Google has made some key changes to the way their bots crawl, index, and rank websites. Because of that, eCommerce sites and other online businesses need to stay ahead of the curve and know how search engine optimization is done in 2018 as well as the optimal ways to implement those SEO strategies for their business. While some may find that few changes need to be made to their current strategies, others may discover that large overhauls are necessary in order to maintain or improve rankings. Read on and find out what the Coalition team predicts as the most important changes for SEO strategies in 2018.
Content is King (as scored by users)
Previously, content took a backseat to on-page keyword optimization and properly formatted metadata. However, complaints about low-quality search results and unreliable sources prompted Google to make content relevance a higher priority. Sites that simply spam keywords regardless of relevancy saw their rankings drop. Google has continued to double down on its effort to drive webmasters and web marketers to improve content quality by looking to user experience metrics to gauge its quality.
With the new changes, Google intends to use things like the time a user spends on your site, the way that they exit your site, and the frequency of repeated searches as ways of evaluating its quality. Because of this, it’s important to utilize keywords that properly address the intent of your ideal customers. Are you optimizing a home page? A category? How about an individual product or blog post? Keyword intent will vary for each of these pages, yet these terms will need to be cohesive in focusing on what it is that differentiates your business from competitors online and they’ll need to be backed up by cohesive content on each URL.
For instance, an eCommerce brand that exclusively produces sterling silver jewelry should utilize a seed term like “sterling silver” across its main category, subcategories, products, and blogs. They’ll want to pair that seed term with adjectives or other descriptive text to help narrow its focus, and then support those search queries with imagery, video, interactive elements, user generated content, and more.
Mobile Searches Take the Lead
Search engines have acknowledged that desktop computer-based searches no longer rule the internet. Mobile technology, including phones and tablets, now dominate search engine queries. Because of this, bots crawl and index websites with the intent to identify sites tailored to mobile devices. Web pages that are ready for mobile users receive higher rankings. In the past, creating mobile pages was an added bonus and not a requirement; however, the search engine landscape has changed in response to contemporary user behavior. In order to remain relevant, eCommerce companies and other online business must know how mobile search engine optimization is done. Providing a positive mobile experience should be a key component in any business’ SEO strategies in 2018 and beyond.
Every business that optimizes their website for search engines understands the importance of link building. The more backlinks created for your website, the better. However, Google noticed that crediting link filled mentions came with its flaws. While backlinks still remain important, businesses need to make an effort to build mentions of their websites and products without the added backlinks.
In the coming months, our team believes that Google plans to give more credibility to products and companies that are mentioned throughout third party sites online, regardless of the existence of links redirecting potential customers back to their respective pages. Networking and relationship building for your eCommerce business is simply part of how search engine optimization is going to be done from now on.
Voice Search Growth
Google Home, Alexa, and Cortana name only a few of the currently available options for using voice search. As of 2017, an estimated 40 percent of adults use voice search at least once per day. By 2020, predictions indicate that around 50 percent of searches will be done via voice search software. Because of those shocking statistics, Google and other search engines have no choice but to begin tailoring their algorithms to keep up the change. And as every digital entrepreneur knows, Google’s website prioritization prompts online businesses to follow suit. While voice search is still a growing market, you should consider planning for how search engine optimization is done when voice search becomes a primary channel for users seeking your products.
A Warning About Manipulative Guest Posts
As mentioned, content takes priority over search engine optimization by deliberate keyword usage and link building. Because of this recent change, we recommend that online entrepreneurs and marketers become a bit more savvy about how they utilize guest blogs. Google plans to crack down and the use of guest posts as an SEO tactic. Therefore, any guest post needs to be well-written, on topic, and free of duplicate content.
The Best SEO Strategies for 2018 and Beyond
At Coalition Technologies, we’re constantly evolving our processes for search engine optimization, how to tailor SEO strategies to specific industries and businesses, and how often to update these strategies to stay ahead of the latest trends. We encourage you to continue learning more about the importance of SEO and contact us if you’d like help with your SEO strategy.