How to do SEO in 2018? – Useful SEO Tips & Techniques for 2018
Each year the SEO game sees new changes that will shape the future of your search engine rankings, and 2018 will be no exception. Ask yourself whether your SEO prospects look good or whether you still need some brushing up to do before 2018’s SEO changes roll in?
Whether you want to up your SEO rankings or continue to dominate Google’s search results, you must know how to do SEO in 2018, too. So, let’s get right into the latest SEO ranking factors that you should focus on in 2018:
Prepare for Mobile-First Index
Google rolled out their announcement of mobile-first indexing last year, and in the context of mobile searches becoming the leading searches, this move is hardly a surprise. When you factor in mobile-first indexing in your 2018 SEO strategy, you should focus on the following aspects:
- Ditch the dot m in favor of responsive design;
- Strive for consistency across mobile and desktop;
- Make sure your site plays well on mobile.
When Google’s mobile-first indexing goes live, your site’s mobile version will be viewed as the “real version” of your site. If you have content that’s hidden on mobile, but you still want it to show up in search engines, make sure it shows up on the mobile version of your site as well.
Given that currently there is no true indexing of m dot content, it’s better to migrate your m dot to your main www, and opt for a responsive design before the mobile-first indexing goes live, otherwise you’ll have to wait for Google to index your m. site and its URLs, which will take longer.
Roll With Comprehensive Content
Since Google has become smarter in weeding out keyword-stuffed content and analyzing context, content that covers topics in-depth has a better chance in ranking higher. As Google strives to show the best results to its users, pages that comprehensively cover a topic tend to rank higher than short articles.
To make your content more comprehensive, aim for longer articles (1,000-2,000 words) and use LSI (Long Semantic Indexing) keywords in your article, which are phrases or words strongly related to the topic of your article. You can use tools like LSI Graph or the “Get Ideas” section of Google’s own Keyword Planner to get ideas for LSI keywords.
Step Up Your Game with Video Content
The world’s demand for video has become insatiable. Online video traffic is expected to increase by 2021, and it’s estimated that it will make up as much as 80% of all online traffic.
So, when all is in favor of video content, you shouldn’t be the one to miss out on the traffic that video content could land you.
As the world’s leading video platform and second largest search engine, tapping into YouTube can be a sure-fire way to get more traffic in 2018. And since YouTube is owned by Google, it’s not far-fetched to assume that we’ll be seeing even more YouTube video search results in 2018.
Another way that video content can benefit your site is by increasing dwell time (i.e. the time visitors spend on your pages), which is also a metric that Google uses to rank pages. To boost dwell time on your blog posts, for example, you could embed video content into your text-based content.
Optimize for RankBrain
RankBrain is Google’s 3rd most important ranking factor that measures the way users interact with Google’s search results. RankBrain focuses on two aspects of this interaction — dwell time and click through rate (i.e. the percentage of Google searchers that click on a given result).
This means that the longer visitors stay on your pages, the better your rank on Google will be. Likewise, Google will uprank results with a better click through rate. The takeaway? Improve dwell time and CTR on your site.
One way to improve dwell time is to draw your visitors in with your content. Make your content visually appealing, easy to digest, yet long enough to justify a longer dwell time. Embed videos, infographics, and other media that make your visitors want to stick around for more. You can also use internal linking to keep visitors on your site even longer.
But before you can worry about dwell time, first, you must get those clicks rolling in. To increase CTR, aim for appealing headlines and titles. Use numbers and phrases that evoke an emotional response from visitors. Instead of using just the bland target keywords your article is focused on, give an emotional hook for your title. Don’t just write “How To Make Matcha Tea”, aim for something like “5 Tips To Make The Best Matcha Tea Every Time”.
Take a Shot at Voice Search
With natural language processing becoming more sophisticated, the year 2017 has seen an increase in voice searches and the use of digital assistants (think Google Assistant, Amazon Echo, Google Home, etc.)
Although voice search is still in its early stages, there are a few certainties we can already observe:
Google voice search tends to read out features snippets (zero position results that show up on top of search results in a special block), so optimizing for showing up in featured snippets is one way to optimize for voice search. Of course, to appear in featured snippet your content should be on the first page of search results.
Another aspect we can notice is the question-answer dichotomy followed by content that appears in featured snippets. And since voice searches are usually question-based, your content should be structured to reflect this dichotomy.
Having your brand show up in a voice search confers it more credibility, which cloud translate into more traffic from Google Home app for example.
Links & Content Still Important!
Despite all these, backlinks and content remain indispensable driving forces of SEO, so you mustn’t disregard them in 2018. Without great content and a great link profile, all your other SEO efforts will fall flat on their face.
In 2018, focus on quality inbound links from authoritative publications, or become an authority yourself by publishing unique studies and data. These could be case studies, trends that you’ve measured in your niche, etc.
Most of the building blocks we’ve seen at work in 2017 for search engine optimization will continue to stay strong ranking signals in 2018 as well. The nuances discussed in our article have been coming for some time now, and the shifts we’ve seen (mobile-first indexing, rise in video content) emerging this year will make their presence felt much stronger in 2018.