Typing a search query online or on a smartphone is so ‘last year’. With the calendar only days away from flipping over to 2018, it’s clear that voice search is a trend that will continue to grow rapidly. Thanks to the popularity of devices like Google Home and Amazon Echo, marketers can see that people enjoy the convenience of searching with their voice instead of their fingers. Some industry experts even predict that 30 percent of all searches will take place without the benefit of a screen in the next few years.

When you ask a question in Google Search, you may see a search result in a special content block at the top of the search results page. This featured content is called a ‘snippet’. It may include a summary of the answer extracted from a webpage, plus a link to the page, the page title, and the page URL. With voice search gaining momentum, you can expect increased competition for your company’s snippets to show up in Google search results. Some also predict that the entire format of search engines will change to something that resembles more of a Question and Answer section of a website. That means you need to streamline your website content to make it easier for Google to recognize that you have provided the answer to a question frequently asked by web searchers.

Pay to Play, and Other Changes You Can Expect from Google

  • Pay to Play: Google is in business to make money, and it does so by driving competition among its customers. In 2018 and beyond, don’t be surprised if you see Google turn into more of a so-called pay to play environment. When an Internet user types or speaks a query, it typically generates four ads or even an ad located within the map section. This is prime real estate for online marketers. If you’re not there now, make it a goal to achieve one of those coveted positions in 2018.
  • Reputation is Key: You may love customer reviews, hate them, or feel somewhat ambivalent towards them, but no one can argue that they haven’t changed the online landscape for good. For example, did you know that the star rating from your company’s Facebook page affects how it shows up in organic searches? At DriveTraffic, we predict and encourage a greater emphasis on obtaining reviews from customers and an investment in reputation management. After all, having a prominent position in the SERPs with mostly negative results defeats the entire purpose of the exercise!
  • Mobile Optimization: In 2016, Google indicated its intention to switch to a mobile first ranking system. That means you can expect Google to give greater visibility to mobile friendly (responsive) websites. Although mobile optimization is already big on the agenda for most marketers, it will require an even bigger focus in 2018. This change requires an ongoing investment in mobile speed optimization as well as high quality content for the mobile version of your website.

These are just some key changes we see on the horizon for the coming year. Some have already started to gather momentum, while others are still in their infancy. Regardless of what the New Year brings, DriveTraffic is here to help you meet the challenges.

We invite you to partner with DriveTraffic, a leading Canadian digital marketing agency. As we approach 2018, start the year right by contacting us to complete a content audit of your website. You will thank yourself at this time next year!