2018 SEO Trend Predictions

Nicole Grodesky
By Nicole Grodesky

Every year Power Digital Marketing’s expert SEO professionals weigh in on predictions for next year’s SEO trends. We take into consideration all the campaigns we’ve worked on as a department to determine the insights we’ve gathered over the last year. These insights lead us to these calculated predictions.

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Aaron Farr: Integrating Video Into The Customer Journey

We used to say that YouTube was the second biggest search engine, but data shows that it is now more popular than Google Search based on number of users in a given month.

Nicole Grodesky: It’s All About Local, Mobile, & Voice Search

This means that businesses with a physical location need to plan for a local SEO program. Not only do you need to be on Google My Business (GMB), but you need to pay attention to and take advantage of all the new features they are adding like ‘Posts’. It’s also important to ramp up your local citation profile and submit your information to big data aggregators to push your information out.

There are a list of local seo ranking factors that have been identified to help boost your local presence. If your business moved recently it will be imperative that you update your new address in all the old listings.

Nikki Lam: De-Emphasis Of Exact Match SEO Tactics

We’ve seen Google’s message in Keyword Planner “Some keywords you entered and their close variants have been grouped” for a while now, and as Google continues to refine RankBrain, Hummingbird, and simply it’s ability to understand synonyms and like phrases, we’ll likely continue to see exact match (whether it’s title tags, H1s, internal or external linking anchor texts, etc.) be less important over time.

This, in a big picture way, relates to Google’s push to do what’s best for users instead of doing what’s best for SEO. That’s why it’s important to incorporate a semantic search strategy into your content strategy whether it’s on the blog or a top navigation webpage.

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Antonio Johnson: Schema & Structured Data Playing A Much Larger Role

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In recent years, we’ve seen an emphasis with comprehension of structured data as Google has consistently built towards a more robust SERP. Click on the following link to read about the change in the Google SERP since 2011 and the benefits of structured data.

As the search landscape evolves to integrate more new dynamic data points, such as voice search and mobile reaching 3rd world countries, having a means to add depth to the search data will allow search engines to serve more granular and accurate results. Without a doubt, digital marketing is now integrated across channels more than ever. From strategizing a marketing game plan to structuring your website, it is imperative that organic performance is taken into account. As I like to say, it is vital to view marketing through the lens of SEO to prepare ourselves for what the future has in store.

Sean Dilger: Voice Search Will Accelerate

Voice search will really accelerate in 2018. Over the last number of years, users speak to their mobile devices asking questions. Why? Voice search is convenient and fast. Studies have found that if voice search continues to grow at such a rapid rate, fifty percent of searches will be from voice by 2020. So what does this mean for SEO? New long-tail keyword phrases must be incorporated into your content with a conversational tone.

Make sure your website is setup to answers searches questions with a conversational tone.  Additionally, voice search will play a huge part in local SEO. For example, if your website currently has the following phrase “restaurants downtown San Diego” you should consider incorporating the following text to make it sound more natural, like “where is a great place to eat in downtown San Diego.”

Josh Clark: UX As A Ranking Factor

josh1UX as an SEO ranking factor will continue to be a trending topic for webmasters in 2018. Google is constantly urging SEOs to focus on the user’s intent rather than optimizing for search engines. Properly structured and functional sites are attractive to both Google and users. While there’s no official word from Google about time on page (or dwell time) Ahrefs andBacklinko have both written lengthy articles (backed by data) correlating user satisfaction to time spent on page as a ranking factor.

At the end of the day, SEO’s primary function is to improve user experience; this can be achieved with great content, ease of usability and attractive designs. Look at mobile users for example. An estimated 29% of “smartphone users will immediately switch to another site or app if it doesn’t satisfy their needs” Whether it’s slow site speed or the user’s query wasn’t satisfied, it’s crucial that SEOs develop strategies to serve the best content as fast as possible with the most appeal. A hypothesis for next year: those aggressively testing UX/CRO while incorporating winning SEO tactics will be the winners in 2018.

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Nicole is a Senior SEO Strategist with experience in technical SEO, SEO keyword strategy, content strategy, and Local SEO. She has experience with enterprise level Local SEO initiatives that manages multiple business locations up to over 300 stores nationwide. Her Local SEO expertise is in managing Google My Business accounts and building local citations to create an authoritative local presence for business owners.