SEO 2018: the hot topics

Written by: Manon Manon

The start of a new year is just around the corner. Is 2018 going to be the year of Rankbrain, Voice Search and Google for Jobs? Will website visitors behave differently in 2018 than they did before? What will be ranked as the most valuable to search engines and, what will be most important for the rankings in Google?

What will be the SEO trends of 2018?

Results from the past usually provide you with some solid leads for the future. In 2017 people used Google millions of times to search for a job. In fact, 4.5 million visitors found the career platforms from one of our clients through an organic search in Google. With so much content on the Internet, how do you make sure your vacancies stand out from the rest in 2018?

Based on last year, what will be the hot topics for Search Engine Optimization in 2018? We give you an overview:

  1. Job posting structured data
  2. Long snippets
  3. Video
  4. Mobile-first indexatie
  5. Rankbrain

1. Job posting - structured data

Improve the online findability of your vacancies by adding structured data.

How do structured data mark-ups work?
Information about your vacancies, such as salary and contract type, are just numbers and letters without the use of a structured data markup. By adding these structured data mark-ups you can provide context to your text and make sure that search engines can interpret and index your information in a better way.

How does structured data contribute to SEO of your career site?
You can improve the job seeking experience by adding JobPosting structured data to your job posting web pages. Google Search works hard to understand the content of a page. By adding structured data you provide Google with information about a page and classify the page content, for example salary, education levels, contract type and required experience level. Google might use this information to display your vacancy in a more attractive manner. This can result in your vacancy standing out from the rest on the search engine results page.


2. Longer snippets

Google announced in begin December that the snippets in the resultpage will be expanded to 320 characters.

What are snippets?
Snippets are short pieces of text about your website displayed by Google on their resultpage. Google used to display the URL, title tag and meta description of your webpage. By providing a quality custom meta description matching your vacancy, the content of the webpage and the search queries of the user, you had a good opportunity of a high position on the resultpage rankings.Why did Google change the length of its snippets?
The result of continuous testing shows that longer descriptions help the user to better find the desired answer based on the search query they have used. More space for an explanation reduces the insecurity for the visitor. And, this matches Google’s aspiration to serve their users with the best possible and most relevant answers on their questions at all times.

What is the effect of longer snippets on SEO?
Google will probably show more texts from the web page in the results. What this means for the added value of the manual and custom added meta descriptions is still unknown. Time will tell whether this development will be the end of the meta description. Perhaps the time of manually adding custom descriptions will keep going. To be continued!


3. Attract talent with Video

Why Video?
Visitors spend on average 55 seconds reading a vacancy text. When visitors choose to watch a video, they are willing to spend more than 5 minutes! Video provides you with the chance to get visitors familiar with your corporate culture, work environment and colleagues besides the usual job description.

Does Video contribute to SEO?
Yes. Rich content is seen as valuable, both by your visitor and by Google. Google evaluated video content as valuable, especially YouTube videos. It is recommended to place your rich content on your website as well as YouTube. Besides Google, YouTube is the number 2 largest search engine world wide. Visitors watch together for a billion hours on content on average a day. Google displays YouTube videos in the search results, making it a win-win situation.


4. Mobile first indexing

On November 4th 2016 Google announced their start with experimenting on mobile-first indexing. In 2017 they have implemented this completely.

What does mobile first indexing entail?
After prioritizing desktop for 18 years, the priority has now officially shifted towards mobile devices. Google knows based on data that most people worldwide now search from a mobile device. Also, on our career sites we can see the shift from desktop to mobile. However, mobile does not have the majority, yet (47%). This will be different for 2018.

Agoda mobile

Does this mean we have to ignore desktop search?
No, definitely not! It is the challenge to find the balance between user friendliness for your visitors on both desktop and mobile.

What is the effect of mobile first indexing on SEO?
Google will primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site. If you have a responsive or a dynamic serving site where the primary content and markup is equivalent across mobile and desktop, you shouldn’t have to change anything. If you have a site configuration where content is different across mobile and desktop, you should consider making some changes.


5. Rankbrain

Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence, frequently heard terms in 2017. Google introduced Rankbrain in 2015 and every year it becomes more relevant, Rankbrain is a work in progress.

What is Google Rankbrain?
Rankbrain is a component of the Google algorithm which uses machine learning. This system of Google gets smarter based on the data from search queries of Google users. Google uses this knowledge to provide their users with the most relevant results matching their search. 

Google is able to provide continually better search results whenever the intention of the search query is understood the right way. For example, the location of users and personal preferences are used to provide the most relevant results.

How does Rankbrain work?
It can help to put yourself in Google’s shoes. How do you find out what the intention of a search query is? What is it the visitor is looking for when he or she searches for “working as content marketer”? By only using the amount of links of the website, you might forget that the user is looking for a vacancy in the neighborhood. By learning from the results from previous search queries Google is able to determine the best way search results are valuable for the visitor. In this case, it can mean that Google has invented that when people search for “working as content marketer” they are looking for vacancies in a circumference of 50 kilometers.

Can you optimize for Rankbrain?
The answer is no unfortunately. SEO that is specific for Rankbrain is not possible. But, what you can do to enhance your website? Focus on content and know the target group you’re writing for. Create valuable content that matches your visitors needs. And, make sure to update your site regularly with fresh content to make sure you keep serving and inspiring your visitors.

SEO in 2018, is your career site future proof?

What does 2018 has in store for us? We cannot predict the future as SEO is continuously developing. How will Google improve her understanding of search engine users and their search intention as well as the relation between subjects. How intelligent will Rankbrain become? What will be the impact on both traditional and Voice Search search results? Will 2018 be the year of Google for Jobs in the Netherlands?

We’re looking forward to 2018!

Want to know more about SEO? Contact Endouble.

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