2018 could prove to be a game changer for SEO and SEO professionals everywhere. With the mobile-first indexing and plenty of other changes, SEO strategies are bound to see some drastic changes. Keeping that in mind, we had a chat with some of the best SEO professionals to see what changes they suggest that should be implemented in SEO strategies everywhere.

Helga Moreno

Bio: Works at Ahrefs

  

Speaking about On-Page SEO, I’d like to feature some tips that are absolutely crucial for engine rankings and organic traffic boost this year.

Here they go:

  • Add searchers’ intent keywords (i.e.: Buy [Your Product] Online) to make them more targeted.
  • Squeeze the most of your meta description – it’s your ad in search results.
  • Make sure your content is available immediately (loading speed, caching plugin, AMP) on all kinds of modern gadgets (responsive).
  • Be careful with everything that distracts the visitor from viewing your content (pop-ups, interstitials, above the fold ads).
  • Add descriptive alt text & filenames to all your images to get some extra traffic from Google image search.
  • Avoid big blocks of repeating text as such pages look worthless to Google and drive the Panda wild.
  • Don’t forget to state your physical address and contact details as this reinforces your location to Google and is considered one of the trust signals.
  • Go for a cool, branded domain as there’s very little SEO benefit to having your keyword in your domain name these days.
    Set up rich snippets to boost CTR. They help search engines understand the contents of your web page.

 

Mark Aselstine

Bio: Founder at Uncorked Ventures

  

One thing I’m seeing for SEO that does seem to be working is a 2 pronged approach. First, write some darn good content on your own site.

Second, guest blog elsewhere, but instead of linking to your homepage, you’re linking to that great piece of content.

I accept guest posts on my blog and it seems like a number of pretty large agencies are handling link building in this fashion, with some great success.

 

Aaheel Abdul Aziz

Bio: Professional SEO Specialist

  

In 2018 things changed a lot when we talk about SEO. Search engine improves the quality of the results and of course, a big change noticed by a lot of people. It would be good if each and every person started focusing on the following things that can bring a big change in rankings as well as traffic.

1. Google voice search is one of the most important factors that is bringing a new change in SEO and also it let people search queries through their voice. It is necessary that you must optimize your site using Google voice search queries. There are several things that we can do for the Google voice search optimization. For Google voice search queries optimization you can do the following things:

  • Use long-tail conversational keywords and questions that people are likely to ask.
  • As we know that the long-tail keywords are less competitive and also convert faster. Try to target long-tail keyword and phrases and answer those question that most of the audience are likely to ask then you will start ranking for those queries and appear in the search results.
  • Try to build your content around questions using these question words who, why, when, what, where, and how.
  • You can also see the people ask box to search questions that the audience mostly ask.
  • You can also optimize the format of your content using tables, list etc.
  • Creating a Q/A page also an easy way to optimize your site for the question and long-tail keyword phrases.

2. 2018 is the year in which people need to focus more on Mobile first indexing.

3. Structured data is one of the important thing that can enhance your search result in a better way.

4. Try to focus more on User experience because nowadays people want quick solutions to their problems.

 

Joseph Sloan

Bio: Marketing & Communications Coordinator, Advice Media

  

Three large trends that I believe will be very influential over 2018 are site security, responsive design, and quick answer rankings.

Site Security- with Google’s recent announcement that they will be displaying sites that are unsecured moving forward, one has to believe that
site security and https will continue to play a larger role in search engine rankings.

Responsive Design- besides the influx of new devices that can connect to the internet, from phones, tablets, desktops, to watches your site will need to work on any device. But more importantly, with Google continuing to provide the quickest answer, they have now started to show a small window into sites on Google Maps on tablets instead of opening your site directly.These trends will continue. This means that your site will need to work in any window size not just with devices in mind. Also, AMP pages are going to continue to become more important for clients with significant blog traffic to continue to rank well.

Quick answer rankings- this has been very hard to track, but we have seen certain success with clients that show up for quick answers. I have to believe that Google will continue to make rich snippets ‘richer’. I believe sites with videos and gifs will actually play within the SERP. This means SEO experts need to continue to work on adding creative engaging content because Google will want more than a blurb to answer a users question but preferably a gif or video.

