Your organic SEO, SEM, paid search and AdWords strategies must be updated consistently for optimal results. Last year’s tactics are already going stale. Which of your strategies that worked in 2017 are no longer effective in 2018? Let's take a look.
Wide Net SEO Died in 2017
2017 was the last year for any kind of wide net marketing. Localize in 2018, or you will find your website losing its ranking in Google and other search engines. This means filling out your local Google and Yahoo business profiles and ensuring they are identical - meaning abbreviations in one should be used in the other, for optimal SEO.
Single Process Marketing Died in 2017, Too
Using only SEO, SMM, or PPC will give you less-than-optimal results. These strategies now build on each other. There is no way you will be able to optimize your results without analyzing where your money goes too, so learn how to mobilize changes based on your findings in AdWords.
Promote in 2018 for 2019
You should allocate spending for SEO maintenance and for your current campaigning. When you hit the top with your hybrid strategy, staying there means putting forward funds anywhere from 6 to 12 months in advance - the only way to ensure you have the keyword placement that you need in the future too.
Keep it Consistent to Keep it Competitive
Consistency means more to your overall PPC plan than the total amount you spend. If you ramp up spending and then run out of money, your competitors will catch up eventually and snatch away your position. Your job is to find keywords that are within your budget and allow you to dominate a certain niche.
Long-tail is Long Overdue
Speaking of keywords, long-tail keywords now account for 70% of all online searches, so if you’re not doing them right, you’re missing a huge opportunity. Long-tail keywords are the secret to outshining your competition and driving organic search traffic to your site instead of theirs.
Turning Up the Volume on Voice Search
The sharp rise in sales of smart speakers has forced the issue of voice search. For SEO and PPC, this means re-thinking how people speak as opposed to how they type. Typers tend to paraphrase, entering search queries like “best BBQ Indy,” while talkers ask longer, chattier questions like, “Where can I get good barbecue sauce around here?” or “Siri, I want the best barbecue brisket in Indianapolis.”
Visual Search Sees Continued Growth
Every year the trend-watchers predict that video and image search are about to take a huge leap forward, and in 2018 it finally seems to be coming true. Google acquired two visual search startups, Moodstocks and Eyefluence, and appears poised to improve the visual search experience by leaps and bounds.
What does this mean for day-to-day SEO and PPC? It means if someone asks aloud for a funny coffee mug and you make funny coffee mugs, your results must be optimized for voice/video/image results - that is, results should be offered hands-free, without the user ever typing or touching anything in the process.
Can someone get from a Google search to your cart checkout point, purely by looking and talking? Answer that question with “yes” in 2018.
Be the Answer—and the Answer is Content
Dominating SEO in 2018 and beyond will be about serving as the answer to user queries. Think of your company and your products as the answer to deeper questions. When someone types “temporary flamingo pink hair dye,” a company that provides it should treat the search as a question, consider related buyer personas, and answer with meaningful, high-quality content.
That’s right - content needs to be even better-quality than last year: richer blog posts, detailed ebooks, helpful infographics, celebrity Q&As, unboxing videos, behind-the-scenes tours, and other forms your audience is craving.
Have you asked them what they want recently? SEO and PPC strategizers sometimes get so focused on key things like keyword analysis, they forget to optimize what’s at the end of the link: fresh content for an ever-evolving audience.
(Even More) Personalized SERPs
Search engine results pages (SERPs) have become increasingly customized over the past few years, driven by audience demands and the powerhouse that is Google. Smart speakers, voice search, and ever-more-intricate individual search settings are making it harder to predict where your company will rank in results.
For some companies, this is driving a renewed reliance on PPC or a blended approach between PPC and organic. A/B campaign testing can reveal what works best for your business, but don’t get complacent - it’s a moving target. You’ll have to keep zig-zagging your strategy to be seen in the search results of your best prospects.
Unseating the Czar of Search?
Few dare suggest that Google will ever lose its search dominance, and Bing seems comfortable serving as a helpful sidekick. But there’s been interesting movement in consumer preferences.
2017 saw increased use of third-party search options like Amazon and Yelp. Many people now rely on virtual assistants like Siri to talk them through the entire search, decision, and purchasing process. SEO marketers would be wise to think beyond Google in budget preparations for next year.
If your eyes glaze over at the term “accessibility,” 2018 is the time to screech to a halt and pay attention. Around the world, regulating organizations are establishing new standards for accessibility, anti-discrimination, and protection for people with disabilities.
Are you search optimized for people who have limited or no hearing? Low or no vision? What about people who are using voice enhancement or translation services? The companies that answer these questions will be the traffic drivers of the future.
Dominate the Omni-channel
This is the year of the omni-channel - the flawless integration of your multi-channel strategies into a smooth user experience. This means your SEO and PPC can no longer be standalone plans, but pieces of a much richer, broader strategy that works seamlessly with things like voice search, video and image search, Google Answers, and chatbot assistance.
2018 and Beyond: The Bottom Line
As soon as you get used to the SEO landscape, it shifts. People search differently today than they did just 6 months ago. Voice and video search were just a concept not so long ago, but are now expected to make up fully 50% of searches by 2020 as people get comfortable talking to their various devices.
It’s time to ask: Alexa, is our SEO strategy stale?