1) RankBrain And User Experience Signals
RankBrain is an artificial intelligence programme Google has employed to crawl through its search results and rank the most relevant. It’s listed as the 3rd biggest ranking factor, so it’s quite an important consideration!
Experts debate whether it’s even possible to optimize your site for this as many of Google’s own engineers aren’t quite sure how it works.
However, others argue that it’s all about user experience. What path through your site do users take and how easy is this to navigate?
To be sure it’s best to put some effort into creating a super user-friendly journey!
2) Pay Attention To Voice Search
Voice search is nothing new, it’s been around a while. Think Siri!
However, until recently voice search has been more of a novelty than a practical tool. This year, with the rise of Google home and other devices such as Amazons Echo Google, is on the lookout for voice optimized sites.
We’ll see voice search move into the mainstream. One technique to optimize for this is to add thorough descriptions to images.
3) Consider Googles Mobile First Indexing
In 2018 Google made the internet even more mobile friendly by crawling for mobile versions of your site first. This means this will become an entry point. To optimize your site for this you have to have a responsive website. Your site must be user-friendly and visually pleasing an all devices and screen sizes. By now this should already be a given but if you haven’t already made the plunge, now is the time!
4) The Rise Of Linkless Backlinks
Over the years Google has made a lot of adjustments to the way it treats backlinks. At one point it was used to judge your site’s reputation and relevance but Google’s view is beginning to change once again. Google can now judge these factors through any online mention. These are known are linkless backlinks.
5) Video And Image Search Will Vastly Improve
In the past, Google hasn’t been able to read your videos and images like they can read the written text for obvious reasons. This is something many say they are working on. In the meantime, however, they’re looking for different techniques to rank images and videos. If you aren’t already then you should start adding descriptive and through captions and alt tags to all media on your site.
6) Comprehensive In-depth Content Wins
This is another ranking factor which has been around a while. Your content should be relevant to the title, category, and tags. It should be engaging and informative. Where this factor differs this year is that your content should be brief, comprehensive and to the point. Large bodies of text are no longer attractive. Lists and bullet points work much better.
7) Rich Snippet Will Need Careful Structuring
A snippet is the small amount of information that appears in a Google search results page. This is usually the title, the slug, and the meta description. Your title should be descriptive and relevant but not too long, a maximum of 70 characters. If your title isn’t reflective of the content your bounce rate will increase and your ranking will suffer. Your meta description should also be no more than 2-3 lines long and use as many keywords and phrases as possible.