Let’s face it: desktops are no longer the most used when it comes to accessing the Internet. People are constantly on the go and rely on the mini PC in their pocket: the smartphone. It’s been a while since Google revealed that the number of searches made from mobile devices is bigger than the number of desktop searches, so this doesn’t come as a surprise.
Webmasters are also aware of this, so they’re doing their best in order to deliver the best user experience. And when it comes to SEO, they’re now doubling their efforts, since they have to optimize for two different platforms.
Like every year, the community is talking about what we could expect from this year in terms of search engine optimization. We’ll leave the talk about desktop SEO for another time because today we’re completely focusing on mobile SEO!
There are a lot of speculations regarding this topic, so I’ll try to avoid the so-called rumors that don’t have any arguments to rely on. But enough with the chit-chat, let’s see what we should look forward to seeing in 2018…
The Mobile First Index, coming soon to a smartphone near you
In 2017, Google ran a lot of tests and it looks like everything went pretty good, as the Mobile First Index is expected to start rolling out soon. What’s this all about, you’re asking? It’s basically a new method of indexing and ranking search listing, making rankings to be based on the mobile version of a website’s content.
Now don’t act surprised, I’ve already told you that there are way more searches made from mobile devices.
If you weren’t aware of this update, now it would be the best time to update your site and make it responsive. That is, if you still want to rank well.
A new SERP layout
Even though we both hate them, ads are here to stay. Even more, we might as well see more of them, since Google is always looking for ways of increasing its advertising revenue.
One of them will imply changing the SERP layout, by eroding organic real estate. But this doesn’t come as a big surprise since we’ve already seen a few changes in this direction, consisting in expanded text ads, smaller ad labels, ads in the map pack or new ad extensions.
No more Map spam!
Over the past months, we could notice a real phenomenon called “map” spam. Basically, companies were loading keywords into their business names, just to appear in local map results. And yes, you guessed it, they weren’t even close to those areas.
But Google figured this out, so they’re expecting to take measures, in order to restore the integrity of the service. If you did something similar, expect some rough verification processes, alongside a penalty.
Serious penalties for ad-heavy sites, with poor content
If you’re familiar with SEO updates, you should know that this is already being done for desktop variants. However, it’s present on our list with mobile SEO predictions, meaning that Google is planning to crack down on websites displaying a lot of ads with poor content this year.
We’re talking about intrusive pop-ups and nasty interstitials, which, if kept, will drag mobile websites down in SERPs.
If we’re allowed to take a wild guess, we will also see complete redesigns for a lot of websites after this update will start rolling out, as webmasters will want to offer a top user experience.
Progressive Web Apps will be everywhere
Over the past years, PWA – short for Progressive Web Apps – were actually on the rise. And once Google’s Mobile First Index started gaining territory, these magical apps gained even more momentum.
In 2018, PWAs will be the best solution, in terms of costs, to offers users a rich and engaging experience, without the need of visiting the Play Store or App Store.
But hey, don’t think that native apps will soon meet their end, but considering the current trends and the fact that the future of the Web is definitely on smartphones, PWAs, alongside Google’s ‘passion’ for mobile-first, this would be a win-win solutions for both users and publishers, combining a unique user experience with an effective marketing tool.
More structured data
If you want, you can call this a new SERP feature. Yeah, this makes sense.
Google wants to always deliver the most qualified answers to your queries. Therefore, the search engine giant will increase the use of structured data. Simple as that.
2018 could be the year of voice searches and interaction, through non-traditional devices, like Amazon Echo, Google Home or even Android Auto. A well marked-up content is definitely ideal for these!
Cross-Device Convergence can become a real thing
Until now, everybody was after responsive web design. And they should keep doing it, since it’s essential in the era of the mobile first index.
However, this year we could see people relying on cross-device convergence, which allows them to move their data, seamlessly, across all their devices: smartphones, desktops, tablets, laptops and so on. Consider this when you’re optimizing for mobile.
Searches will be made by voice
A few moments earlier, I was saying that 2018 could be the year of voice searches and interaction. This will happen because people will stop typing queries and ask personal assistants for the stuff they want to know instead.
Amazon made its Alexa assistant accessible to everybody and it’s planning to do this on a larger scale. Google is also doing serious progress in this direction, while Apple could also join the club, with their speculated HomePod.
Users will now look for voice-based interaction, so marketers will be forced to create new solutions to gain more customer loyalty. And this applies to mobile users as well.
2018 will be a very important year for search marketers, especially for those who are focusing on mobile. The search engine giant going by the name of Google is aware of people’s increasing use of mobile devices and its doing everything possible in order to deliver a high-end experience and the best results. And search marketers will want their results to show up first.
These are just some of the things expected to happen this year with mobile SEO, based on the latest speculations. What are your thoughts on this? Do you think that something else notable will be introduced? Let us know your thoughts, by dropping a few lines below!