Here are several trends that will affect nearly every search marketer in the year ahead.

In closing out our big recap of all the big 2017 trends and changes in PPC, I predict we’ll see trends in artificial intelligence, audience targeting, attribution and local marketing continue to develop in 2018.

Those are all exciting areas, but that’s not a particularly earth-shattering prediction. Here is a look at five trends that are related but slightly askew from the major themes that will play out in paid search over the coming year.

1. Structured Data Will Matter Even More

It’s not just for SEO, and I suspect we’ll be talking about structured data much more on the ads side in 2018. Cindy Krum makes the case in her (must-read) column on mobile SEO predictions for 2018 that structured data will become a bigger factor in the year ahead as the mobile-first index rolls out. Krum primarily discusses Schema markup, but advertisers also provide files of structured data via product feeds in Merchant Center and Business data feeds in AdWords.

On this front, Google Manufacturer Center has been a pretty sleepy product since it first came out two years ago, but I expect more brands and manufacturers will pay attention to it in the coming year. Manufacturer Center rolled out to more countries just last month, and the recently enhanced knowledge panels underscore ways in which Google will be using this data. Read more

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