We are officially in 2018! This is the best time to learn about all the current trends in SEO and search marketing so you can plan out your digital strategy for the year.
In 2018, we’ll notice more changes in online search, from the devices people use to their actual search behavior. Among these, are voice search, “dwell time” metrics, mobile, and influencer marketing.
Over the past year, Google competed with Amazon to see who could dominate the early market for smart speakers. These speakers allowed you to check the news or weather, play music, and even make a purchase through voice commands. Both Roku and Apple also intend to join the skirmish.
So what does this mean for SEO?
For starters, it means that it’s not enough to just research keywords and stuff them in your page anymore.
Webmasters and SEO specialists will need to consider crafting content around the way people use speakers. People may type “flower store” into Google, but when they dictate it, they’re more likely to say something like “flower stores near me”, or “where can I buy a bouquet?”
These are called long-tail keywords. While keywords usually only represent about 10-15% of all searches, 70% of page views are a result of long-tail keywords.
Long-tail keywords require a little more brainstorming, but they’re highly effective because they indicate something highly important: search intent. Customers that say these phrases are looking for something specific, whether it’s an answer, advice, a product, or service.
Make sure your web content is optimized to take voice assistants into account. Revisit and repurpose old content for voice search.
Clicks, Bounce Rate, Dwell Time
Page views and sessions are both important metrics, but often the senior management focus too much on these “vanity metrics”. In reality, these numbers sound flattering but aren’t very insightful, and don’t always lead to any business action.
Instead, there are three metrics which are far more meaningful and actually contribute to a business’s bottom line: clicks, bounce rate, and dwell time (or time on page). They’re not the only important ones, but they’ll play a bigger role this year.
Clicks, bounce rate, and dwell time don’t just measure the reach of your content (how many people hear about your brand), they measure how engaged they are with the brand. These figures give a more accurate depiction of how tuned in your audience really is.
And since Google updated its ranking algorithm back in 2016 with an AI, dwell time is becoming a major metric to improve on.
We’ve mentioned the importance of mobile ad nauseum, but it’s worth repeating since so many websites still lack basic mobile compatibility.
If you haven’t heard by now, not only does Google boost pages that are optimized for mobile, but they will soon roll out a mobile-first index. This means that Google will begin crawling and indexing the mobile version of a website over the desktop version.
What does this mean for business owners? Mobile-optimization isn’t just cosmetic, it has an SEO value. You can solve for two challenges with one solution: create a stronger user experience and get higher rankings just by making your website play well with mobile devices.
Test your website’s mobile version on Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
Any brand can use flowery language and boast their awards collection, but nothing sparks intrigue and engagement like an influencer.
Influencers are champions for a particular product or service. LeBron James is an influencer for Nike through his sponsorship, but small vloggers and writers can also be influencers for a variety of products and services, from makeup and clothing to tech startups. They could be a major star, or a person with a small following, but they can usually influence a purchase or action just by recommending it.
SEO works in a similar way. The more links you have going back to your website, the more authority it carries, and the greater the Google ranking. That’s why it’s important to accumulate backlinks, or links from other websites back to your own.
Network with industry figures and thought leaders to find a relevant influencer. Developing a solid relationship with an influencer is a surefire way to build a positive reputation with your audience.
SEO in 2018
This new year is set to be just as wild as last year, in terms of search marketing trends and algorithm updates. Your role as a business leader is to ensure your brand stays aware and ahead of the competition. Make note of these four trends in 2018 and watch as they play an increasingly important role in the coming year.
Follow Arcalea’s blog throughout this year for more posts on digital strategy, search marketing, search optimization, and content marketing.