SEO – The Story SO Far for 2018
You know it’s coming to the end of the year when Sports Personality of the Year is on the BBC and the annual reviews start appearing in the tabloids and on social media, whether they are about film releases, the year in politics, fashion hits and misses or generally the stories that made the headlines from January to December are reviewed and make the headlines once more!
When it comes to Digital Marketing developments however, it’s worth remembering that changes to SEO algorithms moves so quickly and Google updates happen in the blink of an eye, that it’s worth stopping half way through the year to reflect and ensure you’re digital marketing strategies are still on track.
Want to find out if you are still winning the SEO strategic battle? Find out here in this week’s blog!
Reviewing the Predictions for SEO 2018
So the predictions in January this year were all about greater personalisation, voice search, structured data and mobile search. Speed and even more structured content were forecast as the way forward for all those SEO savvy digital marketers and it looks like six months on, it was a fairly accurate projection. So let’s look at these in a bit more detail.
Voice Search for SEO
More and more people have new ‘best friends’ in the form of Siri and Alexa and so on. These Virtual Assistants bring AI in to our lives like never before, and operate by the user asking a question which they recognise and answer accordingly.
They are in our homes and on our phones and people can use them anywhere. They are voice activated and can be used to schedule appointments, set reminders, find places to go, check the weather and book reservations amongst loads of other things.
So when we suggested Voice Search was going to be big for 2018, we were not wrong! In fact, it’s worth knowing, predictions estimate that by 2020, over half of all searches will be voice activated!
Furthermore, when the hipsters, movers and shakers are using their voice activated virtual assistant, they wouldn’t think twice about saying, “hey Siri, what is the best restaurant in Manchester for Chinese food?” so the responses have to mirror these questions, whilst still remaining instant and punchy, but they have to contain more structured data. For example specific results that include times, dates and locations, in other words, anything that gives the user the immediate result they were looking for.
Results on the Move
And that’s another point that is particularly relevant in our predictions for digital marketing for 2018.
More and more people want results on the move and they want them fast. So if your website isn’t optimised for use on mobiles then you could be seriously missing out on ranking opportunities. In 2018 Google launched its mobile-first index , meaning that for the first time, web pages are ranked based on their performance on mobile phones.
So if your website is optimised perfectly for laptops and desktops that’s fine, but you also need to make sure that you offer the user a mobile friendly version for use on Smartphones and androids.
In other words, make sure your website looks just as impressive, offers the same level of navigation and information but that the page down load time is not impacted by the fact that it is being used on a mobile phone. If you are unsure about this, speak to your web developer or your SEO team.
Think Long Tail Keywords
Another key prediction and one that has had a huge impact on SEO is that people are asking questions in a way that they would articulate just as if you were speaking to a relative, friend or colleague. This is probably largely down to voice search, however even when not using voice search, people are typing longer questions in to search engines and looking for immediate answers, rather than in the old days when a one-word search was sufficient. (Seems a bizarre concept now!).
Therefore, the data on websites has to match these questions and longtail keywords is basically a phrase containing three or more words that targets specific audiences looking for your product or service.
This is a great way of connecting with your customer as you are basically thinking about what it is they are looking for when they visit your website, so again, offers a more specific result on the original search.
Finally, and whilst this is not a new trend for 2018, the User Experience of your website is still a key component in your page ranking highly on the search engines. It is fundamental to ensure the speed of your site is at peak performance, and that the content is fresh, relevant, accurate and quality based.
If visitors leave your site after a cursory glance, this will seriously affect your Google Rankings, and as technology becomes more sophisticated, and society becomes more and more used to living in this digital age, your website has to be built and optimised to cope with these advances, otherwise unfortunately, you and your website will get left behind.
So if half way through the year, you are on top of the SEO Predictions for 2018 and your website is performing faster, looks great on the move, has refreshed quality content and can answer those voice activated searches, then great your digital marketing is working, and you should be maintaining your position as the number one result in your particular field.
If however, your website has slipped in to obscurity and you are not sure why, please do not hesitate to contact us here and we will be delighted to conduct a full mid-year SEO audit for you free of charge.