Here’s What SEO Will Look Like in 2018
If you work in digital marketing, you are fully aware of the fact that search engines are constantly improving and that SEO is a nonstop transformation. With this being said, the challenge is not to understand the science behind it, but to be able to adapt to it never-ending changes.
The past few years have been marked by a series of algorithm updates, evolving techniques and advancing tools that have made SEO what it is today. However, we are expecting even bigger changes in the future:
Optimizing for voice search
Back in December, Google’s trends analyst John Mueller tweeted asking for voice search data in Google Search Console. Even more, it reflects the current behavior among Search Console users: more and more are seeing voice search queries as a separate thing.
Why do website owners care about voice search data? Well, apparently, people have started using voice search more than ever before. Back in 2015, voice search jumped from 0% to 10% of overall search volume worldwide. This meant that 50 billion voice searches were performed each month. Moreover, a Google study discovered that 41% of adults and more than half of teens prefer using voice search a few times a day.
With this in mind, many tech giants have invested in virtual assistants and voice search. Google, for example, launched Google Assistant and Google Home, Apple has Siri, Microsoft has Cortana, and Amazon has Alexa.
Mobile-first indexing: Complete
If you think about it, the rise of voice search wouldn’t be possible without the rise of mobile devices, as smartphones are the main source of mobile searches.
In 2016, Google was the first to take a step toward mobile-first indexing, which is expected to culminate in mid-2018. This means that, if predictions are true, mobile indexing will become a priority.
Furthermore, it means that the new index will crawl the mobile version of a website’s content and see exactly how it should be indexed in search. This represents a tremendous change from Google’s old indexing system, which involved crawling the desktop version and indexing it in both mobile and desktop results.
Statistics show that 65% of users say that whenever they are searching on their smartphones, they are looking for the most relevant information without giving priority to the company or publisher. In other words, being mobile friendly is a must and the only way to stand out and survive.
Machine learning – huge role in search results
Back in 2015 when RankBrain was introduced, people had a vague idea about how it worked. The case hasn’t improved much, anyway. RankBrain is Google’s machine learning (AI technology) designed to help process and deliver the search results. Since its appearance, it has gone from managing 15% of search queries to all of them.
Even though the digital community is mostly in the dark when it comes to this AI system, we know that it analyzes user behavior in order to provide more accurate search results.
It has been predicted that, by the end of 2018, machine learning will have a greater influence over traditional search results and that it will replace algorithm updates.
All in all, it is interesting to see how search is taking shape, and how it will change over the following year.