Apr 13, 2019 - 08:51 PM
Google changes their algorithms over 500 times a year and with further reliance on AI, you can pretty much think of Google's algorithm as constantly moving. Plus you have increasing reliance on personalization and search patterns and behaviors. SEOs attempt to distill what matters in all the noise and pay close attention to what is working & what is not based of very limited data from unreliable sources.
Most years there are one or two big algorithm changes that affect most sites. In 2018 there were a couple large ones. Both centered around expertise and trust and were more heavily focused on areas where expertise and trust matter (medical, food, technology, etc).
Every year there is hype around certain topics, but usually it is too early or not nearly as important as other simple things sites should actually be working on. For example, last year I had a client that was worried about voice search from home devices (Google Home & Alexa) and I expect that will be a big topic this year as well. My research showed very little commercial opportunity outside of featured snippets (position zero results). For the most part people are asking their devices to play music and check the weather. Informational searches were usually had no answer, or simply referred to regular web search results. There were a couple things we could have tried, but it paled in comparison to making even the smallest improvements in regular search efforts.
You should certainly pay attention to the new hot topics, but usually you can wait it out and see if it sticks. Many, many times it doesn't. The thing that I'm paying the most attention to right now are nuances in what Google's last three core algorithm updates focused on (expertise & trust). Google is attempting to understand what makes an author or site more expert or trustworthy than others, but has algorithmically mimic what a human reader might be affected by. Some of it is a shift in backlink weightings (gov. backlinks carry much more authority than before), but I've detected what I believe are trigger words (like PhD) and writing style (matter of fact vs sensationalism).
In conclusion, it's fun to pay attention to the lastest news and developments, but most sites would benefit from the regular SEO grind. Even a well optimized site should proceed on any new development with a long term view because there's no doubt that Google will tweak their algorithm constantly to remove loopholes and get closer and closer to understanding what humans would consider the best results.