Visibility in Google search results is essential for companies in the interiors industry to ensure that their online presence can be easily found. Their online stores for furniture and home accessories are now the central point of contact for new and existing customers. Any company hoping to achieve a top ranking in the unpaid or organic search results simply cannot ignore search engine optimisation, or SEO for short. A quick look at the SEO trends for 2018 shows which strategies promise to deliver results in the coming year.
Growing numbers of search queries are performed on smartphones. In fact, mobile searches now account for more than 50 per cent of searches. It’s no surprise, then, that mobile-friendly websites are increasingly relevant to Google. At the SMX East conference in New York, Google’s Web Trend Analyst Gary Illyes said that the search engine giant is gradually rolling out the mobile-first index. This could become a reality in 2018. In concrete terms, it means that companies will need a mobile version of their website alongside the classic desktop version because this will have a direct effect on their ranking in search engine results. If you want to make sure your website is optimised for mobile devices, you can use this Tool to test it.
The security of customer data is a top priority for Google. Of the major SEO trends for 2018, having an SSL certificate will be crucial for search engine rankings. That doesn’t just apply to online stores but also to websites with a contact form or a website search function. Websites without HTTPS are already labelled “unsafe” in Chrome. Other browsers such as Firefox or Opera will no doubt swiftly follow suit. For businesses, not having an SSL Certificate could mean declining website traffic because fewer people will follow the search engine results.
User behaviour on a website will also be a key indicator for Google, with Google Analytics data being used to analyse it. This is why it’s vital for website operators and online shops to take a long, hard look at user signals such as time on site, bounce rate and conversions. These provide indications as to how relevant content is for users. As a rule of thumb, the better the metrics, the more interested users are in the content. Website loading speed is another indicator website operators should keep an eye on – without forgetting its structure and navigation.
For some time, a Google search has displayed a large box above the first-ranked website in the search engine results. This is known as a featured snippet. Google aims to provide a quick answer to search queries with this feature. The search engine provider may decide independently whether passages from a text are displayed in a featured snippet; however, website optimisation can make it easier for Google to read the required data for a featured snippet.
Google’s optimisation of its voice search function is closely modelled on the enhancement of its featured snippets. This will also mean that long-tail keywords will become more relevant for search engine optimisation next year. Why? Because users’ search behaviour changes when they use voice search. Instead of “designer couch leather”, users ask search queries such as “Where do I find a leather designer couch?”. One challenge for online furniture dealer will therefore be how to cater for specific search queries better. But to do so, they must identify users’ needs first.
In order to achieve a high ranking in search engine results, websites and online shops need to be optimised for people, not machines. Companies in the interiors industry therefore need to consider these questions carefully: what are my (potential) customers looking for, and how can I make their search easier?