Anyone who’s been posting content online for a while knows the ropes when it comes to SEO. However, with big changes on the horizon for Google and other browsers in 2018, companies relying on SEO use to boost sales and page views may be in for a rude awakening. Due to Facebook’s recent algorithm updates back in January, larger companies like Google have followed suit by resolving to put an end to fake news farming and link building as a way to increase traffic. But for businesses that are just trying to get the word out, how will the changes affect writing, posting, and sharing? If you’re working for a richmond seo company and want to get ahead of the SEO changes coming later in the year, here are a few things you should be on the lookout for.
Voice Searches on the Increase
Whether it’s through Siri, Alexa, or Google Home, more and more consumers are turning to their gadgets to ask questions, make requests, and pull up information online. Research from last year already shows the growing trend: One out of every five Google searches is relayed via a digital assistant. While this might not seem like a huge change in terms of search optimization tools, voice searches tend to use different language than your average, hastily-typed keyword search. In order to make the voice search function on iPhones and home devices easier and more comprehensive, the algorithm for online searching will feature a lot more integrated ads as well as respond well to longer, more complicated conversational phrases. Get ready to beef up those keywords and search terms: Voice searching is the future.
Lower Value on Link Building
In the past, using outlinks and inlinks to drive more traffic to a site was a helpful, if laborious, process to easily trick search engines into pulling up your content faster, along with other relevant links using similar keywords. In recent years, however, the preponderance of link-building websites that have used this tactic to try and game the system has given Google and Facebook a bad name. As companies try to repair this problem, they’ve started to look to more organic keyword mentions and links to favor over articles that are almost completely made up of hyperlinked text. In other words, the algorithm is getting smarter, and we have to follow suit.
AI Will Take Over the Search Function
In the same way that voice searches will make digital assistants even more crucial to the way we access information online, artificial intelligence systems, such as Google’s RankBrain and Bing’s AI-enabled Reddit partnership, will serve as key intermediaries between search criteria and results. More than 15 percent of all Google queries are fielded by RankBrain at the moment, with an increase in that number looking inevitable through the rest of the year. As AI starts to serve a more integral function for web searches and voice searches, we can expect search algorithms to start behaving in more sophisticated ways to produce results. The good news is, AI development usually takes a while to perfect, so there’s plenty of time before we have to deal with the direct repercussions.
Linkless Keywords for Higher Rankings
In the same way that link building has become a problem for Google’s reputation, choosing keywords and links to work together for search optimization is something that both social media sites and search engines want to start handing out demerits for. Instead of prioritizing linked brand mentions in searches, Google and Bing will start prioritizing unlinked brand mentions, using these hidden keywords to help boost a site’s ranking. Basically, what linked mentions used to do is what unlinked mentions will start doing: Pulling up search results quicker and increasing visibility. While this might seem easy enough to work around, it will also come with an algorithm change that will help smaller businesses or below-the-radar websites to pull quicker in a search. Along with steering away from linked content, this is an attempt on Google and Facebook’s part to try and better democratize what people are seeing on the page.
Mobile Leads the Way
Presently, most web searches, article reading, and social media posting takes place on mobile. Most websites have been working to create mobile-optimized sites and separate apps to create a smoother experience for iPhone and Android searches and connectivity. It should come as no surprise, then, that search engines are going to start prioritizing mobile search results over desktop results. That means that whatever shows up on mobile goes, making phone-related searches the better bet for easily-sourced content.