SEO guide in 2018
When you talk about SEO in 2018, you think about impressive new strategies that can revolutionize your website. The truth is, there are no new techniques to fix your SEO in 2018. If you are here to find out an SEO guide for 2018, you must refine your site’s current SEO to make it work more efficiently. If your website has not been performing well in search engines, this guide will make sure you change that. If your website pages has been performing exceeding well in the SERPs, it is time to take your SEO game to the next level. In both cases, this guide will be useful for website owners and SEO enthusiasts alike.
“The beauty of SEO is that, instead of pushing a marketing message onto folks who don’t want to hear what you have to say, you can reverse-engineer the process to discover exactly what people are looking for, create the right content for it, and appear before them at exactly the moment they are looking for it. It’s pull vs. push.” – Cyrus Shepard
Starting from the basics, you need to sort out the fact that a website is successful with the collaboration of multiple SEO factors as a system.
There are two things you should master if you want a high-ranking site in 2018:
These two factors hold immense importance for your website’s SEO. If you try corrupt practices to improve your site’s SEO, you may face a Google penalty in the future. Moreover, a healthy mix of these factors will contribute to good search status. No one technique is capable of pushing your website pages to the top.
For example, a good HTML title will not help if the content in the body is copied from somewhere else. Photos won’t matter that much if they are all stock images or downloaded elsewhere from Google. Several positive factors unite to give you a high SEO ranking and more traffic from the SERPs.
On- page SEO is completely under the control of a website owner. The content you publish, the site you design and the template you choose will make your website look appealing to new and old visitors. Choosing a sit architecture which cooperates with search engine bots is also something that improves indexability.
Website owners can’t control off-page SEO directly. There are billions of pages which have to be indexed by the bots every day. How to make sure that your website ranks on top for the best keyword?
This is where both off page and on page SEO help. They send signals to the search engines about the relevancy of a page. Guest posts and link building create enough relevancy for a search engine to believe that your website is the best solution to a user’s query.
While this is a structured way to rank pages, cyber miscreants continue to find loopholes in the system and send wrong signals to the search engines about the relevancy of a page for first page ranking. That’s where the penalties come in. last year, Google released a whopping number of penalties to keep the miscreants at bay.
Google issues some 500-600 updates every year, out of which the major ones like Penguin and Panda can cripple the SEO of a black-hat website.
- Intrusive Interstitial Penalty
- “Fred” (Unconfirmed)
- Google Tops 50% HTTPS
- Chrome HTTPS Warnings
- Featured Snippet Drop
- Snippet Length Increase
Let’s look at the factors which can make your website appear higher in search rankings in 2018:
Rather than scrolling down the page past a slew of ads, users want to see content right away.” – Google’s Matt Cutts
The quality of your website’s content must be top-notch. It is not an easy ordeal for everyone, that’s why this suggestion comes before any other technical matters. It is hard to produce fresh content every day and it is even harder to stay steady with your content efforts all year round. However, there are people who have tried to make it to the first position in this race.
The fitness brand Equinox gained immense popularity when their blog “Q” became successful within a short time. They gathered 1 million blog users who loved to become buyers of Equinox the brand at the same time. Recently, the brand released Furthermore, a digital magazine targeted towards fitness content backed by Science. The reason behind this popularity was research in areas like nature, fitness, science and health. The magazine is planning to spread into print, podcasts and other mediums because of customers demand.
REI is a company which is all about outdoor culture. They have developed a community around those beliefs. a life outdoors is a life well lived is their main motto. REI have an expert library with research articles that average up to 3,000 words. That library is the key source of traffic for the company. It teaches you that unique content will never go out of style, even if it is long-form (3000 words!)
REI also released some long-form videos about outdoor life topics. Those videos gathered 2.7 million views, with a 50 per cent completion rate on YouTube. Later that year, they released ‘paul’s boots’, a story about a young hiker who aspired to hike the Appalachian Trail but passed away before even going on the journey. His story, when mingled with the brand, gives a sense of longing to the brand which builds a stronger brand image for REI.
A mix of emotions and heartbreak is the best thing to drive more traffic and create personal storytelling sessions. It is important that you stay true to your cause and let users decide the way they should take. Stories are the best way to pull more traffic to your website and make people convert into paying customers.
The Schema markup must be your friend. Schema is used to tag people, product and different items in the content which is present on your page. It helps search engine bots crawl your pages in the best way possible. However, it does not directly influence rankings. Many experts call it a door plate. When you read one in front of a door, you know who to find inside the door. Check out this detailed Schema guide to learn new things about this technique in 2018.
The best practice is to review your current Schema status and fix any thing that is broken. Google’s Structured Data Markup header will help you in editing, if manual process takes a lot of time. However, the bad practices must be avoided at all costs. People trick Google into assuming that the page contains certain information which makes the website appear better. These tactics are penalized by Google sooner or later.
