• SEO predictions

48 Experts Share Their Top SEO Predictions for 2018 [Expert Roundup]

The SEO landscape is constantly evolving, and marketers have to adapt to this evolution. Major Google updates have rendered manipulative SEO practices somewhat obsolete.

But there is still a lot that marketers have to do to ensure that their websites are highly visible in relevant searches. This makes it crucial that you keep yourself updated on the latest changes and the future predictions in regards to SEO.

And what better way to get your predictions and advice than from the top experts in search engine optimization. Here are 48 SEO experts, and their predictions for SEO in 2018:

#1. Barry Schwartz – RustyBrick

Barry SchwartzGrowth in voice search, expansion on importance of mobile, and of course AI advancements.

 

 

 

#2. Bill Slawski – Go Fish Digital

Bill SlawskiWe are going to see more “knowledge-based trust” and the Google knowledge vault returning from Google, and the Semantic Web is going to make featured snippets and structured snippets more compelling and interesting to people doing marketing on the Web.

People are going to be advertising in knowledge graphs, where entities+actions are going to be the focus of their campaigns. “I am an entity,” is going to be a goal for many more on the Web, because it will matter even more.

#3. A.J. Ghergich – Ghergich & Co.

My main prediction for 2018 is that traditional SEO real estate, like ranking 1-10, will continue to shrink. Increasingly, you will be fighting for Featured Snippets and Featured Videos. If you do not put a strategy in place to rank for featured snippets, you are going to be at a big disadvantage.

 

 

#4. Andy Crestodina – Orbit Media Studios

Andy CrestodinaLess search traffic for everyone in 2018! That’s my prediction, or at least for most websites. Featured snippets, answer boxes and other SERP features are at a tipping point. Visitors now expect to see the answer right there in the search results. So we should expect that clickthrough rates will decline in general.

It won’t be as bad as the drop in organic reach and CTRs from Facebook over the last few years, but it will be similar. Expect headwinds on top line, traffic metrics.

#5. Eric Enge – Stone Temple Consulting

1. We’ll see mobile-first roll out slowly as Google figures out how to deal with some many people having completely messed up mobile web sites (I know one huge brand that has only 3 pages on their mobile site). In spite of Google’s efforts, many sites will take huge hits to their SEO because they’re asleep at the switch.

2. Featured snippets will continue to grow in importance as Google gets more comfortable with them and starts to show some on many more much higher search volume results then they do today.

3. AMP will continue to develop, and get easier to implement, and as a result it will become more mainstream.

4. Smart speakers will start to become a major category people are concerned with, as their market share grows. More companies will build Alexa Skills and Actions on Google as a result.

5. Schema and Structured Markup will grow in importance as Google does more to incent people to use it.

6. Personal assistants like Google Assistant will start to be fully device independent, and you will be able to access it from many different Internet connected devices.

#6. Maria Johnsen – MariaJohnsen.com

Maria JohnsenSEO companies will rely on marketing mix (inbound and outbound marketing), video marketing and paid social media advertising to get maximum exposure. Search engines such as Google, Baidu, yandex have already implemented artificial intelligence in their search systems.

Thanks to AI, websites get better online exposure for their content. So I believe many companies rely on content marketing and pay less for paid links campaigns. Single Keyword ranking become less effective in 2018, but long tail key phrases become trend. I hope search engine algorithms will be modified so that negative SEO loses its effectiveness.

#7. Shane Barker – ShaneBarker.com

Shane BarkerThe increasing use of voice search will compel marketers to change or optimize their SEO strategy for voice.

KPCB found that between 2008 and 2016, the use of queries that are popularly used in voice commands has increased by 35 times. Plus, word accuracy rate on voice search platforms is improving rapidly with major platforms getting more than 90% accuracy. And voice searches made up one out of every five searches conducted by Americans on their mobile apps during 2016.

These numbers suggest that internet users are starting to use voice search more frequently. Why? Because it’s convenient, and because the technology has improved significantly. If the trend continues, we should expect to see even more voice searches conducted in 2018. So marketers need to prepare for this, and optimize their websites for voice search queries relevant to each page.

