Sharpen Your Competitive Edge With 2018’s Hottest Professional SEO Trends

2018’s Hottest Professional SEO Trends

Perfecting your search engine marketing can give you a definite competitive edge. Don’t miss out on this year’s hottest professional SEO trends.

The beauty of professional SEO is it’s ever-changing. While there are always some basic rules for getting your website up there on the front pages of Google, 2018 has ushered in some pretty big updates.

Perfecting your search engine marketing can give you a definite competitive edge. Don’t miss out on this year’s hottest professional SEO trends.

Relevant Content

Content isn’t going away. What’s on your pages is ever more relevant to professional SEO in 2018 than ever. But, it needs to get better. Search engines are getting wise to the low-quality content spinners pumping out content like crazy.

Now, your content needs to be flawless. It needs to be free from error and provide value to the user. The more you engage with your audience, the more users will share your content, and in turn, improve your standing with Google. The point is, if you’re slacking on content, it’s time to shift your strategy to one that takes a quality-first approach.

Voice Search

Yeah, yeah. Voice search sounds like one of those ridiculous futuristic inventions, but it’s gaining a ton of traction. Think about all your various digital assistants; Siri, Alexa, Google Home.

According to Google, 55 percent of adolescents and 40 percent of adults use voice search on a daily basis, and that number is growing. What you need to know about voice search is, it follows different conventions. Searchers no longer type in “food near me open now.” Instead, searchers use conversational lingo–“what restaurants are open near me?”

Part of taking advantage of this new way will impact your content writing positively–you’ll need to answer questions more conversationally. So, with that in mind, let’s leave keyword stuffing in the past.

Keyword Research, Still Going Strong

One professional SEO trend that never goes out of style is keyword research. As they have in previous years, keywords help determine your visibility within your niche area. In 2018, you should be taking a good, hard look at your keyword strategy and make sure your targeted keywords are attracting your desired audience.

That said, knowing which best keywords best deliver the results you are looking for takes a bit of effort.

Still, the Google AdWords Keyword Planner remains a key tool in keyword research. All you need to get started is a valid Google account and start researching.

Pay Attention to RankBrain for Professional SEO

RankBrain is a part of Google’s core algorithm that has become increasingly important. The system uses machine learning to track user actions–how much time spent on the page, clicks, visits, etc–and uses that information to deliver more relevant results in response to search engine queries.

For example, if you Google “best chocolate cake recipes,” you’ll get a list of options. You might click on number three because it has a star rating next to it or a video. But, maybe it’s not a great article. If that’s the case, you’ll likely bounce quickly.

So, after number three was a bust, you try number four. It’s a great article–and you spend a good chunk of time reading the instructions, watching a video, etc. Google will take note of how you interacted with both options and use that data to inform future chocolate cake searches.

The point is, many pieces of content hit all the right keywords, but fail to adequately provide the right answers. In these cases, RankBrain weeds out those trying to game the system and focuses on markers of quality.

Don’t Forget About Image Optimization

The conversation is often dominated by keywords. As such, image optimization often gets left out of the mix, despite being a critical piece of the SEO puzzle. In 2018, more and more users are expecting and consuming visual information, and marketers need to take note.

Image optimization is really easy. All you need to do is modify the file name and alt tag, making sure they include your targeted keywords.
Changing the file name is uniform across platforms, but changing the ALT tag depends on what platform you are using.

If you’re using WordPress, you’ll need to modify the “alternative text” attribute in the image details. You can do this both in the media library or the post editor.

It’s Time to Take AI Seriously

Google’s AI profile extends well beyond RankBrain. The search giant has built an AI that makes AI better than humans currently can create on their own.

In professional SEO, we’re sure to see some challenges. See developers make AI programs, and the machine-learning algorithm takes things from there. As such, developers don’t have a great sense of how the final algorithm will work–and ramifications could affect SEO strategies down the road.

SERPS Ruling Professional SEO

It’s not all about organic traffic these days. In 2018, Google’s SERP features are making things a bit easier for marketers.

Increasingly, features like the featured snippets and knowledge panels are attracting users’ attention and loads of clicks. Local packs give you a listing of what’s nearby like restaurants or local services. Knowledge packs provide a graphic like a week’s weather forecast or a graph.

Get Your Local SEO in Order with LocalWeb

There’s no doubt that Google has changed over the past two decades. Far from the page of plain links of old, the search engine is changing with the times, adopting AI, and moving more toward content that helps people.

If you’re looking for help with the latest SEO strategies to boost your professional SEO, LocalWeb can help. Learn more about SEO strategy in Sydney by contacting us today.