SEO in 2018: Overview

What should you know about SEO in 2018? If you landed on this page, you already know what SEO is. No need to get into that now, maybe later.

Your mission going forward is to discover what's working today. As website owners, internet marketers/online marketers/content marketers look for ways to get more visibility online, SEO is still the most effective internet marketing strategy to date.

A lot has changed over the past decade, but Google is still the KING of the internet. Over 90% of all internet users go to Google first before visiting any other website. For this reason, ranking on Google is still the single most important thing for millions of website owners out there.

So, what works today considering the SEO landscape keeps changing? What will hurt your site? What Google algorithm updates can we expect in the future? What Google algorithm updates are already in effect? If you care to discover the answers to these questions and more, here’s a conclusive guide on 2018 SEO.

SEO in 2018: What matters today?

  • Keyword phrases (as opposed to keywords)
  • Richer answers in website content
  • Increased engagement (More ''time on site’’)
  • Longer website content
  • Technical Optimization (better website speed and website security)
  • Mobile optimization (increased mobile growth)
  • Cross-channel marketing
  • High-quality website content

1. Keyword phrases over individual keywords

Keyword phrases are more effective than individual keywords today. Although you can still rank on Google for individual keywords, Google is focused more on intent going forward. Today’s internet users know exactly what they are looking for when they use Google. In fact, people no longer use single words to search for information online, and search engines have caught up and become better at identifying a user's intent.

It makes more sense and yields better SEO results to focus on ranking for keyword phrases and full queries instead of individual words. To do this, website owners must identify the questions their potential website visitors want answered.

A good question to ask yourself would be; ''what are search engine users searching for that is bringing them to my website?''

After gathering answers to such questions, website owners must make the necessary changes to their SEO strategies. If you have pages in your website that rank for a single keyword, you must think of ways to make changes or create new complementing pages with keyword phrases.

The last and most important thing to do is to keep monitoring the progress of those changes you have made. You can use tools like Google Analytics to get valuable insights about keyword optimization among other important aspects of SEO.

2. Provide richer answers & snippets in your content (Implement schema markup) 

The main reason why today’s search engine users are typing more keyword phrases than individual keywords is for them to get richer answers. Remember, Google exists to give internet users answers and the demand for richer/better answers is increasing now more than ever.

For this reason, websites which provide better answers and make it easier for search engines to find and display those answers are ranking higher. Website owners who have a structured data markup popularly known as schema markup help search engines display rich answers in a way that is most helpful to users.  

The volume of rich answers being shown on search engine results has increased by over 200% in the past three years. This trend is expected to continue as search engines look for ways of giving their users better results. Adding schema markup to your site will increase your chances of ranking higher and some of your content being featured as rich answers on search engine results.

If you haven’t implemented schema markup already, make it part of your SEO in 2018. People want to see richer answers displayed in a better manner on search engine result pages (SERPs).

Here is an example of how your page is displayed on SERPs when you have implemented schema markup vs. when you haven't. The examples shows results for a google search for ''best seo 2018 books on Amazon''. The first result shows more details including reviews which can be added via shema. 

3. Increased engagement (improve your ''Time spent on Site'')

Increased engagement is another effective SEO strategy that is still working in 2018. Your ability to make users spend more time on your website pages has a major positive effect on your search engine ranking.  In fact, Google considers the time spent on a site to gauge the usefulness of information presented on a site. Websites which are able to keep visitors engaged for long usually have a better ranking. This is true when you consider website analytics like the bounce rate. The amount of time people spend on your site has a significant impact on your search engine ranking.  

The reasoning behind this is simple i.e. why would website visitors want to leave a page they find useful a few seconds after they visit the page? Since Google is continuously looking for ways to offer the best results possible, the time spend on a website/website pages will continue to be an important metric when ranking sites.

The question website owners and internet marketers should be asking themselves is: How can you increase website engagement?

Well, there are many ways to consider. The most effective include;

  • Good content formatting/Improving readability: Websites that have content which is perfectly formatted and easy to read tend to have a better engagement. The typical internet user is looking for information that is easy to scan. To do this effectively, content creators need to consider having shorter sentences and paragraphs. Bullet points and sub headings are also important since studies have shown that internet user scan for information initially instead of reading everything word-for-word.
  • Use visual aids (such as images in content): Including images, graphs, videos, etc. in your content has also been proven to boost engagement. Instead of using words only, show your ideas in photos and graphs as well to make your content more interesting and engaging.  
  • Give a summary at the beginning of your content: Internet users are spoilt for choice when it comes to getting information. There are millions of websites with the same information as yours so it’s important to tell your readers what they should expect to find in your content immediately. Furthermore, many studies have shown that internet users have a very short attention span. Giving them a summary of your content at the top assures them they are not wasting their time.

