The 2017 SEO rollercoaster was a fun ride, and with 2018 right around the corner, there are bound to be new developments coming down the pike.
There’s no question that SEO is a complex sport, but the important thing is to keep up with consistent the rule changes.
We can count on the fact that search engines will continue to improve the quality of their results, which means changes in ranking factors, results pages, and more. To give you some insight as to what you can expect this next year, we’ve put together a list of the changes that are already taking shape for 2018 and what you can do to embrace them.
1. SERP features will be a big deal
There’s no longer a guarantee that ranking at the top of the results list will get you as much traffic as possible. Shocking, we know!
Multiple features are already taking over the SERP pages and you’re bound to see more of them. Look for yourself on features such as knowledge panels, featured snippets, and local packs. As these features become more enhanced, the more clicks and attention they’re stealing.
When was the last time you Googled something? If you think about the way the Google SERPs used to look (10 blue links), it’s apparent that they’ve come a long way.
What to do: Did you know that you can actually track your results within these features? You can and you should start now. You can also monitor which features display for your targeted keywords and which ones are most likely taking traffic from you. Check out SEO PowerSuite’s Rank Tracker. It will help you watch 15 Google SERP features and the organic results. Once you start working with this tool, be sure to check out the Analysis tab as it will inform you when changes occur.
2. The need for speed
You only have a few seconds to score and keep that user, which means your website needs to move. Fast.
Speed also impacts your rankings, so it’s important to know how fast your site should move. To please Google and up your SEO game, your pages should load in less than three seconds.
What to do: To get a baseline, take Google’s page speed test. The test is actually part of WebSite Auditor and you can use it for free. To start, simply open WebSite Auditor and begin a new project. Once you’re in, navigate to the Content Analysis portion where you can test your speed for every page.
3. A new generation of relevancy
By now you’ve heard the trope that you need to post relevant content on a consistent basis. The trouble is, proving your credibility to Google is more difficult but getting penalized for it is easier. One of the easiest ways to determine your content quality level is to use Latent Semantic Indexing. Google crawls billions of websites and the terms within them, which means it knows which ones are related. Google then has expectations for the terms that will most likely appear for a given topic. This formula is what helps Google label content as “comprehensive” or “incomprehensive.”
What to do: If you discover via research that your content isn’t comprehensive, don’t panic. Spend some time looking at the high-ranking pages in your niche. Identify the features and terms they have in common with each other. This is how RankBrain operates. Obviously you don’t have the time and energy to do this research for every term, but you can use WebSite Auditor’s TF-IDF tool.