Site Speed
While there have been numerous hints leading up to it and we've been preparing clients for it, Google has officially announced site speed as a ranking factor. Users want results and they want them fast. Site speed also drives higher conversion rates so it's an investment that can make cents (see what I did there). - Jon Clark, Fuze SEO, LLC
11. Mobile Renaissance (Again)
The change from a desktop-based to a mobile-based Google index is imminent, requiring responsive design or better alignment between content on mobile and desktop sites. Google officially announced that page speed is a ranking factor for mobile results, making its AMP technology more appealing. Lastly, Progressive Web Apps will have greater support on iPhones, impacting mobile design trends. - Paul Shapiro, Catalyst, a GroupM and WPP Agency
12. Proliferation Of Smart Devices
The one overall thing I can think of is the proliferation of smart devices like Alexa, Google Home and Apple Home Pod, in addition to the smart assistants on our devices like Siri and Google App. There is more natural language search and voice input going on, and it's how one sets themselves up for SEO success in a voice-driven search world. - Timothy Nichols, ExactDrive, Inc