No matter which industry you’re in, SEO trends are something that’s always worth monitoring.

Why is this important? For starters, SEO is a dynamic process. Search engines are continuously improving, and ranking factors are constantly in flux. If you don’t keep up with all the changes, your site traffic could take a big hit.

Despite the relative lack of algorithm updates, 2017 was a big year for SEO. This year, we should see even more changes on the horizon.

Not sure where to start? Here are the five most important SEO trends for 2018.

1. Voice Search

Did you know that 55 percent of teens use voice search every single day?

At this point, it’s clear that this is no mere fad. As smart speaker sales continue to grow, voice search will get even more popular. And according to most experts, voice-controlled digital assistants will change the SEO game for good.

As you might imagine, this would be a good time to rethink your SEO strategy and take a look at it from a voice search perspective.

For example, your keyword research routine will need some updating. Instead of the standard lingo, start focusing on conversational sentences and natural language. Typical search via a keyboard are short. That’s not to say that voice searches need to be long (long tail keywords), but they are more likely to sound like a natural question. For example, if you are at your computer and want to search for a pub, you may type something like, “Best bar in Seattle”. A voice search would sound something like this, “Which bars have a good happy hour in Seattle?”

So, how can you make adjustments for voice search? Try using a tool like Answer the Public to come up with good question ideas.

2. Going Mobile

The rise of voice search means that more than half of Google searches are now coming from mobile devices. Plus, it’s only a matter of time before Google’s mobile-first index gets rolled out.

If you’ve ignored mobile SEO in the past, it’s probably time to admit defeat. You need to invest in this!

How to make sure your site is mobile-friendly? Make your search experience as streamlined as possible. Mobile searches are big on context, which makes local SEO all the more important.

Site speed is another critical ranking factor. Want to make sure your pages will load faster on mobile? Have a look at Accelerated Mobile Pages. Google is pushing really hard on this, so businesses need to pay attention to AMP.

3. Relevant Content

Convincing Google that your content is relevant is getting harder and harder.

These days, it’s all about Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI). Search engines, like Google, use LSI keywords to add context in order to to provide better search results. Google will look at billions of pages, compare the related terms, and come up with the right context. By doing so, Google will decide whether your content is “comprehensive” or not.

The best way to pass this check is to do your research. Some tools can help you compare the top-ranking sites in your niche and find out what features they share.

Here are some tools to help find LSI keywords:

  1. Google – just start typing a keyword in the search box and Google will provide related keywords in the dropdown. After you complete your search, scroll down to the bottom of the page for more related keywords.
  2. Google’s Keyword Planner
  3. SERPs’ Keyword Research Database tool
  4. Ubersuggest

Keyword research is only part of the picture. You need to write good content around your keywords and do so in an SEO-friendly way. If you don’t have the time to come up with the right content, we can do it for you.

4. SERP Features

For a long time, organic rankings were key to acquiring the most traffic. Not as much anymore.

Right now, SERP features – such as local packs, featured snippets, reviews and knowledge panels, etc. are stealing clicks away from even higher ranking sites. In order to stand out on SERPs (search engine results pages), you’ll need to cater to a very specific set of parameters.

First, try tracking your rankings within the SERP features. As always, there are some great tools to do this. Moz has their Advanced SERP Feature Tracking tool.  You may also want to check out Rank Ranger’s SERP Features Tool. At Engaged Digital Marketing, we also use SEMRush to look for competitor’s keywords and see if they are triggering any SERP features.

Second, make a note of the features that appear for your keywords, as they could be stealing traffic from you.

Once you have the necessary data, all that’s left is to figure out the best way to show up in the Knowledge panel or get a featured snippet. Piece of cake, right? No? Read on about Structured Data…

5. Structured Data

Structured data (Schema Markup) is HTML code added to your site to provides clues to search engines about what your page is about. You can use it to classify your page’s content and provide details to enrich your listing on the SERPs. Is this going to improve your rankings?  No one really knows at this point, but, search results with rich snippets (those using Schema) are likely to have a better click-through rate.

To get started, go to Schema.org or use a tool like Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper. Make sure you test your markup also. Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool will do the job.

Keeping Up With SEO Trends

These five trends are only a small taste of what’s to come. SEO trends are constantly changing and to be effective at SEO, you need to stay up-to-date.

If you’d like to find more about the future of SEO and what you need to know to win at the game, you can contact us right here.