If one were to attempt to write the history of search engine optimization, it would result in something a bit abstract and obscure. There are dates of the birth of the internet and the use of certain search engines. But, there is no one moment that search engine optimization began.
One thing is for sure, however.
That is, SEO in 2018 does not look the way it did 20 years ago. It doesn’t even look the way it did one year ago.
Which makes sense, given that technology and marketing strategies are constantly changing and advancing.
What does this mean for you and your company? It means that if you are going to optimize your web page and get your business ranking high on the internet, you need to stay up-to-date with the current SEO trends.
If you aren’t an SEO expert, that task can seem daunting. But don’t fret, we did the work for you (you’re welcome).
Here is a simple list of 5 SEO strategies to implement in 2018 to stay ahead of the game and keep new leads coming in.
1. ANALYZE 2017
Seems like a basic, but it’s consistently doing the basics which leads to great things.
There are tons of great tools out there to analyze your SEO tactics and make sure you are on the right track. Tools like Google Analytics will let you see which web pages brought in the most clicks, where your traffic came from, and let you measure your ROI.
If you aren’t analyzing the past year, you are going to have a hard time knowing which direction to go for the next. While it may feel like a hassle, DON’T skip this step.
For a more step-by-step guide check out this article on How to Analyze Your 2017 SEO Success.
2. FOCUS ON CLICK-THROUGH RATE
What is click-through rate?
CTR refers to how often your listings on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) generate clicks compared to how often your listing appears in search results.
How does CTR affect your SEO?
Say you run a real estate agency and your company page is listed fourth out the search results for the keyword “homes for sale.” Then say, for whatever reason, the majority of people choose to click on your link rather than the three that were above you. Google would reward you for this, and your ranking would likely improve.
How do you improve your click-through rate?
It’s not as difficult as you might think. A big part of it are your title tags and description tags for each of your pages. If those aren’t clear and catchy, your click through rate will be terrible.
Within your tags you can use words that suggest simplicity or urgency. If you haven’t sat in your car during a traffic jam amidst honking cars and angry drivers maybe you haven’t learned this yet, but people aren’t patient. That means people are generally looking for the simplest information and quick fixes when they are turning to search engines. “Fast”, “quick”, “easy” and similar words in your tags will help your CTR.
Another tip is to use Adwords to find out what words and phrases users tend to use that are related to your business. Avoid keyword stuffing throughout your content, because that will actually rank you down. But, pick a few keywords a focus on using them well!
3. OPTIMIZE FOR MOBILE
It feels like SEO talk these days is all mobile, mobile, mobile.
When you look at the statistics, you understand exactly why SEO experts can’t talk about mobile enough.
Designing mobile-friendly websites has always been important to keep users happy and reduce your bounce-rate, but they’re becoming increasingly important for SEO as well.
Take, for example, Google’s announcement to soon switch over to a “mobile-first index”.
This means, Google will consider the mobile version of your site the “real” version regarding optimization, even if someone searches from a desktop.
Why? Well, when 60% of Google searches are now from a mobile device, it makes sense. Mobile search is now the norm, and that will continue to increase.
There are a few things you can do to prep for Google’s Mobile-first index:
- Make sure your content is consistent between your desktop site and your mobile site. Excluding certain information in order to save space will drop your rankings.
- Keep no secrets… That means nothing hidden behind menus, or expandable sections on your mobile site. The user should be able to easily scroll and see everything they need.
- Use the Mobile-Friendly Test tool from Google. This will ensure your site runs smoothly on all devices. Enter in a URL, and the tool will analyze your site and even offer suggestions for improvement.
4. PREPARE FOR VOICE SEARCH
This may have been something you could ignore in the past, but not anymore. Nowadays 20% of searches on Google’s mobile app or Android devices are done by voice command (see this infographic).
To account for this, include a question (and answer) in your content. This works because most voice searches are question based (Where is the closest gas station? How many cookies can I eat without getting sick?)
Google is a big fan of those pages that both ask the question and provide the answer.
With more and more companies going digital, competition online continues to rise. Instead of running away from your competition however, you might want to run towards them.
Especially if you are a niche company, pay attention to this. There may be certain niche bloggers or social media users with a large fan base that could help you out. A guest blog or few mentions on Instagram can do a lot to generate new leads to your website.
When it comes to generating your own content, don’t shy away from providing links to other blogs. It’s good etiquette and may help you make some friends as they “link you back” in their own content.
In general, good relationships on the internet can lead to good links. Good links leads to better ranking.
So while we don’t exactly know the future of SEO, we do know some of what 2018 will bring. Analyze 2017, focus on CTR, optimize for mobile, prepare for voice search and build your online network. Doing so will lead you where you want to go- towards the tops of those search engines!