The coming of the new year is not far off, which means it’s time to try to look into the future and outline the trends of SEO that will be relevant in 2018.
1. Mobile-first index: adaptation for mobile devices
In 2018, Google promises to introduce into the active use of mobile-first index (currently being tested ).
According to statistics, the adaptation of the site for mobile devices can increase the conversion by about 1.5 times. About a third of people between 18 and 49 years old use only a smartphone for shopping on the net , and on the whole mobile devices account for 57% of Internet traffic. The ever-increasing number of purchases on the Internet indicates that the number of users who buy using a mobile phone will also grow.
Therefore, adaptation for mobile devices is necessary if you want the site to be displayed in the search from mobile devices.
The main rule of adaptation is simplicity and speed. The site should be loaded quickly and offer for purchase a limited number of options (not 50 or 100, but at least 10-20). Also the site should be convenient for use: the text can be read without scaling, and hyperlinks are convenient for pressing.
AMP – Accelerated Mobile Pages will become very popular . This is a Google project that increases the speed of site load by reducing the weight of pages, and also reduces the load on the server by caching.
2. Secure protocol
In 2017, site owners actively changed the protocol of their sites from HTTP to HTTPS; in 2018 this trend will continue. The protocol will be decisive. In short, sites that work on the HTTP protocol will be labeled as unsafe and dropped in search results.
3. Voice Search
For some, voice search can be still a curiosity, however, according to statistics, they are regularly used by more than 50% of teenagers and about 40% of adults; their requests account for about a fifth of all requests (according to Google ). The number of voice requests is growing – it is quite possible that tomorrow people from your target audience will use the voice for searching. So in 2018, you need to take care of optimizing the site for voice calls.
To do this, we need to extend the semantic core with phrases that are most natural and characteristic of living speech. Studies have shown that in 27% of cases people ask questions in the form of questions – where, when, how, etc. If there are no articles on the site that could answer these questions, write them (you can make a reference or FAQ).
The wording of the request should be as similar to what ordinary people say and ask: what is hyperbole, where to buy a skateboard in Moscow, how to make a pie in half an hour, etc.
It’s no secret that many users make a choice based on feedback and overall impressions on the Internet. Therefore, the reputation of the company (site, service …) becomes more important. Any negative can cause an outflow of customers, while positive news and positive feedback can help increase the conversion.
In 2018, it will be necessary to keep an eye on the information space (mentioning the company in publications, discussions, etc.). Help in this can:
- Google Alerts service
- service Mention
You will receive notices whenever your company name is mentioned in any publication.
There is also a small positive point – you can contact the site that posted information about your company and ask to put a link to your site (of course, in case this is a positive case).
Notifications help also to react quickly and work out negative.
5. Answers to questions
Blocks of quick answers will become even more relevant in 2018 – as practice shows, getting into these blocks significantly increases the conversion.
Now it is known that a block of quick answers appears in about 30% of queries; in the future, this percentage is likely to become even greater. Therefore, it is logical to make efforts in 2018 to get into this block.
For this, first, you can make different lists, tables, and graphs – they often fall into the block with quick answers. Secondly, write FAQ (question-answer) – so Google will be more convenient to extract material for display in the block of quick answers.
6. Seasonality and re-linking
Change the design of the site depending on the time of year and holidays has already become a good tradition (especially for online stores). Let this be directly related to optimization for search engines, however seasonal changes on the site have a positive effect on the conversion.
Particular attention is the main page, where there should be information relevant for the time of the year (or goods).
Перелинковка also remains actual. Follow the pages with frequent transitions and put links to other relevant articles or products.
7. Behavioral factor
Another trend that gained momentum in 2017 and will remain relevant in 2018 is the orientation towards user behavior on the site: the site should be interesting, understandable and convenient.
- time of site viewing;
- viewing depth;
- the percentage of failure (how many visitors quickly left the site);
- conversion actions (filling the basket, application form, etc.).
The engagement indicator directly shows the search engines which pages are interesting and useful to users, and which are not. Therefore, it is important to constantly give time to the usability of the site, implement improvements (but not too drastic), and monitor user behavior.
Now companies often resort to surveys in order to assess how user-friendly the site is, find out what they would like to improve, etc. If your users are reluctant to interview, you can offer them some bonus (discount, gift with purchase, etc.).
8. Visual Content
Visual content is becoming more and more important for both users and search engines. SEO-optimization of images can promote the site in search, as well as give additional traffic through search by images.
More details about this are written in the article ” Optimizing images for the web ” (section “2. SEO-optimization of images”).
Using OpenGraph and Schema.org, you can configure how the link to the site looks in the SERP and in social networks. Often because of this information, users decide to go to the site (or decide not to go). For example, online stores can be displayed immediately with the work time, delivery information and relevant sections on the site.
The more attractive the snippet will be to the site, the more people will follow the link and then return to the site – and it will go up on the issue.
It is also necessary to fill in the organization’s card with the location of the store (office), contact details and other useful information.
10. Quality of content
This is another trend that was actively discussed this year: search engines give preference to resources with high-quality and useful information for the user. And sites that cause doubts (for example, because of the abundance of keywords, etc.), often fall under the sanctions.
Therefore, it is always important to remember that the main thing is the user, and if your site is popular with users, then it will appeal to search engines.
Many things that are relevant in 2017 will remain the same in 2018. No drastic changes are expected – but who knows what other surprises the search engines have reserved for us. While the main tips – is to translate the site to HTTPS, make a mobile version, generate high-quality content (including for quick answers Google) and monitor the reputation in the network.