Search Engine Optimization

3 Ways SEO and Rankings are Changing in 2018

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75% of people don’t scroll past the first page of search results.

Search engine leads have a whopping 14.6% close rate

And 70% to 80% of people skip straight to organic results, ignoring paid ads completely. Click To Tweet

But you probably already know all of that. You already know how important landing within the first ten results of a Google search is. You know how that can help your business generate passive traffic, leads, and conversions. That’s why you’ve spent the last year trying to either climb your way through the rankings or maintain your current position. 2018, though, is going to be filled with some things you might not know. In particular, video is going to rule content creation, voice search will start to find its footing, and mobile results will take priority.

In this blog, you’ll learn about the most recent changes to SEO and how as a marketer you can implement strategies to get ahead in 2018.

1. Video is Going to Rule the Rankings

Currently, about 55% of all Google search results contain at least one video. In other words, over half of the page results you see when you search on Google have at least one video embedded within their pages. You could argue that’s because people are using video content more often. But, more accurately, I’d argue that Google is actually prioritizing pages with video content. And that’s not a huge surprise.

First of all, Google owns YouTube so it’s in their own interest to promote video content. That’s probably why, as you might have noticed, Google is slowly sneaking video results into the images search tab.

Cute Cats

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Second, 60% of people prefer video content over basic text.

Video vs Text

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Which directly contributes to why video content tends to rank better than regular blog posts. When people spend more time on a page and engage with the content rather than leaving immediately, Google ranks that page better. If video is encouraging engagement, that’s at least partly why it’s winning on the SERP.

How can marketers start to prepare for this video-loving trend? The best way is to start creating video, or in the least, use video. When writing a blog post, for instance, go to YouTube, find a video that accurately describes your topic, and embed it in the blog post you’re writing.

Kind of like I’m about to do.

2. Voice Search Will Start to Find its Footing

Every day, 40% of adults perform at least one voice search. With the rapid adoption of products like the Amazon Echo and Google Home, voice searches have increased by 35 times since 2008. According to Google one in five searches comes from a voice query.  Everything from cell phones to home assistants will have voice search technology incorporated, leading comScore to estimate that voice queries will account for 50% of searches by 2020.

Lest you think that all of that attention is just smoke and mirrors, consider that Google hinted in an interview they will soon be introducing better voice search reporting.

 Recently, a Google Analyst stated:

“I don’t know what the exact plans are there, but we have discussed something like that. To kind of make it easier to pull out what people have used to search on voice and what people are using by typing. Similar to how we have desktop and mobile set up separately.”

It’s difficult to predict when voice search will start to completely establish itself, but 2018 will surely be a year of voice search exploration. That trend will affect B2B marketers and B2C marketers alike. To prepare for that, target long-tail keyword phrases that sound more conversational. When people talk instead of type, they tend to use more words.

Text vs Voice Input

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Additionally, featured snippets will become even more critical as searchers use their voice instead of their thumbs. Voice search tools like the Alexa and Echo and even Siri tend to prioritize these position zero snippets when they respond. Which means that if you target those snippets, you’ll rank more regularly for voice searches in the coming year.

3. Mobile Results Will Take Priority

In 2018, mobile results will likely take SERP priority like they never have before. Over a year ago, Google announced their intention to prioritize mobile-friendly and responsive websites on mobile search. To do this, they are finally starting to roll out their mobile-first indexing to a handful of sites. But, as Search Engine Land predicts, that change probably won’t be in full swing until later this year.

It’s better to prepare for the change before it actually happens than it is to fall behind. Already, a massive portion of results rank differently on mobile than they do on desktop.

Brightedge

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Mobile-first indexing will exaggerate that trend. If you have a mobile-responsive website already, I wouldn’t worry too much about the change. In the words of a Google representative,

“If you have a responsive site, then you’re pretty much good to go. Because the content on your desktop site will be pretty much the same on your responsive site. The structured data on your desktop site will be the same. There is going to be slight differences in how you present the data, but we’re trying to be prepared.”

If you’ve fallen behind the already-common curve of mobile search, then the time to catch up is now. Make sure your website is responsive to different devices, and consider integrating with Google AMP to ensure you’re in line with Google standards of device flexible excellence.

Very few people scroll past the first page of Google results. And, naturally, even fewer people click on page two, three, four, or five. In other words, you need to be on page one.  But, getting there and staying there is easier said than done.

Unfortunately, 2018 is going to bring even more changes to the SEO environment. However, now that you know to use video content in your blog posts, target long-tail keywords for voice search, and create a website that’s mobile responsive, you’ll be prepared for the changes 2018 will bring.

What changes have you already prepared for this year? What SEO changes are still on your list to accomplish? Tell me about your plans in the comments. I’d love to hear about them.