This article was contributed by digital marketing consultant, Ranosys Technologies.
As search engines strive to improve the quality of results, some algorithms and other factors are always remoulded to ensure that the search engine result pages returned by a search query are latest, relevant and of high quality.
There is always an involvement of techniques and technologies to focus on end-users experience and sites ranking. Here is a list of most prominent SEO trends that will help to gain a competitive advantage over competitors and improve SERPs in 2018.
1. Voice Search
Voice-activated smart speakers are on the rise expecting to see an increase in searcher intent. Search engines interpret context that answers a question and perform the search in different languages.
As voice search grows, we expect to see an increase in featured snippets too, from which Google often sources its voice search results.
What are the SEO strategies to optimize voice search?
Strategy #1: Use structured data
Search engines look for page’s relevance and position in search results. So far, schema tag is concerned with the voice search, microdata can be used to classify local business information such as contact details, address, operational hours, etc. This will help search engines to retrieve basic information about the local businesses and present before the user.
Strategy #2: Claim Google My Business listing
Voice searches receive a high number of hyper-local queries. In the listing, ensure that site is optimized for local keywords and all the provided information is accurate.
Strategy #3: Get mobile-friendly
Most of voice search happens on mobile devices. It would be best if the website is user-friendly and loads instantly on the devices.
Strategy #4: Create blog posts answering customers’ questions
Users search for different terms using voice search in the search engines. Creating content around customers’ questions significantly improves the chances of appearing higher in voice search results.
2. Rich Featured Snippets
Rich snippets have more condensed titles, reviews and an image. It has been found that properly formatted rich snippets search results experience more clicks and have a higher click through rate (CTR), which in turn increases potential sales.
What are the SEO strategies to optimize rich snippets?
Google loves structured, factual, and number-driven content. Without a solid strategy to focus on the blogging style, an irrelevant or boring content will be served to the readers. All we need to do is- adjust the blogging style a bit:
- Ask the question in the article (that may be a subheading)
- Immediately follow the question with a one-paragraph answer
- Elaborate further in the article
3. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Google has confirmed that RainBrain AI system is the third most important factor in the ranking algorithm, with links and content.
How does it influence SEO?
Google Hummingbird is the overall Google search algorithm, which is responsible to return better results. RainBrain (a computer program) is the part of the Hummingbird algorithm that is used to process search results across billions of pages and pull the most relevant information for specific queries. So, we must focus on relevant keywords, encourage customer reviews, avoid keyword stuffing and manipulative link building.
4. Manipulative Guest Posting
Guest posts is of worth only when it helps to expand brand awareness or send referral traffic. Overall, there should be a positive impact on the search engine rankings when a guest article is submitted. We must be very strict in following the guidelines while using article marketing as a link-building tactic so that those articles get to the front page of Google and start sending consistent traffic.
Few important components of effective guest post guidelines:
- Publish original and quality content
- Always submit blog to blog niche website
- The article should be between 700 – 2000 receives maximum traffic
- Do include the source if any data, quotes are included in the article
- Avoid being promotional, link-building or offensive content
We should always choose that piece of information for guest post which is beneficial from user’s and search engine’s most searched terms perspective. Guest posts that don’t expand brand awareness or generate more referral traffic are not worth doing, except that they may positively impact your search engine rankings.
5. ‘Linkless’ mentions
Bing, a web search engine owned and operated by Microsoft, has confirmed that they track unlinked brand mentions and use them as ranking signal. Similarly, Google claims that they may well just follow Bing’s footsteps.
As AI begins to play a vital role in rankings, brand mentions are giving a good boost to companies who are mentioning their brand names without linking them.
SEO is an ever-changing industry and you should keep up with the pace to upgrade your SEO strategy and stay up in rankings. With the advancement of technology and Google algorithm updates in 2018, you can focus on organic opportunities and decide your ultimate goal.
Also published on Medium.