The world of SEO is ever evolving as almost every year brings about new changes in the trends and strategies used in the industry. As 2017 draws to a closed and we prepare to welcome 2018, it is important that we understand that for the New Year, we will need to say goodbye to few of our old systems, modify some of them and look for new opportunities to take advantage of for SEO in 2018. Here we not only look at some top SEO strategies to adopt in 2018 but also emphasize on some well known ones as well.
All your SEO effort is useless if your visitors do not have a good experience when they visit your website. A good user experience includes fast page load speed, clearly understandable navigation, no broken links, mobile friendly and lots more. Some of the components that make up a good user experience (UX) will be covered in depth as we proceed. But from the few points listed above, it is obvious that UX will play a vital role for the success of your SEO in 2018.
The main purpose of your website is to attract the highest amount of visitors possible and keep them engaged and interested enough to convert. But visitors cannot remain long enough on your website to convert if they cannot enjoy their stay. Google has time without number told us that UX is a major index for page rank, what this means is that regardless of the effort you put into SEO, if your website is not user friendly, your visibility on search engine results page will keep on reducing until your website goes into oblivion. And what’s more? Google is now more than ever, moving towards accessing websites based on real users and less on how you can beat the algorithm. To top it up, look up Optimize 360, Google’s new UX optimization platform. This shows that Google is not beating around the bush when it comes to UX for page ranking.
Take Advantage Voice Search
Another place to pay attention to in 2018 is the speedy evolution of voice search. Using big technologies tools like Siri, Alexa and Google voice search, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that in 2018, voice search will own a large percentage of the number of search queries made every day. According to Google, one out of every five searches made come from voice queries and this hold a wealth of advantages for businesses that want their websites to rank well.
The increase in the use of voice search will make the use of long tail keywords very vital. In order to accommodate voice queries, businesses have to integrate long tail keywords that use a conversational search approach. For example, traditional SEO keyword will use something like “pizza central London”, but in order to qualify for solid ranking that takes into consideration preference for voice search, the keyword phrase will have to be done in a conversational tone such “where is the pizza in central London?”. This long tail method will accommodate for the use of voice queries while at the same time meeting the requirements for concise search.
In essence, what this means is that the earlier you begin to consider the implications of voice search in your SEO techniques the faster you can put your business in the face of your prospective customers and the further you will move away from the slow moving competition.
Link Building is not Dying
As much as we might hope it does, the truth remains that link building will be as relevant in 2018 as it is now. Link building invariably remains one of the major factors when for page rank. Your web pages need to be linked to quality websites to improve credibility. Take for a moment to imagine how well your website will do if a reputable source such as the New York Times link to a page or article or product on your website. This is a good way to build brand reputation and recognition.
And keep in mind that search engines have gotten smart to the practice of buying links, it is not just worth the cost and the effort. Building quality links is the only way to go. Your backlinks should not only come from quality sources, they should also be relevant. It makes no sense to build links from a fashion blog to an article on content marketing.
While you are looking for ways to build quality and relevant links, you should also pay attention to linkless mentions. Even though backlink play a vital role in Google search engine algorithm, search engines are also slowly but surely moving to linkless mentions as a factor for ranking. These mentions also called ‘linkless attributes’ are typically in form of a mention of your brand or article elsewhere online. This also builds credibility, and if the mention is from a reputable source, it can serve as a form of endorsement.
Mobile First Indexing
Officially more than 50% of search queries come from mobile devices, this is a huge leap from how it used to be in the past and 2018 is looking to be even more mobile centric. This is why a mobile focus is necessary for your SEO in 2018 if you don’t have one already. You have to make your website as effective on mobile as it is on desktop.
And what’s more? 2018 just might be the year Google roll out their mobile first indexing plan. The mobile first index is simply a database to be used by the search engine giant and it is on the grapevine that Google will soon start indexing data from mobile websites rather than desktop as it has been doing.
Of course, we know that the bulk of Google’s searches are done on mobile, but the search engine still uses the desktop version for it’s indexing, the search engine giant began live testing in 2016 with a tentative full deployment for very soon. This very soon will most likely happen in 2018, therefore if you want your SEO efforts to truly pay off, you might start considering making sure your website, content, navigation and design is fully optimized for mobile users.
Plan to Rank in Google’s Featured Snippet
Featured snippets have been around for a while but web owners either pass a cursory eye over them or simply don’t know how they get there.
A featured snippet is that short summary that answers a question that you find at the top of Google search page results. That is what we call the number 0 position. You have likely come across them several times as you search for how to do something.
Many SEO practitioners and website owners either don’t know how these items get there while others are only now just waking up the fact that having your webpage on that spot is a very hot idea.
Before you can appear in the featured snippet area, you need to know how Google identify what qualifies for a featured snippet. Google looks for pages that very clearly answers a specific ‘how to’ query, when the search engine finds this page, it displays the page and a summary of the answer as a featured snippet in the search page result.
One factor that increases the possibility of landing a spot on the featured snippet is to create pages that provide answers to exact questions people are asking in the search engine. FAQs, infographics, lists and tables are some ways you can answer specific questions online.
Same Content, New Approach
Content is King has been the mantra on the internet for years and it will continue to remain one very relevant part of your website for decades to come. But the point here is that you should enter 2018 with a new approach for content. Focus more on quality and less on quantity. The truth is that nobody is impressed with how you fill up the pages of your blog or website as much as how much they can learn or use what you put up. Content optimization goes beyond keywords, it encompasses every part aspect of your website that can be consumed by your visitor. Almost every SEO expert will agree that short easy to consume quality content that can be updated often is preferable a long boring read anyday.
Do not shirk on videos, infographics and tables. All of this is what Google think your visitors will find useful, so why not make it easy for you and them?
A Final Word
A few years ago, it was only a matter of throwing together a few keywords and tossing in a good quantity of backlinks for good measure to rank well in search engines, but as the years go by and search engines got smarter, the game changed. By 2018, the game might change even more, what will constant updates to search engine algorithms, new trends and tough competition, it will only take being tougher and starting earlier than the competition to keep your website at the visibility level that you are comfortable with.
Have a great 2018.