Ep. 55 | Nine Notable SEO Trends for 2018

This is a picture of Kevin Getch for the Rethink Marketing Podcast where he talks about SEO trends for 2018

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In this week’s episode, we interview SEMpdx’s Kevin Getch about the SEO trends in 2018 that B2B marketers should expect.

SEMpdx is a nonprofit created to help search engine marketers and businesses. The organization also puts on the excellent one-day conference Engage in March. Kevin is also the founder of Webfor, an agency based in Vancouver, WA.

This is the time of year we, marketers, push out our best-of lists, as well as our forecasts for the coming year. Whether our prognostications have any merit or not, this is a good time to review your SEO efforts and prioritize what you want to tackle in the coming year.

As Kevin says, a good SEO strategy touches all parts of your marketing activities from content, to brand, to social.

The importance of voice search

Increasingly, the search engines are turning to AI and machine learning to help deliver results they believe will address what people are looking for whether they are using their smart phones, digital assistants, and even their personal computers at the office.

Should your business be thinking about voice search? Kevin responds with the standard business answer: it depends. He said there are some opportunities for companies to have first-mover advantage through actions (apps and games) you can create.

A digital assistant in every home

Google reports that 1 out of every 5 searches come from voice queries. This has included such introductory voice searches such as who was the 15th president or where is the nearest brew pub. But B2B marketers should be thinking about how voice search combined with a digital assistant will change their businesses.

For example, you’re getting ready for work and while pouring a coffee, your perform a voice search asking for the top marketing automation providers.

“What are the best marketing automation vendors?”

Your device may only respond with one answer, in this case Act-On Software, although there are dozens of options in the marketplace.

With that answer, you then tell your digital assistant (whether Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft or something else) to send the result to your work email so that you can follow up when you arrive in the office.

Link building is still a big deal

Kevin confirmed that link building was still a big deal. But, he said, businesses should be focusing on the quality of those links rather than just the quantity of them.

“The best link you can probably get is from a site that has a high authority in your industry and that is editorially given,” he said. So the idea is to identify those high authority influencers and begin developing a relationship with them.  

Why you needed to be ready for mobile search two years ago

Kevin said you should be optimizing for mobile and mobile search even if most of your current web traffic is from desktop sources. He makes a good point when he cites one example from a current customer who has about 10 percent of their website traffic from mobile. If 1,000 people come to your store, are you just going to ignore 100 of them, he asked? Of course not.

AI will be the biggest business game changer in our lifetimes

If you think RankBrain was a game changer, be prepared to have your mind blown. Google (and nearly everyone else) is investing heavily in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning. Both Kevin and I cited the recent example from Google’s AlphaGo Zero.

Kevin said one way to think about AI is via the 3 P’s: Personalized, Predictive and Proactive. And, he said, proactive is going to be a key growth area for Google and the other big tech (Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon) will be focusing their energies and dollars.

Visual search

Kevin said videos, images and even the visual layout of your website will be more and more relevant to Google and the other search engines. They will be tailoring their algorithms to evaluate how consumers experience your website and reward or punish your search results accordingly.

Technical SEO

“Page load speed is one of the first things I look at when consulting with a client,” Kevin said. He said if your page load speed is greater than 3 seconds, you’re losing an estimated 50 percent of your visitors. And those load time thresholds can be even shorter for some industries and audiences.

Social

Businesses need to at least claim their social media channels, and there involvement in social can increase from there based on their audience. If a company is working in a space where news interest is what Google would be evaluating, then you should be more active on social, which the search engine may be pulling information from.

Other SERPS

Do not ignore the other search engines, Kevin said. Depending on your location, you could be losing a sizable audience. And, in some cases, you’ll want to take advantage of the website tools, such as Bing Webmaster Tools, those engines offer to help you in evaluating the SEO value of your website.

Enjoy the conversation, and we hope you can get one or two takeaways that you can bring to your business.

Shownotes:

  1. We’re here to talk about SEO trends B2B marketers should be thinking about in 2018. Can you summarize what the state of SEO is today? What have been some of the bigger trends the last few years? [3:24]
  2. What do we need to know about voice search [6:27]
  3. What do we need to know about digital assistants? [10:49]
  4. Is link building still a big deal? [13:25]
  5. Google has taken a Mobile-First approach to search. However, most B2B interactions are still done on desktop. Is this the year B2B starts to pay attention to mobile? [16:43]
  6. How will AI change how we do SEO or otherwise get found on the web? [18:51]
  7. Visual: pictures, infographics, video. How important is visual to SEO? [22:40]
  8. Technical/page load speed/HTTPS: Some of this seems to tie back to the mobile-first issue, but what should marketers need to know about the technical side of SEO? [24:08]
  9. How does social factor into SEO now and moving forward? [27:48]
  10. Why Pay Attention to the Other Search Engines? [29:41]