10 SEO Marketing Trends of 2018 that Startups should look out for

In today’s globalized and competitive market, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is more important than ever for startups and even the bigger enterprises. Search engines serve millions of users per day looking for answers to their questions or for solutions to their problems.

In today’s competitive scenario, startups need to increase their visibility online by employing effective and search engine approved SEO techniques. Leveraging the right SEO marketing trends offers several benefits including improved search, higher SERPs and targeted marketing to reach out to the customers at a time when they are most likely to act on your call.

Why SEO?

Understanding Search Engine Optimization strategies are indispensable for startups (as well as established companies) that want to sustain in the constantly evolving and ever growing digital marketplace. Considering that a large percentage of users never scroll beyond the first page of search results, SEO truly is any startup’s best friend in building an online reputation.

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Tactically employing the latest SEO marketing trends in an era where search engines constantly change parameters is a fundamental lesson for every entrepreneur who aims to succeed. One must understand that the basic premise of being online is to reach the consumers far beyond the physical boundaries. Hence, implementing the SEO marketing strategies gains paramount importance.

Search engine optimization is essential because:

  • Users around the globe will use search engines for their queries and most likely click one of the top 5 suggestions in the result pages (SERPS), so to be visible to the customers and direct them to your website, or online store, the startup needs to feature in the top search results.

  • SEO seldom is not about search engines only, but good SEO practices improve the user experience and usability of a website.

  • The reason why users visit search engines is due to the trustworthiness of the results, and hence having a presence in the top positions for the keywords the user is searching, increases the web site’s trust.

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  • SEO enables social promotion of the startup’s website. People can end up promoting your website on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, etc.

  • SEO ensure smooth working and running a big website. The direct benefit is an increase in the search engine traffic and indirectly ensures a common framework being employed for publishing content on the site.

  • SEO ensures startup remains ahead in the competition. An optimized website is likely to have more customers and make more sales compared to the non-optimized ones.

10 SEO marketing trends for 2018

From stricter rules for Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) to an increase in voice search to more of a focus on hyperlocal marketing, 2017 was a busy year in the world of SEO. But SEO marketing trends for 2018, can guarantee a fair share of exciting developments, along with the continued growth of proven SEO marketing tactics.

To help you keep up, here are 6 SEO marketing trends to focus on in the new year.

1. Video and Image Search Will Continue to Improve

Videos and images are increasingly playing a more prominent role in people’s online interactions. Faster Internet speeds, social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook that champion visual content has contributed to this increase. A simple fact remains, those who use social media interact more with visual content because it evokes more emotional reactions, which leads to increased engagement.

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This has led to an increased engagement, and Google and other search engines have been tweaking the way images and videos show up in search results. For example, Google recently acquired the video and image sites Anvato, Eyefluence, Famebit, and Moodstocks, which focus on the visual elements within videos and images and/or attempt to improve how users interact with them.

Given the increasing importance of graphic content and visual marketing, SEO with images and videos is sure to become more complex and there will be more of an emphasis placed on it as per the SEO marketing trends.

2. Influence Personalized Search Results on Rankings

Personalized search results have seen an upsurge in the past decade and it will continue to take centre stage in 2018. Google has long emphasized the importance of customized search engine results pages (SERPs) for individuals.

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With the proliferation of smart speakers, along with other technological advances and the increasing ease with which searches can be conducted, personalization will continue to be a point of emphasis in 2018. This will make it more challenging to determine how your business will rank and even what it will be ranked for.

3. Voice Search to Gain Momentum

Due to the surge in the products like Amazon Echo, Apple HomePod, and Google Home, voice search will become more important in 2018. Rather than typing the search query in the search box, users will simply use their voices to get the search results and ultimately save time.

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As a result, search queries may differ from what users type into search boxes. For example, with voice search users typically focus on natural-sounding phrases and questions, rather than query language that may be more convoluted. This will affect how businesses evaluate SERPs. As a result, tools such as Rank Tracker are likely to help with optimizing voice search SEO rankings.

4.  The Knowledge Graph Will Become More Relevant

Since 2012, Google’s knowledge graph has been present, but it’s in 2017, knowledge panels began to more frequently replace featured snippets when users asked questions in Google searches. Knowledge graph is more versatile than featured snippets, which rely on an extracted summary of the answer from a webpage, along with the title and link to the page.

