SEO in 2018: The Definitive Guide

Written by: Jason Bayless | May 02, 2018

“Search engine optimization is always evolving. While things like keywords and backlinks will always matter, there are others aspects of SEO that should also be on your radar in 2018. In order to remain competitive, you want to know where to focus your efforts and resources. Be better prepared to maintain your online visibility by using the following tips as a guide as you plan and fine-tune your SEO strategy.

Know About RankBrain

Google is harnessing the power of artificial intelligence to improve their ability to sort through website data with a program known as RankBrain. And this is now Google’s third most important ranking factor, which means you’ll want to focus on what’s specifically taken into consideration with the data reviewed with RankBrain. There are two main things that matter most with RankBrain:

• Dwell time: How long visitors stay on your website’s pages. The average dwell time on a webpage is 3 minutes and 10 seconds. Ideally, you want people to stay on your site longer since this suggests visitors are finding your content useful.

• Organic click-through rate: The percentage of people who click to your site from the link that shows up on search engine results pages. This matters to Google because clicks to your site show that people are actually paying attention to your links.

Comprehensive, Relevant Content Matters

There was a time when a website would mainly be analyzed for keywords in title tags, URLs, H1 titles, and within content. These days, the way websites are analyzed goes beyond the basics of keyword usage to include the relevance and quality of the content.

In other words, one of the most effective ways to continue to make SEO work for you in 2018 is to produce quality content that’s in line with what your target audience is looking for. If you haven’t done so already, get an idea of what’s important to searchers looking for what you have to offer by:

• Considering intent when doing your keyword research
• Testing different versions of your content to see what generates the most interest
• Looking for clues about topics are more important to your customers/target audience in the feedback and comments you see on your social media pages

Length also matters with content. Yes, you still want to keep your website content as readable as possible with short paragraphs and descriptive headlines. However, you also want to look for ways to give your audience access to more in-depth content. Smart ways to do this include longer blog articles on topics of interest to your customers and links to related content in PDF files on your website.

Use LSI Keywords to Improve Comprehension of Content

The more people are engaged with your content, the more likely it is they will share it with others. This also increases your odds of seeing more conversions and a boost in your brand’s awareness, especially as people start to consider your site a trusted source of information. But this isn’t going to happen if searchers can’t easily digest and understand your content. One way to improve clarity is to use LSI (latent semantic indexing) keywords, or keywords related in meaning to each other. For example, “”Apple”” would be an LSI keyword for “”iPhone.””

Optimize for Voice Search

Voice-activated searches performed with virtual assistants like Siri have increased rapidly in recent years. For SEO purposes, optimizing for voice search means using more conversational keywords since people speak differently then they type. Question and answer content also tends to work well for voice search optimization since many people ask questions when speaking to their devices to get results.

Be Accessible to Mobile Users

While Google’s mobile-first index has been slowly becoming the standard way to view websites for the past few years now, it’s now fully implemented in 2018. What it means is that Google will take a look at how your site appears from a mobile perspective when viewing it. With more searchers now using mobile devices to search anyway, it really doesn’t make sense not to make your site as appealing to mobile users as possible. In a nutshell, mobile-friendly involves:

• A responsive website design (your site can be viewed on any screen)
• Properly sized images
• Reasonable page load times

Embrace Video Content

Approximately 80 percent of all online traffic will involve video content by 2021, according to some estimates. While there’s already a lot of content in video form to be found on the Web, 40 percent of searchers want even more. Video content that can help with your SEO efforts includes:

• Regularly submitted posts on visual platforms like YouTube
• Relevant videos accompanied by transcripts
• Videos embedded in text-based blog posts

Don’t forget to be mindful of your stats. With Google, this includes Google Analytics and Search Console. The good thing about stats like this is that your reports can be customized to show the data that actually matters for your business. And since data is available in real-time, you can spot potential issues with online traffic patterns and engagement at a point when adjustments can be made without seriously affecting your bottom line.”