5 Things in SEO to Look Out for in 2018

Post written by Barbora Boskova
On Saturday, December 16th, 2017

The year 2017 brought us many new updates in SEO, and here are the most important ones. It’s good to bear them in mind so you can always be a step ahead.

1. Meta description length has been increased

At the beginning of December, Google officially announced that the meta description length has been increased in desktop searches. Basically, it doesn’t depend on the number of characters, as you were maybe thinking, but on the snippet length in pixels.

Before this change, the snippet was around 920 px wide, which was approximately 155 characters.

Now, the meta description length is wider, at around 1700 px, which might be up to 330 characters. The changes are so far visible only on desktop devices. Not every search result is that long, though. Pages with carefully written meta descriptions targeting the searched keywords precisely and optimized for the previous length still have short snippets.

The snippet length in mobile devices remained the same. In other search engines like Bing and Yahoo, there have been no new changes.

How to optimize it

If most of your customers are coming to your site from Google, you can start to write longer meta descriptions with more comprehensive information. In this case, try to put all of the most important information in the first 130 characters, so it’ll be displayed in every other search engine and on mobile devices. Or, you still can keep it simple, clear and eye-catchy, so it will stand out in between other extensive result snippets.

You can use a meta description length checker to find out if your meta description length fits to all devices in Google, Bing or Yahoo.

Many of you are using plugins such as Yoast SEO, which helps you to set up the right meta description length. This plugin hasn’t been updated yet. However, you can still continue using it. The meta description you create in the plugin will be visible on mobiles, social and other search engines, where the length has remained around 920 px.

2. Rich snippets are gonna help you stand out

Rich snippets are the additional information you can add to your page using microformats to code. This is a great way to stand out from your competition on SERP. Rich snippets definitely increase visibility, CTR and following conversions.

These days, many businesses still don’t use them, which makes it very efficient and easy to be one step ahead, also in the year 2018.

You can create significant rich snippets for an event, a review, a product, a recipe, a person, a movie, an album, a book, a place, a local business, an offer and more.

The newest structured data released this year supports creating additional information for job offers, similar product items and fact checks.

How to optimize it

For adding multiple structured data in HTML, most SEOs stick to Schema.org, where you can find all the technical details about how to write them to the code.

For a WordPress site, you can simply choose a plugin. For example, a free good-quality All In One Schema Rich Snippets plugin provides all the important information to display in search result snippets.

3. Voice search is the search future

A voice search is a big thing. And right now is the best time to optimize your website for what’s coming. Every day, 40% of adults now use voice search. That is a huge number. Besides, voice search is growing faster than type search.

The most looked-up questions are connected to phrases such as What, Where, When and How. In this case, long-tail keywords rule in the voice search land.

Dramatically growing is also the local search using “near me,” which makes optimization crucially important for local businesses.

How to optimize it

  1. Do the research on what answers visitors are looking for, and focus on long-tail keywords.
  2. Use more natural language on your website, add an FAQ page, and provide clear answers.
  3. Improve your local SEO.
  4. Use rich snippets to make it easier for Google to understand the content.
  5. If you run a local business, update your Google My Business Listing. Make it as comprehensive as possible.

4. AJAX crawling scheme is gonna become a fossil

At the end, I have for you one bit of news from technical SEO.

Right now, the search engines have problems with crawling AJAX-based sites. URLs containing a #! fragment aren’t rendered by engines. That is because AJAX content is produced dynamically. A crawler can, though, request the content for this URL in a slightly modified form, and in return, it gets an HTML snapshot, which is processed by the crawler. Google confirmed, however, that in the second quarter of 2018, this will be changed.

Googlebot will start to render the #! URL and every piece of content on the page, which is automatically loaded up to 5 seconds. The website owner thus doesn’t have to provide a rendered version of the page. These pages will be fully supported in Google’s SERPs.

Flash, Silverlight or other plugin-based technologies should be converted to JavaScript or basic HTML. After that, the content will be indexed and found on Google.

How to optimize it

You don’t have to. On the opposite, if you run any AJAX technology or WP plugins which are based on AJAX, you won’t need to indicate to the crawler that your site supports the AJAX crawling scheme in the future.

5. “Questions & Answers” are providing you with more space in your SERP

Questions & Answers is the newest feature in Google search, both on mobile and desktop. For many industries, traffic through mobiles is so significant, that this feature can be very important for local services.

The concept is easy. In your SERP, there is an area where people can ask any questions linked to your business. If there are any crucial problems people have, it’s good to answer quickly. In the future, these answers could help other customers find what they are looking for, and they are in hand immediately.

People may ask questions like this:

  1. Do you serve vegan food?
  2. Do you offer your service during the night?
  3. How fast is your delivery?

Look at this example of a local search result of a coworking space:

As this feature is pretty new, it’s not used too much yet, but they received one question, which will help other visitors in the future.

How to optimize it

There is no fundamental way to optimize your site, but you should begin to look out for any questions that people ask you. The faster you answer them, the better. Be aware that other users can answer questions from another user. Therefore, it’s good to monitor this search feature, as that any wrong or misleading answers wouldn’t be good.

You can also dig a little into what is important to your customers and make up your own questions and answers, which your customers could later find useful.

Conclusion

Optimizing of the rich snippets, voice search and meta description can bring you a sweet nectar of higher CTR, while the new feature “Questions & Answers” can help your new and old customers to discover more about you. Fetching the AJAX by Googlebot will also rid you of further tech work.

About the Author:
Barbora works for SEO tool Spotibo as a search engine specialist and marketer, trying to help users to make on-page web analysis easier and faster. To link up, check out her LinkedIn.

Posted in: Marketing SEO

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