Small Business Chat: What to expect from SEO in 2018 and beyond?

It is very common to see enterprises of all sizes and categories leverage digital marketing opportunities to gain new work contracts and improve sales.

It is no longer, however, sufficient to create a website and produce useful content on social networks. To be found consistently in search engine results pages (SERPS), a business owner should continuously optimize his website.

It is particularly important for brick and mortar businesses that struggle to bring in a generous number of customers through traditional, or in other words ‘orthodox’ marketing methods.

The ever-evolving Google algorithms

All major search engines have algorithms, but Google is by far the most utilized. According to a survey, over 63% of internet users use Google to conduct searches.

Keeping that in mind, focusing on SEO will allow you to interact with a wider target audience.

At the same time, the task may not be as simple as it sounds. First, the search giant’s algorithms go through regular updates, so you must keep an eye on the results you see from each optimized page.

Google takes more than 200 factors into account to intuit a page’s position in the SERPs.And the organization never reveals the weight of any of these inits rankings.

Thus, it becomes essential to optimize your website holistically, rather than specifically targeting Google’s somewhat unpredictable ranking standards.

The ‘now’ goal

In the present world of constant shifts, search engine (SEO) techniques can change on a dime – the worst part being that you may not even know it. Marketing hacks that could have won your website a top-page result as recently as 2016 are not only obsolete now but may even hurt your website’s rankings.

That is one of the main reasons why you need to stay on top of the business ball.

According to the Director of Communications at Schedule, and Jesse Teske, SEO Manager at YLighting, a business marketer’s goal in the New Year should be to make a results list and get closer to the top of that list. Take some time to explore different SERPs tools and multiple search criteria to boost the number of monthly visitors.

The New Year SEO

As we proceed into the first quarter of 2018, it is time to think about what SEO means for us in the coming months.

Various search industry trends have been seen at the start of this year and last, and many of these will come into greater prominence in 2018.Mentioned ahead is a list of five expectations you should keep an eye on to stay ahead of the curve.

  1. Map listings for local optimization

According to Dana VanDeCar, COO of Optimally Organic, organic map listings are essential for local optimization. A significant expected change revolves around organic map listings getting overrun by paid ads.

For example, if a company is still using listings without any physical address, they will need to produce a fresh batch of listings in smaller communities where advertisers can’t reach. As a general rule of thumb, if you prefer having ads displayed on the map, the listing should be posted in the same area as the person searching for it.

The Local Guides programme – a new version of Google’s Mapmaker – is also expected to become more robust this year. With this online scheme, map users can suggest improvements to the Google Maps application. And if you can make more relevant and successful changes to Google Maps, you will gain more authority.

When you have more authority, your content edits will be approved faster.In fact, no content alterations may be required if your authority level is high enough.

In 2018, it will be more advantageous for you to set up listings, become more knowledgeable in your area and help your clients reach their targets.

  1. Link building

Link building is expected to become more critical than ever, and creating a strategy that seeks out quality links will be essential. If new links don’t add value or help you build authority in your target niche, there is no need to aim for them.

It does not mean that the best backlinks only come from the most renowned sites.Looking for coverage from websites relevant to your industry is extremely important too.

While referral traffic can still contribute to your website’s organic search rankings, it is also beneficial to think about a long-term link building process. A highly successful SEO strategy in 2018 will bend more towards developing powerful contacts and links for a long business term.

  1. Mobile-first content

The year 2018 is more than likely to become the year that companies realize the potential of ‘putting mobile first’ rather than catering to mobile as an afterthought. Google may finally decide to make 2018 the year it deploys its mobile-first index.

Even if it does not, brands need to put mobile first anyway, as mentioned in the recent study conducted by BrightEdge. The results highlight that 57% of the web traffic comes from mobile devices alone.

Moreover, there is a prominent difference between the way keywords rank on mobile and desktop. Therefore, the mobile-first content is needed to have the best chance of being visible in mobile search.

With the rise of voice search, mobile optimization can provide business marketers and owners an excellent way to create a successful SEO strategy in 2018 – facilitating the search experiences via personalized and relevant answers.

  1. The visual search growth

The video is the main disruptor for marketers. According to HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2017 report, YouTube and Facebook video are the two most popular distribution channels that marketers want to introduce into their strategy in the next 12 months.

Video and visual search is an exciting area, and the integration of tech-innovation with user experience can take search to a whole new level. 

As the internet becomes more visually focused, there is a great chance for marketers to explore the power of video and visual search. Many major tech companies like Google, Bing, and Pinterest have already jumped on the bandwagon and are developing impactful visual search engines in a bid to capitalize on this new trend.

As competition increases, a 2018 SEO strategy needs to consider the way we consume visual content and how search engines now go beyond text to explore the changing habits of search.

  1. Focus on long tail search

As suggested by Ryan Hulland, Vice President of MonMan, starting 2018 “marketers should focus more on long tail search.”

There are many reasons to focus on long tail search. First and foremost, there is minimal competition when it comes to longer internet searches. Overtime this can generate a significant amount of traffic.

Secondly, to guarantee more organic traffic, you can earn featured snippets by answering questions. It will further benefit you if you can gauge the demand for your competition.

Last but not the least, long tail search also bends upon voice search – a part of Google’s new search vertical. Speech has more word count so Google Voice, amongst other search mediums, works aptly for long tail search, guaranteeing more visibility.

The future of SEO

Judging by the predictions,2018 will be a great year for SEO. While traditional SEO techniques are still in effect, some new trends are in the works that could alter the practice of optimizing for search significantly.

It is useful to understand that search engine optimization is already changing and ranking in the first organic spot is not the only goal anymore.

As search engines evolve, there are countless opportunities to increase your website traffic without just focusing on organic SERPs.





About Alycia Gordan

Alycia Gordan is a freelance writer who loves to read and write articles on healthcare technology, fitness, and lifestyle. She is a tech junkie and divides her time between travel and writing. You can find her on Twitter: @meetalycia