With 2018 already starting off in a mad rush it seems like the SEO days are on the go and there is nothing that you can hold on to. However, there are various upcoming changes that will soon be put up by Google and related SEO trends that will hold the key to your buoyant spirit for SEO. In order to hold on to horses for the current year, you need to buckle up on your foresight and check for the things that the industry is gearing up for.
Given here are a few important areas that you need to keep track of, in order to shift your position according to the imminent changes that are to take up this year:
Get yourself ready for fake news algorithm updates
It was way back in 2010 (seems like somewhere down the pages of history) when Google used to get a lot of bad blood from web users and most of the times was hogged by media organizations for its frustrating clutter created by unstructured ‘content farms’ which kept increasing each day. Search results for Google were in a mess as there was no veritable check for spam and low-quality content.
Just a year later, in 2011 Google released its Panda update which worked well in targeting low quality and spam content. It seemed like Google had found a way out to tackle negative press.
People and organizations across the globe have been busying themselves up with talks on fake content promotion by Google in the recent times. This makes it necessary to refer to instances from the past when Google had taken important measures to negate all forms of fake content, spamming, etc. Media has been persistent in belittling Google’s search trends in the last 1 and a half years.
The problem has been extensive. The growing dissent is quite evident when industry experts speak out on the matter openly. According to Danny Sullivan, a California-based technologist, journalist and a popular entrepreneur, the very recent trend of fake search results on Google is “Google’s biggest-ever search quality crisis.”Google’s image is under the scanner and it remains largely bruised and battered. There has been a motivated approach to deal with the problem and Google has worked quite hard in achieving an unquestionable win.
Some of the areas combated by Google:
- Google has taken action in adjusting its algorithm.
- ‘Fact Check’ tags have been added to the search results. This will be important in curbing false/fake historical news from spreading widely.
- Fake news ads publishers have been banned by Google.
- Recent tests to include ways for users to report ‘offensive autocomplete ‘
- Algorithm adjustments to devalue “non-authoritative information” like Holocaust denial websites.
Google has always tried to control trustworthiness in its search results. In 2015 Google’s researchers had launched Knowledge-Based Trust (KBT), an evaluation system that checked the quality of web pages based on their factual accuracy. This was an innovation as facts were given importance over the number of inbound links.
Knowledge-Based Trust system could have been an ultimate quality setting yardstick. Websites that involve in publishing fake news on a regular basis could be handled well with this method. However, this system could also go wrong considering the fact that widely circulated wrong facts could come into the picture.
It is hard to ascertain whether KBT has already been implemented or not. It is harder to know whether this system can combat fake news. But it is surely a thing to consider that Google believes in authentic search results and wants to uphold truthfulness in its ranking factor.
Voice Search and Assisted Prompts to Grow Together
Most mobile queries (one in every five) comes with voice search options. These numbers will keep growing with Google Home to become more popular. With the rise of voice-enabled services there would be an invariable rise in featured snippets.
A recent study carried out by Stone Temple Consulting has confirmed the phenomenal rise of featured snippets and how their presence is found in roughly 30 percent of the overall 1.4 million queries tested by them.
With a possible rise of this trend, there would be a strong rivalry created between featured snippets and top organic listing.
As a business owner, you will surely want to have one of these to get noticed. There are various other studies that you can carry out giving you a rough overview of featured snippets and current trends.
Artificial Intelligence will determine various aspects of search
RankBrain was established two years back. It is a powerful AI system introduced by Google to enable machine-learning that helps in processing veritable search results. Ever since it was introduced 15 percent of search queries have been handled by RankBrain.
However, it needs to be stated that Google’s interest in AI extends way beyond RankBrain. There are various confidential projects that are undertaken in Google’s laboratories (as suggested by some media outlets) which comprise extensive researches on AI, Blockchain, and various other technology fields.
Google has reportedly developed Cloud Vision API which recognizes an enormous number of objects. Google’s numerous machine-learning capacities are now being sold as its own product.
Google has allegedly built an AI that is superior to humans. Building a superior human was part of a project carried out by Google Brain that comprised of a specialized team specifically working to create and discover AI supremacy for Google.
However, AI also has its own problems. There are times when AI identifies a problem but due to certain limitations (set by handlers), it remains unable to come up with good solutions.
There are problems like AI’s confusion in differentiating between correlation and causation. There are strange correlations and connections drawn by AI systems that are usually considered ‘superstitious’ because of the unrelated items involved in their process.
