The fact that it is important to keep your website search engine-friendly will not be a surprise to anyone. For years, SEO has been one of the best ROI’s of all online marketing activities. Lets take a closer look at the SEO trends 2018.

In order to have a website or webshop in 2018 that is well-liked and well-found, it is important to optimally serve visitors and Google. We list the most important points and SEO trends for you in 2018.

SEO Trend 1: Natural search terms and slang

In recent years, the use of voice when searching in search engines has increased. In 2016 we noticed this trend already, Google then indicated that one in five people with the voice gives searches. ComScore expects this share to be even higher in 2020, at 50 percent. In addition to the smartphones and tablets, the smart devices are in-house, such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home, which are increasingly being operated by voice. With speech, the searches will not only become longer but also different. Previously, users entered keywords in a search query via the keyboard. When users indicate a search query, it often consists of a question or a sentence. The number of words in a search via voice search is, therefore, longer on average than in a regular way. Since we search differently by voice than with the keyboard, it is important to use natural keywords and phrases. When we type in a keyword, we often keep it as short as possible. For example, we type in: “Hotel Marbella”. If we let the smartphone look something up, we say: “I am looking for a hotel in Marbella”. So full sentences are made instead of just a keyword typed. This also requires a different approach to SEO. Where you previously optimized for keywords, you need to optimize (still) more on longtail keyword combinations. The optimization should focus more on questions and problems that arise from spoken language. Complete questions with the answers. Google is also responding to this with the featured snippets, which I’ll go deeper into later in this piece. So carefully check which questions and problems the searchers have and tailor your content accordingly.

SEO Trend 2: Visual search in Google

Visual search is developing better and faster. Previously, Google could only understand images by looking at the textual information that was added by, for example, the webmaster. Consider, for example, the filename, alt-tag and the title attribute. With the internet becoming more and more visual, for search engines like Google and Bing and social media networks such as Pinterest and Instagram, it is becoming increasingly important to ‘read’ and understand visual content. Pinterest came early this year with the Pinterest lens and Aliexpress also uses visual search in their app. These tech companies, therefore, invest a lot in creating and improving their visual search engines.

SEO trends 2018

SEO Trend 3: Mobile increasingly important

Due to the growth of the use of smartphones and tablets, Google requires the websites to be user-friendly when viewed on mobile devices. A recent survey by BightEdge shows that currently, 79 percent of all keywords and 47 percent of the keywords in the top-20 are different on a desktop than on a mobile device. And 57 percent of all internet traffic comes from mobile devices. Many people search ‘on the road’ and in this way find shops and businesses in the area. Because a large part of the mobile search is local, local SEO is a must. The challenge in 2018 will be to coordinate the search query and the answers at a local level. In addition to local searches, mobile devices are also used to quickly find the answers to questions or the (pre-) selection for a purchase. The attention span on mobile devices is generally considerably shorter than on desktop. In 2018, the mobile user experience should, therefore, be simple and super-fast. In addition to the regular optimization techniques for the speed you can execute yourself, Google also has its own project called Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). In fact, these are lightweight lightweight pages without unnecessary formatting.

SEO Trend 4: Linkbuilding 

Linkbuilding has been important from the very beginning of SEO. This will not be different in 2018. But what will be a big difference is that it is mainly the qualitative backlinks that have a positive influence. Seo specialists always talk about natural backlink profiles. A backlink profile should look as natural as possible and therefore contain both relevant and irrelevant backlinks. In practice, not all backlinks need to be relevant to the topic of your website. In a natural situation, where no work is done on seo, a backlink profile is created in a natural way, where the types of backlinks are diverse; think of backlinks of news websites, press releases, company guides, links of sponsor websites, charities and initiatives, profiles on websites or links from business networks. These do not always directly relate to the subject of your website. The type of backlinks can therefore vary; think of text links, image links and branding links. Linkbuilding is something that you have to pay a lot of attention to. Do this well and in a natural way, this will give a big boost. Do not just focus on getting new backlinks, but also take a closer look at your existing backlinks. Various tools are available for this, such as Majestic and Ahrefs. In addition, the focus in 2018 should be on setting up sustainable relationships within and outside your network. For example, if you offer broker training, you can approach graduate brokers with the request to state on their websites that they have completed their broker training at your educational institute. In addition, you could also approach other less relevant parties (with whom you work together) for an online collaboration. Think of a caterer, cleaning company or printing company. This way you arrive at a natural and balanced backlink profile.

SEO Trend 5: User-friendliness remains critical 

Search Engines such as Google find it important that the websites shown in the results are user-friendly. After all, a website must be shown that not only offers the requested information, but that is also easy to navigate and use. To determine user-friendliness, there are a number of factors that Google takes into account.

SEO 2018 – 3 important user-friendly facts

The speed of the website. Make sure there are no long loading times. This can be prevented by not using large images. The server (and thus the hosting) is also important for the website speed.

Valuable content. The information provided on the website must be interesting and relevant to visitors. There are several statistics available in Google Analytics that you can use to determine whether content is valuable or not. Consider, for example, the time on the pages, bounce rate, etcetera. Therefore, tempt the visitors to surf to other pages. You can achieve this by including internal links in the articles.

Visitors behaviour. Visitor behaviour is an important indicator for Google to assess whether a website is valuable or not. Consider, for example, a metric such as bounce rate, that is the percentage of visitors who left your website without taking any action and returning to the search results. What you actually want is that visitors spend more time on your website that has a positive influence on your positions in Google.

In 2018, the usability of your website or webshop must be better than ever. The user experience on all devices must be error-free. Google is a master in interpreting the visitor behaviour on a website and this will be even more important in the ranking of the search results. Dive into Google Analytics and identify bottlenecks by seeing where visitors get stuck or drop out. For example, view the behaviour on the landing pages. If this is too difficult, you can also use usability tools such as Crazy Egg or Lucky Orange. Not only on a statistical level can usability be improved, also at content level. The better pages on your website are tailored to the search query, the better this is for visitors and the position in Google. There is a strong connection between UX and SEO.

Extra SEO trends 2018

Featured Snippets en Quick Answers

Google has indicated that it no longer wants to be a search engine, but a personal assistant. If you ask a question, Google wants to show the answer as soon as possible. You see this when you ask for a translation or want to know the value of a certain currency in euros. The answer then comes directly to the top of the website without having to click through to another website.

SEO trends 2018

If you optimize your content so that Google can see that this is the answer to a question, your content is also eligible to be in the featured snippet. To realize this, it is important to use natural keywords and phrases. The ideal page would answer all the questions that the viewfinder had to answer within the same topic. Think of it as a FAQ, but for the content, you offer on the website. Featured snippets give the opportunity to acquire a top position in Google relatively quickly. What is increasingly being shown by Google is the ‘Google Answer Box’. This is a section at the top of the page where the question is entered with the answer immediately below. A featured snippet is a listed answer that matches the search that appears near the Google search results. This snippet consists of the answer to the question, the page title and the URL to the relevant page.

SEO trends 2018: The verdict

The SEO trends that started in 2017 seem to become more and more the basis. The SEO trends for 2018 may therefore not be brand new, but no less important. The trends that have now started, will have a huge influence on the way of searching on the internet. This logically also provides a different approach to website and webshop optimization.

For more information on search engine optimization, please visit our FML blog page. Or subscribe to our free weekly newsletter.

SEO trends 2018 The Infographic

SEO trends 2018

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