Search engines are always tweaking their algorithms to improve their listings. For those of us working within the SEO sector, sometimes these changes work for the better, and sometimes for the worse.
I’ve asked a number of experts what to expect in the coming 12 months and they answered with some great in-depth wisdom that I’d like to share.
Maxinder Soni (Chief Marketing Officer) of Spodek Law Group suggests that prioritizing the audience is paramount.
Google and other search engines are working tirelessly to bring new updates to their algorithms. Of course, there are some timeless principles that can’t change regardless of which new innovations are introduced.
For instance, your main focus should always be the audience. It’s important to create value for them at all times. You should focus on high quality content that’s easy to understand, visual, and more detailed than any other sites you might be sharing a niche with. Fundamentally, you need great content that people can view and share in order to stay at the top.
Dana VanDeCar, COO of Optimally Organic, believes that organic map listings are crucial for local optimization.
Another expected change is that organic map listings will be overrun by paid ads. For instance, if you’re still using listings without any physical address, you’ll need to create a large batch of listings in smaller towns where advertisers can’t target. As a general rule of thumb, if you want to have paid ads displayed on the map, the listing should be in the same area as the person searching.
Big advertisers will focus on the larger cities with bigger populations. Therefore, you’ll need to refine your marketing strategy to make sure your ROI blends in perfectly with paid advertising. Start working on it immediately so you’re not blindsided by the changeover to Google Maps.
The Local Guides program is expected to become more robust next year. This is a new version of Mapmaker (created by Google) where map users can suggest improvements to the Google Maps application. And if you make more successful changes and improvements to Google Maps, you will have more authority.
When you have more authority, your edits will be approved quicker – there might not be any moderation necessary if your authority level is high enough. Regardless, you can use a Local Guides account to get results. In 2018, it will be more beneficial if you can setup listings, become dominant in your target market and help your clients get there too.
Tommy McDonald of marketing provider Serplogic, suggests that mobile optimization and UX are going to become increasingly important.
In 2017 search engine optimization has been more focused on mobile optimization and user experience. Additionally, there is now more focus on local SEO since most people browse the web on their mobile devices while on the go. Therefore, your main focus should be creating dense content and optimizing for local feeds.
When you’re optimizing for local results, you should start by creating a Google My Business account and fill it with relevant information and pictures. Don’t forget to utilize schema.org markup to get a name, phone number and address on every page on your website.
People are no longer interested in long form content since they want their answers quick and fast. No one has the time to read 2000 words on a site, especially when they are using their phone to get a quick answer. Rather, you should turn your focus from word count and keep it on value. Eventually, this will improve the user experience.
Focus on long tail search suggests Ryan Hulland, Vice President of MonMan.
There are many reasons why you should focus on long tail search. Firstly, there’s less competition when it comes to the longer searches. Over time this can generate a significant amount of traffic.
Secondly, you can earn featured snippets by answering questions to guarantee more organic traffic. It’s going to be beneficial if you can identify the demand before your competition.
Lastly, long tail search also focusses on voice search, which is part of Google’s new search vertical. Note that speech has more word count so Google Voice or Google Home, among other search mediums work perfectly for long tail search and will guarantee more visibility.
Content is still king according to Christopher VanDeCar, COO at Traditionally Extracted Herbs.
Recently, Google Home, Siri and Amazon Alexa have become popular. As a result, people are doing their searching differently. Come 2018, content that’s optimized for these platforms will become one of the most important elements of digital marketing. Therefore, if you want your site to show up in the results for specific mediums, you need to make sure that you have high quality content refined for them.
Sometimes we have to look to the past to see the future. If Penguin, Panda, Hummingbird and Fred have taught us anything, it’s that quality trumps all. And as you can see from these predictions, most of the experts believe Google will continue to move in the same direction it always has been moving in. Fundamentally, if you keep things ethical, embrace present trends and try to actively benefit the Internet – or more importantly, the people behind the screen! – you’ll set off on the right track.