68.3% percent of all traffic to a website comes from a search engine.
Performed correctly, SEO can make or break many businesses. But it’s a tough nut to crack and companies often fail to understand it. With so much change, it’s challenging to even keep up with emerging trends.
But that’s what we’re here for.
Without further ado, then, here are five tips and techniques for great SEO in 2018.
1. Refresh old content and optimise your blog
B2B marketers who use blogs generate 67 percent more leads than those who don’t. When it comes to getting heard online, your best bet is to produce high quality, informative and easy-to-understand content.
If you don’t already have a blog, start one.
If you do, refresh your old content for 2018 SEO updates.
This includes optimising for mobile, trying to rank for featured snippets and deploying primary and secondary keywords.
2. Consistency is key
Traffic to a website is about consistency.
Ask yourself: How often are you posting a blog post? Do you have a rock-solid content calendar in place to keep track of what you’re publishing? Are you tracking and adjusting your approach to your content?
Traffic Generation Café found that once you write between 21 and 54 blog posts (and publish on a regular basis), blog traffic can increase up to 30 percent. That’s 30 percent more website visitors, and if your marketing funnel is effective, that could mean 30 percent more leads.
3. Optimise your on-page SEO
Meta descriptions, image alt-text and URL length are all important factors for boosting SEO in 2018. How long is your blog post title? How long is your URL? Are you referencing any statistics on your webpage? Are your sources coming from high-ranking domains?
Think of on-page SEO like the technical checks you’d make on an aeroplane before flying.
The more thorough the checks, the more successful the flight. Here’s an example of a poorly optimised piece of content:
The idea of SEO is to make your content as easy to understand for the reader as possible, but that still provides value.
This blog post has a title that is too long. It fails to give the reader the true value of the content before clicking through. As a result, Google will rank it lower in the SERPs (search engine results pages).
Moz suggests a blog post title of no more than 60 characters long. This way you can give the reader a clear expectation about your piece of content. The same rule applies to meta descriptions.
Rule of thumb: the simpler the better.
4. Use backlinks
Search engines in 2018 look at more than keyword placement, they look at how authoritative a piece of content is. And authority can be gained in many ways. But the most effective way is by using backlinks.
See what I just did there?
I linked the word ‘backlinks’ to Backlinko’s definitive guide on backlinks in 2018. This piece of content has everything you need to know about using backlinks in 2018, and Google deems it an extremely authoritative piece. Just look at the stats:
According to Ahrefs – the best tool on the internet for understanding domain authority and backlinks – the Backlinko guide to backlinks has a domain authority of 85. Considering that a score of more than 50 is deemed relatively good, this is a very authoritative piece of content.
When the time comes to publish this blog post, Google will use its algorithm to determine how authoritative the content I’m writing is. By linking to a high-quality domain like Backlinko, I have a better chance of ranking higher in the SERPs because I’ve referenced a reliable, trustworthy source of information.
And the same applies the other way around. If authoritative domains are linking to this piece of content as a good reference point, search engines will consider it more authoritative and consequently, it will perform better.
5. Optimise your website
Website optimisation is a big deal in 2018. Internet users are impatient, so the faster your website loads, the more likely you are of keeping a website visitor engaged on your site.
Website speed, mobile-friendliness and image size are all important factors to consider. A slow, clunky and difficult to navigate website will be penalised by search engines.
Here’s what to look for:
- Content: is what you’re saying on your website coherent and in line with your site’s overall theme?
- Performance: how fast does your website load? Use Google PageSpeed to analyse the performance of your site.
- Site architecture: is your website easy to navigate? Are your menus clear? Are your URLs short and simple?
- Mobile optimisation: more searches take place on mobile devices than on desktops in more than ten countries including the U.S. and Japan. How optimised is your site for mobile?
With the above in place, you should be providing a fast and simple user experience, which will increase your SEO score and help your site become more authoritative.
Search intent, not keywords
Here’s a bonus tip for you. Although keywords are still important in SEO today, they’re becoming less relevant thanks to improvements in Google’s algorithm.
Recent updates to Hummingbird (the name given to Google’s overall algorithm) like Google RankBrain means that, when trying to make sense of a piece of content, Google no longer prioritises exact keywords but looks at the relevancy of that content to what searchers are looking for.
As a result, the concept of ‘keyword littering’ a piece of content to rank better is ineffective.
Instead, search engines want authority and relevancy.
My advice, then, is to make your content as authoritative as it can be. And that doesn’t mean by linking every other word to a high-quality domain, it means producing content that informative, trustworthy and easy to understand.
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