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What’s happening with SEO in 2018?

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Alpha Digital
Our values are at the core of our business and drive us every day. We love working with clients and partners with similar philosophies!

At our Christmas party, Head of SEO and CRO, Chris Schimkat, told us what to expect to happen with SEO in 2018. Chris explains the four big changes that will be prevalent in 2018, and how clients can take advantage of these to increase site traffic, engagement, and conversions.  

1. VOICE SEARCH

As the number of in-home devices (such as Google Home and Amazon Echo) and digital assistants on mobile phones (such as Apple’s Siri and Samsung’s Bixby) increases, we are seeing a huge increase in the number of searches that are made with voice. This technology is becoming more and more advanced, and can understand almost anything you search for. By 2020, it is expected that 50% of all searches will be made using voice search, so it’s critical that we work out how we can capitalise on this.

The good news is that for clients doing SEO with us, we’re already helping to optimize for voice search by correctly marking up pages and targeting longer-tail keywords. Because it’s so easy to voice search, people aren’t searching for “BYO Thai Restaurant”, they’re searching for “Which Thai restaurants in Brisbane have BYO and good reviews?”

2. GOOGLE MY BUSINESS REPORTING

Google My Business listings are how Google displays business’ information in the SERPs and in the map pack. Up until now, most of the data around these listings has been kept in Google’s black book. Now, thanks to early access from Google, we can report on how people interact with these listings (clicking for directions, website clicks, phone number clicks) and bridge the (now, more than ever) important gap between online and offline. We’ll be rolling this out in early 2018, so keep an eye out.

3. MOBILE-FIRST INDEX

As of 2017, more people are searching on mobile than on desktop. Because of this Google is rolling out what it calls the mobile-first index in early 2018. In the past, if a site performed well on desktop searches, then the rankings for the mobile version could also go okay. It won’t work like that in 2018. If a website isn’t just good, but great on mobile, expect this update to have impact in a big, negative way.

What we’ve seen before

This is the kind of stuff we’ve seen in the past with mobile-related algorithm updates. The above image is the 2015 “Mobilegeddon” update, so we can all agree that it’s better to be the blue line. This could be the single-most important update for SEO in 2018.

5. OPTIMISATION FOR AMAZON

A new search engine has just landed in Australia. In the US, more than thrice as many people use this search engine to find products than on Google.

You may not think of it as a search engine, but Amazon has just launched and it is going to be a big disruptor. If Amazon’s past launches into new regions are anything to go off, it’s going to make waves.

From an SEO perspective, this is just another search engine that has its own set of ranking factors. Fortunately, Amazon’s search algorithm is nowhere near as mysterious or advanced as Google’s, which means that we have a very clear idea of how to optimize products to get more clicks on Amazon:

  1. Match products to what people are searching for
  2. Optimize products for keywords and conversions
  3. Measure, report, improve.