Have you ever searched for something and found the most relevant answer in a box on the top of the search engine result page? Those are featured snippets, a new form of ranking practice for the SEOs to strive for. The featured snippets are also known as Position 0, because they appear higher than a paid ad or an organic ranking.
It is like a brief answer to your search query. Type ‘how to lose weight’ in the search bar and you see this:
The result to this query was displayed in a concise manner on the topmost position. The position 0 does not guarantee position 1, but most of the time it is the same. You can use this technique to increase the searchability of your website pages.
The importance of position 0 is being adopted widely in the market. The sooner you incorporate it in your strategy, the better it is for your business. If people use voice search in the future, featured snippets will turn up on the top of a search engine result page. Imagine the exposure your pages can get through a special box on the top of a SERP. In order to prepare your website for a featured snippet, here is what you can do:
- Write solutions to common user queries in the most concise manner possible
- Provide the answer in pointers
- Provide additional information like pictures and videos, otherwise Google will use photos from another website
Lookout for Panda comebacks:
You never know when a Google penalty is going to befall your website. You can always prepare in advance to face the wrath of a Google update. Many black-hat SEOs are penalized by Google penalties. Penalties ensure that the good work keeps going on in search engine pages while the culprits pay the price of their wrongdoings.
Panda is like a filter in Google bots. It is designed to filter pages which have a non-authentic look. Panda officially became a part of Google’s ranking algorithm back in 2016. You won’t know if your rankings are suffering because of a Panda update or not, but here are some best practices you must follow at all times:
- Create expert-level content which is able to drive more engagement on your website
- Make sure that the content of your website is not boring and there are no long chunks of text which become too boring to read
- There is no ‘ideal length’ while writing posts. Make sure your answer covers the query and it is written with good grammar
- Block and un-index pages which are dead or unresponsive
- Stay away from copied content as much as you can. Copied content makes your website look like a thief to Google and it harms your rankings. Get the services of a skilled content writer who knows SEO well
- Avoid duplicated pages as well, because they make the website look doubtful to the bots
- Don’t go for widely-used templates because they are not preferred when ranking in SERPs
- Use a website auditing tool to check for duplicate content and pages
Canonicalization should be your top priority for web page indexing in 2018. It shows a standardized version of your pages to search engine bots. The problem is- some SEOs don’t get it right. It becomes a hurdle in the indexing of your website. Moreover, multiple canonical URLs for one page means the page will only get pushed back by Google. Don’t confuse search engines with back and forth canonicalization. Mark pages with the rel=”canonical”attribute which can be in the header. The canonicalization pages should be live and not have a 404 code error.
If you want your website to grow organically, fix the performance of your pages. Site speed is one of the biggest mistakes made by website owners. It can reduce your chances of ranking high. Practices such as large images, heavy multimedia files and heavy design elements can make your website slower.
PageSpeed Insights by Google is one of the best tools to monitor your website speed. The tool also gives you recommendations to fix your website speed.
- Check loading times
- Compress images to reduce loading time
- If you have any plugins which are not in use, turn them inactive to save sit speed.
- In order to reduce server load times, get Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) for your website
Neil patel estimates that you can improve your conversion rate and traffic by 7 per cent if you make the above changes in the site.
Searches happen on mobile devices nowadays, with users tilting towards mobile platforms to perform routine functions. It presents you with the opportunity to master the art of mobile marketing. Google will reward websites which prefer to customize their pages for mobile devices. Google also announced that they will make it a ranking factor for every website.
This means that the mobile version of your website will be used to index pages. If you have an application as well, make sure that application is listed for indexing as well. Google and Bing have several helpful guides to make you ace the mobile optimization game. Check out the following resources:
If you are preparing your website for certain keywords or words you want to associate with your site, it is a good idea to add those words to your URLs. Your ranking prospects can become different once you try out this practice. It is not a major factor when optimizing your site, but it does have an influence on your SEO. Google certainly rewards sites with this practice with a ranking boost. It is one of the many factors Google prioritizes when crawling your web pages.
As mentioned before, many site elements combine to give your website a positive boost.
2017 went away in the blink of an eye, leaving us on the beginning of another eventful year. This year, website owners will face bigger challenges when optimizing their pages. Artificial intelligence is becoming a household phenomenon, touching lives of people through Internet of Things. Robotos and chatbots make it easy for businesses to connect faster with customers. In the midst of this allround traffic, you must fix your site architecture to entertain the burden at all times.
Google is all about user experiences. If you succeed in improving the user experience on your website, you have more chances of gaining a nod of approval from the search giant. Simply put, focus more on topics around your kewords and refrain from duplicating content. Continute to monitor site speed, page load speed and SEO stats on a regular basis. In the event of a penalty, have a disaster recovery plan ready. What do you think 2018 will change in the practice of SEO? If you have any suggestions or predictions for SEO in 2018, let us know in the comments below.
Also published on Medium.