10 Dec SEO trends and techniques for 2018
Improving website traffic goes hand in hand with increasing conversions, but each year Google changes its search algorithm over 500 times. While it’s impossible to keep pace with every update in your efforts to boost your page ranking, there are some key SEO trends and techniques to follow in 2018.
Pick any blog post or webpage from a list of high converting website examples and you’ll find one similarity among many of them: traffic. The best way to get more conversions is to get more people on your site. If you’re here you probably already know that one of the keys to increasing your website traffic is SEO. Rising up search engine page rankings will increase your business’ visibility and, as a result, net you more visitors.
Focus on the user to rise in the rankings
Google’s continual updates to its search algorithm point toward one thing: user experience. It’s all about providing your visitors with useful information within a navigable, aesthetically pleasing collection of website pages. Consumers don’t want to be sold things, and the search engine giant understands that. Instead, it prioritizes what most people prioritize: Helpful information they can use that proves an entity is trustworthy. In that vein here are essential SEO trends and techniques to leverage in the new year:
Emphasize useful, user intent-focused content
While keywords are still important, keyword stuffing is so 2012. In 2018 – as in recent years – it’s all about ensuring your content is relevant to your target audience. Your blog posts, landing page copy and visual elements should be unique and answer questions that your prospects are asking.
Always consider user intent when brainstorming topics for your next post. When you think about your focus keyword for a blog post, ask yourself: “Why are people typing this phrase into Google, and how can I answer the question for them in a way no one else can?” That approach to content creation will help you make gains in our next entry in 2018’s key SEO trends and techniques to follow.
Build a backlink strategy
There’s a high correlation between legitimate backlinks and search engine page rankings. Backlinks are proof that your website provides valuable, relevant thought leadership content to the online community. Google has emphasized links as a ranking factor since the 1990s, according to Moz, and they continue to be an essential aspect of every great SEO strategy. In fact, Moz still ranks both quantity and quality of links as two of the most heavily weighted ranking factors.
One strong backlink-building method is to pitch content to authoritative site owners, Neil Patel explained. Relevant content is a great way to build site authority in general – a key to proving your website worthy to the Google algorithm. By featuring relevant, informative and unique content you can convince site owners to link back to your page. Browse websites that feature content similar to your own and look at how they source. If your own content is more informative than one of the site owner’s sources, pitch your post as a helpful alternative.
Secure your site
In 2014 Google announced HTTPS as a ranking signal in an effort to protect consumers. Online security is as important as ever, and it’s a huge boost if you’re trying to rise up the SERPs. If your site is similar to another in just about every relevant ranking area, yet the other has switched to HTTPS and you haven’t, guess which Google will rank higher. While most sites on the web actually aren’t that secure, it’s used a tiebreaker, Google’s Gary Illyes stated at SMX Sydney in 2015, according to Search Engine Land. By making sure your site is secure you’re ensuring a leg up on the competition.
Easy reading for higher ranking
Readability is an important ranking factor. Even when it’s not pushing you up the SERPs readability is still important from a thought leadership standpoint. The easier your blog is to read, the more likely it is to get shared and reach a wider audience.
However, in an effort to mitigate keyword stuffing Google’s algorithm updates have improved the search engine’s ability to recognize cluttered content. In addition to that, your website won’t appear very informative if fewer people are going there because your posts are muddled. There are plenty of plug-ins and tools that can help you develop more readable content, such as Yoast or Hemingway Editor. And then there’s the aesthetic aspect of readability.
In addition to content that’s easy to read and flows well, your website needs well-designed pages. Organization is key step toward readability. Use rich text such as italics and bullet points, header text – especially H1 header tags, the most important variety, – and visually engaging content such as pictures or graphs to keep your pages interesting and readable.
When your writing or revising content for your website keep voice search in mind as well. Voice search features are already popular on mobile devices and are making their way into our homes through technology such as Amazon’s Alexa-enabled devices and Google Home. It’s probably the next horizon in search engine optimization, and it will help to get a head start.
Be a social butterfly
If your content is heavily shared on social networks it probably offers value to readers. Google recognizes that and considers social popularity while ranking websites. While it’s not totally clear how Google factors social signals into ranking decisions, it’s probable that they are important.
Social activity on Facebook is heavily weighted, according to Searchmetrics. Other social networks also have a role to play in Google’s ranking formula. Pinterest, Twitter and Google+ are all also important factors. While you shouldn’t choose between Facebook or Twitter – both are helpful – one certainly offers more value. Not only do social signals indicate popular, informative content, but they may also play into your backlink portfolio.
Develop a social media strategy that accounts for advertising on networks such as Facebook, as well as sharing your valuable content at prescribed times meant to optimize views. It also helps to engage with your social media followers. Be sure to post regularly, respond to people’s comments and quickly follow up on their messages. The more people interact with your brand, the more they’ll share your content. With that in mind, Facebook Messenger and Twitter are great ways to engage with your audience and improve your rankings.
What all SEO trends and techniques have in common
You need website visitors to convert leads, and you need an SEO strategy to acquire more traffic. Consider the factors listed above when developing your plan to rise through the SERPs and help your brand grow more recognizable online. Whichever SEO trends and techniques you choose to use, it’s important to keep in mind that whatever your SEO approach is the underlying purpose is an informative and enjoyable user experience. Chances are Google won’t be changing that objective.
It’s the one thing all of these algorithm factors have in common: Ensuring the user is best-served by top-ranking websites. All the SEO trends and techniques you leverage will contribute to a more user-friendly web presence. And at the end of the day, the more visitors like your website, the more likely they are to convert.
Feature image credit: NOGRAN s.r.o