The basic aspect of SEO is to make it easy for the users and the search engine robots to determine what the website or a webpage is about. It is easy for humans to understand the essence of a website but search engines have to be told about the same. Though search engines algorithm has become sophisticated with time, they, after-all is a mechanism to be instructed over.
Similar to a vast number of areas in tech industry, SEO is constantly changing. SEO practices are constantly evaluating fool-proof method of landing at the roof of SERP (search engine results page), have now fallen out of fervour.
Google constantly changes its algorithm with more than 200 signals in a year, with tiny tweaks to major ones. Some major algorithm updates like Google Panda, Google Penguin, hummingbird, with ‘Fred’ being the latest, affects the search results in many significant ways and ultimately changes the game. We expect many changes in 2018 to emerge. Here are a few listed trends to up the ante of SEO game.
1: Evolution of SERPS: Earlier being a #1 organic site was the way to getting as much traffic as possible. But today SERP features (Rich Snippets, paid results, Knowledge graph) are stealing the clicks from organic websites. An Sear’s goal is getting to the top of the search engine results which will have a larger implication in future searches. From a result page containing 10 blue links to a page containing a much personalised search result list, Google has surely come a far long way. It is very much critical for you to track your rankings within these features.
2: Careful Structuring of Snippets: Snippets are useful for adding logic to the websites. There are regular snippets and rich snippets. Regular snippets, as shown above, have no images and no reviews to showcase.
Whereas Rich snippets have an image and reviews to make the data more structured. These properly formatted snippets have proven to receive more clicks.
3: Smooth Sailing: In the fast paced world, people want information immediately. Google’s expectations for the loading time of a page is 3sec or less. To check the speed, one can take the Google’s page speed test. Google’s PageSpeed Insights reports on the real world performance of a page for optimization.
4: Artificial Intelligence Bringing the Change: It’s now been 3 years Google introduced RankBrain , a machine learning AI system that helps to filter the search results. In some ways deep learning simplify things for SEO’s. RankBrain and other technologies are designed to make predictions similar to those of humans. So less loopholes can be expected.
However, on the other side of it, things might be a bit harder. As it grows more, the field of SEO will continue to get more technical. Analytics and Big Data are increasingly getting into the scene and SEO’s will sooner or later have to get hold on these skills to ensure a good payday.
5: “Linkless” Backlinks: In early days, Google had used links as a major weapon to judge the relevance of a webpage. The more links pointing to a page, the more importance awarded. But, over the years, this way of judging a website’s reputation has become outdated. Bing has officially confirmed that they track unlinked brand mentions and use them as a ranking signal. Search engines now have the capability to associate the mentions of brands, institutions without the need to linking to their web pages. Moreover, there are some tools that allow you to track mentions of your brand across the internet. These include Google alerts, Awario, Talkwalker Alerts.
6: Mobile-first Index: Mobile searches have finally surpassed desktop searches and this change has rolled out Google’s Mobile-first index and Mobile friendliness. Google will now create and rank its search listings based on mobile version of the content. So you simply can’t afford to ignore mobile SEO anymore. It is now required and expected by the search engines and the users to find a mobile-friendly website.
As search engines strive to enhance the search result lists, some ranking factors change forms, some fall victim into the oblivion and completely new ones come out of the horizon. Now it’s your turn to decide which of the guide mentioned above are you going to implement. Are you going to optimize your content or make your site more mobile friendly? Focus on the long term SEO strategies is necessary to keep up with the competition.