We’re halfway through 2018 and the ever-changing industry of SEO is as big as ever. As more and more businesses delve into the digital world, the importance of SEO becomes clearer. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the act of optimizing your content for organic search engine results. When 51% of all website traffic comes from organic search and 93% of online experiences start with a search engine, it’s easy to see why SEO is important.
Getting your business to rank within the first few results on Google has never been more important. Here’s 4 areas to focus on which can help your SEO efforts in 2018 and beyond.
Voice search is an emerging area that’s impacting on the SEO space. With the popularity of ‘voice-first’ devices like the Google home and Amazon’s Echo on the rise, it’s crucial that you are considering voice search in regards to your site’s SEO. Thanks to voice-first devices, people can now get answer, information and book appointments by simply talking to a device.
Much of this information is pulled from the website ranking 1st, or the featured snippet on the search results page. Obviously, this means ranking up the top is important, but it’s important to consider how voice searches will work.
People talk different from how they type, and because of this there will be more variation and long-tail searches. Aim to answer the questions your customers are asking with high quality and valuable content. While voice search might not be the most popular way of getting information, it’s popularity is set to increase, so optimising for it now can put you in a good position for when voice search is the norm.
Whether we like it or not, mobiles are becoming more and more important to our everyday lives. We’re moving away from traditional media such as television and radio and relying solely on our smartphone for everything from entertainment to research and news.
2018 has seen a ‘mobile-first indexing’ approach from Google, meaning that Google uses the mobile version of a site as the starting point for what to include in their index and rankings. This means that the lack of a mobile website, or a poor mobile experience could negatively impact your Google rankings.
Having a fast loading and easy to use mobile website is crucial for SEO in 2018. With Google suggesting that a good loading time is under three seconds, it’s important that you improve your page speed. This can be done in a variety of ways and will depend on your site. Investing in high-performance web hosting might be the answer but you might be able to improve your speed by compressing your images or compiling and minifying your code and leveraging browser caching. This becomes even more important when you consider that page speed is a ranking signal itself.
With the increasing prominence of voice search and the importance of mobile, it can be worthwhile to pay attention to the Featured Snippet function on Google. Featured Snippets, also known as Rich or Direct Answer results appear as an answer box at the top of the search results.
There’s a few different types of Featured Snippets but most will be answers that are pulled from high ranking websites, and at the bottom of the answer box it will include a link to the source. If you can get your site to rank as the featured snippet, you could see significantly more traffic to your site. So, how can you optimise for featured snippets?
Firstly, you need to rank well on the first page. Secondly, the format and structure of the information on your website is very important. The good news is, optimising for voice search will help you rank for Featured Snippets. Answer questions and be sure to use numbered lists or bullet points where appropriate, as well as including proper formatting such as H1, H2 and title tags.
If you implement good SEO practices and focus on delivering high quality, valuable content you will be well on your way to ranking organically.
While making sure the formatting on your site is correct, and that you are providing valuable content is important, there’s another crucial area to SEO in 2018. Building backlinks has been an integral part of SEO for many years now, but the way backlinks are acquired has evolved due to the algorithm updates over the years.
As Google brings in more algorithms and becomes more sophisticated, link building becomes more about quality rather than quantity. While getting backlinks from sites with high a high Domain Authority will almost always provide benefit, it’s not always the best link to get. A backlink from a relevant site within your niche could be much more beneficial than an irrelevant site. Therefore, it’s important to build a backlink strategy that takes into account the relevancy of the sites you are targeting. Start with looking for popular sites, blogs and directories within your niche.
SEO is a massive area with many facets. It can be hard to know what to work towards but in 2018 these 4 areas are becoming increasingly important. By focusing on voice, mobile, Featured Snippets and your link profile your SEO strategy can see great results and help your business find success in 2018 and beyond.
Jade Anderson is an experienced In-house Editor at Upskilled. With a background in online marketing, Jade runs some successful websites of her own. Her passion for the education industry and content is displayed through the quality of work she offers.