Search engine optimisation is quickly becoming one of the most powerful tools in online marketing. It is evolving so quickly that it is sometimes difficult to keep up with.
For SEO services, it is about staying ahead of the game and understanding user trends in order to best take advantage of these in the search engine algorithms. The algorithms are designed such that they best represent the users’ needs.
This is why understanding the consumer is so important to staying on top of your clients’ SEO and identifying the changes in the search engine algorithms. Whilst it is virtually impossible to know the exact changes that are coming, here is a look into the trends likely to dominate the SEO scene in 2018.
Video & Image Search
It is expected that both of these methods will improve significantly in 2018. Consumers have become more and more visual as our online interactions have increased and with faster loading speeds and far more “visual-friendly” social media platforms, people are likely to do so even more.
As a result, it is likely that there will be some changes as to how search engines treat images and videos in an attempt to more accurately recognise them and their content. This could potentially change the way videos are ranked and potentially place greater value on them.
The introduction of smart speaker’s by many of the major brands including Apple, Amazon and Google will introduce people to more and more search through speech. These speakers provide search through voice commands and provide the answers in the same manner.
As new models come out increasing diversity and accessibility, people are set to become more and more acclimatised to voice search. This could have a notable impact on the types of searches people conduct and how businesses value them.
For a while now, Google has been in pursuit of more personalised search results that account for individuals search histories, their browser cookies and other relevant information.
With the introduction of smart speakers and an increased inclination for search due to convenience and quality of results, there is a good chance that the personalisation will increase further. This will make it far more difficult for SEO services to predict where businesses will rank and even what they will rank for.
Machine learning is set to take over even more from the traditional search engine algorithm updates as it becomes more and more progressive. Google has invested heavily in AI and machine learning over the years and given its rapid growth it is likely to come in some time this year.
Google is yet to make any announcements as to whether it will be using any machine learning updates in the near future but it is likely that we will see a greater influence towards the end of this year.
2017 saw an increase in local search and local SEO but it wasn’t quite as big as expected. Hyperlocal means targeting customers within an extremely close proximity such as 1-2 blocks. These hyperlocal search results will make it harder for SEO services to target more general areas however it may make it easier to gain a certain target group.
With VR and AR becoming more relevant and mobile use on the rise, companies will need to do even more to target hyperlocal keywords and optimise for more locally relevant searches.
Whilst not all of these trends will necessarily take hold in the early parts of 2018, it is highly likely that by the end of the year they will have all come into play. Many are not expecting 2018 to be a volatile year for SEO but in such a rapidly growing industry, changes are sure to change the game.