You probably already know a bit about SEO or search engine optimization.
However, even a digital marketing expert may not be up to date with the 2018 SEO best practices. Search engines change and refine algorithms all the time, and you need to keep up with them. How they rank your site is a formula that gets increasingly complicated the more you research.
It’s worth it to know how to get your site to stand out to searchers and potential buyers. Your business will benefit in increased traffic to your site as well as more sales.
We’re here to help you understand the changes to SEO that we’ve seen this year. If you’ve been wondering what to do to keep your site at the top of search engine rankings, keep reading. Here are the SEO best practices 2018 in checklist format.
1. Always Think About Mobile
Google is actively using mobile-first indexing. Put simply, it’ll use the mobile version of your site to crawl, index and rank your page. It has its own tool where you can quickly check if your site is mobile-friendly.
Follow the Google checklist and see if your site is mobile responsive or designed for mobile. You will be penalized if there are unsolicited interstitials or pop-ups. These all take away from the ideal mobile experience and make the page clunky and frustrating to users.
Other simple actions include making sure images aren’t too large and can load quickly. A super fast site is easier on mobile connections, which are often slower than desktop.
2. Make Longer Form Content
Search engines are favoring longer form content, including your blog posts. For cornerstone content, aim for approximately 1,000 words or more. This is usually content like an FAQ page or a tutorial.
If you are sufficiently good at answering users’ most common questions you’ll get rewarded by Google. They can place your page in their position zero or “Featured Snippets”. This Holy Grail position shows a short snapshot of information from your page at the top of a user’s search results.
Make longer content scrollable by using design features. Change the typography, or use videos, images, and illustrations. The use of white space is also critical to helping users scan pages.
On a blog, checklist articles can be a fun way to engage your users. They have a clear number of items that they can refer to or dive in and out as they please. Longer blog posts, according to Hubspot, should be around 2,250 to 2,500 words.
Here’s another advantage: longer content means users spend more time on your site.
3. Make Sure Your Content Is Trustworthy
As you may well know, we live in the age of what’s called fake news. The authenticity of your content and how much users trust it can make or break your reputation. Keep in mind is that you need to create trust so that whatever you’re selling, the people buy it.
Content that is valuable and isn’t just salesy is an example of trustworthy content. Building backlinks is also still valuable, and good content is the best way to get them.
Be active on social media and engage with your followers. If you or your employees are writing in public forums like Reddit, don’t just self-promote. Your aim is to help your customers find the information they want.
4. On-Page SEO Best Practices 2018
Technical SEO is still important in 2018 as well. A great user experience is at the heart of what Google wants to see.
To excel at this you should take a look at your meta titles and meta descriptions. Are they just an uninspired collection of keywords? If so, get creative with them and write relevant sentences that will draw a user to your page.
Headers also count for search engine crawlers and they organize content for readers. A page without headers is like reading a newspaper that doesn’t have any headlines.
Finally, utilize internal links. Keep it relevant and useful to a user’s navigational experience. Don’t try to stuff too many into a page.
Also, avoid keyword stuffing, which is what we’ll discuss next.
5. Use Keywords in the Right Way
When it comes to using keywords, you have one main task.
Find out the phrases and words your target searchers are using. Think of it in terms of problems and the keywords are how they solve or answer those problems. A primary keyword and relevant secondary keywords should be used in your SEO efforts.
Want to know how most of your current users find you? It’s recommended that you install Google Search console to uncover user intent. Get into your potential customer’s heads and adjust your keywords to suit.
Remember to use text content. Google may not be able to read any keywords embedded into your visual or video content.
6. Leverage Video Content
Including video and images increases your readability. Video is highly valuable to Google, which actually owns the video-sharing site YouTube.
When you place a video on your site, utilize the title and meta description. Descriptive metadata makes your video content visible to Google.
7. SERP Optimization
A number of new features are affecting SERP or search engine results pages in 2018.
Google is using artificial intelligence to measure how long people spend on your page. Better content means that time period is longer. The more people who read and find your content valuable, the higher your SERP ranking.
There’s also a move to SERP features like featured snippets, as in item 2 of this list. Try to make your content easy to digest and read quickly. You can use an answer box snippet, for example.
The best SEO practices of 2018
Hopefully, now you’ve got all the information you need to implement SEO best practices 2018 on your site. The highest ranked pages will be those that combine good content with the best technical SEO tactics.
Even if you try to implement these changes yourself, professional help is always valuable. Using an expert digital agency can boost your site visitors and better optimize your website. For more information and help with your SEO check out our digital marketing services.