Towards the end of 2017, Google increased the meta description length from an industry standard of 155-165 characters to allowing snippets that were upwards of 300 characters in length. This was done in an effort to provide more descriptive information to users by helping them better determine whether a webpage was relevant to their queries.
This had enormous ramifications for SEO experts, as it enabled for more description, but also called for re-writing meta descriptions to optimize top-performing web pages.
Fast forward to the start of Q2 in 2018, and already the SEO landscape is shifting. Here are a few trends to keep an eye out for during the remainder of the year.
As the number of voice searches on mobile devices continues to increase, SEO experts will have to get really good at optimizing for how people speak—a significant change from optimizing based on how users type.
Additionally, content will need to be increasingly optimized based upon questions, as most users utilizing voice search are asking a question.
Mobile First Indexing
Despite the fact that this has been in the works since 2016, mobile first indexing will officially roll out sometime this year. Hopefully, your site is already mobile responsive; if there are areas that could benefit from an improved mobile experience, do so now, because this change will assess your mobile content and determine your rankings to a much greater degree.
Any easy way to test whether your site is optimized for mobile is to use Google’s Mobile Friendly test.
RankBrain, a Google algorithm, uses machine-learning to guess which words or phrases might have a similar meaning if it encounters a word or phrase it is not familiar with, and then filters the results. This use of linguistic similarities is incredibly effective at handling new search queries, and is important for SEO experts as they should now consider optimizing for this algorithm.
One idea is to rethink your keyword strategy, and opt for “medium tail keywords.” Long-tail terms are expected to become obsolete now that RankBrain can understand that longer phrases refer to the same term.
Start now to put these practices into place, as these trends are likely here to stay. For help on any of your SEO initiatives, contact Axis41, A Merkle Company, today.