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For example, for a movie search, the search results would provide the usual summary, but also movie times and theatres, information about the actors in the movie, top stories about the movie, and the movie’s social media pages, among other things. Knowledge graph connects the related topics, thus providing the people with a more enriching and meaningful search experience.

5.  SEO Will Move Beyond Google and Bing

As per the SEO marketing trends, Google will continue to be the dominant search engine, however various digital assistants like Siri, Cortana and third-party review websites like, Amazon and Yelp have emerged as the search engines for specific queries. The startup needs to focus on the SEO for this other search engines so as to reach a wider audience.

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It will be hard to believe but every user does not rely on Google all the time. So it makes sense to have a presence on other search engines as well.

6. Hyperlocal Marketing will gain Importance

Hyperlocal as the name suggests means targeting the customers in the vicinity, local community who actually need your product or services or in the purview of the startup’s business market. However, businesses now have the technology to closely analyze their local market and target certain individuals, rather than shouting from their storefronts in the hope of enticing customers to visit their stores.

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With the advent of augmented reality and it becomes more mainstream, startup’s need to place more emphasis on SEO by focusing on hyperlocal keywords and catering to the needs of the people nearby.

7.  Machine learning will spell the end of traditional search algorithm updates

RankBrain is Google’s venture into machine learning—at least in how it pertains to its search algorithm. But Alphabet, Google’s parent company, is heavily investing in machine learning and AI over the years.

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Though there isn’t any official news about when or if it plans to roll out more machine learning updates to its core algorithm, our guess is by the end of 2018, there will be a greater influence of machine learning over typical search results.

It will take time maybe even years, when we see algorithm updates fade away entirely, in favour of an automated, continuous and iterative algorithm updating process carried out by machine learning.

8. ‘Linkless’ mentions

Startup’s need to be aware of the development in the areas of unlinked brand mentions. Bing has already confirmed that they track such brand mentions and use them as a ranking signal and Google will be following the suit pretty soon.

Search engines are going to crack a whip on linkless mentions as AI is now playing a bigger part in search ranking.

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The tactics used to earn brand mentions are, of course, not much different from the tactics used to earn links, but since the number of people who mention brands is much higher than the number of people who link to them, this could provide a good boost for smaller brands that fall below the threshold of earning press.

9.  An interstitial crackdown may be on the way

In early 2017, Google released mobile interstitial penalty update to battle against intrusive mobile ads. The hardest hit sites had aggressive advertising that blocked users from taking action, deceptive advertising placement and/or other issues that hindered the use of the interface.

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Google may crack down on the big brands who are still getting away with interstitial ads. The crucial factor seems to be the amount of trust big brands have accumulated in other ways. How all of this shakes out ultimately depends on how Google will reward branding vs. intrusive advertising.

10. Mobile-first indexing

Nearly three years ago Google announces that mobile searches had surpassed desktop searches on its search engine — and just last year, BrightEdge found that 57 percent of traffic among its clients came from mobile devices.

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Google is responding to this shift in user behaviour with mobile-first indexing, which means “Google will create and rank its search listings based on the mobile version of the content, even for listings that are shown to desktop users.” Representatives from Google have stated that we can expect the mobile-first index to launch this year.

Conclusion

As it seems, 2018 will be an interesting year for SEO. Traditional SEO techniques are still effective, but a number of trends are in the works that could significantly alter the practice of optimizing for search thus changing the SEO marketing trends.

The future SEO trends in marketing are already changing, and the ranking in the first organic spot is not the ultimate goal anymore. As search engines evolve, there are multiple opportunities to increase your search traffic without necessarily focusing on organic SERPs.

The rise of featured snippets, PPC, voice search and local SEO can often yield better results than an organic ranking. That’s why it’s useful to keep up with the latest trends and discover how your brand can maintain a successful SEO strategy for the year ahead by blending established and growing trends.

 

Growth Marketer | Co-founder Amol is a Chief Growth Strategist at upGrowth.ways of lead generation, quick optimization tricks, and easy to implement growth hacks are his specialties. He loves to read book and share his knowledge through trainings in free time.

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