The rate at which search engine optimization is evolving continues to increase with the passage of time. As we head into the last quarter of 2017, it is important that you start thinking about the how you’re going to maneuver and navigate through the digital marketing landscape in 2018.
It is likely that a majority of the prominent SEO trends of this year will spill over into the upcoming year. Keeping abreast of new developments by Google is imperative if you are to stay ahead of or catch up with your fiercest competitors in your industry.
Here are a few things to consider these last four months of 2017.
- User intent
Keywords are certainly important. However, it is also true that searching simple words brings up simple results. Modern consumers have grown increasingly savvy. They know exactly what they want. As well, search engines have also greatly developed their ability to identify user intent. Now more than ever, users are using longer queries to make their searches more effective.
This year, leading brands are focusing more of their attention on optimizing their content with user intent in mind. This is achieved by researching, optimizing and adjusting content.
Start by determining what searches bring users to your pages and the kind of questions that they hope will be answered by your content. Then, based on that data, make sure your content tells a compelling story in a way that heightens the experience for visitors to your site. Thereafter, make periodic adjustments by making improvements and removing what doesn’t work.
- Featured snippets and rich answers
Everyone turns to Google when they’re looking for answers. Google responds to queries by displaying relevant information on the search engine results page (SERP). This information includes useful sites, images, videos, reviews, events, etc.
Among the most effective tools for gaining higher rankings and featuring on snippets and rich answers is using structured data markup, also referred to as schema markup. The markup makes it easy for Google’s algorithm to find relevant information on your page and display it in a format that users can easily understand.
Featured snippets and rich answers can include brief recipes, song lyrics, quick reviews, ratings, etc. With time, the number of searches that bring up these forms of featured content on Google SERPs will increase.
Have your SEO expert include structured data markup on your site to boost rankings and increase the chances of it appearing in the rich answers areas of result listings.
- Voice search
Among the major projects that have been ongoing in the tech industry for a number of years now is voice search. As innovations continue to be made in the technology that powers voice assistants, voice search has been rising high up in the list of priority areas for every SEO expert and ecommerce website owner.
Voice search is futuristic, quick and hands-free, which is what makes it appealing to users. With every new update, significant improvements are made and the rate at which errors occur continues to fall.Speech recognition error rates, which were about 25 percent in 2014, have fallen to around 8 percent today.
Most importantly, engineers at Google and other major companies that offer voice assistants are working on going beyond simple voice recognition to developing voice searches that actually understand the semantic dimension.
In addition to that, they are looking into implementing other changes with regard to the following areas:
- Context based on location
- Previous searches
- Personalized results
- Context based on apps that are frequently used
- Keyword research based on voice search
Clearly, voice search and optimization for voice assistants is among the top emerging trends in the SEO industry. Google Now, Siri, Cortana, and Alexa are all making phenomenal improvements. It is therefore essential that you and your team of SEO specialists come up with innovative strategies for optimizing your ecommerce site for voice search in order to improve your rankings.
Major developments have been made in the year 2017. As internet users continue to demand more engaging content to consume, it is critical that you work with your SEO expert to implement trends that have clearly been working as well as those that begin to emerge in order to make your online business future-proof.