#8. John Lincoln – Ignite Visibility

John LincolnIn 2018, it’s all about heat maps, content analytics, user metrics, in page analytics and really, really understanding how to maximize the quality of content on the site. The customer journey is more important than ever. They don’t just start on Google anymore, there are probably 10 to 30 touch points for each business.

Really good digital marketers and SEOs understand the entire journey, the best converting verticals, how to maximize those to drive sales and how SEO relates to the big picture. SEO will still be important next year.

This year, our organic traffic was up over 400% and next year I expect it to grow much more. The reason why, we know every persona, customer segment, the content they want, how to promote it and how to work on it so it performs better overtime. Old SEO is dead, welcome to the new wave. It’s 100 times better and more exciting.

#9. Marcus Sheridan – The Sales Lion

Marcus SheridanMore and more companies are going to start to finally realize the value of video from an SEO standpoint – from using YouTube itself to get more web traffic and exposure to integrating better embedded videos on websites so as to increase dwell time – video is now a major facet of any SEO effort.

 

 

#10. Aaron Wall – Seo Book

Aaron wallPublishers will begin pulling out of Google AMP, Facebook Instant Articles & shift to monetizing via subscription revenues. As these publishers shift away from reliance on the abusive monopoly platforms they will start to publish content which is quite blunt in describing how abusive said monopolies are.

What was once seen as fringe blackhat SEO sour lemons will be largely seen as consensus view among the business side of the broader publishing industry just a few years later.

Gaps in the the search results and shares of paid content that is inaccessible on social networks will cause many people to opt out of using the broad horizontal services and begin spending more time in deeper vertical services.

Seo Marketing Consultant

#11. Aleh Barysevich – SEO PowerSuite

Aleh BarysevichI expect user experience in the SEO context to get even more attention in 2018. Google’s always said that what they strive is providing the search results people want, i.e. the results that users click and dwell on. Focus on your SERP click rates and the amount of time that a visitor spends on a page, and you’ll improve your rankings, traffic and conversions.

I think we will continue to see the increased emphasis on quality user experience due to the coming launch of Google’s mobile-first index in early to mid 2018, the expanded use of voice assistants, and search results getting even more personalized.

With mobile-first index in mind, site owners should make their sites fast, responsive, and make sure the content is very specific and matches what you want from a user. When thinking about the voice search users, it’s worth re-examining your keywords to make them more conversational.

Personalization-wise, it will become even more important to amplify your content marketing efforts and social media presence to win placements in the personalized SERPs.

#12. Ian Lurie – Portent

Ian LurieThe most obvious is mobile first: Google will slowly switch to the mobile first index. I don’t think it will happen all at once.

I also think Google will increasingly act as a publisher: You’ll be able to find more and more content without leaving Google search results.

Finally, look for more and more trash content. We can talk about quality content all we want, but as long as people think quantity trumps quality, they’ll pile on the crap.

#13. Patrick Langridge – Screaming Frog

Patrick LangridgeFrom what we’re seeing with Google quality updates and the kinds of websites they are affecting, I think there will be a bigger shift to focusing on UX in 2018. I think that links will always matter to an extent, but Google now needs them less, to understand the quality and relevancy of a website. If users fundamentally don’t ‘like’ your website, you will struggle to rank and acquire organic traffic in 2018 and beyond.

I also predict a shift towards voice search optimisation in 2018. Voice search usage is increasing, and crucially, technology is improving to help voice search become a more realistic option for users. Speech accuracy has improved to a high enough level that digital assistants are able to understand precisely what users are looking for, to give them better and more relevant results.

For this reason, voice search is also a more personalised experience – solving users needs rather than giving them results.

#14. Dave Schneider – Ninja Outreach

Dave SchneiderAs we’ve seen from Google’s algorithm updates, they are aggressively chasing down the openings that SEOs have been exploiting at the expense of valuable content.

Take Google Fred for example, which devalues websites who have more ads and monetization baked into their content than actual value for the user.

We can never be too sure exactly what Google’s next update would tackle, but Google’s ultimate goal is always the same: to make the user happy. As long as you complement your SEO strategy with user value, your site should be mostly safe. Slow but steady should do it.

