The web experience has evolved with the passage of time and 2017 was no different. And as we enter the second quarter of 2018, plenty of things are still changing. Marketers are all set to grab the attention of web users and SEO is still the relevant way to grab most of the eyeballs.
And as we turn the page, we realize that a lot has changed when it comes to adopting best SEO practices for 2018. For now, here are the 10 best SEO practices for 2018 that might be handy for top SEO consultants to consider.
1. User Experience
The best way to retain the user and keep them floating from one web page to the other is to offer them with the compelling user experience. While aiming for unparalleled UX, a few points need to be considered:
- Bounce Rate: Aim for lower bounce rate which represents that users do not bounce off the page and in fact stay to scroll the content.
- RankBrain: A couple of years back, Google accredited RankBrain as their most important ranking factor. New amendments are still on the way as Google refines its algorithm. Hence, RankBrain will hold even more importance in 2018 for SEO purposes.
Other important factors will definitely involve time on page (dwell time), site’s responsiveness measured in speed (server response time, site response time, etc.)
2. Compelling Title and Meta tags
One of the very basic things is to have a catchy title to capture user attention. And since Google still considers Meta tags and titles, it is best to align title and Meta tags. Sometimes Google engages the URL and trims those to use it as a snippet which plays a pivotal role in defining your SEO efforts. It largely determines which information is displayed as a result and how it is displayed.
A Snippet is one opportunity people want to click on your listing or someone else's. The snippet is one definite opportunity pull new users and optimizing it from keyword and relevancy perspective can yield desired results. Avoid force-stuffing keywords within a single page and instead focus on maintain an appropriate keyword density and make content more resourceful that adds value.
3. Long but interesting content
No matter the topic, everything that you publish on the web should have a definite purpose. The purpose can be as simple as having an article for the targeted purely to rank that keyword.
But, the content must engage visitors. Should serve the purpose of your readers or else it will just add up to your bounce rate.
UX is one of the factors to consider while compiling an engaging content. Leverage on visual content as well to aid the texts. Check out this infographic as a tip to create 10x content. Make sure that the content is worth reading, effective when shared, blends visual (or maybe videos) and decrease bounce rate of landing pages.
Keywords have a wider scope when it comes to utilizing for SEO. The purpose of having keywords is to give relevance to the content and make the content easily visible.
It is important to know the following
- Keyword density: Keyword density is represented in percentage as the number of time a particular keyword appears on a web page as compared to the total number of words on the page. SEO experts utilize keyword density to decide on whether or not the web page is relevant for the utilized keyword. To calculate keyword density, simply divide the number of times a specific keyword is used by the total number of words that appears on the web page.
- Keyword frequency: This term indicates the number of times a particular keyword appears on a whole website rather than the page (as in the case above). To avoid stuffing way many keywords, the focus should be on the following:
- Ensure that the Keyword is present in the title
- The keyword should also appear in the Meta title and its description
- It is highly recommended to have a keyword in an H1 tag
- Make sure that long tail keywords are used. Keywords scattered throughout the website make it look like a natural fit.
- Incorporate long tail keyword phrases which the visitors use when they're closer to a point-of-purchase.
- Use LSI Keywords since the search engine also considers synonyms of the keywords to bring about relevant results for the visitors.
5. Google’s mobile-first index
Google’s mobile-first index is a technique where the mobile versions of a website turn out to be the first point for what Google includes in their index; and the baseline for how they determine rankings. Check out the below image to understand where the difference lies.
The reason why it is called a “mobile-first” approach is that the absence of a mobile-friendly experience can have a negative impact on website ranking. Website with an enhanced mobile experience may observe a boost in their desktop searches rankings as well
Google is prioritizing mobile sites in several ways for quite a long time. Remember mobile search results began to boost the rank of mobile-friendly web pages back in 2015. Google officially announced rolling out “mobile-first” a month back after a year and a half of testing and experimentation
6. Videos on Pages
Online Video is the IN thing off late and since Cisco pointed that 80% of all online traffic will be video by 2021, things are pretty clear! Videos will be the key to website success. You are certainly missing out a lot of traffic in you are not leveraging on the creating video content. It is time to take the advantage of video content to yield SEO benefits in 2018.
One way to provide videos is to embed them in the blog or a webpage. This is bound to give you some serious dwell time boost using videos.
Optimizing content for YouTube is another way to proliferate deeper in search engine for SEO. YouTube is the fast-growing video platform and Huffington post reported people spending 60% more time compared to previous year. Embedding videos on the website may result in, decrease bounce rate and give a YouTube embedded video Content into text-based blog posts can contribute to user stickiness and higher retention span.
7. Quality BackLinks
While you work best for the on-page SEO, the off-page is something that shouldn’t be missed. Getting quality backlinks from trusted sources adds value to a website. Google itself keeps the “Backlink” as one of the top 3 ranking signals that the Google’s search algorithm considers.
Defining a quality backlink – it must be from a relevant a relatively higher domain authority than your website.
Building repertoire of quality backlink forms an essential part of Digital Marketing. Once that is done, content marketing takes place to get hold of the target audience and influence their content consumption by creating and delivering stellar content. One of the ways to generate such backlinks is through guest blogging. Pitching the relevant topic to a blogging site and dropping a resourceful backlink for users to avail quality referral traffic.
You should also consider the Google Penguin algorithm that penalizes websites trying to build low quality and irrelevant backlinks.
8. Social Media Presence
Anyone new to the online platform will definitely require social media presence. Social Media presence ensures that there is enough that people are doing to stay visible in the competitive market.
Try blending content marketing with social media so as to make your presence felt online amongst wider audiences. Consider this; a recent post that shows up on user’s timeline may spark interest and tempt one to click it. Also, the content is shared, people comment and interact, re-post, and contribute till they ensure that the people they care about have read those articles. Through the use of social media, your marketing content can be shared more and more. This would make the content reach more people within the short span of time.
Social media is more than just Facebook and Instagram; incorporate influential marketing and using visual communication tools offered on Pinterest. These things will add more value to the social media campaigns that are running.
9. Voice Search
Google says that 20% of search queries from mobile devices are voice-based. This indicates the scope of virtual assistants in near future. Voice assistants like Google Now, Siri, Cortana, and now Alexa are gaining popularity with improvised UX.
Optimizing voice search raise the chances of an article to get featured in the answer box. This is also known as “direct answer” and “rich answer”. Marketers may proliferate web content by integrating long tail keyword that is conversational in nature. Such phrases optimize the voice search that is highly conversational. Make sure that the keyword strategy goes well with the way people interact with their devices – asking real-life questions.
10. Moving from HTTP to HTTPS
Security is the major concern for user browsing on the internet. One of the effective ways to ensure that the site is safe is to change it from HTTP to HTTPS. Changing this will help secure the connection that’s established from the user end and their details will be protected. For example, keeping card and bank details safe while transacting over e-commerce website. Moreover, Google considers https as ideal for secured browsing experience and it also boosts the rankings of such sites.
Google rolled out major change last year in the way how non-https websites are handled in Google Chrome. Ensure switching to HTTPS because chrome shows a security warning for HTTP pages when a user visits them.
Having said that, 2018 will still be coming with a lot of innovation of SEO front and the marketers who hustle the most will end up getting desired results. Do comment below if you are following or plan to follow any of these 10 SEO techniques for 2018.