What are the best practices for SEO in 2018? Well first, lets go over what SEO actually is? Search Engine Optimization or SEO is exactly what it sounds like: it is the process of increasing ones online visibility via search engine results (whether on Google, Yahoo, Bing etc). SEO is often considered to be a method of producing “organic” or “natural” traffic to a web page or site. Every time a search is conducted, search engines employ their own algorithms to provide the user with the most relevant, reliable and accurate results. This is what they deem to be the ‘best’ source of material. This article will identify the most up to date trends in SEO. Here are some of our recommendations for business that need to do to improve their search-ability in 2018:
1. Website Optimization
It is important to not only maintain the tried-and-true SEO strategies, but to also reinforce and improve them. Since there are so many different ranking factors to Google’s algorithms, a site could likely have dozens or even hundreds of SEO tasks to keep up with. Several of the most important tactics include improving and maintaining technical SEO issues such as:
- Site speed,
- Mobile performance,
- URL issues,
Engagement and content quality SEO issues such as:
- Low click-through rate (CTR) and
- Lack of linkable content
- Mobile SEO issues.
These are all critical tasks in maintaining the quality of a site, while also focusing on on-page SEO and focusing on creating a great user experience.
2. Content is Still King
Content is King— and that is not about to change in 2018. But what does that mean in regard to SEO? A business may have great on-page SEO, however if they are not providing relevant, unique, valuable content to their users, an SEO campaign is likely to fail. SEO should, without a doubt, be a factor in any business’s growth strategy. Publishing SEO optimized blog content is going to rank higher than unoriginal, existing articles. HubSpot, an inbound marketing and sales software, recently implemented a tool called Content Strategy. The tool makes it easier for companies and businesses to learn how to rank better for certain subjects and improve their on-page SEO.
Visual content is also quite relevant when it comes to improving website ranking. Typically visual content gets more views than text posts. It is also preferred by audiences over other types of social media posts. A poll published by the Social Media Examiner found that 37% of marketers claimed that visual marketing was the most important communication form for any business. With visual social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest growing rapidly, a great way to improve your SEO in 2018 is through visual content. In brief, we believe that content will continue to be a strong foundation for SEO in the upcoming year.
Keywords have been a crucial part of SEO in the past. But are they still relevant in 2018? While some articles will say no, we beg to differ. Keywords are perhaps the most integral part of SEO. However, focusing purely on keywords is an outdated SEO strategy. In 2018, outdated strategies like “keyword stuffing” will definitely work against you. Google and other search engine’s have become more sophisticated and more perceptive.
So what keyword optimization strategies will dominate in 2018? SEO experts have moved away from “keyword stuffing” and have shifted their focus towards keyword prominence, proximity, and density. Keyword placement, although less important than it was in the past, is still important to a website’s on-page SEO. Title tags, subheadings, URLs, and opening paragraphs should still strive to contain keywords and other targeting words whenever possible (while still remaining relevant and concise). When it comes to keyword research tools, here are some that will likely be the most popular in 2018. We recommend that content marketers check out the following to help guide them with keyword and phrase optimization:
- Ahrefs Keyword Explorer,
- Moz Keyword Explore.
4. Voice Search
Smart speakers were extremely popular in 2017, and we predict that numbers in 2018 will dwarf the ones of 2017. Search queries conducted by voice searches have a much more conversational tone and as a result will change SEO content. As Loren Baker of the Forbes Agency Council explains: “It’s about creating content for user intent. Search engines can interpret context so that content that answers a question and contains information about a topic will win.” (Excerpt from Forbes) According to a study described on Backlink Co., 40% of adults perform at least one voice search query each day.
That being said, what are the main strategies when it comes to optimizing for voice search? First, most of the basic content should be on the first page or as close to it as possible. Relevant content still matters when it comes to voice search. Similarly, content that is clean and easy to read and understand will likely improve a site’s rank in voice search. Another strategy, because voice searches are question-based, is to include both a question and an answer in the article. A search engine will automatically search the web for the question taking into account its phrasing; those websites that provide both the question and the answer will likely tend to rank higher in voice searches.
5. Social Media and Trends
Social media marketing and SEO are closely linked strategies; efforts to improve or increase one will likely have positive benefits on the other. Combined these two can greatly increase a company’s organic reach.
There are several social media practices that will effectively boost SEO. Here are a few that we find to be the most important for 2018:
- First, growing the social media followers will have a positive impact on ranking. The more users who search or engage with a company’s content, the more social signals they will generate. While its a little more complicated than this, there is an undeniable link between a site’s overall ranking and their number of followers.
- The second strategy is to encourage outbound links. One of the benefits of keeping up with and improving social media accounts is that more sites are likely to link to your content, which will in turn make a site that much more attractive to search engines.
- Finally, it is important to remember that social media platforms operate as search engines as well. Taking advantage of hashtag searches and relevant keywords on social media channels can also help a brand or business become more visible in search queries.
I hope you guys enjoyed this weeks article about SEO best practices for 2018. Please comment if you have any questions or need any tips and please share the article with your friends to spread the SEO love!