 

Kent Lewis

Bio: President & Founder at Anvil

  

I thought I’d share what I believe to be two of the most influential trends in digital marketing for 2018:

1. Voice Search: Digital assistants will dramatically affect the way consumers search. Intelligent assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple Siri and Microsoft Cortana allow Android, Windows and Apple phone users to speak directly to their devices in order to operate their applications and search online. How consumers verbally communicate significantly varies from how individuals type out search queries.

Because of this variation in behavior, you will begin to see more long-tail keyword queries; this will allow you to create much more accurate and intelligent key phrase strategies since more granular data will be available around consumer behavior. The challenge is in understanding how to identify and optimize for long-tail terms common in voice search. The additional challenge that is also relatively new is the concept of Position 0 on Google: answers to your questions at the top of the organic search results, above standard listings.

2. Amazon Search. According to a Kenshoo study, 56 percent of consumers start product searches on Amazon. That means a minority of consumers are starting product searches on Google. That is a major shift that has been in the works for the past decade. On the seller-side, 63 percent of Amazon Advertisers plan to increase budget next year (a larger percentage increase than Google and Facebook spends). In short, Amazon is the new Google in many respects. If you don’t have a solid Amazon marketing strategy in place, you’re at a disadvantage.

 

Kyle Bailey

Bio: Managing Director Frontburner Marketing

  

Here are some thoughts about SEO trends that will heavily affect small business sites in 2018 and the near future:

Voice Search is the Death Star that’s on the horizon. It will radically affect first call small businesses like Pizza joints, Plumbers, etc… that have a get me the first one of these you can find an aspect to their service offerings

Mobile will continue its growth in importance for ranking factors. Google already punishes sites with bad mobile user experience by removing them from the search index, but I believe this will eventually begin to affect desktop search. Google wants consumers to have a good experience on your site

HTTPS looms large. Google already gives a not safe warning on Chrome for sites without an SSL certificate, but this is not consistent across all areas. It will continue to roll out until you won’t be able to visit a site without HTTPS designation without that warning. Small businesses MUST take this into consideration

AI is just now starting to have an effect on search, so I don’t think immediate change is here, but it’s coming. Probably the biggest effect now is in chat

 

Rob Bonham

Bio: Sr. Manager of Marketing Services

  

As a local SEO company serving clients in the tax and accounting space, one SEO tactic that is becoming more and more powerful is earning high-quality reviews, especially on Google My Business listings. Google has been placing more value on earning reviews in the past year or so and we see that trend continuing into the future. We have seen clients that have gone from struggling to rank on the first page to ranking in top positions in Google Map’s 3-pack over a matter of a month or 2, once they start gaining even a few reviews. This is great for Google to gauge how trustworthy a business is, hence providing a good user experience to those searching. It is also great for business owners as we have seen Google My Business profiles drive calls to our client’s businesses when they earn great reviews.

 

Nick Latreille

Bio: Owner & Operator at NOBL Web

  

In 2018, things like local packs, knowledge boxes and schema will only continue to grow. It’s safe to say that most people can recognize ads now, so search engines are always finding new a creative ways to rank people at the top. I think mobile users will continue to grow (especially seniors and tablets), which means that speed and voice search will become even more relevant. SEO specialists will have to re-think how they write Meta Titles and Descriptions to include how users ‘speak’ their minds.

 

Alex Nebylica

Bio: Professional SEO Specialist

  

If we are talking about current and proven techniques which are used by SEO specialists, we must say that, first of all, links are still working. So we just trying to build links in more creative ways.

Most of popular linkbuilding techniques are still working and everybody uses those ones which are appropriate for their website. Link Spamming, though, works not for every niche. But if you need to get your website to the TOP fast (within 2 weeks) and get him banned after some time with no regret, you can use link boost, when thousands of links are build to one website.

If we are talking about new strategies, I want to mention: navigational links before the articles which are served as table of contents and for fast reaching to the certain paragraph. Why it is important? Because very often those links are displayed in search results as quick answers. Therefore even if your website ranking on 3-10 positions in organic search, such quick answer will bring a link to your website BEFORE first organic results. This will help you outrank your competitors if no other techniques are not working to get you to the top 1 position.

 

Craig Griffiths

Bio: Managing Director, SearchUp

  

*Mentions without links*

Links have always generally been the number 1 ranking factor in competitive markets and are the one thing SEOs spend so much time on.

I actually think that mentions will begin to become a big off-page signal.

Think about it – search engines can easily associate a mention of a brand to a website, so using this in a similar way to a backlink to determine the authority of a site totally makes sense.

