It’s hard to believe 2017 is coming to an end already. Just last week we celebrated Thanksgiving and now Christmas is only 4 quick weeks away. Before we get to New Years day it’s time to start preparing for the ever changing SEO trends coming our way.
In 2018 user experience is going to become of even greater importance. A good user experience increases the likelihood of engaging with the pages they visit.
This helps search engines discover which pages are more useful for people, favoring them over others.
The first step is to monitor a site’s speed, its readability and its navigation structure to examine how these can be improved through the right changes. A closer look at your visitors’ browsing habits can offer helpful insights. For example, if the visits coming directly from search last just 30 seconds, then this probably means that the content or the user experience is hurting your site’s conversions. As more people consume content from their mobile devices, there is a growing need to provide an excellent user experience across all devices.
We’ve all heard that content is king, it’s Google’s top ranking signal after all. But most people don’t truly understand this statement. It’s not about pumping out blog posts each day for your site visitors to read. It’s about producing in-depth pieces of content that site visitors engage with. Even more than this is “context”. What do we mean by Context?
Google’s #1 job is to show their user the BEST result. And in most cases, the “best” result isn’t a piece of keyword-stuffed content.
Instead, the best pages cover an entire topic in-depth. With in-depth content, a Google searcher gets everything they need in one place. Creating content pieces that cover an entire topic will also help increase rankings, whether on a local or national level, it doesn’t matter. And when a great piece of content helps your site rank better this means a boost in rankings.
Another important part, perhaps the most important from an SEO view point, when people engage with your content they tend to share it with their audience. This also allows for a “white hat” link building effect to take place. Google eats this up and generally will provide a site with significant rank boosts.
Mobile First Index
With Google finally getting off the couch and beginning to deploy it’s first mobile search index, 2018 may find all business owners scrambling to make sure the mobile version of their website are up to par.
A couple years back when all the chatter about Mobilegeddon was getting a ton of hype, some made sure their mobile version was complete, but many ignored the conversion. While Mobilegeddon turned out to be less than a lot of online marketing sites were making it out to be, Google is rolling out it’s first mobile index search.
Mobile optimization for local users, along with the rise of voice search, can provide an excellent way to create a successful SEO strategy in 2018 by facilitating the search experience through personalized and relevant answers.
Site speed is critical for search engines and your page’s performance at the SERPs and Accelerated Mobile Pages can make a page load up to four times faster than a standard mobile page.
If you haven’t been paying attention to the functionality of your mobile website you should definitely take action now. There will be several mobile indexes in the new year and if it’s not respectable you can bet your mobile rankings will suffer.
What else can we say but Video Marketing is on fire right now. It’s no secret that search engines love videos and more importantly so do customers. Now, before we all start working ourselves into a frenzy, lets differentiate what types of businesses benefit the most from video marketing.
When it comes to big brands there’s absolutely no doubt video creation and marketing are a huge customer conversion tool for them. They have massive followers on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook and brand videos is one of the reasons why.
When you look a gigantic brands like the UFC and it’s biggest star, Conor McGregor, video marketing has been huge for them. Every time the UFC launches a video with Conor talking smack to his latest competitor the UFC brand, as well as McGregor’s, increases ten fold. They create video every time one of their biggest stars is getting ready to battle it out in the octagon, and when they launch it to their social media platforms it gets gobbled up by all of its fans. As a matter of fact, it’s still attracting new fans every single day.
Years ago when Dana White and the Fertitta brothers bought the UFC it was still considered a barbaric sport that was banned in many states across the USA. Guess what they bought it for back then? A couple million bucks. When the UFC recently sold to a new group of investors in 2016 it sold for $4 billion. The UFC is one of the most well known brands in the world and continues to soar, and a lot of that has to do with social media marketing of their videos.
But how can a small business owner benefit from video marketing or should they even bother? Absolutely!! A small business in a specific city is not going to be marketing at the level of the UFC or Coca Cola nor do they need to. But it would benefit the small air and heating company, or a local roofer, to create some videos every couple months.
Most small businesses are on Facebook and Instagram now. By pushing interesting videos to their social media platforms they not only increase local brand awareness but also increase the chances of new customers contacting them. We should also mention that customers, or potential customers, love video displaying the owners and employees of that company. Getting to know a business and it’s people make people warm and fuzzy and that creates trust. The more customers trust as business the more business they will give and they’ll keep giving their business.
A small business can create pretty cool videos using their iPhone or Android and load it right to YouTube and then place the YT link right on Facebook. You don’t have to spend thousands using professional video agencies. You can if you want obviously but it’s not necessary to be successful at small business video marketing. The main point here is that small businesses of all levels need to use videos to their advantage more often.
Visual search is an exciting area and the combination of technological innovation and user experience can take searching to the next level.
An SEO strategy in 2018 needs to consider the way we consume visual content and how search engines now go beyond text to explore the changing habits of search. Rich visuals now become more engaging and the use of neuroscience and innovation bring out an interesting and competitive market.
As the competition increases, more companies seem to acknowledge the potential of a successful visual search, while brands need to focus even more on optimizing their visual content for SEO purposes.
2018 SEO and Beyond
The upcoming new year will be very interesting when it comes to online marketing. We love keep our eyes on both the national and local SEO fronts. What we’re learning in todays SEO world is that it is always changing and you always have to be ready to adapt with it. The goal of ranking in the top spot is no longer a goal of every business and it doesn’t have to be. Better content, visuals, and stronger website user experiences could make a 5th front page position convert better than a #1 rank position.
Rich content, PPC, video usage, local SEO and voice search will all shape the way for successful SEO strategies moving forward. That’s why it’s critical to keep on top of the trends and where our industry is headed. If your a national, or small business, and would like a marketing partner that knows where SEO is headed, give us a call. We’ll be happy to discuss your 2018 online marketing strategy.