4. Longer website content

Longer content is also becoming increasingly important for SEO in 2018. Numerous studies have proven this including one done by Backlinko. To improve the quality of search results, Google prefers websites with longer content. Gone are the days where you could rank quickly using 300-word posts. It takes 2,000+ words to secure the highest ranking today. Of course, there are many other things that go into ranking, but longer website content is ranking better today.

The reasons behind this are simple. Anyone can create a short post and stuff keywords in it. Bounce rates have also been in favor of long posts. With time, Google has realized that most short posts are solely for ranking purposes as opposed to offering website visitors real value. Although this isn't always the case, it is better to create longer posts going forward if you want to rank high on Google.

But let’s face it; creating longer website content isn’t easy.  For this reason, you can consider expanding the content you have instead of writing new posts from scratch. If you are having problems creating longer website content, you can use website content writing services like iwriter.

5. Technical Optimization (Site speed and website security)

In 2010, Google announced they would be considering site speed when ranking websites. Since then, site speed has been and continues to be an important SEO factor. Google has done a lot to help website owners increase site speed. For instance, Google has released site speed tools to enable developers to boost site performance. Google has gone as far as offering tools for boosting mobile website speeds as seen with the AMP project. Most recently, Google launched the ''Think with Google'' tool to help website owners and developers gauge the responsiveness of their sites.

Google’s actions over the years are clear; SITE SPEED MATTERS! Luckily, Google has provided the tools to help website developers and website owners gauge and boost their site speeds. Loading speeds ranging from 0-3 seconds are considered good. If your website takes longer to launch/load, you must do something. A slow website doesn’t just hurt your Google ranking. Surveys have also shown that slow site speeds also chase away website visitors.

Websites with poor security don’t stand a chance ranking high. For this reason, consider investing in an SSL certificate to secure your website. You can get great SSL certificate deals among other technical website services from companies like HawkHost. Switch to https if you haven’t done that already. Https is a secure version of Http. In today’s world of increased cyber security threats, Google is taking website security very seriously. Ranking aside, you want your website visitors to feel secure browsing your site. Furthermore, most internet users today shy away from websites which don’t have the Https.

6. Mobile Optimization

Google also considers mobile optimization when ranking websites today. The number of people accessing the internet via mobile devices like Smartphones, tablets and many other handheld internet enabled devices has increased exponentially. Desktops no longer dominate traffic distribution. Mobile searches surpassed desktop searches in May 2015. For this reason, website owners must make websites that load properly on mobile devices. In fact, Google is signaling mobile as the preferred default user experience in 2018 and beyond. Google has already started testing its mobile-first index.

7. Cross-channel marketing

Cross-channel marketing is simply; marketing done across all digital channels and devices. Cross-channel marketing has become increasingly important today since there are very many popular digital platforms and devices today. To avoid losing out, marketers must establish a presence in most, if not all, popular platforms and most importantly, the presence should be established in an integrated manner. The main reason behind this is to establish a consistent brand presence. Search engines consider social media presence when ranking websites. They also consider the responsiveness of a website when accessed from different devices i.e. Smartphones, desktops, tablets, etc.

There's also evidence showing that cross-channel marketing increases ranking as well as conversion rates for websites. Website owners must, however, know exactly who their target audience is as well as their consumption habits for cross-channel marketing to work perfectly.

8. High-quality website content

Last but not least, high-quality content continues to be KING! At the beginning when search engines were not as keen on quality, it was easy to rank high as long as you stuffed your content with keywords. Not anymore! Such practices can earn you a complete ban. To stop poor ranking practices, Google has released numerous updates over the years. Most of these updates have focused on making sure website owners who post low-quality content never rank high.

That's what makes high-quality content timeless. If you focus on quality, you don't need to be worried about future Google search algorithm changes. High-quality web content also guarantees you constant traffic. When you give website visitors what they are looking for, they are bound to come back as well as recommend your site to others.

Website owners and online marketers who still use deceitful practices to get visitors and make them buy products/services through affiliate links don't have a place in today's Google SERPs. You must provide high quality/useful content to continue ranking high on Google. That's it. There are no shortcuts!

If you can't write high-quality content, hire good writers to do it for you. Iwriter is one of the best article writing services in 2018. NB: Choose elite or elite plus writers to get the highest quality website content.

Summary

SEO in 2018 is highly competitive. Website owners know the importance of marketing their websites on Google. Most importantly, a majority of website owners are already doing basic SEO. It takes special knowledge, hard work and consistency to stand out and get a page one ranking on Google. Considering most search engine users rarely go past the first page of Google search results, specialized SEO is crucial for website owners and marketers keen on enjoying an unmatched competitive advantage.

Luckily for you, we have listed the most important things to know about SEO in 2018. There may be more to what we have discussed. However, it’s more than enough to get you ahead of your competition. It's also important to remember that all the above 2018 SEO tips must be used concurrently. Consistency also plays a huge role in ranking high on Google. You should never stop looking out for Google algorithm updates, site ranking performance, etc., even after you have achieved page one ranking. SEO is a continuous never-ending process.