6 SEO Trends for 2018

With the holiday season in the rearview, it’s time once again to predict SEO’s biggest trends through the new year. The previous year was a big one, with mobile-first results and localized optimization among the most critical shifts of 2017. What challenges will 2018 bring? More importantly, what can SEO marketers do to stay ahead of the curve?

With the holiday season in the rearview, it’s time once again to predict SEO’s biggest trends through the new year. The previous year was a big one, with mobile-first results and localized optimization among the most critical shifts of 2017. What challenges will 2018 bring? More importantly, what can SEO marketers do to stay ahead of the curve?

I’m predicting the rise of a couple new SEO trends, and I also believe a handful of factors from the previous year will become top priorities in digital marketing strategies. Read on to see the top six anticipated SEO trends for 2018..

1. Page Share Becomes Critical

Earning the top organic search results on coveted search terms used to be the golden goose of SEO. In many cases, it still is. In 2018, though, expect this to change as Google refines its featured snippets, Knowledge panels and other SERP elements displayed above the organic listings. SEO marketers should already be familiar with page share — it’s the concept of optimizing for as many SERP placements as possible, rather than winning a single top-ranked search result. The more Google supplements its above-the-fold search results, the more important page share will become.

Also, consider the impact of mobile SEO on page share optimization. Smartphones supplanted desktop and laptop PCs long ago as the preferred devices for searching the Web, and Google’s mobile SERPs leave even less room for organic listings. Knowledge graphs now appear on most of the research-oriented searches that small businesses depend on for organic traffic. It’s time to optimize for those placements to avoid being pushed into digital obscurity.

2. Long-Tail Keywords Will Dominate

Long-tail keywords are finally becoming mainstream. For years, digital marketers used long-tail keywords as less-competitive sources of both paid and organic traffic. That was before the start of 2017, when a Pew Research Center study found more than three-quarters of Americans owned smartphones, and also before most new smartphones launched with voice-activated digital assistants.

Thanks to this technology, searching the web today is as simple as asking a question. More people are transitioning to this technology, too. Google’s Behshad Behzadi reported that 55 percent of teens and 40 percent of adults use voice searching on a daily basis. This opens a wealth of possibilities for opportunistic SEO marketers who research which questions their audiences are asking. Remember this form of question-oriented targeting when planning your content going forward.

3. Need for Speed

Page speed was already important in 2017, and it’s going to be big again in 2018. Google solidified its preference for mobile websites last year with its decision to move to a “mobile first” algorithm. Going forward, page speed will be a critical factor among digital marketers vying for the best SERP placements.

Faster is always better. You can find free online speed tests to learn how quickly (or slowly) your pages are loading.

4. Structured Data

I’ve already explained how page share is becoming more important than organic results. However, organic results are still vital. They bring scores of visitors to websites, and they’re also prime pieces of page share.

5 Growth Hacks to Improve Your Organic Market Share

Good SEO used to be about improving website rankings on search engine results pages. Now, though, it’s not quite that simple — equally important is maximizing your first-page real estate.

Good SEO used to be about improving website rankings on search engine results pages. Now, though, it’s not quite that simple — equally important is maximizing your first-page real estate.

To understand why, search for “men’s shoes.” If you’re searching on your smartphone (as most people do), then sponsored listings from AdWords are probably all that you see. Scroll down, and you might see a locator map with shoe stores in your area, followed by a handful of listings with information such as user ratings and hours of operation. You likely need to scroll down even further to reach the organic search results.

Your initial reaction might be, “How will my website ever get noticed with so much competition on search engine results pages?” But if you think about it, a more productive response is, “look at all these ways to get ranked on page one!” Maximizing your website’s exposure on SERPs is critical to boosting organic traffic volume to your website. Here, we’ll review five growth hacks to beat back competitors and meet your organic traffic goals.

1. Improve Your Organic Results Page Share

Organic search results are still the bread and butter of SEO. The impact of a high ranking is somewhat diminished by Google’s inclusion of knowledge graphs, ad extensions, AMP sliders and other elements on search results pages, but good things happen when your website excels in the search rankings.

That said, why settle for just one great search ranking? If you hold the no. 2 ranking but a competitor’s website is ranked in the third, fourth and fifth positions, then are you really better off? It’s just as important, or more so, to claim as many spots as possible on the first pages of search results.

Here’s how to do it.

Start by making a spreadsheet with five columns. In the first column, list the top 25 keywords that bring organic traffic to your website. Then, one by one, search for each keyword on Google. Count the number of placements you have on the first page of search results — that number goes into the second column. Then, look for up to three competitors that also have multiple placements, entering their placement totals in the third, fourth and fifth columns, with the largest number in the third column.

Once finished, you can easily see where competitors are getting the best of you. Those are the keywords where you should prioritize work on your SEO.

2. Don’t Just Optimize for Organic Listings

Sure, you could just focus on organic search results, but that’s like going to an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet and ignoring the prime rib. Organic search results aren’t alone on SERPs. In fact, they’re positioned below AMP sliders, knowledge graphs, maps, images and other elements. Why not strive for more organic traffic by reaching beyond organic listings?