There are currently over 1.3 billion websites online, and this number is set to increase even further in the coming years. There is more information available today than in all other periods of history combined. To navigate this vast ocean of knowledge, people have little choice but to use one of the many available search engines currently on the market. And if a large-enough number of people start congregating around a website or online service, marketers are sure to follow. This is where search engine marketing officially enters the stage. This subset of digital advertising revolves around promoting brands, products, and services on search engine results pages (SERPs).
With each passing year, a new batch of marketing strategies enters the online arena, and 2018 is no different in this regard. Old ways of doing things fall by the wayside, while new ones rise up to take their place. To give you a taste what is in store for the next 12 months, we have compiled a list of trends which show the most promise among those that are currently being chased.
The Rising Importance of Voice Search
As more advanced voice-recognition software solutions become available on the market, individuals are starting to use voice commands as the primary means of interacting with their electronic devices. Online searches are no exception, especially for mobile users. In order to reach out to this growing demographic, marketers are scrambling to find what keyword phrases work for voice-based searches. According to GWM SEO company, long-tail keywords are especially relevant in this context because their form resembles that of everyday speech.
Better Image and Video Search
The development of sophisticated pattern recognition software has finally made it possible to search for video and images as one would do for keywords. Search engines such as Google used to rely on file descriptions, meta-data, and image names to produce a relevant image and video-based search results. Now, their new AI-assisted search algorithms are increasingly competent at identifying image and video characteristics such as color distribution, shape similarity, embedded audio, keyframes, and others. This gives savvy marketers a new channel for delivering advertising content.
Emergence of Linkless Backlinks
Backlinks have long been a staple of digital marketing campaigns. Quality inbound links from relevant websites were a form of guarantee that your website has relevant content, establishing it as an authority on a given topic. While backlinks are sure to remain relevant well into 2018, other forms of reference are starting to appear on the stage as well. Advanced search engine algorithms are becoming able to recognize keywords associated with particular brands according to context cues, creating a kind of ‘linkless’ backlink for websites most closely associated with the keyword. In other words, semantic connections between websites are beginning to challenge the link-based paradigm of search engine marketing.
Complex AdWords Campaigns
The new feature additions and interface changes which Google rolled out recently have made AdWords management a priority once again for online businesses. The service now offers Gmail asset-based ads, custom rules updates, promotion extensions, expanded language targeting, among other general improvements. These new features, as well as improved old ones, are enabling marketers to enhance their existing AdWords campaigns, and design new ones. For example, promotion extensions allow companies to display specific offers such as promotion codes or offer periods in their existing ads without having to create new ones from scratch.
Mandatory Fast Loading
Since the internet became widely adopted among the population, attention spans have been plummeting worldwide. This had the effect that customers are no longer willing to spend more than a few seconds waiting for a page to load before giving up. Naturally, this means that all that carefully prepared marketing content would go to waste, as only a few people will get to see it at all. Google has therefore been suggesting that webmasters should target load-times of 3 seconds or less to remain competitive. In other words, search engine rankings are becoming more and more dependent upon fast loading times, making speed essential for SEO in 2018.
Search engines are increasingly employing user information, such as interests, browsing history, and location data, to provide a more personalized list of search engine results. Conversely, personalized content is becoming more relevant than ever, both for paid and organic rankings. Since users are less likely to come across results that are not deemed relevant according to their search history, it is imperative to get their attention on the first try, while their SERPs are still relatively unbiased. However, once a connection with a particular brand has been established, the frequency of its appearance in subsequent searches will likely rise.