Marketers are aware of the importance of a solid SEO strategy to succeed in today’s highly competitive digital market place. In 2018 we expect to see more brands joining the race to outperform competition. It’s therefore imperative to understand what aspects of SEO are more relevant/important for our mobile-first world. Google has already removed right side search results (Paid Search) last year, creating more competition for the top 3/4 paid ad spots. This has raised the stakes for SEO. With organic results contributing to more than 70% of the clicks, every business should have an optimal mix of paid and organic search as part of their marketing plan.Below are the top 3 items which should be on your list while optimizing your business for SEO.
Mobile-first indexing: Google announced it will be switching to mobile-first index in 2018. The best practice is to make a responsive website to rank higher for search results. Google has already rolled out many tools to help developers to make an effective and engaging mobile friendly website.
Semantic search: This is about returning meaningful results based on user intent, location, search history, and other parameters. To win in the world of semantic search, you need two things: to understand the user intent and have quality and crawlable content to match this intent. RankBrain is continuously evolving and Google cites this as one of the top 3 factors in search algorithms, with the other two being content and links.
Position zero: Ever since Google introduced ‘featured snippets’, fight for top spot in rankings has become even more challenging. There are general guidelines to follow to get this coveted spot. First, you need to identify a simple question and provide a straightforward and valuable answer. Second, you need to make it easy for Google and users to find, which is to be achieved by adding the structured data markup. There are many debates around Position Zero and how it can reduce the CTR of any page, as Google picks Position Zero from top 10 rankings. Which in return affect the CTR. However, the smart SEO would give just the right information to be in Position Zero and a ‘know more’ link to take users to the website. Voice search heavily depend on ‘featured snippets’ and by 2020 one estimate (from Andrew Ng, Chief Scientist at Baidu) says that 50 percent of all searches will be via voice or image. Stone Temple quotes two-thirds of people already use voice commands on their phone at least some of the time.
We at Centric works on multiple tools and manual research to make sure we are always ahead of the curve and take the right approach for right results. For additional reading, please refer to the 2018 SEO predictions from Search Engine Land and Moz.
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Sourav Ganguly is the chief media officer at Centric. Leading a ten-man team of optimizers, planners, and strategist, he worked with clients to deliver significant returns on marketing investment. He can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org