#15. Phil Rozek – Local Visibility System

Phil RozekThe fundamentals won’t change one pinch, but Google through its diktats will continue to sway the choices website owners make, which in turn dictate what their SEOs work on.

Under the assumption that having SSL certificates or AMPs will help, or that featured snippets are worth chasing, or that “voice is the future,” or that Google’s most-recent update changes everything, site owners will put their SEOs on a fresh batch of problems.

The SEOs’ experience in working on those problems will put butts in chairs at conferences, and fuel some colorful commentary on Gary Illyes and John Mueller.

Meanwhile, most people’s clients won’t have a strategy to earn even a trickle of links that take a little work, nor will they have one crackerjack writer on-staff.

#16. Kevin Cotch – TopRank Marketing

Kevin CotchMy first SEO prediction for 2018 is that there will be an increase in content pruning for SEO. What I mean about content pruning is the removal or republishing of historic content that might not be relevant anymore. A lot of content can be removed or updated to increase the overall SEO performance of a website. More websites will need to audit all content assets to make sure each page is relevant for their audience(s).

My second SEO prediction is the growing importance of optimizing content for other websites outside of Google and Bing. Many companies will begin to shift more focus on third-party websites to optimize the content assets to increase more visibility for the brand. It will be important to understand what other channels a company’s audience is on rather than just replying on search engines.

My last SEO prediction is that there will be more focus on the micro-moments to show value to companies. SEO practitioners need to do a better job of showing the value to companies beyond sessions, bounce rate, and other vanity metrics. SEO practitioners will be challenged more by other smart marketers to prove the value of SEO campaigns. To do so, SEO practitioners need to track more mirco-conversions which are tied back to monetary value.

#17. Chris Makara – Bulkly

Chris MakaraJust a few predictions… as I think the tried and true approaches will still be the ones worth pursuing.

1. Links will still matter – No matter what anyone says links will still be at the core of a solid SEO strategy. Of course not just links from anyone. But real, related, and legitimate links.

2. Voice search – With the increase adoption of voice search, a SEO strategy should look at a more conversational and natural phrasing of search commands. Instead at looking at broad and generic (non-targeted) phrases, you should focus on phrases that makes sense when spoken.

3. Bigger role for UX in SEO – It’s no secret that dwell time plays a key piece in your rankings. Therefore, the UX of your site will be imperative to help keep users actively engaged with your site and content.

#18. Julie Joyce – Link Fish Media

Julie JoyceI think everyone is expecting that mobile optimization is going to be critical from now on, but I think that when there’s one big “thing” that’s happening, we tend to ignore some of the basics.

In my area, which is link building, I think that we’ll need to spend extra time making sure that our links work well on mobile versions of the sites that we approach. I don’t want to get a great link on a site and then check for it on a tablet and find that it’s inaccessible for whatever reason. For 2018, my main focus is going to be on just that.

#19. Andrew Shotland – Local SEO Guide

Andrew ShotlandAs Retailers get squeezed by Google shopping ads and Amazon, they will need to increase their investment in alternative organic channels such as Google My Business, and Google will keep adding bells and whistles to GMB to make it both easier and more complicated for them to do so.

Buyers of “kitchen sink” SEO tools will start gravitating to specialized point solutions like www.seoradar.com and www.locadium.com to tackle very specific tasks without having to buy the whole cow.

This post will continue to dominate the SERPs for “Alan Bleiweiss” because it’s good for users.

Participants in expert roundups will come to be known as “SEO Supremacists” sparking a massive Twitter war between @randfish, @methode, and the followers of @BadSEOAdvice.

website traffic ebook

#20. Chris Granwehr – Instapage

Chris GranwehrMy SEO predictions for 2018 are:

Greater emphasis on Google AdWords AMP landing page performance

Mobile search ads that get served fast AMP landing pages almost always lead to higher conversions and lower bounce rates, especially compared to non-AMP pages.

Google will also increase their AdWords technical support capabilities for AMP advertisers so they can quickly troubleshoot issues and further increase their ROI.

Mobile landing page speed in AdWords will likely have a greater impact on the landing page experience and quality score metrics as we move forward in 2018.

