Today we are going over 5 SEO trends in 2018, that if implemented
correctly can help create the quality web traffic & profits your company is looking for.
AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages are a “slimmed down” form of HTML which allows for almost instantaneous load times for web pages viewed on mobile or tablet devices. Adoption of this technology was initially slow going as only a few websites such as recipes.com implemented this form of coding. However, as Google and other search engines began placing increased emphasis on having a fast and mobile-friendly website, AMP started to become more common in mobile search as it drastically enhances the mobile experience. Now, internet behemoths such as eBay and Fandango have implemented AMP pages on their sites and are seeing ranking increases and improvements with conversions as well. This SEO trend really started in 2016 but started becoming more prevalent in 2017; it’s clear that 2018 will be no different.
So Why Does AMP Matter?
More people are searching for services on their mobile devices, specifically with their smart phones. In fact, more searches are conducted on mobile devices than desktops and this change in consumer behavior happened over two years ago! Additionally, the rise of “near me” search terminology and improvement in geolocation services helped to improve a user’s ability to search for services on mobile devices. This gives marketers and businesses the opportunity to better capture consumers during “micro-moments.”
For reference, a micro-moment is when people turn to a device, more often than not a cell phone, to get information, learn, research and/or buy something. For many, a micro-moment can be as simple as trying to find out the name of the actor in that one movie or looking to see what movies are playing at a local theater. However, these micro-moments also apply to more pressing issues like needing to find plumbing services at 1:30 AM or finding a dentist to fix a chipped tooth. Being present for these micro-moments, specifically from a service perspective, is becoming even more critical for both small and multinational corporations. Positioning your company to better capture micro-moments means you’re putting your business in front of consumers who are on their path to purchase. A fast and user-friendly mobile website is the first and best way to ensure that a customer doesn’t leave your site to shop elsewhere. As of now, a great way to make your website fast and friendly for mobile users is to implement AMP pages for your mobile site. If you don’t do it soon, your competition will!
Having a safe and secure website is obviously of critical importance. The old HTTP URLs everyone is familiar with were found to have security flaws which makes information and websites vulnerable to hackers. Thankfully, HTTPS URLs exist which eliminate the security issues found on standard HTTP designations. As such, people have started moving their sites over to HTTPS URLs but there are still thousands of sites that are still using HTTP. This flaw was discovered in 2016 and began gaining more visibility and traction in 2017. Just like the AMP trend, the shift to HTTPS in 2018 will be no different.
So Why Does HTTPS Matter?
Having an HTTPS website helps with rankings. Google has confirmed that HTTPS will give some sites a boost in rankings, therefore, having an HTTPS website is important even though it hasn’t been of the utmost importance for sites that don’t collect consumer data. This may very well change in the next upcoming months.
A new implementation to Chrome may force many to move over to HTTPS sooner than anticipated. A new feature will be added to Chrome in the next few months that will display websites with HTTP as not-secure and in bright red. Chrome is the world’s most popular internet browser and is the go-to browser for over 44% of internet users. If 44% of all internet users visit a website with a big red “not secure” warning next to the URL, one can only assume those users are going to leave that site and use a secure site.
Information on this implementation is still coming to light and a lot can happen in the next few months but if you haven’t done so already, now might be the time to finally get that HTTPS website setup and canonicalize your URLS to ensure the HTTPS site is the site that Google and other search engines display to their users. Otherwise, consumers might end up thinking your site is unsafe, which could put your online success at risk.
Over the past two years, voice search technology has drastically improved. As a result, more people are relying on voice to search for services online. Examples of voice search can be seen by using SIRI on an iPhone and OK Google on android mobile devices as well as voice search products like Google Home and the Amazon Echo, which are growing in popularity. While this may seem unimportant to many business owners, the opposite is true when you consider the rise of “near me” searches and micro-moment capturing, which was mentioned earlier. Plus, the fact that Google has entered the “Smart speaker” industry with Google Home, which will have full access to Google’s search engine, adds more evidence that voice is going to be a growing consumer behavior throughout 2018.
Why Does Voice Search Matter?
Ensuring your site is optimized to capture mobile search, some of which is coming from voice, is becoming critical for online success. The more voice-friendly your site, the more likely you are to capture consumers looking to make an immediate purchase. Optimizing pages for “near me” searches (used often with voice searches) and making certain your business listings are accurate (which affects your rankings and map pack position) is more important than even and will continue to be as consumers rely on voice search and as voice search technology continues to improve.
Just a few years ago, voice search was pretty poor in terms of accuracy but Apple and Google have made great strides in eliminating the majority of errors users were experiencing during this technology’s infancy. Today, you’d be hard-pressed to meet someone who doesn’t use the voice search functionality on their mobile devices. To further that, products that rely on voice such as Amazon Echo and Google Home are changing consumer behavior and will continue to play a critical role in how voice search is processed by search engines.
Position 0 Ranking Spot
When most people talk about ranking in search engines they’re usually talking about ranking in the first position under the PPC ads and map listings. This is a good strategy as the majority of people using a search engine tend to click the top result. So what if you could rank above the first organic listing in Google? That question might sound a little weird but technically you can do this and if you do rank in this position, expect to see a lot more traffic coming to your site.
