2018 SEO Trend Predictions From 13 Industry Experts

Tricia Goss / seo, trends

2018 is right around the corner. With each new year comes fresh trends in all sorts of areas, including marketing.

Getting a jump on these changes can give your business a significant boost. One area that definitely deserves focus is SEO. According to a study by HubSpot, 57 percent of B2B marketers say that SEO beats all other marketing initiatives for lead generation.

57% of B2B marketers say SEO beats all other marketing initiatives for lead generation.Click To Tweet

Since we own neither a crystal ball nor a time machine that might allow us to discover what we will see in SEO during the coming months (darn it!), we opted to do the next best thing: ask the experts. Check out some of the most interesting, innovative and exciting predictions from several top SEO pros.

1. AMP

“There are many exciting SEO trends to watch for in 2018. As Google continues to roll out its mobile-first index results, Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP) will definitely become a ranking signal moving forward. Site speed is already a ranking signal, so it stands to reason that the accelerated mobile page project will carry more weight.”

Vincent DeCastro, CEO of SEO My Business 

2.Video SEO

“In 2018, look for more and more companies to accompany videos with their outreach campaigns. Videos now appear on over 70 percent of search results, and according to studies, 46 percent of consumers are more likely to purchase a product after watching a video. With social videos generating 1200 percent more shares than text and images combined, according to WordStream, look for video sharing to be a big SEO trend in 2018.”

Stuart Ridge, Chief Marketing Officer of VitaMedica

3. Simple, Sleek and Swift

“2018 in SEO is going to be all about efficiency, speed, and performance. With the continuing trend towards users viewing the web on mobile devices and Google’s growing insistence on fast websites for its search rankings, we’re going to have to see a focus on quick-loading websites.

“A lot of this will be done on the backend of websites – optimizations of code and of images in particular. But it will also manifest in the design of sites. Less flash and more functionality are going to be the way forward, with UIs that make it near impossible for users (who are now less internet proficient than ever) to get confused. Simple, sleek, and swift is the way to make the most of SEO in 2018.”

Jordan Harling, SEO Specialist at Roman Blinds Direct

4. The Rise of Influencers

“SEO has always focused on quality earned links, but as ‘influencers’ gain more control over how we search and shop, look for micro-influencers to drive more awareness to certain websites.

“SEO changes rapidly and it’s sometimes difficult for people to keep up with the pace. The more we examine the SEO environment, the easier it is to understand the macro-trends.”

Sam Olmsted, Search and Content Director at Online Optimism

5. Position 0

“During his opening keynote at State of Search 2017, Dr. Pete from Moz focused on a handful of potential threats to SEO, and none of those mentioned were scarier that the rise of content caching and curation, or how Google is taking your traffic away. Google is caching and curating the content that they want, and Google will always prefer its own sources as opposed to yours. This means, unfortunately, SEOs have to play into their game and provide as much structured data as possible to that Google can manipulate and display it to their users as it wants. This means it’s no longer a game of ranking in position one, below four ads. It’s about being the first result. Period.”

Mike Kaplan, Senior SEO Analyst at Workshop Digital

Related Reading: Position 0 (Featured Snippet) On Google: What Is It & How Do You Get There?

6. Local Search 

“In the local search space, the website will continue to be displaced by the Google My Business results as Google serves up the information people need about businesses directly on the result page. That’s why we’re including map result impressions and actions in our client dashboards; not all leads will even go to the website.”

Eagan Heath, SEO, Google AdWords & Website Analytics Expert at Get Found Madison

7. Voice Search

“Voice search makes natural language optimization more important than ever. Marketers need to work with keywords specific for the personal assistant searches and organize content in a way most optimal for the featured snippet extraction (lists, definitive paragraphs, headers containing questions etc.).”

Natasha Kvitka, Digital Marketing Strategist at Gift Baskets Overseas 

8. Keyword Arbitration

“Keyword Arbitration is going to be the next big thing for websites with over 10 pages.

“Keyword arbitration is the act of crawling a site, composing a spreadsheet full of page titles, meta descriptions, H1s, H2s, and other important pieces of data- and then seeing how keywords are distributed and mapped towards different pages.

“This is one of the most powerful SEO techniques and very few professionals actually know about it. It not only enables better keyword targeting but better search intent matching, content gap analyzing and overall brand and marketing strategy analyzing.

