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The air is chock-full with the spirit of New Year and people are gearing up to bid adieu to 2017 and welcome 2018.
While grand preparations for the pomp and celebrations are on peak, people are reserving tables for New Year eve, Digital marketers are snooping about the expectation and experience of users as well as Google.
They know that the competition in SEO has toughened and its dynamic and mutable nature is such that these user and search engine expectations will soon turn into the ruling SEO trends for 2018.
As conventional SEO practices go year after year, there will be a number of lists surfacing the net for the trends and the do’s & don’ts of search engine optimization with the onset of New Year.
Courtesy of the endless lists and trends, anyone’s SEO strategies might go awry.
To help you maintain focus throughout the year and stay a step ahead in the SEO game, here is a list of some of the SEO tips that should not be missed out at any cost.
So, without wasting any more time, let’s focus on the 5 not-to-miss SEO tips for 2018.
Google announced its plans to implement mobile-first indexing at the end of 2016 and is yet to make it live.
The year 2018 is anticipated to be the year when Google will finally roll-out this update and start considering the mobile version of websites as the real version for indexing.
This is obviously a justified and calculated move by Google as around 57% of the entire Google searches are made on a mobile phone today.
Following Google’s footsteps, many other search engines like Bing, Yahoo etc., might also update their algorithm for mobile-first indexing.
This switch to mobile-first indexing might leave many website owners aghast as they might witness an overnight downfall in their SERP ranking.
Actionable SEO Tips
- None of your content on your site’s mobile version should be hidden. Otherwise, it will be straightaway ignored during indexing
- Migrate from the M-dot version of your site to a responsive version for smooth indexing as a mobile-friendly site
- Make the mobile version of your site fully functional and user-friendly. The web design should be easily navigable, finger-friendly, and have easy-to-comprehend font and colors
2. Create Valuable In-Depth Content
Google wants its searchers to find the most appropriate page on top of the search results for any query. To ensure this, Google will start focusing more on the context of the content rather than the content itself.
Previously, the web crawlers used to crawl through a website and check for the targeted keyword in the title, URL, first paragraph, Meta description, image Alt Tags, and header tags etc. Now, things have changed.
Google has started adjusting its algorithms to give higher rakings to pages with valuable, in-depth content.
In fact, it is contemplated that Google will tweak its algorithms, even more, to ensure that only high-quality content that serves the needs of their users is served on the first page.
Actionable SEO Tips
- Start writing longer and denser content that covers the topic completely. The word-limit should be kept somewhere around 1,500 to 2,000 words.
- Keyword density should be kept in mind while curating content. Long-tail keywords should be targeted and instead of stuffing the content with other keywords, LSI (latent semantic indexing) keywords or keyword synonyms should be used throughout the content.
- Find new content ideas and create fresh and unique content that wholly covers any topic in your niche.
3. Offer Ease through Voice Search
Voice search is about to change the way information-seekers use search engines to solve their queries.
The popularity of voice search is growing thick and fast. Since 2008, the voice searches performed on Google itself have increased 35 times. Another stat reveals that 20% of all the mobile searches are voice-based.
Digital assistants of various operating software, like Siri for Apple, Google Now for Android and Cortana for Microsoft, have already been launched as agents of voice search.
Seeing the growing dependence on voice-searches, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see most SEO experts optimizing sites for voice searches.
More useful data and contextual information will be seen being presented about searchers’ intent in 2018 to leverage the growing power of voice search.
Actionable SEO Tips
- Target long-tail keywords because those are more likely to be used by the user while performing a voice search
- Conversational phrases are also a great input to your content to optimize it for voice searches on various search engines
- Add a question to your content that revolves majorly around the topic you are covering. Users will generally ask questions to digital assistants and this question will help your content rank higher.
4. Improve User Experience for RankBrain
The machine-learning artificial intelligence system used by Google to sort through its results is called “RankBrain”.
Google confirmed they were using this system in 2015 and in 2018 this AI will get even more intelligent.
The search for more relevant pages will become stronger. And RankBrain will work with all its might to sort things according to the way a user reacts to the results.
User experience will hold the utmost importance in ranking high after being scrutinized by RankBrain.
The Dwell Time and the Click Through Rate will be the two factors RankBrain will check. And to improve both of them, it is imperative for any website to offer a great user experience.
The CTR and the Dwell Time both play an equal role in deciding the ranking as per this Artificial Intelligence system.
Actionable SEO Tips
- Make your site’s navigation intuitive and guide the user through the pages. Make it easy for your users to find what they are looking for in less than three simple clicks.
- De-clutter your website design to provide room for breathing. Leave some white space on the website. Don’t overuse images, and stay consistent with the color and typography to improve the user experience.
- Your site speed also plays a crucial role in improving user-experience. Make sure the page loads in less than 3 seconds to reduce the bounce rate and increase the dwell time.
5. Entertain Users with Videos
As per research reports by Cisco, by 2019, videos will be the main source driving around 80% of global internet traffic.
Incorporating video content in your content marketing strategy will become a must-have for higher rankings and increased visibility in 2018.
Moreover, HubSpot has stated that around 43% of all the internet users still want to see more video content in the coming years.
Be it live videos, YouTube, video content on websites, or sharing short videos on social media, video content will continue to rise. And not investing in this strategy will make you lose out on many SEO benefits.
Actionable SEO Tips
- Create informative and engaging videos for platforms like YouTube. YouTube video results are gaining more space in SERP results and having an optimized video on YouTube will improve your ranking.
- Embedding video content on your website or blog post can boost user engagement and increase dwell time. And this will raise your rankings, according to RankBrain.
- Videos will be increasingly used by people to increase blog traffic in various ways.
SEO Tips for 2018 Conclusion
The coming year will take the level of search engine optimization up another notch and it is imperative that you also up your SEO game to stay visible.
While keyword addition, link building, unique content, image optimization and the past other SEO tips for high ranking will stay strong, the aforementioned tips will help you gain a competitive edge over others competing for SERP rankings.
So, what is your SEO strategy for the coming year?
What are the tips that you feel should not be missed to up your SEO game?
Do share your expert SEO tips for 2018 in the comment section below!
Anurag Gupta is a budding entrepreneur with stakes in WeblinkIndia.net, an acclaimed Web Designing & Development Company, headquartered in India. He also happens to be a keen writer, sharing insights, tips, and tutorials on subjects related to the ever-evolving landscape of Web Designing and Development.
Image source: Author-owned