Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a necessary part of any successful website, because without considering it then no one will ever find your website. The tricky part about doing SEO marketing right is that it is a constantly evolving beast. With every year Google and other search engines become smarter and what worked a year ago may not work anymore. That is why we decided to put together a quick guide of the most important things you can expect to happen in 2018 involving SEO. Implement these into your SEO strategy so you don’t get left behind.

The Voice Revolutions is Here

google home voice search for SEO

Voice search is nothing new and has been around for more than a decade, but with the release of the Google Home line of speakers and the growing popularity of the Amazon Echo, 2017 was a huge year for voice. Google reports that already 1 in 5 searches are coming from voice. That’s huge!

So what does that mean for your SEO strategy? Voice searches favor what is called “natural language”. In the past marketers have been able to game SEO rankings by inserting relative keywords into post titles, headers, and text, in order to flag Google bots. However, when people search for things using voice they aren’t typing in keywords into a bar, they are simply speaking it. This means that posts that are more focused on long tail keywords vs short keyword phrases with lots of searches (think “red Christmas socks that don’t slip” vs “Christmas socks”) will favor better with voice searches.

Make sure that your website content in 2018 makes use of long tail specific keyword phrases that are more likely to be used when someone is speaking.

Focus on Mobile

mobile optimization for 2018 SEO

More and more people are using primarily their phones over desktops to conduct Google searches, and it is only a matter of time until Google makes the official switch to favor the mobile version of your site over the desktop one. It is rumored that this may happen in 2018 and if it does you need to make sure that your site is as responsive in mobile as it is in desktop.

Ease of Use

ease of use in mobile SEO for 2018

Something that you need to consider hand in hand with a mobile optimized website is its ease of use, or how quickly your site is loading, how easy it is to read on a phone, and how easy it is to navigate. People simply don’t have the patience to wait for your website to load, so if it’s taking more than a few seconds they will probably click out of it. Google is aware of this and you can be sure that it will favor sites that load quickly over those that don’t.

There is nothing worse than trying to read something on your phone when the website is not easy to navigate or read. If things aren’t easy to read on a mobile device and visitors can’t figure out how to get around your website then they are likely to click out of it. Just like with speed you can expect that sites that are easier to read and navigate on a mobile version will be preferred by a new mobile focused Google.

Backlinking Remains Important in 2018…But Be Careful

backlinking importance in 2018 SEO

Backlinking (or having other websites link to your site) is still heavily favored by the Google algorithm since it shows that your site has authority, however you need to be careful. In previous years you could get a link from any popular site and you would get a boost in SEO. As Google becomes smarter however it is actually able to determine whether that link is coming from a site that is relevant to your niche.

For example if you had a website that discusses car mechanics then getting a backlink from a cooking site won’t do you much good, no matter how popular it is. In 2018 focus more on the quality of  the link and less on the quantity of links you get. You can also bet that the number of times a quality niche specific site is pointing back to your site matters as well, so it is worth it to build a relationship with the owners of those sites and get multiple mentions.

Play The Local SEO Game

Importance of Local seo in 2018

All of this can seem very daunting especially when you consider that there are people who are professionals on exactly this, and spend every waking minute of their day researching and optimizing their sites. The cool thing is that if you are a local business that has a physical location you don’t have to play the same game.

Google has never been better at providing you with search results personalized just for you. This means that if I search for “red socks” in Ohio, and you search the same thing in California, we will likely have very different results based on what our areas offer in terms of places to buy red socks.

With this in mind it is critically important that if you are a physical business in 2018 you need to make sure that Google knows where you are located, and what you do. This be easily done by setting up a Google My Business profile, that way you will appear for relevant searches in your area specific to your products and services.

Local SEO also favors customer interaction, so make sure that you ask your customers and fans to leave you positive reviews on Google. This can make all the difference and place you ahead of another “red sock” store in your area.

SEO in 2018 Conclusion

If all of this sounds scary and a ton of information to handle, don’t worry. Google’s main objective has always been, and will always be, providing its users with the best and most pertinent information for their problem. As long as you are creating content that is helpful and your services and products are top notch, then you should look at these changes positively because it has never been easier for Google to tell who is legit, and who is just putting on a show.

Nevertheless it’s important to keep these things in mind so that you can make sure you are doing everything you can so that your website and business get the recognition from Google that it deserves.