It was already confirmed by Duane Forrester (ex-senior product manager at Bing) that Bing has already been using unlinked mentions as a ranking factor. This patent would also suggest that Google does it too.

This doesn’t mean that you should stop trying to acquire links, but you also need to think about gaining more exposure for your brand, and not just in the form of links.

 

Alex Deckard

Bio: SEO Specialist at Aeroflow Healthcare

  

Most people will say the rise of voice search, and I think in certain verticals that’s certainly the case. Any publisher that relies on ad content based on traffic numbers will be hurt when Siri, Cortana, and Alexa serve their content over voice, and those voices leave no record of content
consumed. Additionally, Google’s continued expansion away from traditional search will require SEO-ers to change tactics to grab their audience.

I think the biggest change will be people changing how they get content. As more and more algorithms dictate how people get content, I believe people will distrust what they see online. An SEO-er can’t focus solely on gaming the algorithm; they will have to establish and build trust.

 

Gregory Golinski

Bio: SEO Outreach Executive, YourParkingSpace

  

This might be a controversial opinion, but I believe off-page SEO is becoming more important than on-page SEO in 2018.

I don’t think that creating a good piece of content and optimizing its keywords is enough to gain traffic. You need to launch link building campaigns to advertise your content and attract new visitors to your website. Writing a nice article and hoping that it will magically rank without any kind of marketing efforts is a myth in my opinion.

 

Darren Schreher

Bio: Digital Manager

  

In 2018, SEO strategists should focus on the user intent of search queries. If you’re able to understand the kinds of questions your users are asking, you can optimize your website content so that it directly answers those questions. Rather than focusing all your time on finding keywords, try creating content around those keywords. This will get your content closer to what users are actually searching for. Nothing is guaranteed in the world of search engine optimization. However, if your site architecture and technical elements are optimized, your content strategy is in place, and you’ve implemented an ongoing “white hat” link building campaign, it is far more likely you will see improvements in rankings.

 

Sophia Borghese

Bio: SEO + Content Specialist, Online Optimism

  

1. Attention to Voice Search — More and more people are starting to be comfortable with voice search technologies such as Google Home and Amazon Alexa. That said it’s important that SEO strategies are compliant with how people naturally speak. You might type “restaurants near me” into Google, but you would never say anything like that to Siri. It’s important for SEO strategists to pay attention to people’s natural speaking patterns, just as much as it is to focus on trending keywords.

2. Local Bloggers Wield Power in Search – Again, as backlinks become more important, bloggers will continue to have an impact on SEO for businesses. Look to micro-influencers who work for smaller brands making a big impact on companies in 2018. As far as 2017 trends dying out, a video will also emerge and replace blogging as the primary dissemination of content. As video becomes cheaper and more prevalent, even small companies will have access to its influence.

 

Trenton Miller

Bio: President Millermore

  

Google’s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) and Facebook’s Instant Articles are becoming more popular as time goes on. Due to the high speed at which these pages load, they provide a great user experience, especially on mobile. They take a bit of configuring to get their appearance the way you want them to look – but it’s worth the time to get them right.

Other trends include an increase in video content, as more and more people are jumping on board. Google’s Answer Box is also appearing for more queries as time goes on.

Some experts are predicting a rise in Voice Search via assistants like Alexa and Google, but these are only for specific industries and answers.

My prediction for the future would include live streaming options appearing in search sometime in the future (with the increased popularity in platforms like Twitch) and in the distant future, VR and AR will eventually become a platform with which we do browsing and searching. That’s a few years away, though.

 

Sarah Johnson

Bio: Public Relations Specialist, Fit Small Business

  

The most important strategy for SEO right now is to focus on user intent. Although keywords still hold a bit of weight so Google is aware of what you’re writing about, it’s essential to comprehend the meaning of keywords. The high volume keyword you found might have a heavy weight towards local search, which is useless if you aren’t providing some sort of local service; that low volume keyword might be the perfect one for your content provides the exact information the user is looking for.

 

Dave Gregory

Bio: Content Marketing Manager, SiteVisibility

  

Here at SiteVisibility we think voice search is going to be one of the main areas of focus for SEO in 2018 and beyond. It’s estimated that by 2020, voice search will account for about 50% of total searches and that already 40% of adults use voice search at least once a day. Marketers (retail in particular) are going to have to pay attention to how they want to capture this traffic. Currently, we don’t see a lot of people focussing much on it so we think that the early bird will definitely catch the worms. It’s not just that voice search will become increasingly prevalent in marketing, it’s that we feel it’s going to require a different approach to it as compared to ‘traditional’ search marketing.

