Today I’m sharing my predictions for how the SEO world will develop in 2018, as well as what I’ll be focusing on with my digital marketing next year.
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|Hello, SEO lovers. It’s Kate Toon, here. The Head Chef of The Recipe for SEO Success, an online learning hub for all things SEO.
|Today, I want to talk about my SEO predictions for 2018.
|If you’re wondering what your plan should be for next year, this episode or this Facebook Live because I’m actually going to cross-purpose this video as a podcast, a YouTube video, a blog, and I’m also doing it now live on Facebook. So, this episode is for you.
|Okay. Let’s get stuck in. What are my predictions for 2018? What’s going to happen in the world of SEO and Google?
1. VOICE SEARCH IS GOING TO TAKE OFF
Well, number one, I think that voice search is going to really take off. It’s already taking off. We all know that we can talk to Siri. Hey, Siri.
We can talk to Google.
And now, with voice assistance in our home, more and more people are going to be using voice search to find the businesses and the services that they want.
|If you can hear a strange noise in the background, it’s a very sunny, hot day here in Sydney and the cicadas are going crazy. So, that’s what that noise is in the background. It’s not me vibrating.
|So, yeah, voice search is going to be prevalent in 2018. What does that mean for you?
Well, on average, people are estimating that the amount of voice searches are going to go up exponentially. That means that rather than people finding on odd, staccato words into Google search box like where is pizza place Sydney how much cost?They’re going to be asking real questions. The what’s, the when’s, the how’s, the where’s, and the why’s. So, what is the best pizza parlour in Sydney?
|On your side, if that’s what people are typing into Google. On your side, you need to be writing content that really answers that question.
You need to directly respond to the question and use the same language in your content.Maybe use that question as the title for a broad post, in the URL, in the body copy of your content so that Google can make a direct match between the search query question and your piece of content.
Also, I think it’s about talking more conversationally in your copy. So many people when they’re writing copy, they feel that they have to be over formal or over professional. Instead, talk to talk like a human because that’s going to make Google’s job matching up human search queries with your content a little bit easier.
2. LOSS OF REAL ESTATE IN THE SERPS
Okay. Number two prediction is the loss of real estate in the search engine results pages, often known as SERPs.
This year, we’ve already seen so many changes to the SERPs. We lost the sides down the side, which meant that the pixel width of our search results, our titles and our meta descriptions got a little bit wider, which gave us more content.
On December 1st 2017 Google also announced that it’s going to … My noisy phone … Also announced that it’s going to give us more text. Occasionally, it will pull more text into your meta description. Give you a longer snippet. And it will do that by using the meta description and some other content on your page.
|We’ve also seen an increase in the ads at the top of the page.
I remember when there just used to be one or two, now you can see four, sometimes even five.
You have the local pack at the top of the page, which takes up a lot of room. You’ve got the map and then the three results underneath.
All of this is pushing the organic search results further down. We also have seen the rise, and this is my next point, of featured answers. Knowledge graph information. I’m going to talk about that in a minute.
|What does this mean? Well, it means if you are a local business, you really need to be working on your Google My Business page and try to work on your low-cut SEO to ensure that you are in that local pack and that, really, you need to be in the top one, two, three organic positions because otherwise, you might not even be on the first page even if you’re in position five or six because of all those other bits of content you’re going to be pushed right off.
And it also means you’re going to focus on my number three prediction.
3. AN INCREASE IN KNOWLEDGE-BASED CONTENT
Three prediction. And that is the increase in knowledge-based content.
|What do I mean by that?
What I mean by that is that Google is really taking a things, not strings, approach. It’s trying to look at sites and break them down into entities.
It’s trying to find out your business address or your business name or the rating that you have for a particular product. It wants to try and pull that information out of your site and then give that back to the user in a more easily digestible format.
You’ll all have seen things like featured snippets. You know, if you ask a particular question you might see a little box at the top of the page where that question is answered in brief and there’s a link and then that takes you through to the site and there’s also an image there as well. We’re going to see an increase in featured snippets.
|We’re also going to see an increase in instant answers. If the answer to something is very straightforward … You know, what is one kilogramme in ounces, it comes up right at the top. You don’t even need to go to the website to see more.|
|There’s talk of featured videos coming along.
Again, all these things enable you to get into position zero. If you have a great piece of content that really answers and solves a customer problem, you could be the featured snippet.