Developers work on solely programming for the machine-learning algorithm which makes them unable to understand how the final algorithm works. It is impossible for anyone to understand the final outcome of most of these algorithms as they form different shapes and structures by joining with each other. This results in difficult prediction as it becomes hard to understand and gauge how it will behave. The way of operation for machine learning algorithms is completely different from traditional programs.
Google will surely keep continuing with its AI inclusions into their search algorithms. This will make it impossible for us to expect desired search results and more difficult to understand them as they will start behaving in less predictable ways in the days to come.
There might be completely shocking search results shown by Google in case of normal generic search terms used by users. There will surely be negative reflections. Everything about this will surely not be good but we must be prepared for all kinds of things in the days to come.
We can only hope that Artificial Intelligence does not get in the way of long-term SEO strategies. Optimizing for AI will hopefully be an essential optimization process as it will be similar to human brains, but only superior. A machine-learning algorithm aims at making predictions similar to those of humans.
Guest Posts To Take a Possible Hit
Just a few months back Google sent out warnings to webmasters asking them to stop promoting and marketing articles for large-scale link-building processes.
Google’s latest guidelines do not include article marketing and it will result in a penalty. The SEO community is well aware of Google’s knowledge of link building professionals using content as part of their SEO tactics. With this announcement by Google, it can be stated that an algorithm update targeting manipulative guest posts is just around the corner.
So what is manipulative guest posting?
Google’s guidelines must be referred to, in order to get an answer to the above question. “Does it help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?”
These questions will let you improve your overall understanding of guest posting. Brand awareness must be promoted by guest posts. That is the main aim. Guest posting must not send referral traffic to targeted websites.
The ultimate aim for any SEO professional is to up the process of ranking and ensure improved SERP. There are numerous professionals who simply tweak the SEO processes to attain their desired goals but lose out in the long run. Various marketers pursue unsustainable guest posting practices that are illegitimate. EzineArticles and many others have been known to promote this trend.
Bing has already started tracking unlinked brand mentions, providing them with rank signals. As per industry experts, Google is probably doing this as well. AI becoming an integral part of rankings it is not unreasonable to expect “linkless” mentions becoming an important thing in search rankings.
The game of brand mentions is not very different from the tactics used to earn links. However, people who mention brands are much higher in number than people who link to them. This will be a great boost for smaller brands that do not fall into the category of earning press.
Web-based conversations and communications with users (one to one and on a large scale) will let you earn importance on the internet over a span of time. This is vital to growing your branding efforts and overall presence.
Penalties and Crackdowns might be Necessary
Mobile Interstitial penalty introduced in 2017 was an important signal sent out by Google on its choice to battle against intrusive mobile ads. Websites severely hit took part in aggressive advertising blocking users from taking action. It has been clearly noted by Google that deceptive advertising placement and other promotional issues hindered use of the interface. UI being hindered impacted the overall goal of the world wide web – ‘Clear View and Information Sharing’.
Big brands are able to get away with interstitial ads. But Google may decide to crack down on these companies in the near future. The crucial factor that drives the trust of big brands (trusted by millions of customers) is the advert sector. Everything in the near future will depend on Google’s reward for branding vs. intrusive advertising.
The yardsticks set by Google will be helpful in maintaining transparent and clean ways of promotion.
Google had announced three years back that mobile searches had gone way past desktop searches. Last year BrightEdge came up with its survey that stated how 57 percent of traffic among its clients were directed from mobile devices.
Google has acknowledged this massive shift in user behavior that has been caused by mobile-first indexing. “Google will create and rank its search listings based on the mobile version of the content, even for listings that are shown to desktop users.” Google’s representatives have stated that mobile-first index can be expected to be launched in 2018.
2018 is being anticipated to be the year of search signals taken from mobile devices that impact all other related searches. Websites failing to include mobile devices in their search indexing processes will soon bear the brunt and become obsolete.
Be Prepared to Face Paradigm Shifts in 2018
Ever since it started off with its web journey in the 1990s, Google has come up with numerous shifts in its trends and processes. With the inclusion of AI, the political atmosphere, technological efforts, and warnings against manipulative guest posts and distracting advertisements Google has sent out a strong signal to anyone and everyone plying for business in the search engine world that change is already here and it is here to stay. The focus must be given on long-term SEO strategies that keep everyone abreast in the competitive market for years to come.