Machine learning has been on the horizon for a couple of years, but 2017 has seen actual successful implementations of this technology. 2018 will see a lot more implementations and SEOs who turn a blind eye to machine learning will definitely be left behind. Big data is the key to massive advances in the machine learning. Google has always been at the forefront of innovation and has been investing billions in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. It is indisputable that the SEO landscape will evolve within the next few years and 2018 will see a lot of new trends emerging.
In 2018, (just as in the past), content will become the driving force for search engine optimization. SEO professionals will become more concerned about the user’s content experience than other SEO factors. Google’s efforts have always been aimed at satisfying user intent. SEOs, UI/UX experts, content marketers and designers will have one similar goal – to ensure that users get exactly what they are searching. An IT professional’s search requirements will be drastically different from the content requirements of a home-maker. These differences impact not only the obvious aspects as keyword research, but also phrasing, content structure, visuals, design and linking etc. AI will play a huge role in how content is presented to these different audiences. It will automatically check for the quality of the content, relevance, and check whether it not only satisfies user content, but also provide a positive experience for the users.
Traditional on page optimization methods will diminish in importance. Title tags, meta descriptions, URLs and ALT texts will have a role in SEO, bit will no longer be the factors that make or break SEO. SEO will become more creative. Black and grey hat SEO will become extinct and AI algorithms will enhance SEO methods entirely. Empowered by machine learning, Google will become too smart to be manipulated. Efforts will be focused in analyzing each search result and gauging its value for users.
Technical knowledge and expertise with regards to sitemaps, robots.txt files and scripts will become less relevant. Errors will be identified and fixed automatically. Technical expertise will not be rules out entirely, but will require less human interaction.
User experience factors will continue to increase in importance. Google will use this factor to rank websites in search engine results.
With click-through rate and user engagement being the best indicators that a specific page has lived up to a user’s expectations, it is highly likely that Google will keep working to polish its machine learning algorithms to the point where they are able to experience a site’s pages as a human would. AI will be able to judge UX instantaneously and rank the pages accordingly.
Search engines are definitely becoming smarter and more equipped to learn if any particular website is satisfying a user’s intent or not. Every business should hence build and optimize their websites keeping all this in mind and then prepare their strategies for 2018.