And you could outrank some pretty big sites just by doing a better job of your content. Again, kind of ties in with that conversational search, choosing key words that are more relevant to questions, and really writing great content in the language of your customers that solves problems for them.
|So far, we’ve had the rise of voice search and conversational search, the loss of real estate on the search engine results pages, and the rise of knowledge-based content. How can you take advantage of this knowledge-based content?
Well, you need to clue-up on featured snippets. I’m going to be launching a little micro-course next year on all about how to write really great SEO copy that generates featured snippets, so look out for that. But you also need to look into structured data and schema. You need to implement some structured data on your site.
|If you have any commerce site, using something with commerce, commerce does a pretty good job of adding in structured data. You’ll see that you get things like ratings and reviews, availability. If you have a business site, you might want to investigate adding some local business schema. If you have an event site, even schema.
There’s all different types of schema and that’s something that you need to investigate in 2018 just to make your site a little bit more appealing to Google and a bit more digestible for Google.
4. MOBILE FIRST ROLLED OUT
My prediction number four is … Drum roll … Mobile first.
Google have been talking about mobile first for a while. At the moment, desktop is kind of the first index and we have, actually, completely different index on our mobile. And you’ll notice this if you search for your site on a desktop and a mobile. Often, you get different results.
More and more people are searching via mobile. I read a statistic the other day that said something like 70% of local searches are done on a mobile device.
If someone wants a Thai massage parlour and they’re in London, they’re more than likely to search for that from their mobile.
|What does that mean to you? Well, it means you really have to make sure your site is responsive.
By responsive, I don’t just mean oh, hey, I bought a responsive theme. It’s responsive. I’m done. Or, hey, I popped it into this tool and I got a fairly good result for responsive. I mean taking out your phone and trying to do the thing on your phone.
Can you get from A to B on your phone?
Can you buy the product?
Can you click the buttons or is your thumb too fat? Get other people to play with your site on their mobile. And focus on that usability. How easy is the site to use? How clear are your navigation terms?
How clear are your call to actions? Again, I’m going to be launching a little micro-course on website usability next year as well, so you’ll be able to learn a little bit more about that from me, too.
|Mobile first is really important. It’s been important for ages and by now I would hope that all of you, at the very least, have a responsive site.
But I think you can push further and really work on your usability. Don’t just take the theme at face value. Try to investigate a little bit further.
5. MORE AMP
The next thing that I think is going to be on the rise is AMP, and we’re going to be talking about that on the podcast, The Recipe for SEO Success podcast.
If you haven’t already listened, we have a great episode about AMP and we’ll have more coming up soon. AMP serves super fast content on mobile devices. What it does is create a stripped back version of your blog posts and it serves them almost instantaneously. It’s not really a replacement for having a fast site, but it is a way of serving up content in a really clean, quick way.
You may have seen, if you’re searching for news articles on your mobile device, you get the little AMP carousel at the top of the results and it links through to those pages really, really quickly.
Also, we know that speed is a huge factor in terms of ranking, but also customer’s enjoying our site. AMP is going to be important.
We’re going to investigate that more. Again, there’ll be more content coming from me in the I Love SEO Facebook group about AMP and how you can implement it on your site.
6. VIDEO TAKES OVER THE WORLD
Number six. I think we’re up to number six. Number six is video. I’ve been obsessed with video for a couple of years and we all know YouTube is hugely powerful.
Second biggest search engine. We all know that videos are being pulled through into the blended results, so they give you a chance of ranking for your page content and your video content. But, also, videos are super powerful for building authority, awareness, and trust. If you’re Watching this now, watching this on Facebook now, say hello. If you’re watching it on YouTube, comment below. But what we’re doing here, if you’re seeing me, I’m talking to you directly.
You’re getting an idea of who I am, my approach. It’s much more powerful and much more engaging than reading an article by me even though I’m a copywriter and that’s my superpower, video is more powerful.
And I find that lots of people who go on to buy my courses or engage with me in some way have watched videos.
|Also, obviously, if you’re listening to this on the podcast, podcasts are super powerful, too.
Not so much for SEO, but for building that authority and getting people to like you. If they like your voice, they like your style, they like what you’re talking about, they’re far more likely to then go on and buy your product rather than someone else’s. They’re are oodles of SEO people in the world, oodles of courses.
Why mine have been so successful and why they sell out usually within a day? I think it’s because I put a lot of effort into building a relationship with my customers.
I do that via video, podcast, Facebook live and my communities on Facebook.
|Videos, super powerful.
Create that video. It doesn’t have to be super professional level.
This is just the Facebook live that I’m doing. If you’re watching it on YouTube. I got a little cheap ring light.