“My guess is that in 2018, a long-form article is going to be published showing the benefits of this technique, and it’s going to hit mainstream SEOs. People previously not in the know are going to learn the ins-and-outs of Screaming Frog and using sitemaps to find important pages, and are going to begin putting together massive spreadsheets for their websites.

“This obscure technique, I believe, is about to become widely adopted.”

Edward Sturm, SEO and owner of Sturm Media LLC

9. Pipeline Tracking

“I haven’t spent too much time thinking in terms of trends but I think there is going to be a big move toward attribution modeling and pipeline tracking.  That’s what I am very focused on and that is something I’ve had a lot of discussions about with clients.”
Craig Hall, Founder of Marketing Wiz

10. Rich Snippets

“The two SEO trends which I feel are going to be the biggest hit in 2018 are the use of rich snippets and focus on topics instead of keywords. Schema markup has been around for quite a while though webmasters have recently started to realize the importance of emphasizing on rich snippets. If properly optimized they offer the opportunity to rank above all the search results and score maximum clicks from an organic search.

“The other trend for 2018 is the focus on topics instead of keywords. Gone are the days when we could simply choose a keyword, write an article and hope to rank for it. Except for big players with high authority, everybody needs to cover a topic in detail to rank for it. This means we need to consider keywords as topics and write a series of articles covering all the aspects of it.”

Yogesh Jain, Founder of ConceptAllies

11. Product Info

“Here at Toolots, our focus is B2B SEO optimization and advertising. A trend we are getting more into is video content, not for virality, but rather for product information placement in search. We have hired a film crew to create videos about our industrial manufacturing equipment features, uses, applications, and shown in operation. As our target is B2B, there are trends that have been prevalent in B2C, which are slower to make it over to B2B. For example, a higher percentage of our search activity still happens on desktop compared to the mobile dominance seen in most consumer verticals.”

David Alpern, Marketing & Traffic Acquisition at Toolots

12. Quick Answers

“Google is placing more importance on websites which answer users’ search queries directly. Skyscraper-type content continues to rank highly but these type of ‘quick answer’ type articles will start to rank higher. If you look at medical queries like how to cure flu, you will see an answer box on the right. These are answers that get straight to the point.”

Stan Tan, Digital Marketing Manager at Selby’s

13. Engagement Metrics

“Good engagement metrics will keep you in the top 10 search results.

“Machine learning has become increasingly important for search engines. RankBrain is the machine learning portion of Google’s search algorithm and it is getting better at determining whether a search result is truly valuable for a particular query. While those in the SEO industry can only speculate as to how RankBrain actually works, one theory put forward by Larry Kim, creator of Wordstream, is that it is determining the value of search results by factoring in engagement metrics like dwell time and click-through-rate (CTR).

“Dwell time indicates whether a search listing is valuable because if a visitor is spending a longer time browsing a page, it is likely that the visitor is finding the content useful, informative, or intriguing. In order to stay in the top ten search results, try to make your content extensive, highly informative, and as engaging as possible so that users will stay on your page longer than other search listings. CTR is another engagement metric that RankBrain may be using to order its search results. If a search listing has a crazily high CTR, it indicates that users think it is a good match for the query and, thus, it will rise in ranking for the query.

“Power words are emotional words and phrases that grab people’s attention. Including power words in your site’s title tags is one way to improve CTR. Some common power words include ‘shocking,’ ‘secret,’ ‘proven,’ ‘free,’ ‘premium,’ ‘mind-blowing’ and ‘dramatically.’

Jim Milan, SEO Consultant

Bonus Prediction: Providing Context With Schema Markup

“Something that I feel is going to start getting a lot more attention from SEOs this year (and beyond) is Schema markup. As webmasters continue to improve the microdata offered by their sites, we’ll start to see a lot of changes to SERPs across the board. Providing the proper context for your content will make search algorithms’ jobs easier, and pave the way for expanded use of things like Rich Snippets.

“While there may not be a direct correlation to rankings and using the right markup, providing that ‘layup’ to search engines will undoubtedly help with metrics like CTR. As more and more sites begin using this to their advantage, it will become a much higher priority for SEOs over time. It will also be exciting to see how the market for tools that make it easier (for the less-technical) to implement will expand!”

Daniel Wesley, Founder of CreditLoan.com

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