Google has made a bold statement that user experience of SEO is paramount. This trend started early in 2015 when Google first penalized sites that were not responsive via the Mobilegeddon update.
A good user experience allows readers to engage more with the pages they visit. This enables the search engines to determine which pages are relevant–a key ranking factor.
In determining whether your site is user-friendly, look for factors such as page loading speed, navigation structure, and readability to determine how they impact on your readers.
You can improve the UX on your website by increasing the loading speed and attending to any technical issue that may impact navigation.
Use of Google Analytics can also give you useful insights such as your visitors’ browsing habits.
For example, if visits from search last for less than 30 seconds, it could mean either the user experience or content is hurting your site’s conversion.
In 2018, Google will favor sites that will provide users with a friendly and engaging experience. Conversely, websites that will not deliver a friendly user experience will see a drop in rankings.
2. The Rise of Visual Search
The rise of visual search in 2018 will come at no surprise, as the internet has become more visually focused.
We are entering a new milestone where content without visuals might not stand a chance in search results.
The rise of visual search has been fueled by the emergence of numerous social platforms that are visual-friendly and the increase in internet speeds.
Also, major tech companies such as Google and Pinterest have invested heavily in developing powerful visually-focused search tools that will capitalize on this emerging trend.
As such, you can expect to see changes to how search engines will treat visuals in SERPs. For instance, Google recently acquired Eyefluence and Moodstocks — two startups that seek to capitalize on user interactions with visuals.
To achieve a competitive edge in 2018, your marketing strategy should focus more on how to optimize your visual content for SEO.
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3. Link Building
Link building will not disappear in 2018. However, expect to see a new trend that will focus on quality and diversified links.
Successful marketers know that good quality backlinks are indispensable. They signal to Google that your website is authoritative.
But a successful link building strategy should focus more on link earning. Link earning employs the principle of relevance. It ensures that people are inspired and compelled to link to your site naturally because your content has ‘earned’ it.
In 2018, successful SEO strategies will gravitate towards relationship building. Picture links that will help a brand get important contacts that your company will benefit from, even in the long run.
A challenge for 2018, however, will be how to deal with blog posts, including how to integrate them into the link building strategy without being spammy. This will call for a diversified link building strategy.
4. Mobile-Friendly Sites
One of the SEO trends that will dominate 2018 is the need for responsive and mobile-friendly websites.
Mobile devices have redefined the way we access the internet. Their reign promises to be long and prosperous, owing to their convenience and ease of use.
With over 50% of the global web traffic originating from mobile devices, any site that will not be mobile friendly by the end of 2018 will not stand a chance in the ever competitive online world.
And there is also the issue of the upcoming mobile-first index that will take mobile friendliness as a ranking factor. When rolled out, this update will rank pages depending on how responsive a site is when viewed from a mobile device.
With that in mind, it goes without saying why a mobile-friendly site is a must-have in 2018.
To check whether your site is mobile friendly, visit Google’s mobile test available in the Website Auditor. Under ‘Content Analysis’ enter the page’s URL and scroll down to the Page Usability section.
If your site is not mobile friendly, forward the listed problematic issues to your development team to have the issues addressed.