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Why Businesses Need to Reevaluate Their SEO Keyword Strategies in 2018

By Snap Agency March 26, 2018

The internet used to be such a simple place. If you typed “flowers” into Google, you would be greeted with images of colorful bouquets and information about the history of each bud. But with time, search engines became smarter; better. Now, when you search “flowers” in Google or any other search engine, you’ll still see pictures of brightly colored buds, but you’ll also see ads for local floral shops and links to monthly flower delivery services.

 

With the implementations of RankBrain and other machine learning algorithms, search engines have learned to look past simple keywords to evaluate the user behind each individual query. Keyword strategy use to be a pretty straight-forward field, but such is not so much the case anymore. SEO strategy has greatly evolved, and with the new year, it’s time for businesses to once again reevaluate their keyword strategy.

SEO Keyword Strategies of the Past

No business would ever recycle their past year’s marketing plan for the new year. Your margin of growth has changed, you have new goals, and new products or advancements to offer your consumers. So why is it that keyword strategies seem to be left behind in the dust?

While most businesses know that they need a robust digital strategy, there is a troubling trend of continuing to use outdated tactics as opposed to investing the time and resources to conduct new market research with each new year.

On the one hand, we totally get why businesses do this. It probably took a lot of time and money to configure your first digital marketing plan, why recreate the wheel when the one you already have still turns just fine? But to that school of thought we ask; would you use the same laissez-faire approach to any other part of your business? Your packaging that you used when you first launched your very first product was probably likewise “just fine,” but you’ve since updated that haven’t you?

We know how much effort it takes to understand today’s SEO best practices because that’s all that our SEO team does. We spend thousands of hours researching algorithms, trends, and market data so that you don’t have to.

The nature of search is constantly evolving, and keywords are no exception to this trend. In years past, these were the tactics that dominated SEO strategy:

  • Short tail keywords
  • Site speed optimization
  • Responsive sites for mobile
  • Backlinking
  • And many more

Some of these action items still hold true, like site speed and the importance of responsive web design. But, with the new year, search has continued to evolve and some of the tactics that were vital in 2017 now pale in comparison to the already emerging SEO keyword trends and best practices of 2018.

2018 Keyword Trends to Keep Your Eye On

As we’ve said, a new year should mean a new keyword strategy. Between historical data and projections that take into account changes to search and the Google algorithm that are set to take place within 2018, we’ve concluded that the following trends will be the most impactful changes to affect businesses and marketers in 2018.

The RankBrain Algorithm

RankBrain was unleashed on the world in 2015. In that first year, it was reported to handle approximately 15% of the queries performed on Google. Now, however, it’s reported that the machine learning algorithm handles every single search that goes through Google. To say that RankBrain should be taken into account when creating your 2018 keyword strategy would be an understatement. In 2018, all businesses and marketers will need to worship at the RankBrain alter.

Voice Search and Long Tail Keyword Revolution

It might seem like we’re talking about voice search ad nauseam on our blog lately, but that’s only because we believe that this rapidly growing technology is going to completely change the way searches are conducted. Up above we touched on how the RankBrain algorithm is showing that Google cares more about the intent behind a search then the keywords used in that search, and the same is true for voice search.

 

Smartphones, speakers, and AIs know that when someone asks “What’s the name of that movie with the talking pig” they’re not looking for a list of movies with animated animals or pig name suggestions; all they want is the movie title, “Babe.” This shift in searching behavior has made digital marketers make a transition from short tail keyword strategies to long tail, intent-based procedures.

 

The most important bit of research you can do for 2018 is to discover everything there is to know about your target demographic. How they think, what they search for, their buying patterns, and personality. Once you’ve compiled that data, you can begin to narrow down your long tail keyword strategy so that you aren’t wasting time or money by putting your content in front of the wrong people.

Your Greater Online Presence

We would be remiss if we didn’t bring up the importance of your entire online presence in this blog. You can spend hours writing the most compelling copy possible and finding the best keywords for your brand, but if that content draws users to a crudely designed site or one that has poor functionality, then all of that hard work will go down the drain. A good keyword strategy includes a well thought out digital infrastructure to support it. Between site load speed and overall appearance and usability, if your site can’t stand up to today’s modern consumer then even the best keyword strategy in the world won’t be enough to make you number one. With the new year, maybe it’s time for a new website? Our web design and development teams can help you build something new from scratch or give your existing online presence a complete makeover. Because at the end of the day, traffic is all well and good, but conversions are better.

Meet 2018 Head-On with Snap

At Snap, one of our mottos is “hustle harder.” We’re a scrappy bunch of digital do-gooders, analytical advocates, and media movers. We’re constantly pushing the bounds of what’s possible in the world of digital marketing by hustling harder and challenging the norm. Don’t let your 2018 keyword strategy get left behind in the new year shuffle. Our SEO experts at Snap can help you navigate the churning waters of the search realm better than Captain Ahab ever could have hoped to. And there’s no need to stop there; by synchronizing strategies across search engine optimization, social media, design, paid ads, and more, you can transform your business from just another fish in the sea to the biggest, baddest, white whale of them all.