SEO, or search engine optimization is a familiar phrase to anyone with a business. As the key component to your success, it has to be done with attention to many factors. Unfortunately, just as digital marketing strategies change from year to year (and in some cases even more often) to adjust to the changes in Google's algorithms, so too must your SEO strategies. To help readers optimize their outcomes in the next year, or so, we've compiled a list of the most effective search engine optimization strategies for 2018.
As you might guess, some reflect the constant shift towards mobile devices, but other trends are a bit surprising, though still important. Let's start with some of the newest issues and move on to a few less expected trends.
The experts agree, this "technology presents a big opportunity for changing the way we communicate and process information. The rise of digital assistants has presented a growing market that can change the way search queries are performed." How? The use of voice search means two important things:
1. More natural language must be considered when selecting and implementing your keyword strategies; and
2. Long tail keywords are going to become more and more relevant
As mobile device users become more adept at the use of voice commands and searches, you'll need to continually tweak and fine tune your wording to reflect that conversational tone. Remember too that it is not only about mobile, but also home integration with digital assistants.
Organic Loses Footing
As reported by the Content Marketing Institute, a site may no longer be the first result seen, even though it may have made it to the top spot with its own organic SEO tactics. This is due to several new features on Google's typical SERPs.
- Featured snippets are "summaries for the searcher's query that appear at the top of the page"
- "People also ask" is a relatively new feature that shows related queries. For example, your audience might type "what is B2B marketing?" and see that the People also ask section has drop downs for "What is the meaning of c2b?" and other such questions.
- Adwords, reviews, videos and images may also appear ahead of the top organic SEO results.
The point is to develop your search engine optimization strategies for 2018 to reflect these new elements and discover the methods needed to appear in one or more of them.
Local SEO for Mobile Optimization
Around 57% of searches are already mobile. This means that your search engine optimization strategies for 2018 have to evolve to reflect that. As your intended audience begins to seek more and more information while on the move, you need to optimize for that need. Though you are eager to offer the best possible result to any search (local or around the globe), the shift towards long tail and localized SEO is impossible to ignore. As one expert said, "brands will face a big opportunity of marketing their business at a local context," so ensure that geographic keywords are integrated into the plans.
One step that many website owners fail to take is to audit and/or inventory all of the pages on a site. This is particularly true for sites with a lot of older content/pages. This can actually degrade SEO outcomes by allowing outdated or low performing material to remain.
To re-optimize content, simply inventory the entire site and tag any older material that might still have relevance for traffic generating, link building, conversions or branding. For example, look at content that covers relevant topics but which might be outdated, or look at information deep pages that have failed to get the links you believe they should. Also look at your lowest performing pages that might have important keywords.
Then re-optimize them by giving them better title tags, building relevant internal links, and reorganizing the position of these materials in your overall structure. Just taking a few simple steps to re-optimize existing, well thought out content, can improve your site's organic SEO quite dramatically.
Content is always, and really that should read ALWAYS, king. While it does establish your expertise, authority and builds trust, you cannot ignore the "other" key elements of SEO - architecture and link building.
Let's first look a bit more sharply at architecture. Most website owners are already aware that they must ensure that Google can locate, crawl and index the site, as well as readily noting the most important pages of the site.
An important SEO strategy for 2018 is to become familiar with the crawl budget. This is something "based on the site's popularity/authority and its size. Optimizing your site's crawl budget typically boils down to how you prioritize what pages to be crawled and re-indexed regularly."
In other words, it is improved or expanded when you revisit your site's architecture to be sure that all of the key or most significant pages are the most readily accessible to both website visitors and the Google crawlers. You'll also want to improve the budget by building more and more internal links to those pages (or the pages you wish to have regularly crawled and re-indexed).
Lastly, you want your SEO strategy to focus on that link building. Link building has long been essential to establishing a positive reputation, but where your SEO and Google crawl budgets are concerned, it is important to increase the site's link authority as this improves the crawl rate. This translates to higher crawl frequency and/or a bigger budget.
And while thinking about the crawlers and the effect on SEO, pay attention to the low value pages on your site, and even take steps to block them from being crawled at all. These pages would include onsite duplicate content, outdated content, proxy pages, and even faceted navigation pages.
Always remember, too, that SEO is about user experience, and even more so as time passes. A site that is packed with relevant content, is visually engaging, easy for search engines to read, and which operates at a fast and effective speed can also ensure that it is going to get the best SEO outcomes possible.