SEO is an activity that never sits still. Working to reflect the changing nature of consumer habits as mobile technologies overtake our reliance on desktop, marketers are forced to stay up to date on all matters that affect digital visibility.
So looking to 2018 and beyond, what should you as a brand be aware of to ensure you are not left behind the rest of the competition?
Diminishing Importance of Link Mentions
We may have to throw out the SEO textbook that told you the importance of hyperlinks and backlinks to score credibility with the search engine machine and online community at large. Linkless mentions that are unbranded are become more of the norm as major corporations and titles are earning mentions without the need to link to them. Consider Google, Bing, Apple, Samsung and other SEO-related brands as a case in point.
Snippets and Panels
The rise of the Google snippet has begun to soak up much of the traffic online when individuals search for a name or service. Running through the traditional means of garnering that number one result is not as important today as it was in years previous. Throw in the added data that is thrown the users way from news items to profiles and social media accounts, all of a sudden it is the search engine results page (SERP) panels and snippets that should direct some of your attention away from the pure method of organic ranking.
When RankBrain became one of the most prevalent SEO technologies in 2015, it became clear that AI was here to stay. This is a computer-generated apparatus which automatically interprets user behaviour on the internet to sort and rank websites off their own accord.
Gone will be the days when digital marketers are analysing individual algorithm updates because these changes can be flipped in an instant. Attempting to predict or forecast how significant AI will be for optimisers is a challenge, but it is highly likely that its influence will expand in the years to come.
With Google and Amazon releasing different household applications that work as an extension of voice search technologies, businesses will soon be forced to adapt to this method of optimisation.
The search engines are already laying the groundwork with their algorithm changes switching brands away from exact-matching keywords to a more conversational tone, a switch that will mimic the rise in voice search technology.
Enterprises will need to ensure that they master the basics of their niche as smartphone users and virtual assistants become the norm, leaving the old desktop models to be phased out.