While this general principle is quite clear, on the other hand, the way to achieve these top results is still as ambiguous as ever. The thing that constantly changes is the way people perform searches, the gadgets they use for search, and what they actually search for. When it comes to the fast-paced world of ecommerce, predicting people’s behavior is difficult.

Now that the first quarter of 2018 comes to a close, I thought I’ll share my thoughts on what’s the most likely to happen in the SEO world in the remainder of 2018. Here’s what I think lies on the horizon.

Google’s Mobile First Index is rolling out

When compiling the search rankings, Google’s Mobile First Index prioritizes the mobile-friendly websites. This feature was scheduled to release last year, but by the end of December 2017, it had only been applied to a handful of sites.

This might have made some ecommerce store owners happy, but it’s high team they start investing in the mobile versions of their sites as well. Google’s shift to mobile is another reminder for site owners that the smartphone and tablet versions of their website should also be at top of their SEO game similar to the Desktop counterparts.

Click-through rate (CTR) and Bounce rate still on top

According to SEMRush, user signals like CTR and bounce rate will be on the rise in this year. There is no doubt in my mind that this is the case; however, Google is striving towards a more complex and complete way to understand the behaviors of its users which means moving away from the discrete measures like click-through in favor of a more holistic approach as “search satisfaction.”

Content is still the king

The year 2017 saw a great rise in search engines’ ability to understand and recognize actual relevant, high-quality content – and I expect to see this trend going strong throughout 2018 as well.

This is a welcome development for small business owners who distinguish themselves from the competition on the basis of their deep knowledge about the services and products they sell, and their target audience.

The progress we are making in the natural language processing technologies are definitely helping this trend. Search engines’ ability to seamlessly process natural language also helps shift us towards voice-based queries/searches which is something we will definitely see mature throughout the year.

Artificial Intelligence-based home assistants such as Google Home and Amazon Echo provide people the opportunity to perform searches when they are unable to use any physical device such as in the middle of a full-blown cooking session which can be quite messy. This advancement is definitely good news for entrepreneurs that run online marketplaces dealing in products that serve these niches.

All structured data matters

With all the things we have discussed so far, it should be quite clear that we will also see a rise in the significance of structured data on your websites. Say goodbye to those days when random blobs of text stuffed with keywords were good enough to get you features in search results.

Search engines’ growing capability to understand and reward high-quality content clearly shows that people who are searching have had enough of all the garbled-keyword-ridden text instead they expect search results to show well-structured rich snippets of relevant high-quality information.

Ecommerce is all about security

Security isn’t important anywhere than it is in the ecommerce business where the ecommerce sites handle very sensitive and confidential information of their vendors and customers. This year we expect to see Google marking all the sites that don’t have an SSL certificate as “insecure” in SERPs. This definitely won’t affect top marketplaces since they will already update their security practices; however, it shows the importance of security to all the new entrants in the industry.

Online buying and selling is all about the visuals

The rise of ecommerce has also shown us an upward trend in visuals when it comes to online buying and selling. So, it’s absolutely crucial for marketplace owners to ensure that they use high-quality photographs of their products. They should work closely with their vendors and suppliers to make the photos as aesthetically attractive as possible. It’s quite clear that visual literacy is of higher importance in today’s rapidly growing age of visual search.

As you can already tell, There have been a lot of changes and developments in the search engine behavior over the previous couple of years, and these developments will continue to evolve in what is left of the current year.

Again, reaching those glorious top-spots in search engine results will require an in-depth understanding of the technical landscape of SEO. However, we’ve learned that search engine behavior is becoming more human-like and smarter which means that SEO is going to be less about understanding technicalities, and more about producing high-quality, distinctive content around the products and services that are being offered by your ecommerce site.

 

**About the Author: Dilawar Hussain is a professional blogger who loves gaming, technology, and ecommerce. He spends his time testing new strategies, hacks, and tricks to help the ecommerce community.