5 Crucial SEO changes to expect this year

Calendar 09 AUGUST 2018

SEO Search Engine Optimisation

Just like in other areas of the technology world, the search engine optimization is environment is constantly changing. Here at Pivotal Pixel, we like to make sure that our clients can get the most out of their online experience, with an enhanced approach to marketing, branding and web design. Of course, to give our customers, the best results, we need to maintain a thorough understanding of SEO, and how the Google algorithms work.

Today, the SEO algorithms that dominated the online world only a few months ago have already fallen out of favor. It’s up to SEO professionals and marketing gurus to stay on top of these changes as they emerge, to ensure that their clients don’t get into trouble with Google penalties. After all, being behind on the times doesn’t just mean that your website looks and feels outdated, but it can also get you into some serious trouble when it comes to ranking.

While 2017 brought us new trends in the dominance of Google “accelerated mobile pages” and the rise of HTTPS, we’re still waiting to see the full breadth of what 2018 has to offer. The good news is that if you’re looking to spring-clean your SEO efforts, we’ve got five trends you can look at to keep your progress on track.


Artificial Intelligence Will Have more of an Impact on Search

When you’re working with Pivotal Pixel, you’ll find it’s easier to keep on top of some of the more disruptive changes in the digital market. One of those changes is the rise of artificial intelligence. It’s been a couple of years since we first discovered Google’s machine-learning system “RankBrain” which makes it easier for the search giant to process search results. Since it was introduced, this tool has gone from handling around 15% of search results – to sorting all of them.

Now that Google’s interest in artificial intelligence is consistently growing with new machine learning algorithms and APIs hitting the market on a regular basis, you can expect to see the search results being influenced more by robotic brains. This could mean that today’s marketing experts will need to think about how they can create content that speaks to an audience much more advanced than your standard search engine crawling bot.


Featured Snippets and Voice Search

Currently, one in every five mobile search queries is issued from voice search – rather than text. This is a number that’s bound to get bigger as Google introduces more virtual-assistant devices into the market like Google Home. As the popularity of voice search continues to grow, we can also expect to see a rise in featured snippets – the spaces Google uses to find it’s voice search results.

In fact, there’s already evidence that a voice search revolution is taking place. One study found that featured snippets now appear in around 30% of voice-related queries. If this trend continues, then you may need to rethink where you want your search results to appear when you’re investing in content marketing and SEO with Pivotal Pixel.

Additionally, there may also be a need to change up the keywords that you bid for in your PPC campaigns. If voice search continues to reign, then you can expect that we’ll see more long-tail keywords and natural semantic phrases on the horizon.


Manipulative Guest Posting Will Die Out

Backlinks and content have long been a crucial part of SEO. That’s why many brands have used guest posting as part of their optimization strategy. Unfortunately, there’s a big difference between posting guest content that’s actually valuable to the readership you’re trying to appeal to and using guest posts specifically to get as many links back to your website as possible.

Google has already warned us that using article marketing as a way of building links is a tactic that is against the search giant’s ethical principles. As such, there’s already an algorithm on the horizon that’s going to target manipulative guest posting. If you’re wondering what counts as a manipulative guest post – the simplest way to find out is to ask yourself whether the content you’re posting is genuinely valuable or not.


The Rise of Linkless Mentions

So, if you can’t just scatter backlinks to your website on every relevant website you come across, what can you do to generate more attention for your online presence? Well, aside from using Pivotal Pixel to help answer that question, you can also think about Linkless mentions, and what they’re going to mean to the future of SEO. Bing has confirmed that they’re already tracking unlinked brand mentions and using them as a ranking signal. Google will no-doubt follow suit one day soon.

A greater reliance on Linkless mentions makes sense when you think about it. Now that AI is playing a bigger role in the way that websites are ranked, it’s not unreasonable to expect that conversations about a brand will also help to improve that company’s reputation. The good news is that all you need to do to start benefiting from these mentions is get people talking about your company.

Social media marketing is often a great place to get started. With it, you can develop stronger personal connections with your customers, and give them new reasons to talk about you every day!


Mobile-Focused Indexing

Finally, it’s been years since Google told us that mobile searches have become more common than desktop searches, but that doesn’t mean that you should simply start taking mobile optimization for granted. Google is responding to a growing shift in user behavior by specifically ranking pages that are mobile friendly higher on the search engine result pages.

Mobile-first indexing simply means that Google will create and rank search listings by prioritizing the mobile version of information first. This is true for all kinds of content – even listings that are being shown on desktops. This could well be the year when the signals used to prioritize searches from mobile devices become the signals affecting all searches. Any site that doesn’t work on a mobile device could see a serious issue coming their way.


Are You Ready for 2018?

Google has transformed dramatically since it first came to the market in the 1990s. Now we have the changing political climate, the rise of AI, and the social world to think about, there’s a lot more for the average business owner to consider when building a website. The easiest way to stay ahead of the curve is to make sure you have the support of a professional digital team. Don’t get left behind by digital trends, stay up to date with Pivotal Pixel.