The most competitive and progressive strategy in online marketing is search engine optimization (SEO). This marketing method is used to forecast or educate us on the latest trends that will form the digital future of our business. By using a history of algorithm updates and newer techniques and technologies, SEO experts can navigate you to the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Last year was an exciting year for SEO, despite few algorithm updates. However, we are enthusiastic about the changes that we see coming in 2018. We refined the following list, based on our observations, on the trends that unfolded the latter part of 2017, and on possible newly developing technologies and SEO techniques that will be implemented.
The Use of Voice Search will Increase
Smart speakers are voice activated speakers that provide spoken search engine results. Smart speakers, such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, skyrocketed in sales during 2017. Sales are projected to grow further in 2018 as newer models are released. Considering the fact that users of smart speakers will become even more familiar with search engine results produced by engaging their voice and ears, this product could remarkably change the queries searched, thereby reshaping the way businesses strategize their SERPs and update their SEO techniques and methods.
Video and Image Search will Drastically Improve
Our online interactions have certainly progressed to become more visual in nature. Gradually, within the online setting, we will begin to see changes in how Google and other search engines treat both images and videos. Faster internet speeds, more visually appealing social media platforms, and an overall desire to engage with more videos and images has led to the rise in visual online interactions. Startups such as Moodstocks and Eyefluence (both acquired by Google) were designed to recognize visual elements within videos and images more precisely, or they have developed ways to improve the user interactions with them. It is predicted that search engines will become more sophisticated for the visual aspect of searches.
Traditional Search Algorithm Updates will end with Machine Learning
Machine learning is the science of getting computers to function without being deliberately programmed. RankBrain, Google’s algorithm learning artificial intelligence system, helps Google to refine search results and provide more pertinent search results for users. However, Alphabet, Google’s parent company, has invested ferociously in machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) over the past few years. Nearing the end of 2018, we can expect to see a greater influence of machine learning over the standard search results, even though Google has not released official news confirming its plans to unveil more machine learning updates to its primary algorithm. Ultimately, we may begin to see algorithm updates vanish entirely and become replaced by an automated, continuous, and constant algorithm updating technique performed by machine learning.
Individual Customization will change how Rankings are Calculated
More customized SERPs (search engine results pages) are produced by Google for the development of more personalized search results by relying on an individual’s search history and browser cookies. With the arrival of smart speakers, the personalization factor combined with the increased benefit of search and advanced technologies might make it difficult to predict how your company ranks or what exactly your company will rank for.
The Knowledge Graph will Prevail
For years now, Google has been readily increasing the recurrence and particularity of featured snippets, which are concise answers to queries posed by individuals during their search. However, last month, the occurrence of featured snippets decreased tremendously and were apparently replaced by comparable answers found in Knowledge Graph boxes. It’s certainly possible that this event could indicate a rise and subsequent preeminence of Google’s Knowledge Graph, by replacing a large portion of the space currently utilized by featured snippets in an effort to give users better, more reliable answers.
SEO will move Beyond Bing and Google
Google continues to influence the search engine realm and remains the most popular and widely used search platform by far. In fact, over the past several years, we have witnessed the increasing trend of companies competing for ranking space outside of Google. Furthermore, digital assistants, such as Siri, have become even more relevant today as optional search engines. In order to have a stronger influence on a larger percentage of searches, as well as the widest audience available in 2018, your company will need to think beyond Google’s influential range.
Despite the fact that SEO experts do not speculate that 2018 will be an explosive year for the SEO industry, it certainly could bring about changes that will shake up the game a bit. If your goal is to learn more, do more, and earn more, it’s a great time to pay attention and learn some new SEO techniques in 2018.