Mobile-first index to shake up the SERPs

Google will use the mobile version of web pages (non-desktop versions) as their primary search index for the SERPs. It is crucial to have fast, mobile-friendly pages that provide a great UX. Additional SEO boosts will go to the sites who implement AMP faster than their respective competition.

Exponential increase in mobile voice searches

As smartphone adoption increases around the world, so will mobile voice searches as it is becoming more convenient to get quick answers via voice search than traditional type-searches.

CTR data increasing in importance for Google’s algorithm

As Google moves more toward grading UX as a critical ranking factor, it makes sense that CTR behavior/data will play a more important role in SEO going forward. If many visitors are hitting the back button quickly after landing on your search result, it is bound to eventually have a negative impact on that page’s rankings, as it’s clearly not providing a great UX.

Optimizing for Google Answers box (position 0 rankings)

As more search queries in Google return the Answer Box, it will be more important than ever to invest in updating the content and structured data of that content to appear in the coveted position 0 (above the regular 1st organic search result link).

#21. Kevin Gibbons – BlueGlass

Kevin GibbonsIn SEO you always have to look ahead at what’s coming next, otherwise you’re very quickly out of date. The things that are interesting me right now are around:

Data driven SEO and content marketing

This isn’t new by any means, but it is continually evolving. If you can test and learn quicker than competitors, this can lead to smarter decisions to drive performance.

AI and machine learning is an obvious step forward to assist, and we haven’t even scratched the surface on this yet, but it clearly offers a lot of benefits to improve efficiencies and effectiveness, certainly in developing key SEO and competitive insights.

Also improving measurement around content will help to better assess performance.

Ever increasing mobile usage

With Google moving over to a mobile first index, and more searchers than ever using mobile, just having an app or a mobile friendly site isn’t enough anymore. You have to be providing the best possible experiences to your customers, based on the intent and the device they are visiting from.

Being number one organically isn’t enough

With featured snippets and answers boxes now so common in the SERPs, you have to be aware of the alternative options people have to find what they want to see. This could be:

  • search outside of Google – e.g. Amazon, app stores, Facebook etc…
  • voice search – where only one result wins!
  • virtual/augmented reality – I wrote about this last year and still think this could be a big SEO opportunity in the future.

The overall trend is it’s about matching what people want to find, with where they want to find it. The goal doesn’t change, but how you achieve it does.

#22. Tor Refsland – TorRefsland.com

Tor RefslandIn 2018 good SEO will include great on-site SEO with more focus on content marketing, where you actually deliver valuable content to the human reader (and not just the “Google bot”), and last, but not least, building links with high quality and relevance.

Like I tell my clients: good on-site SEO is like designing and producing a great racing car. And good off-site SEO is like providing the best racing fuel consistently to that racing car. The combination will help your clients to the #1 spot.

#23. Peter Caputa – Databox

Peter CaputaMarketers are going to get a lot more collaborative. In most industries, the Internet Kings have been crowned by Google; the sites that have been doing content marketing for years now have a ridiculous advantage. They can publish a new article or page and immediately rank for challenging terms. The rest of us are going to have to work together if we want to grow our search traffic.

 

#24. Marcus Miller – Bowler Hat

Marcus MillerIn many ways, the days of huge shifts and changes would seem to be behind us. What we will see is a continuation of what we have currently. Google will keep pushing to deliver the best possible results and the long term winners in the SEO game will be those that work with rather than against the eminent search engines objectives.

Mobile will continue to be important and the mobile first index may cause some ripples. Google will continue the war on spam and manipulation of search results so link building will work best when it is part of a cohesive PR and marketing approach.

The one trend that we are seeing is that the overall value of the traditional organic results seems to be diminishing in some ways. Google’s ever improving adverts are one way in which organic is being chipped away at but it is new SERP features like featured snippets that we are seeing have the most impact.

At my agency we use rank tracking software that takes a screenshot of the rankings so it makes historical analysis relatively straightforward. And where we see rich snippets pop up we often see clicks on traditional organic listings decrease.

One customer who ranked #1 for a major keword (and variations of) saw a drop of around 70% when a typical rich snippet and “people also ask” box was introduced. Reviewing the analytics, rank reports and screenshots shows us a clear correlation.

