Guest post by Piket Media
Staying on trend isn’t just for fashion designers and pop stars anymore. Marketing specialists and advertisers have every reason to keep their eyes out for up and coming methods for communicating their goods and services to their target audience. Knowing the most contemporary SEO trends can also give your business a leg up on the competition in a crowded field.
While traditional keyword-based SEO will still make a noticeable difference, these standard methods alone won’t see you through to optimization glory. Instead, you’ll need to begin thinking outside the box this year by examining how factors like searching platform and location can affect how a customer seeks further information.
These 5 SEO trends for this year represent the cutting edge of SEO potential. Though success is never assured, businesses that implement these methods will surely find their SEO clout growing in the coming years.
Trend #1: Find a Faster Web Host
You may be an SEO master with a near unlimited book of tips and tricks for helping your company improve its ability to be found online. But without a lightning-fast website on the other end, would-be customers will likely jump ship before they can ever act on their new digital discovery.
As such, finding fast hosting should become a top priority for any in-house SEO specialist. The current market for web hosting is rich with special features and optimization tools that will really help speed up your website’s per-page load times. Switching may not even be difficult, as many web hosts now offer specialized tools to transfer every bit of data without extra hassle.
That being said, not every company can simply switch web hosts at the drop of a hat. If you find your company locked into a contract that makes it difficult to pursue this first trend, begin the research process so that you can hop to a faster web host as soon as the old contract expires.
Trend #2: Mobile Optimization
Though this may not come as a surprise, mobile phone activity has grown to a majority of all web traffic, including search engine queries. Google has begun to shift its search engine algorithms to accommodate for these changes, including their introduction of so-called “mobile-first indexing” in early 2018. As such, the time is now to optimize your website for mobile traffic.
The exact nature of this mobile-first indexing is not yet clear, due to its young age and minimal implementation at this time. But even so, one major SEO trend seems to be clear based on their July 2018 update. When accounting for mobile-first indexing, speed is key.
Google has begun to massively prioritize websites with speedy response times when providing results on mobile devices. As such, SEO specialists should take time to carefully test page load times across their entire website, on a variety of desktop and mobile platforms and across a variety of browsers. If performed properly, you’ll be well-positioned to take advantage of Google’s next mobile-first optimizations.
Trend #3: Geo-targeting
In addition to keyword identification, Google’s page crawling system now also looks for region-specific terminology and traffic trends in order to push ads and content specific to a user’s regional interests and needs. This allows SEO specialists the opportunity to target geographic locations in order to hyper-focus their advertising potential.
Through Google’s advertising dashboard, you can now select if you want an ad geofenced to a specific area. For example, an apartment rental company may hyper-focus their geo-targeting by pushing ads on a local college campus, where their primary customer base spends most of its time.
In a similar sense, a lawyer looking for clients only within their geographic region or city may include language in their blog posts that indicates this desire. Both of these methods hold the potential to really unlock what Google is capable of when it comes to promoting your website to audiences in your area.
Trend #4: Establishing a Brand Reputation
Establishing a consistent reputation isn’t just for brick and mortar businesses alone. In fact, as more business and professional interactions occur online, audiences have grown to expect online brands to project a trustworthy voice everywhere from a core website to social media.
As such, an SEO specialist worth their salt should spend time ensuring that their company’s brand is as reputable as possible.
There are several ways to go about building a company’s brand online. A robust and professional social media presence is always a solid first step, followed by the creation of quality content that other websites might consider linking to.
Through a process is known as backlinking, these interwoven links back to your content act as a digital “vote of confidence.” This encourages Google to boost your brand’s reputation and your search result placement in turn
Trend #5: Planning for the Vocal Future of Searching
“Alexa, what are this year’s leading SEO trends?” Searches like this – that is, made locally to an at-home smart assistant – are becoming far more common as smart technologies become more accessible to a wider slice of the population. As such, a wise SEO specialist should plan for the immediate future where voice-guided queries will rule the roost.
Though this field is still emerging, voice-guided SEO considerations should likely include more natural language akin to how an audience speaks, rather than how they write. To this extent, long-tail keywords will likely become more important, as spoken word queries tend to be longer and more specific than their written counterparts.
Also, if your business regularly performs in-house marketing research, be sure that the research team begins to produce voice-guided query research in order to quantify your efforts thus far.
SEO is Not Just Keywords Anymore
All things considered, current SEO trends may feel far afield from the traditional keyword-based SEO. But all the same, these 5 trends represent several emergent fields that SEO specialists must pay attention to if they want to remain ahead of the curve. From geo-targeting to mobile and voice optimization, there’s a lot of room for improvement when it comes to planning for the immediate future of search engine optimization.
When it’s time to create next year’s SEO plan, be sure to bring these 5 SEO trends to the meeting table so that your collogues can fully appreciate the “next big thing” in online marketing.