SEO ranking trends and predictions for 2018

Talking about marketing trends is a delicate subject because practically every week, we see something new on social media that makes us question aspects that, for a while were an effective technique for obtaining visibility and, above all, more customers.

If we take this idea to the strategies we apply every year to rank URLs in search engines, the concepts that worked in the past may no longer be an option in the future. And that is it, here Google has a lot to do with these changes (and, on the other hand, minor to tell us).

However, during the last weeks of every year, I like to pause and take the opportunity to look back and analyze the evolution of the web projects I’m working for and, thus, draw conclusions about SEO techniques that have worked and will always work, those that have fallen into disuse and, why not, try to predict aspects that will change in the coming months.

With experience, we can learn many things; statistics speak for themselves, which is why in this article I have decided to share with you some testimonials about the trends we might see in 2018.

If you are really interested in this topic, keep reading!

SEO trends that will be consolidated in 2018

As I explained earlier, when we talk about trends, we can’t think only of things that are 100% new, because since the last months of the year, we have already started to see an inevitable evolution that leads us to draw conclusions about what we can expect for the coming year (or at least for the first months).

Although there are many other pretty solid conclusions about SEO factors, I’d like to address three initial aspects that became decisive in 2017 and will be even more relevant in 2018:

►  AMPweb Design

Here I am referring to web pages that, instead of being developed with a responsive design will be created with a second version for mobile devices. So in that sense, they also fulfill the adaptability requirement that users demand and will evidently be more valued by Google.

Although it has not been technically proven that sites designed in two versions or AMP have better ranking in search engines, we can say that it is better to have a site created using this technology (or with a responsive design) than to ignore mobile devices.

► Loading Speed

The wpo or loading speed has been considered a vital factor in improving the ranking of websites, I think this aspect will be even more important next year.

The time it takes for a website to load directly affects the bounce rate; with the Internet getting faster and faster, users don’t want to wait to view a page, even if the design is impressive; if your site takes too long to load, they will close the page.

Imagine that you are searching for information on a topic. You click on the first result, but the page takes longer than usual to load. Would you wait or close the page? Many of us would close the page and look for another result. Google monitors the loading speed of each page to determine whether users will be satisfied with the result or will search for information on other sites.

► Social traffic

Although the word itself says it, whenever I mention a term related to any aspect of web ranking, I like to clarify what I mean.

Here, I’m referring to a more “traditional” trend (by the fact that it’s been with us since 2016) to give more weight to visitor traffic from social media within an SEO strategy.

If the followers of your social media profiles also interact with your website, that will give a clear signal to Google that they like your content.

SEO techniques of the past, present, and future

SEO techniques of the past, present, and future

Before I talk about new trends, I would like to address traditional techniques that have always worked and I believe will be with us for a long time to come.

Among them, we can highlight 3 SEO practices that, although not created in 2017, will continue to be highly valued in the coming year:

► Off-Page link building techniques

I’ve talked a lot about link building on my blog and in other posts, as all marketers have believed in this technique for a long time. Unless things change a lot in the future, this technique will not go out of fashion and can be used safely by webmasters worldwide.

Despite Google’s numerous attempts to avoid artificial or, if you prefer, unnatural techniques to improve positions in the SERPs, link building, is one of those practices that I (personally) will continue to rely on.

►  Web architecture development (IA)

A well-organized web page with a coherent and logical structure helps the Google bot to crawl and understand all the information (as well as being better for the visitors), which obviously helps to improve page rank.

On the other hand, a well-structured sitemap.xml consistent with the information architecture will help Google to understand and Interpret the content, the website, and the way the information has been organized.

► Global Traffic Attraction

Besides social traffic, there are many other sources for attracting visitors, such as email marketing, paid advertising, or direct traffic. The latter is what comes, precisely, through direct searches, when users are typing the URL into a search engine or selecting it from a bookmark list.

All this has always been relevant to improve overall traffic because it helps Google understand that the site is relevant and, therefore, should be in a better position than other competitors.

On the other hand, remember that a site with more traffic has, as a general rule, better metrics in terms of dwell times, bounce rates, etc. All this indicates that, almost with total safety, we are talking about a page with a good user experience.