  • Rich snippet + People also ask appears (for other sites)
  • Ranking remains the same
  • Clicks to standard listings drop massively

We have also seen this in other accounts where listings in #1, #2, etc. are not delivering the expected amount of traffic when a rich snippet is in place.

And it’s not terribly surprising. If we look at the layout of the search results we can see four large adverts + a large rich snippet + a People Also Ask box with four related questions shown. So even a 1st place organic can often be around 10th or 11th listing on the page. Lots of places for people to click before they get there. And sometimes the #1 listing will be a skinny listing sandwiched between the rich snippet and the People Also Ask results.

The People Also Ask results are interesting as well as if we click and extend a given question another couple of questions appear below. Pushing the organic results ever further down the page. Out of site and out of mind.

In the first example above this was a commercial keyword and over time it seems the rich snippet has now dissapeared. So, clearly these are subject to experimentation and engagement metrics influencing whether they will stick around.

As search engines improve they are forever sending people away to another destination. So the linger time on search engines is lower the better they work. This is direct contrast to social networks where users hang out for hours every day. Many of these new features keep users on the search engine longer where they are ever more likely to click on an advert or engage in some way that drives revenue.

So the biggest trend we are likely to be monitoring at Bowler Hat in 2018 are advanced SERP features like Rich Snippets and People Also Ask results. Simple rank tracking and analytics is not enough. We must understand the search result landscape and think of these SERP features as opportunities rather than threats. Rich snippets can be a hugely beneficial but they are at the same time troubling as it is a one horse race.

I suspect that most things will be business as usual in SEO land in 2018 but we must also be dynamic enough to adapt to these changes and ensure our customers benefit from them.

#25. Chris Dreyer – Rankings.io

Chris dreyerThe most disruptive update that is coming soon is the mobile-first index. Google has been talking about this for a while and many people have been preparing for years.

At an SMX even in June of 2017, Gary Illyes said that the update wouldn’t be coming for a while. They predict in early 2018 but the switch the mobile first index could potentially come at the end of 2017.

In any event, it’s important to start planning now, especially if you derive a lot of your leads from the internet and Google organic search. If you already have a mobile responsive site you should be fine. If you have separate mobile version or no version at all, it’s time to start thinking about migrating to a responsive design.

Another prediction we have is that the war of content attrition will continue. People don’t realize the value of having the best and most authoritative content on the internet. In the long run, this is what will set websites apart from one another.

Sites that are getting quick wins with topical content that isn’t that useful may gain ground for a short period of time but ultimately that strategy won’t work. Those sites that have a focused and solid content strategy are the ones who will enjoy long-lasting results in Google search.

#26. Mandy McEwen – Mod Girl Marketing

Mandy McEwenSearch intent will continue to be a key factor in SEO strategies in 2018.

Search intent is one of the four vectors of Google’s semantic searches, along with context, meaning and relevance. It looks at why someone typed a specific keyword: did they want to know the answer to something? Compare options? Find a location?

By analyzing the particular way users search, and the terms they use to conduct a search, it’s possible for marketers to infer at what stage of the buyer’s journey a particular person is currently at – and that can help you create better content and eventually lead to conversions.

Many SEOs identify 3 types of keyword intent that impact search marketing – Navigational, Informational, and Transactional. Others claim that there are really 4 types, adding Investigational to the normal list, based on findings shared on Think With Google.

You should add a column to your editorial calendar (if it doesn’t already have one) for search intent, checking it often to make sure you’re consistently creating content for each type. By making this a key part of your SEO marketing strategy, you can appeal to prospects at every stage of the sales funnel and turn them into customers when they are ready.

#27. Jason Parks – The Media Captain

Jason ParksThere will be more emphasis from a link building perspective to focus on your local market. Connecting with community events such as 5K runs and local festivals where you can contribute something of value to them in exchange for a logo on their site with a backlink will become a more popular tactic.

 

 

#28. Adam Connell – Blogging Wizard

Adam Connell1. Outreach will continue to get more challenging – Due to the volume of terrible outreach emails that site owners receive, it will force us to get more creative and put more effort into pre-outreach. My post on effective outreach strategy shares a process you can use to boost your response rates.

