As the year comes to a close, it’s time for businesses to get their SEO ready for 2018 search trends. New technologies and a renewed focus on certain areas by search engines are creating a new set of imperatives for brand SEO managers. Here’s a look at where marketing managers should direct their focus.
Voice search: The number of voice searches continues to increase, thanks to more mobile device searching and smart speakers. Voice search tends to be more casual than keyword-based search. Instead of searching for “Mexican food in Boston,” a searcher is more likely to ask, “Where is the nearest Mexican restaurant?” This requires a different approach to writing and keyword strategy.
Q&A-based search: The very structure of the way search engines are displaying information is beginning to change. Questions and answers are the natural format of both mobile and voice powered search. Now, Google and other search engines are beginning to choose a landing page that best answers a specific question and display that in a prominent place. As a result, marketers must pay closer attention to the questions associated with their business—and think about the best way to convey the answers to those questions clearly and concisely in their content.
Deeper personalization: Access to more robust marketing analytics is allowing businesses to deliver deeper personalization through all their digital channels. The implication here is that businesses are creating more content, while their audience segments become more specific. Organizing a larger volume of content and having a clear plan for when and where to display that content will be a central consideration of SEO strategies in 2018 and beyond.
Content quality: Search engines are becoming increasingly ruthless about content quality metrics, whether it’s factual accuracy or the length and depth of the articles you publish. While content marketing remains a core strategy of businesses’ marketing efforts, in order to achieve positive SEO results, it will be critical to have the highest quality standards possible.
Information architecture: All of the trends above have a clear implication for information architecture. Companies increasingly have to anticipate searches in a wider range of different formats, from mobile to voice. Digital assets need to be tagged and structured in a way that surfaces them in search on a reliable basis. At a practical level, many companies are shaking up long established SEO strategies and beginning to plan again from the ground up.
As marketing managers plan their key initiatives for 2018, it’s time to shine a spotlight on SEO. Strategies that may have worked even a year ago are not customized for the challenges that lie ahead. Understand the trends that are shaping today’s digital experience, and you will craft an SEO strategy that will keep your contents discoverable and at the top of search engine results for years to come.