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Staying on top of the changing trends in search engine optimization (SEO) is a must if a website is going to be seen by targeted customers. In fact, using outdated techniques can result in penalties that drag down listings in the search engine results pages (SERPS) of Google.

BUILDING VALUABLE BACKLINKS

In 2018, building valuable backlinks will still a critical factor for ranking in the SERPS. This is one of the major ways that Google knows that a website can be trusted. Quality should be used over quantity when backlinks are created. It’s better to have one link from a highly trusted website than it is to have multiple links from directories. Another important factor to consider is backlinks that come from unassociated sites.

ACCELERATED MOBILE PAGES

Page loading time is a factor that Google takes into consideration when it’s algorithm ranks the pages of a website. Pages that load faster get higher marks. That’s why it’s not surprising that Google has introduced an open source project that helps load pages faster on mobile devices. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) supplies mobile browsers with the ability to load individual website pages 4 times faster than regular pages, and it uses 10 times less data to do so! However, while AMP is not a specific ranking signal, it will affect the bounce rate and session duration of users, and those metrics are utilized to rank sites in the SERPS. AMP can be utilized by installing its properties into JavaScript or HTML code. However, this won’t work on websites that use content management systems such as Drupal or WordPress. For those applications, a webmaster must rely on plugins. The main premise to get out of this is that speed is an important factor for Google and one of the important SEO trends to consider.

BUILDING BRAND AWARENESS

Strengthening the brand of a business is also one of the top SEO trends for 2018. When a brand is listed and recognized in the top SERPS, customers are more likely to purchase their products or services. A top brand is also more likely to collaborate with other organizations in their industry or niche. Social media sites are free and should be utilized to heighten the brand awareness of a business. While social media sites are not typically used in the decision-making of ranking, they do provide another avenue for traffic. Videos and images are more likely to get shared on social media sites and that helps potential consumers recognize a brand.

RANKING AS QUICK ANSWERS

One of the top SEO trends is optimizing a site to hopefully have the content get featured. This can be done by optimizing off-page as well as on-page content. Often, lists are highlighted in the Quick Answers section. By creating a list of solutions to answer a question, optimizing the page with valuable incoming links and making sure that the page is also optimized for mobile users, a webpage has a higher chance of appearing in this prime location on the SERPS.

AN INCREASE IN VOICE SEARCH

Leveraging voice search is another one of the top SEO trends that will be affecting search engine optimization in 2018. Many users are now speaking into their devices instead of taking the time to type out questions. It’s much faster, it’s more convenient, and it’s catching on fast! In fact, studies indicate that if the current growth of voice search sustains its pace at the same rate that in three years, close to 50 percent of the searches performed on the internet will be via speech or by clicking on images.

This rapid growth allows an SEO strategist to incorporate new keyword phrases into the content of a client’s website. Keyword strategies for on-page content should incorporate keyword phrases with more of a conversational tone. As an example, a keyword phrase such as “downtown Chicago restaurants” that’s strategically placed throughout a specific page on a website should also be accompanied by a phrase like “Where’s a good place to eat in downtown Chicago?”

MOBILE OPTIMIZATION

Smartphone use has skyrocketed in the past few years. This has increased the use of mobile search at the same rate. Traffic that used to flow to desktop computers is now starting to flow to mobile devices. In fact, since early 2015, mobile searches on Google’s SERPS have been higher than searches from desktop computers. This makes mobile optimization a top priority for search engine optimization 2018. Google already announced that they are experimenting with mobile-first indexing, which shows that it’s one of the most important SEO trends that they are serious about prioritizing. While Google still favors the desktop point of view for its search index, it’s probably a good time to start optimizing for mobile too.

If a website has not already been changed to look great on a mobile device, it’s time to start. Google is recommending that a site should have a responsive template or theme. Mobile friendly websites are able to be easily seen on mobile phones, tablets or desktops. E-commerce platform should also be updated so that products or services can be easily scrolled through.

By paying attention to these top SEO trends and implementing specific strategies, it will ensure that a website is fully optimized and ready to receive targeted customers.

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