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SEO Outlook for 2018

SEO has been changing at a fairly rapid pace. At times, keeping up to date with all the changes in SEO can seem to be nearly impossible. Google is still the most popular search engine, by far, and Google is constantly coming up with new and innovative approaches. There is always plenty of speculation about what Google is going to do.  This speculation has been escalating around the changes that are coming with voice and mobile searches, along with the potential connection between user engagement on websites and search results.

No Quick Fix, Fundamentals Still Apply

To meet Google’s needs in 2018, it will be more important than ever to remember that there is no quick fix in SEO. The fundamental basics of SEO have always been there and they still apply. SEO professionals who go back to the fundamentals will be successful in 2018 because they will be in alignment with what SEO is trying to become.

What are the fundamentals of SEO? They include great keyword research that ties in to your target market, excellent coding – with title tags, meta descriptions, and links – great on-going content posts that meet the needs of your users, and a continued strategy to have people linked to your website.  All of this has to be very, very relevant to your website. There is no quick fix in SEO because you cannot fool Google. What Google really wants is great content, user engagement, and a website which is properly coded with a nice variety of key terms. 

Voice Search, Mobile Search and Social Media

As people are starting to do more searches with devices like iPads, Alexa, and Google Home, voice search is becoming a major factor in SEO. Businesses need to have the fundamentals of SEO in place because that is what voice search is going to require.

Google is going to display websites with valuable and unique content that encourages more engagement from users.  Sites will be more successful if their users are spending time on them, and so to meet the goals of Google, the basics apply more than ever.

Mobile Search is starting to become more and more relevant as mobile devices are exceeding 50% of the total searches on Google.  This ties in with social media because social media content is also getting indexed by Google.  This means that the forces behind social media trends are becoming a part of SEO.  The Google+ social media channel is very important, so successful businesses will be posting content there as well.

The Me Focused Search

The other developing trend in the SEO outlook in 2018 is called the “me” focused search, and it is the idea that people are beginning to think of Google as a kind of AI or personal companion.  Combine this notion with voice search, and you get the idea that what people are looking for online is often very unique to them.  Google may never know exactly how to answer these questions, yet people are searching for things like “How much money do I need to retire?” or “Take me to my favorite restaurant”, so people are wanting search results to display in a way that is relevant to them.  Google is seeing a huge trend in the increase of very specific inquiries; people expect Siri and Alexa to be their personal helpers by responding in very unique ways.  What’s interesting about this is that in order for search engines to become personal assistants, the fundamentals of SEO have to be covered.  With great content and effective coding, your website will show up in these voice searches.

The Use of Questions in Search

As people are using questions more and more in their searches, many websites exist with the sole purpose of answering questions.  Websites like Wikipedia and Quora are getting massive search boosts because they are meeting the intent of the user in answering “me” focused questions.  Google is trying to take advantage of that, and so getting to display content from websites as answers to questions is an ideal way to promote your website.  When you do a Google search, you’ll see a list of questions pop up, and these questions are very prominent in the search results.

Google knows how important questions are, and Google wants you to click on their ads and their traffic. 

Google isn’t competing with other search engines.  Google is competing with other informational sites like Quora, Facebook, or Wikipedia.  So Google doesn’t want you to go to these sites for information.  They want you to stay on Google. So any business that wants to be found on Google should stay up to date with Google’s trends, yet the fundamentals of SEO are more important now then they ever have been.

Thomas Young

Thomas Young is the CEO and Founder of Intuitive Websites. He is a consultant, award winning Vistage speaker and author of “Winning the Website War” and “Sales and Marketing Alignment.” Tom has helped thousands of companies succeed online and has over 25 years digital marketing experience.