New trends we can expect in SEO for 2018

New trends we can expect in SEO for 2018

Last, and of course not least, I need to talk about four factors that many web admins have ignored in recent months, but which will be fundamental in 2018.

Let’s take a look at them!

►  Crawling frequency

Although crawling frequency has always been a factor in search engine optimization, I decided to mention it as a new feature for 2018 given that everything indicates that Google will give more and more authority to domains when the bot can evaluate the relevance of the site.

In other words, the bot is responsible for determining how relevant a site is by interpreting the number of internal pages that are considered relevant.

The key here is to give the bot access only to URLs that we really want to be indexed in Google, as allowing the GoogleBot to crawl unnecessary URLs will reduce the crawler buyer of your domain. This will decrease the crawl rate, which will lead to a decrease in organic visibility.

Another critical factor in increasing the crawl frequency is the download speed of the website, which is not the same as upload speed.

The download speed is the time it takes GoogleBot to download the HTML content of a web page and is measured in milliseconds. The key is to decrease this download speed to less than 500 milliseconds.

► The user experience (UX)

User experience has to do with the emotional reaction users feel when navigating through a website. For that experience to become positive, the site should be easy to understand, offer helpful information and, in addition, generate a certain feeling of desire through an attractive design.

With this definition, there is no doubt that Google will always place more value on this type of parameter, which will also positively affect the rest of the metrics, such as time on page or number of pages per session.

Google’s goal here is none other than to keep the user happy, so keep that in mind!

Through Google Analytics and other metrics and methods, Google can “measure” the user experience on web pages.

You shouldn’t create pages just to please the search engine robots because your site would probably end up in a worse position than it currently is.

Your site should be created naturally to satisfy the users and to offer relevant content, because if your users are happy, surely the search engines will certainly give you better positions.

With that in mind, you can improve your ranking, but you can also increase your conversion rate (the goal of every digital business).

► Periodicity and calendar

Publishing content frequently is vital for keeping your visitors engaged and coming back to check your blog or page. But it will also indicate to Google that your site is being updated regularly and not just from time to time.

In this sense, I am not telling you anything new, but what you may not have taken into consideration until now, and Google will not overlook is that the frequency and time of publication will also affect the ranking of your pages.

My recommendation would be to create a publishing schedule for 2018, which you should try to follow as best as possible. You need to plan out all the content titles you will publish in the year, but you should define how many articles per month you will write and follow the calendar. There is no point in posting 10 articles in the first month of the year and posting new content only several weeks later.

You should also set a time and day for posting new content. If you write an article per week, for instance, you could post new content every Monday, at 10 o’clock. You may think that is irrelevant, but it will help the bot in its crawling process. And if Googlebot becomes your “friend,” it will also increase the crawl frequency.

► Universal SEO

In previous articles on SEO trends, I talked about different sources of traffic that can help improve the ranking of a URL.

Well, the origin of the visitors is a relevant factor, but the type of content that is attracting more traffic should also be considered. For example, visits may have been generated from organic searches, images, videos, and other multimedia formats.

Therefore, Google is adapting to this new user behavior and will reward sites that generate optimized content in different formats.

We should not miss this opportunity to improve our results. The question is to get out of the comfort zone and start exploring other types of formats.

What are you waiting for to update your site to different formats?

This is a complex subject, but I hope these tips will help you.

Conclusions

In SEO, not everything is about organic search. In previous years we have seen how online businesses always give more importance to capturing social more importance to capturing visitors through social media.

But in 2018, strategies will need to be revised and updated if you want to continue getting satisfactory results.

Factors such as website structure or information architecture (IA), crawling and posting frequency are here to stay with us and other trends such as load speed optimization will be even more decisive in the coming year for improving the results of your SEO strategy.

Of course, we should never forget that link building still works and will always be vital as part of an effective marketing strategy. Don’t forget! Google bases its algorithm on external references, so no matter how much things change, external links will always be a determining factor for improving page rank.

With this article, my intention is not to delineate the only trends that we will possibly see in SEO during the coming 2018, but rather to contribute my own vision in this area according to what the experience in various Projects has taught me. So my question is:

How do you see the evolution of SEO strategies for 2018 according to your point of view? Is there anything where you disagree with me?

Could you share your opinion with us?

Translated by Micheli.

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