2. Google AMP might not be the savior we were hoping for – In a case study by Kinsta, they shared how mobile leads dropped by over 59% after enabling Google AMP. While this data may not reflect every industry, I reckon it’s quite possible that we’ll start to see more site owners dig into data and see similar results.

3. Voice search growth will increase – We’re sure to see continued increase in the use of voice search. And as such, we’ll see more websites optimising for voice search. Whether growth will continue or simply plateau after 2018 will be interesting to see.

#29. Ryan Stewart – WEBRIS

Ryan StewartI think we’re at a point where there won’t be any major shakeups anymore. The algorithm is incredibly advanced at detecting quality and ignoring (not penalizing) shitty pages.

The best advice I can give you is there are no shortcuts.

If you want to have success with SEO you’re going to have to put in the time making sure your website is top quality. If you can’t commit resources (people or budget) to doing so then focus on paid tactics, they have a much more predictable ROI.

#30. Nathan Gotch – Gotch SEO

Nathan GotchMy prediction for SEO in 2018 is similar to what happened in 2017… I believe that backlinks will decrease in value while your content quality, your ability to serve searcher intent, and your on-site user experience will increase in value.

Also, I believe that Google will improve its ability to analyze and assign value to different media types such as video. Video is becoming (if it isn’t already) the most preferred way to consume content.

In addition to that, voice search will continue to play a bigger role from here and into the future as well. I’m not too concerned about “how to optimize for voice search” because I believe it will involve a very similar approach.

At a 30,000-foot view, those who can fulfill searcher intent the best, will win in traditional and voice search.

#31. David Leonhardt – The Happy Guy Marketing

David LeonhardtI’ll be bold. I predict that before the end of 2018, Google’s mobile-first index will have tangible effects even on its desktop index.

Why? Because most people are now surfing on mobile, more than on desktop and laptop combined. That means that if you go to Google, find something great, then send it to somebody, that “somebody” will most likely open it up on mobile. Yes, even if you found it on your laptop.

So Google will want to serve up mobile-friendly websites, even on your laptop.

#32. Kevin Indig – KevinIndig.com

kevin indigAs I say in all of my next-year-predictions, SEO is not going to fundamentally change year over year. We might see some quality and spam algorithms refinements, since they happen every year.

The next big trends to watch for me are progressive web apps, voice search and Google’s mobile first index. Notice how I say “trends to watch” because the impact of those trends is not yet clear, after my mind.

Google makes a big deal out of mobile first but shies away from giving a precise timeline. PWA are great but the transition will take a lot of time. Voice search is advancing fast but it doesn’t require to do anything new for SEO.

Bottom line: SEO is ever evolving and new trends are on the horizon but most companies still need to focus on the absolute basics, which haven’t changed in over a decade.

#33. Dominic Wells – Human Proof Designs

Dominic WellsI make similar predictions every year, and that is as follows; Google will continue to develop better ways of making user experience more important in the bigger picture, but at the same time, links and content will still be the main ranking factors.

This isn’t conjecture either, it’s proven time and time again, including recently. So while links might be losing individual power and you need more and more of them to rank, the role links play is not going to go away anytime soon.

When it comes to content, I’m referring to on-page SEO and the way you help Google determine what your content is about, and what it’s quality may be.

“Content is King” never meant, just write good content and the rest will take care of itself. It means, don’t write spam, and make sure your content is readable by search engines, and optimized for them too.

So what do you need to focus on in 2018? The same as the past 3-4 years really. Link building, user experience, and on-page SEO.

#34. Michael J. Schiemer – Bootstrap Business

Mike SchiemerI’m predicting that Google will take 2 factors even further when it comes to search rankings.

First off, websites without an SSL Certificate (not secure / displaying https) will continue to drop in search rank.

Secondly, websites that load too slowly (especially due to heavy ads) will also see their pagerank fall significantly. So overall I’d make it a priority to keep your websites fast and secure in 2018!

#35. Tom Pick – Webbiquity

Tom PickFirst, getting to the top of search rankings is only going to get more challenging. Think of how pro sports have changed over the past few decades–football, basketball, tennis, whatever your favorite sport may be.