Ranking above position 1 is called position 0. Typically position 0 rankings appear in SERPs when a question is asked and your website has content that answers the question in an accurate and concise manner. Questions like “why should I replace my AC air filter” or “what is a toxic tort” are some examples of questions that could trigger a position 0 box to display in SERPs.
Why Does Position 0 Ranking Matter?
Position 0 rankings are a great way to show up above your competition. Unlike a website, a position 0 ranking is not dependent on who is ranking on page 1. A site with content on page 44 of Google could potentially display in a position 0 ranking; it all depends on the content and quality of that content.
This plays into something Google has opined about for years – have quality content. Ensuring your content is useful to a site’s visitor not only helps your site rank well in search results pages but it also gives you the ability to rank even higher. Think of position 0 as a reward for having great content and the reward is more clicks, more qualified traffic, and higher conversion rates. As such, ensuring your content is the best content in your space is even more important now compared to just last year. Doubling down on that, ensuring your content is engaging, useful to users, and unique is more critical than ever.
Formatting pages and content on your website for Q&A type queries in search engines will also become more important so long as position 0 is around. Questions like “When to change your air filter?” with an answer in your website content will only help position sites to better capture potential position 0 rankings. Keep in mind, position 0 is not the end all be all of content strategy, optimization, or something that will save a failing site but it is a great way for a smaller business to outcompete its larger competitors. Remember, position 0 is not reliant on who ranks in what position but rather what content is the most relevant to the search query.
Over the past few years, Google has been unofficially moving away from organic search. This isn’t to imply that organic search is dead and doesn’t remain a critical aspect of one’s ability to perform well online – organic search will always play an important role. It does imply, however, that Google is doing its best to ensure the people who benefit most (businesses) from search have to pay for their traffic. This can be seen in recent updates Google has implemented.
With PPC ads taking up more SERP space, map packs, and carousels, Google is burying organic results further down the page. For example, if you do a search for personal injury anywhere USA, you’ll most likely see four PPC ads and a map pack. In previous years, there were only two PPC ads and those two adds only took up two lines of text and were displayed without a map below them. Now those ads take up four lines of text and if you have schema markup on your site, they could take up even more.
This means most organic listings are not only below the fold but are more accurately ranking in position 7 or 8….and that’s if you’re ranking in a top spot.
Why PPC Matters For SEO?
PPC is affecting SEO because it’s causing many businesses to change their online tactics and spending habits. With more ads that take up more space, PPC will continue to become more critical in the upcoming years, especially since many consumers do not differentiate between PPC ads and organic listings. The recent PPC changes will prompt business owners to invest more money in their PPC spending as these ads are clearly favored by Google and will likely continue to receive favorable treatment since it’s Google’s big money maker.
As well, the push away from prominently displaying organic listings in Google’s search engine result pages will cause businesses to take greater care with NAP (name, address, and phone number) Consistency. As was mentioned, right under the PPC ads is a giant map. The map being placed there is not an accident. Google is serving it above organic listings for a reason and my assumption is that reason is to get you to click on that map, see the two additional PPC ads in the map page, and find a service closest to you based on the map data generated and maintained by Google.
If you haven’t already, consider looking into investing in a PPC campaign. Search Engine Marketing definitely generates qualified traffic (if executed properly) and can drive a nice ROI for most businesses. From our experience, having an SEO Strategy and a Search Engine Marketing Strategy will ensure the best overall website traffic and desired conversions.
How can this affect quality web traffic and greater profits for you and your business?
- 4 times faster load speeds, meaning an increased chance a potential customer will choose not to bounce when visiting from a mobile device.
- Officially confirmed rank boost from Google, meaning AMPs will automatically increase your website visibility.
- AMPs are a necessary stepping stone. With great content and a call to action for sign-ups, phone calls, and other track worthy conversions, your company can place real value to quantify ROI.
- Increased traffic
- Increased trust and visibility of your website on search engines
HTTPS is a confirmed rankings booster, meaning automatically increased visibility for your site when implemented correctly. This can turn into greater traffic, generating more leads for your business.
- Increase traffic
- Increased conversion rates
Catching voice search micro-moments will increase search volume in a space which is becoming more and more popular every year. Ranking for voice searches will not only get you potential leads but many times voice customers are ready to make a purchase, increasing your chance of a sale when they reach out.
Position 0 Ranking Spot
- Increased traffic
- Increased conversion rates
Positioning content for a 0 ranking spot will automatically bring in an influx of quality leads for your company. If you have your on-site content positioned correctly, there is a high chance that many of your position 0 visits will show interest in your services or products you or your company offers.
If you try to only rank organically and are unwilling to spend any money to rank on Google, this may be a mistake. With the shift going slightly towards paid based results, you may want to think about putting some money into a digital campaign along with your SEO strategy. Searchengineland.com did a study in 2016 and the results speak for themselves. Combining SEO and PPC campaigns correctly can give your company fascinating results as shown below.
- 30-percent increase in organic traffic
- 25-percent increase in paid clicks
- 35-percent savings in ad spend
- 20-percent increase in quarterly profits
Bell Media – A Digital Marketing Agency
Falling behind on the latest trends in SEO? You may be missing out on a large new business opportunities for your company.
Contact Bell Media today for more info on SEO and other digital media services.