It appears that voice searches not only contain more words but also may be more targeted towards what a user is expecting to see so it will require a different approach to things like on page content. For example, where previously a vegan restaurant could optimize for ‘vegan restaurant in X’, they may now have to consider things like “where is the nearest vegan restaurant?”, and the user would expect to be given results such as directions, addresses, and a map if on a mobile device. We also think there will be much more intent to searches than there is currently. Terms like ‘where’, ‘how’, ‘why’, ‘when’ etc will all feature much more prominently. In short, we feel that online marketing and SEO in 2018 will have to shift focus even more towards answering people’s questions and solving people’s problems, as a direct result of voice search. We also feel that as a starting point, the steps taken by people to try and rank for featured snippets will be a good place to start from to explore voice search. Although largely inbound/onsite related at the moment, we think it’s only a matter of time before offsite campaigns have to take voice search into consideration too, especially if you move into the realms of PR.

 

Tracy Julien

Bio: VP of Marketing GuidedChoice

  

*Structured Data to Optimize for Rich Snippets*

An important trend to follow in 2018 is utilizing structured data, which tells Google exactly how to interpret a piece of content. It provides specific HTML coding that helps the search engine to decide how it should appear in the SERPs. Many SEOs use Schema.org to implement this markup to create rich snippets. Although there is no concrete evidence that it’s great for rankings, it does matter for knowledge graphs and rich snippets, which has been proven to increase CTR’s. This trend is vital to follow in order to stand out from the competition and help a brand get noticed.

*Implement AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) for Mobile Devices*

In the SEO world in 2018, it’s all a game of who can be the fastest. Since Google expects pages to load in under three seconds, implement AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) to show up in Google’s Top Stories carousel on mobile devices and to provide a better user experience (UX). UX is extremely important when it comes to rankings. According to Moz, e-commerce sites experience an average 20% increase in sales conversions using AMP.

 

Jason Parks

Bio: President, The Media Captain

  

Backlinks used to have a negative connotation. In order to achieve a solid search engine ranking position on Google, backlinks are crucial. The mindset has shifted where people now view a backlink as a brand mention or a PR win.

More companies, big and small, will continue to invest in people internally or through agencies who can help them get more external website references, as this will help their SEO.

 

Sean Horrigan

Bio: Brand Evangelist PR Guy

  

Keep it in the Neighborhood.

This past March Google introduced Fred, a game-changing algorithm designed to favor websites geared toward local audiences. As soon as Fred became a factor, big brands watched their SEO rankings hit the skids. And while big brand rankings take a nose dive…smaller brands with a local focus enjoyed a rise to the top. In 2018, it’s imperative to tailor your digital marketing strategies toward local audiences.

Go Mobile or Go Home

Mobile matters. In 2015, mobile searches surpassed desktop searches and that gap continues to widen today. With mobile’s ever-increasing prominence, Google announced in 2017 that mobile friendliness would play a role in determining site rank. And while this process has experienced some delays, 2018 will be the year Google rolls out its mobile-first index. Make sure you have a responsive website that’s easy for users to read, navigate and interact with on hand-held device.

 

Joe Manna

Bio: Founder Manna Digital

   

I believe overall website speed, security, and the proper use of Schema and Open Graph will result in significant shifts when it comes to search engine visibility.

One of the best-proven techniques to increase visibility and consistency in the search engines is the use of Schema in a website to instruct search engines on how to display different aspects of a website. Schema is responsible for displaying additional context for a given website such as
contact information, reviews and ratings, and the content itself. Related to the proper use of Schema, is Open Graph so content can be shared in a format that is desirable on all major social networks.

When setting up Schema and Open Graph, I recommend taking a broader look at how content helps your visitors address problems they have and provide helpful context for them to address their concerns by visiting your content. It’s less about selling and more about setting the proper
expectations. Implementing Schema and Open Graph will help a website increase its visibility across search and social consistently.