Thanks to better technique, training and nutrition, today’s athletes are bigger, stronger, and faster than their predecessors.

It’s going to be the same with search: SEO pros will need to continually up their game across technical, on-site, and link building activities to compete at a higher level.

Second, because of those challenges, content marketers will strive to find ways to get prospect attention without search: remarketing, aggressive appeals for newsletter/podcast/YouTube channel subscriptions, push notifications, and content syndication. Any way to increase visibility beyond SEO.

Third, voice search will continue to expand, and change the landscape. Already, 20% of mobile queries are voice searches. SEO pros will have to adapt best practices for this new environment.

#36. Greg Shuey – Stryde

Greg ShueyGoogle is getting better at providing users a quick answer to their questions. Rather than giving them an article that is 2,000+ words long, they are showing a condensed version.

SEOers are going to have to get better at providing content that is easier for users and search engines to digest in order to show up better in the instant answers box. I feel like search results with a quick answer box is going to become the norm in 2018.

#37. Ashley Faulkes – Mad Lemmings

Ashley FaulkesSEO has been heading more and more in the direction of the user, and in 2018 that will continue even more.

So far, that has meant more focus on quality results that address the searcher’s query which are fine-tuned through various quality measures and user signals. It has also meant more stringent enforcement of things like https and mobile-readiness (and no popups on mobile) too. It’s all about the user.

Google will continue on this path as time continues, making more tweaks and changes that bring even better results. Rank Brain is part of that and will continue to push better results to the top, perhaps with the help of more and more user signals (pogo sticking, dwell time and more).

Long tail results will also become more and more important in 2018 because these days people are searching more specifically. A lot of the reason for that is voice search with mobile voice capture becoming better and the introduction of such devices as Echo, Apple HomePod and Google Home.

This will only accelerate. So be ready to become more specific in your content to address more specific queries from searchers.

So, to sum it all up:

  • improve your website quality (https, mobile, user experience)
  • focus on quality results that address the query you are hoping to rank for (be the best result)
  • create more specific content to capture more and more long tail searches

That way, you will have a great 2018 with search!

#38. David Mihm – Tidings

David MihmAt least in local search, I predict a continuation of the dramatic moves we saw in 2017:

1. more ads and

2. more structured information (and transactions) happening directly in on the SERP.

Google is devouring more and more clicks via featured snippets and Knowledge Panels. Start thinking of your website as an API, not a destination, step up your low-cost Adwords game, and diversify your organic marketing somewhere other than Google.

#39. Jordan Kasteler – JordanKasteler.com

Jordan Kasteler1. Everything we do will be for mobile as it’ll no longer be a secondary consideration for any facet of marketing.

2. Links will start to become more powerful the more natural traffic they receive.

3. AI will continue to recognize unnatural patterns with link building.

 

#40. Laura Pence Atencio – Social Savvy Geek

Laura Pence AtencioVideos with transcribed “show notes” are going to double duty to bring traffic to websites. Podcasts with show notes will gain momentum as the medium continues to gain in popularity.

Blogs with video trailers for articles will outrank those without, since social sharing counts toward SEO… and all signs point toward a majority video ecosystem in the future.

#41. Craig Campbell – Craig Campbell SEO

Craig CampbellSEO constantly evolves and i think the mobile index update which is due to be rolled out in 2018 will have a massive impact, as there are so many people who put off getting their website responsive or 100% mobile friendly and when Google start using this for real then they are doing to see an impact on their search results.

That alongside a bigger emphasis on site speed and many other aspects of technical SEO I think its time for people to up their game when it comes to doing technical SEO and regular website audits. Gone are the days when it’s simply just content and links, there is so much more now that has to be looked at.

#42. Nate Shivar – Shivar

Nate ShivarOn the technical side, HTTPS will be a near requirement for all businesses. Google will not explicitly banish nonsecure sites. But users will favor HTTPS sites to a degree that Google will indirectly favor them heavily.

On the content side, there will be higher payoffs but much higher costs for truly original content. Most sites will move into higher over-production of thin, repeatable content, which will drive more demand for original, free, public research.

