Everything indicates that 2018 will bring trends and new ways of understanding web positioning that will change the way SEO is done.
2017 has not brought great algorithm updates that have affected SEO. The one, not SEO.med by Google, the algorithm ‘Fred’, has been the most talked about. 2016 was the year of Penguin 4.0, the ‘Penguin’ in real time. And 2015 the year that we will all remember by the popularly named ‘Mobileggedon’.
What will happen in 2018? Unfortunately only THE GUYS from Mountain View know this answer. Despite this, and due to how web positioning has evolved in recent times, it seems that 2018 will be the turn of changes that may have been anticipating for some time.
2018 may be the year in which Google uses HTTPs. That is, the most secure protocol thanks to SSL-based encryption as a positioning factor more determinant than it is today.
Since 2014 Google has been advertising the HTTPs as a positioning signal. Now, does it really help SEO? This question is asked by many users. Especially those who have their websites with HTTP protocol and have not yet migrated. Migrating to HTTPS has its risks, like any migration. Until there is a clear conclusion that it is beneficial, many websites prefer to wait.
Google is taking small steps that make us think about that possible movement in 2018. In 2014, in his blog, he already warned that HTTPs was a signal for the rankings. They also said that in the browsers would appear the label ‘It’s safe’, which happens. At the end of 2017, we are starting to, see how some sites that still have the HTTP version are marked as ‘Not safe’.
As with many other positioning factors, we never know what Google can dictate tomorrow, so in case of doubt, it is better to plan the migration to the most secure protocol as soon as possible.
2. Mobile First Index
Since October 2016, Google has been announcing that, when the time comes, the mobile index will replace the desktop index. What does this mean? Today, Google first takes into account the version of a web in Desktop and then checks if there is a mobile version of that page or that web in mobile version.
When the Mobile First Index is implemented, it will be the opposite. Google will focus on discovering and tracking pages in their mobile versions. Then check if there is a desktop version. Google has never said when this change will be effective. But 2018 could be the perfect environment.
Whether or not the year, any website must be ready for the day on which this happens. A company must give as much importance to the mobile as it does to the desktop when it comes to generating content, design, thinking about UX and conversion. Even in online stores, where most benefits come from the desktop.
How Google robots find your pages and how they navigate among them is already an important factor in SEO today. In 2018 it seems that it will continue to be so.
Optimizing the tracking budget to take advantage of the resources Google allocates to your website will be decisive. Show Google only those pages that you want to index and position and block access through robots.txt to those pages where you do not want the search engines to waste time analyzing them.
The discovery of pages by Google also happens through the role played by links. Both internal links and backlinks from other websites are crucial.
It depends on how and how much you use the internal links. It’s in your hands. As for the incoming links, you will have to refine the strategies much more. This way you will get quality links that allow Google to find your pages much better.
4. Fewer links, more quality
Google refines its algorithms over time. One of them, Penguin, is getting smarter. This allows you to know the origin, the type of link and if that link is more or less natural.
In 2018, Google will continue to focus its efforts on controlling link profiles and practices that are also refined by SEO experts.
Practices that until now are not penalized and have not generated many problems can be controlled or more monitored by Google. An example is the purchase of links in the media or the guest blogging.
Accelerated Mobile Pages technology has been with us for two years and it seems to grow during 2018. According to a study by Google and Forrester, more than 25 million domains have created more than 4,000 million AMP pages.
It is estimated that these pages take 0.5 seconds to load on average. According to this study by DoubleClick, 53% of the dropouts in mobile websites is due to the loading time is greater than 3 seconds.
In the beginning, AMP technology was designed for media and blogs. There are already many resources that have been created so that online stores can also create an accelerated mobile version.
According to Forrester, the AMP has meant an increase of 20% of conversions in online stores. So 2018 will be the year in which eCommerce begin to give more importance to this technology. In addition to having an impact on the conversion, it can affect mobile web positioning. This is because of the importance of WPO as an SEO factor.
6. Featured Snippets
It has been in the last months of 2017 when we have seen more news in the SERP of Google (Search Engine Results Page – first page of Google results) . Changes have been implemented to benefit the user, to show more information from the search engine itself. All without having to access the web that is offering it.
In addition to the featured snippets or rich snippets, we have seen how instant responses or recent meta descriptions have appeared (and dynamic).
During 2018 we will continue to see new implementations and tests. One that will become more popular and that will have to be attentive will be the rich fragments. Everyone wants to be in them and more if Google decides to show them more frequently in the searches of users.
These fragments also called ‘Position zero’, highlight one of the results of the first page of Google at the top of the page. In this way, if your normal position is the fifth, you can be above the first classified.
Google decides to put a page in position zero depending on the relevance of the content and the agreement with the user’s query. In addition, the content format influences, favoring the use of tables, numerical lists, bullets and short paragraphs.
In 2018 everyone will want to be in those featured snippets, the traffic and the CTR they generate will be the main reason.
7. Search by voice
With the passage of time, the use of voice searches becomes more common. In the Google Android app, 20% of queries are made through voice. It is a fact. The comfort and improvement of attendees such as Siri or Google Now, among others, make the user find more reasons to use voice search.
In fact, according to ComScore, it is expected that in 2020 this type of searches will reach 50% of the total. This makes the use of keywords and how to optimize SEO strategies change. Long tail keywords gain weight. The user does not skimp when dictating by voice.
The optimization of keywords in 2018 should be done thinking about this type of searches. We must bear in mind that they are grammatically constructed in a more complex way and with greater semantic richness. The user seeks to solve doubts and uses a lot of voice for searches with a local nuance (local SEO). In short, the use of long tail, think of search intentions and no longer in a keyword.
Although it may not seem like it, all the SEO novelties that you will have to be aware of in 2018 have a main axis: the user. He’s the boss, he’s the Google customer. Usability, speed and user experience (AMP and Mobile First Index).
Most useful and relevant results (search by voice and featured snippets ), more security (Https) and Google facilities to find relevant content that should be shown to the user (tracking and link quality).
We will know at the end of 2018 if the forecasts are fulfilled, meanwhile, we recommend that you pay attention to the blog for Google Webmasters and its updated search engine positioning guide.