Doing SEO in 2018 is like riding a bicycle.
And everything around burns.
And you are in hell.
Gone are the days when tons of market-defining keywords were the only weapon of SEO specialists to vanquish search engines and lead SERP. And while backlinks matter, they won’t work if you don’t care about Google’s latest algorithms determining your search results.
They all are about content and user experience with it. These are factors you can influence and improve to please search engines as well as your audience for better conversion.
Why bother about SEO in 2018?
As a marketer, you crave for sky-high traffic, leads, and sales. You spend 27.88% of your marketing dollars on SEO for your website to hit Google, but… so do thousands of other marketers alongside. They know the statistics saying that 93% of online experiences start with search engines, 75% of users won’t scroll to the second page of results, and 80% of users ignore paid ads!
So you understand they all will use advanced SEO in 2018 to fight for the place in the sun of SERP. It’s gonna be a war to the death where standard keywords and meta tags will go far behind the lines to support bulk strength rather than leap into the main action.
To win this war, you need strong SEO allies. In 2018, they are:
1. Comprehensive content
Hardcore SEO specialists remember those days when Google analyzed their content by the number of specific keywords they used in it.
The good news: it still needs keywords to measure your content.
The bad news: the rules of choosing and using them in your content have changed.
Thanks to Panda and Hummingbird, Google’s focus is context rather than content now. It looks for the BEST result to show, which means your content needs to be comprehensive and in-depth to take the helm of SERP.
For that, concentrate on quality and start generating web pages that cover your industry-related topics inside out:
- Make your posts long (1, 200+ words will work best).
- Give a surplus value to your content. (What is so special about it? What information does it have that no other source shares?)
- Consider research, statistics, scientifically-proven facts, case studies, insights.
- Make sure your content is one-of-a-kind: don’t copy other sources, use similarity checker PlagiarismCheck.org to check writings for duplications before publishing.
Anything else can you do?
Consider visual content: graphs, diagrams, infographic, embeddable images – 37% of specialists admitted that visuals affected their marketing results greatly; with interactive content on its rise in 2017, it’s worth paying attention to this trend.
Also, you might want to try winning a “position zero” of SERP, which is a Google snippet, with your content. Neil Patel described the process in his article on SEO formulas that work to kickstart your rankings:
- Choose the basic question your target audience asks in your industry.
- Use that exact phrase as a subtitle of your content.
- Answer this question as obviously as you can. (Listicles with step-by-step guides work best here.)
Long story short, organize your content so Google robots could find it in the fast way possible. The more they understand it, the more chances are you’ll rank on snippets even if you don’t rank in the first page of SERPs.
2. Dwell time
To make search engines believe your content is worth high rankings, create it with RankBrain in mind. As far as you know, it’s an algorithm helping Google sort its search results from the perspective of user-experience signals.
Those signals are many but top two include Dwell Time and CTR, which means the following: the more people click on your result and the more time they spend on your page, the higher rank it gets from Google.
A critical moment:
RankBrain is about how people interact with your content, as well: a frequency of scrolls, clicks, and swipes allows Google to understand the awesomeness behind your web page.
The good news is, you can influence these signals and, therefore, improve your SEO results.
Interactive content will help.
You trail far behind if don’t work with video content yet. According to Cisco, up to 80% of all traffic will be video by 2021. Generations Y and Z crave for more video content, so why not give it to them?
YouTube is a search engine you can’t ignore: the time people spend there is up 60% year-over-year, and more and more consumers are more likely to buy after watching a video about a product/service.
Not persuasive enough? Let’s refer to Greg Jarboe, a SEO and content marketing specialist. Back in 2015, he wrote:
“Not only do 55% of all keyword searches in the U.S. return at least one video blended into Google’s web search results, but 8 out 10 of those videos belong to YouTube.”
And guess what?
YouTube belongs to Google – what a surprise, huh? – so we may expect even more videos in search results now, in 2018.
No time or budget for a YouTube channel?
Embed videos into your text-based content make users interact with it and, therefore, raise a dwell time of your web page. Besides video, consider elements such as podcasts, polls, mini-games encouraging swiping, slides, and interactive infographics whenever and wherever appropriate.
3. Perfect on-page SEO
Back to keywords:
In 2018, the number of exact words in your content matter less. What matters most is a latent semantic indexing (LSI), allowing Hummingbird to rank a page for a query even if the query is absent there itself.
LSI words are co-occurring terms, synonyms, and related searches to add to content so Google robots could rank your page properly.
How to find them?
Tools like LSI Graph can help. Also, consider Google Autocomplete and Google Related Searches to get ideas on what words to mention in content.
What else you can do is go to Q&A websites and forums where your target audience communicates and “spy” on lexical items they use to discuss the niche. As far as they may differ from target keywords SEO specialists usually consider, you will kill two birds with one stone:
- cover keywords your competitors miss;
- help users find answers to their questions.
Generate content and optimize pages for people, not engines. Inform your target audience rather than feed them with ads. Every time before publishing, imagine yourself a reader: do you like this content; would you share it?
Well-crafted and optimized, your page will win over Google and readers’ minds. Just say goodbye to old-fashioned SEO tactics your grandma remembers, and keep up with the latest marketing trends.