I’m recording it on my webcam. I haven’t got my hair done. It’s just a regular day for me. But it’s fine. It’s the content that matters.
Record that video, upload it to YouTube, embed it into your webpage. Maybe get a transcript done of that content as well. Lots of people like to read. That’s also lots of good SEO content that Google can chew through. And then you’ve got a blog post as well. It’s really great.
|One tip here, though. If you are recording videos and you want to add them to Facebook, I always recommend uploading them natively into Facebook and LinkedIn as well. Both LinkedIn and Facebook don’t want you to go off to YouTube because you might not come back.
They want you to keep the experience within the social media platform. Always upload your videos natively into those platforms.
7. ECOMMERCE IS GOING TO GET TOUGHER
And, hey, number seven I think we’re up to. A little thought for your e-commerce people out there. Now, we know it’s getting tougher and tougher. With Amazon entering the Australian market and also, of course, Google Shopping, it’s getting harder and harder to get your product seen. How can you beat this?
Well, one thing, I think, is that you need to work on your Google My Business pages. Really up those and add as much content as you can. Work on your product and category pages. Try to add some content. There is no specific amount of content that you need to add, just enough that sells you and differentiates you. Often the products that stores are selling they are re-selling. I could buy that product from five other sites. And maybe you can’t compete on price, so you have to try and build your brand and you have to try and build a relationship with your customers.
|Content marketing is super powerful.
I often find because e-com stores have a lot of products to upload and maintain, they kind of fall back a bit on the blogging side of things and the guest blogging, but you can’t.
You really need to get your name out there so that when I think that I want to buy some padded baby trousers … Somebody posted that in the group yesterday … I immediately think of the brand behind that.
And I don’t just go off and search for the thing, I search for the brand. That’s what you want to try and do to try and compete against these big guys.
|Those are my predictions. Let’s just run through them again. We had number one, the rise of voice search. Number two, the loss of real estate in the search engine results pages. Number three, the rise of knowledge-based content. Number four, mobile first index and making sure your site is crazy responsive.
Number five, AMP and kind of getting your head around that and how you can make it useful for your business site. Number six, video. Optimised videos on YouTube, but also videos for engagement, awareness, and trust. Number seven, e-commerce. Try to compete with those big guys by building your brand and building a relationship with your customers.
THE FUNDAMENTALS WON’T CHANGE
But, I just want to stop here and say one important thing.
The fundamentals won’t change.
They haven’t changed for the last five years. Google still wants you to have a technically sound site. A site that’s fast, responsive, and crawlable.
That’s super important. That’s the foundation of all SEO. It wants you to provide solutions to customers, and that requires you to research key words to find out what your customers are actually searching for, and to write content that answers those problems. Engaging, sticky content that entertains and educates. Those three things haven’t changed. Technical, keyword, optimised content.
|You’re always going to need to continue to earn links.
Maybe not so much building them, which kind of implies that you’re kind of aggressively going out there trying to make people link to you.
But earning links through great content, through building relationships, through being open and sharing and all that good karma SEO stuff that I teach on the Good Karma SEO course. Great tactics in there for building links, earning links in a non-pushy, aggressive way. If you’re struggling to build back links, check out that Good Karma SEO course.
|And then, as well as that, content marketing. It’s not going anywhere. It’s still important.
But I do think you need to focus on the channels that work for you.
We all love Instagram. It’s easy. It’s pretty. But really take a good look before you start 2018 and see how much referral traffic you actually get from Instagram and how much of that referral traffic turns into customers. Focus your efforts where they’re going to have the biggest impact. Some of that might be working on boring stuff like optimising title tags or checking the crawlability of your site. You know, it’s not as sexy as posting pictures on Instagram, but it could have a much bigger result.
|So, there you go.
These are my predictions for 2018 for SEO and the things that I am personally going to be focusing on for my sites. I hope you enjoyed that. If you did, leave a comment below. If you’re watching this on YouTube, leave a comment there. And if you’re listening on the podcast, head to The Recipe for SEO Success website and leave a comment on the post for this podcast. And, if you are on iTunes or Stitcher, leave a rating or review about the show. It will help other people find me, find the things that I do, and hopefully fall in love with SEO and Google.
And that would be a lovely New Years present for all of us.
So, good luck in 2018. My name’s Kate Toon. I’m a head chef at The Recipe for SEO Success and those are my little predictions for next year. Thanks for watching! Bye!
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Over to you:
What do you think will happen in 2018? What are you planning on working on? Let me know in the comments.
If you have any questions, please pop them in the comments below and I’ll be happy to answer them for you.