As long as search engines exist, SEO isn’t going away. Sure, with advances in technology, best practices have changed over the years, but some are still unaffected.

So where should you focus your SEO efforts on in 2018?

Well, we all know that Google has over 200 ranking factors, but you likely won’t have the time or even resources to implement all of them. So this post will help you set your priorities right for 2018.

Let’s begin.

    1. Rich Snippet Will Need Careful Structuring Six years has passed since Eddie Choi wrote an article titled: “Embracing Data Is the Future of SEO” on online publication Clickz. Even then, it was sage advice. And guess what?Google’s Rich Snippets will still be as important as ever in 2018!At the moment, Rich Snippets don’t directly affect rankings, as Google itself has said, but they influence SEO indirectly.

      Structured data markup allows you decide if a SERP offers information you need before you click through to the site. So if they’re not well-structured and people have to click through to find out that the information on a particular page isn’t for them, they bounce. And Google isn’t happy when that happens.

      It worsens your on-page behavioral data, which will influence your rankings negatively.

    2. Page Speed Google confirmed page speed as a ranking signal since 2010. And while it may be difficult (if not impossible) for your site to match Google’s speed of under half a second, you should aim for a page load time of two seconds or less.Check Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool for recommendations on improving your site’s speed. Then check your pages and try to compress any bloated resources like CSS files, scripts, and images. Also, load fewer ads.Always remember that your site is never too fast. You should always try to make it better and faster than your competition.
    3. Increased Page Relevance Page relevance encompasses several optimization factors. They include but are not limited to:
        • Use of keywords in the title tags, meta description tags, H1 tags, and page content
        • Length of the content
        • Optimizing images through their alt text, caption, and description
        • Regular updates of content on the page
        • Outbound and Internal links

      The list is by no means exhaustive, but these factors will still be important for increasing page relevance in 2018.

    4. Voice Search Is More Real Than EverGoogle’s interest in voice search was more evidently seen with their release of this mobile voice study with its accompanying infographics.Additionally, more people are using voice assistants and voice search to search for information on the internet. To optimize your site and content for voice search, you need to integrate conversational phrases into your content to copy how people ask questions or communicate verbally.

      If you look back on voice search technology or results in SERPS over the years, you’ll find a vast improvement. Voice search’s popularity will only increase in 2018. Optimize for it or get left behind.

    5. The Rise of “Linkless” BacklinksYou can call them linkless mentions, linkless attribution, or whatever you prefer but they have come to stay, and will still feature prominently in 2018.In SEO land, the no-follow link and linkless mentions do not carry any link juice, and that’s why they have similar benefits. If you invest in a web-monitoring tool you can reach out to sites you are mentioned on without any links and ask them for a link to your site, but even if they refuse to link to you, don’t fret.When you’re mentioned in a positive manner in an article and people are interested in your brand or what you do, they’ll search for you. In fact, if you were mentioned in a super-positive way, people could search for you so much that you become a part of the predictive search drop-down.When they keep clicking through to your site and spend time there, it improves your site’s on-page behavioral data and of course, its ranking. Linkless mentions can do wonders for your SEO in 2018.
    6. Natural Language Queries Natural language queries are carried out in everyday language or conversational phrases as opposed to keyword-based search.As mentioned earlier, an increase in voice search only means an increase in natural language queries. Google has gotten smarter at handling natural language queries and handles superlatives, time-based queries and complicated questions better.For example, this is what I got when I asked my Google assistant this complicated question:”What was the US population when Bernie Sanders was born?

      I got the answer and the year Bernie was born. Not bad.

      People now make queries in everyday language and expect accurate answers. This trend will continue in 2018. Again, try to produce content that will answer these type of queries and write in a more conversational tone.

    7. Personalisation of Search Personalised search was first introduced by Google in 2004 as part of Google Labs beta, but was implemented in the main search algorithm in 2005.Till date, your search results are affected by your country, locality, device, browser, and personal history. Personal history here could mean your previous search activity, online behavior, sites you visit regularly, or other information stored by cookies in your browser. Also, if you’re logged into your Google account on Chrome, for example, your search results will tilt more towards the above biases.When he was asked why Google would try competing with existing web search companies of the time, Google co-founder reportedly told WIRED contributing writer Kevin Kelly in 2002: “Oh we’re really building an AI.”Google’s advancement in personalized search, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, is only testament to that self-fulfilling prophecy.

      So create content not just for search engines, but create valuable content on topics your target audience will search for. Optimize your content for your target audience’s locale. This will be important in 2018 and even more so in the future.

    8. Link building Is Still Your #1 SEO HackThe less said about this, the better.Just know that you should still be building quality links to your site and content on your site in 2018.Andrey Lipattsev, Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google explicitly mentioned links as a one of the top two ranking factors in a Q&A session in 2016:”I can tell you what they are. It is content. And it’s links pointing to your site.“Link building will not stop in 2018. No, it’s not going away anytime soon.
    9. Rank On Mobile Before You Rank On Desktop Back in 2015, Google announced that more searches occur on mobile than on desktop. You could feel it even then, that Google would make some changes to cater more for mobile users.Google eventually announced its mobile-first index, which is meant to benefit the majority of Google’s users, who search from mobile devices.You shouldn’t worry if you have a responsive site, where content will be the same on page-by-page basis either on desktop or mobile. In fact, Google recommends that you build a responsive site. So your site’s design could potentially affect your mobile rankings since Google has also previously said that content that’s not mobile friendly will potentially not rank well.Use Google’s Mobile Friendly Test Tool to discover if Google considers your web pages to be mobile-friendly and take relevant steps to make your site a mobile-friendly site.


SEO is always evolving, and while you can’t focus on every detail, you can always focus on setting priorities. If you focus on the nine trends above, you’ll look back on 2018 as a great year for your site and business.

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