While it is never a good idea to follow SEO trends blindly, there can be definite value in staying ahead of the various trends that shape each year. The most effective SEO strategy by far is one that has a solid foundation that is designed to suit your individual needs, rather than a cookie cutter strategy that leaps from one trend or buzzword to another.

SEO Trends for the Year Ahead

A well-rounded strategy works from the ground up, helping you get results that last. With that said, some SEO trends end up having a major impact on how people search for information online.

Over the next year or so, here are some of the SEO trends that we recommend keeping an eye out to get the most from your optimisation efforts.

Voice search

The rise of home automation tools and smart devices has given way for an increase in voice search. This type of search is often a bit different to regular searches, often taking the form of questions rather than phrases. The type of queries made via search reflects the stage of awareness of problems or challenges that users are facing. For example, a voice search could ask where to find a doctor, how to complete a certain task or when to visit a landmark. Understanding the various awareness stages and adapting your content so that it is able to address problems, answer common questions and help people at every stage is therefore essential.

E-A-T signals

E-A-T signals focus on expertise, authority and trust. Content that follows these signals essentially needs to add genuine value rather than trying to simply sneak in backlinks and push products or services. Search engines are getting smarter and more refined all the time. SEO content that adds real value has a far better chance of ranking, while content that is seen as ‘fluff’ or anything that even slightly resembles spam is ranked at the bottom of the SERPs. Although E-A-T content first began to appear in Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines in 2015, it is putting more focus on this type of content in recent years.

RankBrain

AI is also set to continue its rise in the next year or two. Google’s AI algorithm, RankBrain uses machine learning to sort and rank search results according to the user experience. Even though keywords and onsite optimisation remain important, RankBrain looks at other factors, such as the amount of time spent on websites and blogs. This is one of the most important ranking factors and will continue to play a big role in how your content ranks online.

Keep these SEO trends in mind for the year ahead and you should continue to grow your results organically.