Search Engine Optimization or SEO, is the process of updating and modifying a website to help it rank higher in a search result. Usually, this process is tailored due to the dominance of Google as a search engine throughout the United States and the vast majority of the world. The primary goal of SEO is to increase organic traffic to a website rather than attempt to increase traffic through paid ads as paying for visits on a regular basis quickly becomes expensive. While the exact formula of how Google ranks sites is not public, on occasion, they do announce newly added aspects to the formula. For 2018, they have announced some significant additions to the ranking system that could impact your site. Here are the three changes that will have the biggest effect this coming year:
3. Voice Search
More than 20% of all searches on the Google app and Android phones are voice searches as of 2016. This number is expected to increase as more people bring smart speakers into their homes. Optimizing your website content to be more conversational so that voice results can be returned will begin to be more important in 2018. Ideally, content should be written in a way so that it will be able to be used in a “Featured Snippet” due to their increased usage across Google searches.
2. Featured Snippets
Nearly 30% of Google searches have a Featured Snippet which shows a direct answer to a question asked of the search engine. Google has been increasing their prevalence and function over the past few years to increasingly provide the quickest answer to a question as an excerpt and a link to the site that has the information. These snippets do not always come from the highest ranking website, but usually do come from the first page. The key is to have the correct information on your site presented in a snippet format so that Google is able to easily extract that information to use it in their snippet.
1. Mobile First Index
Mobile searches surpassed desktop searches on Google in 2015, and since then, the company has focused on optimized mobile sites when ranking for SEO. In order to continue to create a better user experience on mobile, Google has released Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP’s) as well as started to have the quality of mobile sites impact their rankings. These two things will have increasingly more importance on the rank of a site in the future.
The best way to make your website rank better in the new mobile-first age is to have a quick and responsive mobile site. Google has created AMP’s to help with the loading speed of sites so that mobile users are able to find what they are looking for without having to wait on loading times. While most websites today are built to be mobile responsive from the beginning, making your site an AMP is an additional feature that can really make your site stand out to both Google as well as your visitors.
eLink Design is a national web design, application development, SEO, and business consulting firm, founded in 2001 that specializes in custom solutions for over 800 clients around the country. With this blog, we hope to provide insights into what we are working on, areas where we think we can help shed light on problems we hear, and sometimes just cool things we have come across.