SEO Trends to Watch Out for in 2018 — Time to Evaluate and Modify Your Strategies!

The new year has rolled in, and with it, it has brought various new updates, trends, and possibilities for digital marketing. What worked before, would probably no longer yield as profitable results as you would have liked. What you previously put aside as 'not so important' can take center stage. Have you finalized your search engine optimization strategy yet? If not, this article will take you through some of the SEO trends that are likely to dominate the SEO landscape this year. Let's take a look:

Video and image search will continue to rise:

You already know that people respond better to pictures and videos. It denotes that online interactions have evolved a lot and has become more focused on visuals. Over the last decade, internet speed has increased, and social media platforms have become very visual friendly. Moreover, people find it easier to connect with visual content more. That being said, user interactions do improve if a brand uses visual content to reach out to its target audience. This year, we will see much improvement in search marketing strategies for visual assets.

Voice searches will increase

Every brand should invest in smart speakers. Many have already started to think about it. Did you know that the sales of smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home saw a significant surge in 2017? Experts predict that these sales will continue to rise this year too, especially when newer models are introduced. The main point to note here is that these devices are voice activated, and when spoken to, delivers results. As an increasing number of users get used to interacting with these devices, they can potentially change the way businesses have responded to queries till now.

Individual customization will impact how rankings are calculated, at least some of them

Google favors personalized search results - that is a known fact. Brands that take this fact into account are particular about factors like users' search histories, browser cookies and so on. Now, with time, search convenience has been enhanced a lot and has made it almost mandatory for brands to cater to each of their customers, potential and existing, in a more customized manner. Given the technological sophistication available to digital marketers of today, personalized SERPs will not be a problem.

Machine learning will start moving into the place that traditional search algorithms occupied up until now

It is not just Google; many organizations have started to invest heavily in machine learning. Many are even starting dive into the world of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Though Google still has not released any news about its machine learning updates to its core algorithm. By the time 2018 comes to an end, the emphasis on machine learning will increase, and it may even be more important than typical search results. However, it is not anytime soon that algorithm updates will fade away, although it is bound to happen eventually.

Hyperlocal results will start

Hyperlocal marketing has not yet made its importance felt as such. However, experts at various digital firms including Ocean One SEO thinks that it will now start to become vital. From now onwards, brands will need to make their local SEO efforts more streamlined by targeting users based on physical proximity. Yes, they may even start targeting people who are less than a block away. Companies will need to use more hyperlocal keywords for targeting and arrange for more locally relevant appearances.

Knowledge Graph will become critical for SEO success

Over the last few years, Google has been putting much importance on featured snippets. The frequency of featured snippets has seen a drop in the last few months. It may predict the rise of Google's Knowledge Graph that may eventually replace featured snippets. The users, of course, will get more relevant and consistent answers, as a result of this.

Gone are the days when Google’s updates used to be far fewer and at longer intervals! Now, even though with more than two hundred factors in Google's algorithm, SEO seems to be a very complicated matter, you can handle it with constant learning and a particular interest in the latest trends. It looks like SEO is going to be an exciting year for SEO. Now, it is to be considered that search engines are always trying to improve user experiences and this leads to certain shifts in ranks. It also makes some trends to come out of oblivion and some others to fall into it. You can stay ahead of your competitors by taking note of the trends mentioned above. These are the ones that are gaining the most momentum. With that said, remember to focus on long-term SEO goals and strategize accordingly.

Author bio: Sarah Andrews is a digital marketer working with Ocean One SEO. She specializes in search engine optimization and conducts extensive market research to understand latest SEO trends and practices. She has written many articles on the benefits of having a well thought out SEO strategy to optimize digital presence of a brand. Her articles are much popular among business leaders and digital marketers alike.

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