As digital marketing has grown in importance for today’s businesses, so has the role of search engine optimization. SEO plays a huge role in getting people to your website, blog post, guest articles and other content assets. And if you don’t play by Google’s rules, you’ll see your web traffic plummet.
The most successful marketers are on the cutting edge of the latest algorithm changes and best practices so they can make sure their clients’ content is visible. Here are the up-and-coming SEO trends that 10 Forbes Agency Council members believe will impact their work this year.
Members of the Forbes Agency Council talk SEO trends.
1. Voice Search
Voice search services, including the use of virtual assistants like Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant, make recommendations based on organic search results. Optimizing keywords as conversational phrases will lead to long-tail success. Typically only the No. 1 ranked result becomes the recommendation, and getting to the top position is easier if you match conversational phrasing exactly. – Tom Kuhr, MomentFeed
2. Video Engagement
Users’ engagement with video has been trending upwards fast. Faster internet speeds, user-friendly social media and smartphones are helping video content grow in popularity. Search engines will recognize this trend in user behavior and reward companies that appeal to current user preferences. I predict that we’ll see vast improvements in video and image recognition by search engines. – Ahmad Kareh, Twistlab Marketing
3. Filtering Out Non-Credible News Articles
With the onslaught of media criticism, many companies have taken a beating for allowing fake news. Content farms and scammers have played the system and disguised themselves as credible. Search giants will further scrutinize content to prevent such errors in the future. Having a well-written article will no longer be enough. It will have to be supported by other credible sources. – Ricardo Casas, Fahrenheit Marketing
4. Increased Focus On Structured Snippets
Google’s first priority used to be to deliver information to searchers as quickly as possible in the form of search rankings. Now Google is delivering a tremendous amount of information directly inside the SERPs with custom widgets and Structured Snippets. If you have top-ranked content ranking for high-volume search terms, you may deliver that info to the user without them ever hitting your site. – Todd Saunders, AdHawk
5. Google’s Mobile-First Algorithm
SEO practitioners are finally being forced to adjust to the reality of a mobile-first algorithm on Google. Before the update rolls out in July, it’s essential to review mobile ranking factors and adjust priorities. Page speed, for example, has been confirmed as an official mobile ranking factor, which has reoriented the way SEOs are prioritizing website and content updates. – Nina Hale, Nina Hale / Performance Digital
6. Social Media Searches
People are increasingly using social media platforms as search engines, and while search engines are still king, they are increasingly transitioning into a secondary platform. As this trend increases, content will need to be optimized for social media platforms just as much as it is for search engine platforms, with the added benefit of using organic and paid targeting. – Stefan Pollack, The Pollack PR Marketing Group
7. Influencer Marketing And Link Building
Influencer marketing is on the rise, and in some industries, it’s extremely effective. More than simply creating direct conversions, influencer marketing can actually land many high-level links very quickly and effectively and help a client’s sites rank better for their products and services. This is going to be another way for marketers to procure links and increase site authority as a whole. – Sean Smith, SimpleTiger LLC
8. Awareness Campaigns
Advertising campaigns involving print and television no longer have the reach they once did. Rather, awareness campaigns that use blogging, vlogging and social media have come to the forefront. Potential customers will come to associate your brand, products and services with the message you convey. This can be tricky to execute, but they can also be wildly effective. – Jason Hall, FiveChannels Marketing
9. Quality Over Quantity
For a long time, SEOs preached that you had to be producing content all the time to enjoy good rankings in Google search. There is a place for that (like building brand authority), but if you’re trying to rank for a highly competitive phrase, short content is not going to cut it. In 2018, businesses should be focused on long-form content coupled with a solid promotion strategy for that content. – Chris Dreyer, Rankings.io
10. Rich Media Content
Shorten your copy and get to the point. The 600-word minimum no longer applies. I would add some rich media (video or graphic), as its truly about the content, not how long it is. Correct intent will keep your visitors content, which will pay off in the long run. – Tom La Vecchia, MBA, X Factor Media