 

Justin McIntyre

 

Bio: Director of SEO & Content, Perfect Search Media

  

Producing content aimed at showing up for answer boxes. This can be done freeform–casually searching terms related to your business, checking to see if an answer box comes up, and then deciding to pursue it; alternatively, if you have access to a strong reporting software, such as seoClarity, some of the guesswork is eliminated. They have functionalities that can actively tell you all the queries you currently rank for that are triggering an answer box, the respective search volume, and if you’re already within striking distance. With the right opportunity, it might only take refreshing a piece of content to move into that coveted answer box!

 

Adam Thompson

Bio: SEO Manager Comodo SSL Store

  

I believe that the biggest trend SEOs need to stay ahead of in 2018 is machine learning, aka RankBrain. As Google relies more and more on machine learning to rank results, the ranking algorithm becomes more and more complicated. An SEO tactic that works for one query may have no impact on another query. Frankly, this makes it really hard to figure out what will
move the needle. SEOs need to focus on doing their own in-depth research to identify what SEO tactics are working for the specific keywords they are targeting.

Another trend SEOs need to be aware of is Google’s trajectory towards keeping searchers on Google. Featured snippets, knowledge graph, and the recent hiding of search results on queries like new york city time are all examples of this.

 

Eng. Rennella, Cristian.

Bio: CEO & CoFounder – elMejorTrato

  

STOP generating new content

3 months ago we stopped generating new content and *focused all our efforts on only updating* all our articles once a month. In this way Google knows that our content is *fresh* and updated.

*This allowed us to grow 21.3% (yes, AMAZING!)* that represents an increase in our revenues of USD 3.4M

*Remember*: once you’ve developed content for your most relevant keywords, stop generating more articles and focus all your time on *being the site with the most updated content in the world*. Use fresh and recent information to *beat* your competition.

Recommendation: put the day, month and year of the update in the title. For example: How to repair your iPhone X (*Updated: 20 March 2018*)

 

Andrew Bankson

Bio: Communications Director, Bellhops

  

I like to think of the future of SEO as semantic mapping. Semantic mapping is key to the future of the industry. We have to stop thinking about keywords and start thinking about concepts that are derived from searcher phycology. You have to truly understand the searcher’s intent. Once you understand that you can map your content to meet that intent.

How can you do this? One of the easiest ways to do this is to analyze your SERPs to understand what Google will use to satisfy that searcher. This will drive what content is valuable and the best way to structure it.

Plain and simple… put down the spreadsheet and start thinking about human behavior, then work backward.

Also, Just because the industry is changing mean the fundamentals no longer apply. Internal linking, title tags, and the structure of site content are correct. Doubling down on ensuring the basics, or fundamentals, are right is fundamental.

 

Ryan Scollon

Bio: Head of SEO Bowler Hat

  

The major trend of 2018 so far is featured snippets (also known as answer boxes). A featured snippet is a box that shows at the top of Google search results, that usually includes a snippet of text from an authoritative source.

This has hit some companies really hard, as being #1 is not the only thing to aim for anymore. We had one client who was #1 for a particular search term, and overnight they lost over 60% of their traffic without moving a single place in the search results. The only thing that had changed, was a featured snippet was now showing for that search term, right above their #1 listing.

 

Jamil Ali Ahmed

Bio: Assistant Manager Cloudways

  

The most prominent SEO trends that will make a smashing impact in 2018.

1. Voice Search
2. Local SEO
3. Video Content
4. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
5. Visual Search
6. User Experience
7. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

You can also go through the guide about top SEO trends to follow in 2018.

SEO is an ever-evolving field that is almost never static. As an SEO professional, you can’t just keep on doing the regular stuff and expect bigger outcomes. Innovation and improvisation in your SEO strategy is a must and that only comes when you try new things like the ones mentioned above.

However, tweaking your SEO strategy is not enough, you must also take help from the amazing SEO tools that are out there. Some of them are free to use but the paid ones provide more utility and better functionalities.

Here are some of the best SEO tools that you must use in 2018

Answer The Public

answer the public

The tool is brilliant for finding new topics within your niche. If you ever find yourself searching for what to write on, Answer The Public is the tool for you.

AHREFS

ahrefs

AHREFS has recently launched a new feature by the name “Newly Discovered’. It shows new keywords that are easier to rank on and will give traffic once they are searched by more people.

WP Compress

WP compress

Page Speed is a crucial factor if you want to improve your website’s SERPs. Image compression is a proven way to improve speed and WP Compress is just the tool for it.

Screaming Frog

Screaming frog

Screaming Frog is a website audit tool that lets you know everything that is right and wrong with your website.