SEO Insights for 2018

December 27, 2017

The team at Blue Sky Marketing has spent 2017 staying up to date on the latest trends in organic search in order to provide our clients with the best strategic direction for 2018. Gleaned from attending conferences in England and Portugal as well as reading endless amounts of articles and message board posts, here are some thoughts on the future of organic search for 2018.

Google Market Share to Increase on Mobile Search

Throughout 2017 there was much talk about the volume of mobile searches increasing, meaning that being able to target users on their handheld and voice activated devices will become even more important in 2018. 

Google made a big step toward controlling this space by paying an estimated $1bn to become the default search engine for all Apple iPhones. The previous Bing integration with iPhone forced marketers to put more weight on Bing Search than warranted by market share, but this switch takes some of the value away from Bing Search.

This change further strengthens Google’s dominance of search. In fact, during the Web Summit conference in Lisbon this fall, Rand Fishkin of Moz presented data that indicated Google accounted for approximately 65% of all search traffic, followed by Google Images at approx. 22% and YouTube at approx. 4 %.

With Google now the default search engine for all iPhones, expect that market share to increase even more in 2018.

SERP Features Could Overtake SERP Rankings

During the same presentation of search trends during the Web Summit conference, Fishkin also hinted that as users shift more toward wanting answers to their questions, Google has provided elements like Knowledge Graph and rich answers to fill these needs, especially on mobile.

In analyzing data, he found that while mobile searches are increasing, desktop searches are showing better CTR. This indicates that mobile search is to find immediate answers to our questions, whereas desktop search is for research and discovery. This presents an interesting area where traditional SEO cannot be ignored to drive traffic, but a focus on gaining rich answers in the results will be key to increasing visibility in 2018.

Strategies like focusing on long-tail queries, building detailed content, and correctly marking up content will be key to a successful 2018.

Business Reviews Will Continue to Be Critical

During the BrightonSEO conference in September, citation building service BrightLocal delivered a presentation where they stated that on average a business listing received 70% higher CTR for a five-star review.

This data, combined with other insights from Google and the SEO community, strengthens the industry viewpoint that reviews are one of the strongest influencers of local search.

Building up a good reputation is not only essential for on-the-ground services, but the digital footprint of your company. Reviews assist users in speeding up the decision process and set an expectation for goods and services delivered.  Every business should focus on reviews as they have the power to improve ranking, CTR, landing page conversions and more. 

And with the importance of mobile search, the reviews of you company may be the only thing a user sees before deciding to click – or not click – on your website.

The Mobile First Index Will Become a Reality

Google has indicated that the mobile first index is already underway for some sites and that we can expect to see a bigger roll out in 2018.

Digital marketers have been alerting customers to the mobile first shift since at least 2016, so this should be no surprise to the well-prepared business. 

It is worth continuing to note that sites which are responsive (applicable to both desktop and mobile) should not be penalized by the change, but predicting what Google will actually do is like predicting the weather. The best way to prepare is to have a responsive website and to ensure that it provides a good mobile experience for the user.

If you are planning on a redesign or launching a new website in 2018, a mobile-first mentality is key to future proofing your website.

Let Blue Sky Help You Navigate SEO in 2018

The team at Blue Sky Marketing are digital marketing experts who can help develop forward-looking SEO strategy to drive your desired business goals. 

Contact Blue Sky Marketing today to discuss what we can do for your business.

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