On the promotion side, bulk outreach will become much cheaper to do…but it will become more expensive overall due to lower effectiveness. The most effective link builders will have access to a complementary second audience on another platform or will be able to promote truly original content (see content side prediction).

#43. Marie Haynes – Marie Haynes Consulting

Marie HaynesGoogle is getting better and better at surfacing the most useful sites. In 2018 I think that we will see even more shift towards rewarding sites that are all around high quality sites. Sites that have expert authors (with good E-A-T) will see improvements. Links will continue to matter, but only those that are truly helpful.

 

 

#44. Lyndon Antcliff – CornWall SEO

Lyndon AntcliffPersonalisation. The more your SEO can generate personalised results, targeted to your ideal customer, the better. We have enough data and tracking to be able to do this a lot better these days.

It’s not shady, it’s simply giving the people the message they want at that specific moment in time. By having a result in the search pages that is more skewed to the needs of an individual means a higher click through rate.”

That should do, we already see this happening with remarketing and is highly topical.

#45. Susan Dolan – SEO Web Marketing

Susan DolanI personally don’t think SEO changes that much at all. Google doesn’t move the goalposts but just aligns them better. White SEO is always the key, don’t bother to try and cheat as Google catches up with you whether it’s through content or dodgy links.

What I personally have noticed and think will continue is that the social media platform Twitter can improve SEO massively. If you think of links being roads back to your site, one tweet can create a motorway back to your site.

For example: if you create a tweet with all the info including description & a link to further info [holistic approach] and have authority of course, you will find that Google now having access to the Twitter firehose will index not just the tweet but also give the website link more favor.

Put some value in your tweet because Twitter is not just a social media platform but could in the future become a competitor search engine itself with the info it is retaining. So glad Google and Twitter made friends again years ago!

#46. Steve Wiideman – Wiideman Consulting Group

Steve WiidemanI predict many desktop computer at home to be replaced with VR and AR equipment featuring Bluetooth technology for portable keyboards and beaming capabilities to nearby monitors. This shift in technology will align with the statistics around voice search, where up to 50% of searches will allegedly be voice by 2020.

The battle for supremacy in the video social media space will go to the platform who integrates with the Internet of Things and Smart Home technologies blurring the lines between the second lives user have in social and the first lives they live offline.

The framework is now in place for hands-free search, but developers need to be preparing for and contributing to the community writing syntax for actions that happen post-search through Assistants such as Google, Siri, Alexa, Cortana and others, such as:

“Hey Google, find me a barber.”

“Okay, Joe’s Barber is two blocks away, would you like to call them, get directions, visit their website or choose a different location?”

“I’d like to visit their website.”

“Okay, you are on their website, I see the following options: Navigate our site, book an appointment, call our shop, or contact us online. I also see links to social media profiles. What would you like to do?”

“I’d like to book an appointment.”

“Great, please select the day and time you’d like to come in to check availability.”

“I’d like to come in this Friday at 1pm.”

“Okay, you said you’d like to come in this Friday, September 29th at 1pm Pacific Standard Time, is that correct?”

“Yes.”

“Okay, your appointment has been confirmed, can I help with anything else?”

“No, I’m good.”

Early adopters in this new tech and syntax experimentation will likely get the most PR and free brand awareness and will be setting the bar for other brands just experimenting in voice and assistant technology.

#47. Peter Daisyme – Hostt.com

Peter DaisymeVoice search will grow in usage and importance through 2018. That’s because of the increased use of assistant devices like Siri and Alexa.

This will change the type of keywords and SEO approach because of how people think about things when saying them versus typing them in a search engine box. It will be a challenge but also an opportunity.

 

#48. Dennis Seymour – LeapFroggr

Dennis SeymourI feel like it’s going to be the same for desktops. I don’t see anything major that will change, just like the past decade.

What I see changing a ton more is on mobile. I can definitely see more emphasis being put on different media types and how accessible your content is for mobile users.

You can see a glimpse of it right now. Try searching using Google on your mobile. See the results? Now, request the desktop site. In most cases, it’s totally different right?

So keep an eye out on the latest tests that Google does, it will be another fun year for mobile traffic!

Seo Marketing Consultant

Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in sales funnels, targeted traffic, and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.

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