What are your goals for 2018?
Grow your business revenue?
Get more followers?
Make more, work less?
SEO will help you achieve all of these goals, so making great SEO part of your tactical strategy is key to making those dreams a reality.
But, so many people ignore SEO because all they know about it is that it changes all the time. And yes, it does change, but it also stays the same. Today we’re going over major trend changes for 2018, but also emphasizing what hasn’t changed. #themoreyouknow
How to use this post:
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by SEO—take heart. You’re not alone, and we’re here to help you through it. If you’re new to SEO, read the 2018 trends part lightly, then really etch the ‘what hasn’t changed’ part into your mind. And always remember, good SEO is good business. So if you’re making your website and content useful, helpful and not spammy, then you’re already on your way to great SEO.
Ok, let’s dive in!
SEO Trends in 2018
Focus On: Time Spent on Page
How often do you check your Google Analytics (you have those set up, right? It’s super helpful, easy, and important, and here’s how to do it)?
One of the biggest things you should pay attention to in 2018 ius time spent on page. If someone is reading your content, then there’s a good chance that they find it relevant, helpful, and that it’s just what they wanted when they clicked your link in Google.
(This is called “dwell time” in SEO speak, btw)
There’s a high correlation between long dwell time and high rankings. The average time spent on page (dwell time) for websites that get ranked in the top 10 is 3:10. That’s a long time! The internet has a short attention span, so staying on a page for over 3 minutes is a big deal.
How do you increase engagement on a page?
Well, remember when we said that good SEO is good business? The answer to this question is a perfect example of that.
Write content that your audience wants to read. Make it in-depth (more than 1500 words is considered thorough over 2000 is considered very in-depth). Use graphics, resources, and links to other sites to make it helpful and useful. Write great content for your audience, and you’ll be on your way to great SEO.
Even Higher Focus on Mobile Performance
60% of Google searches come from mobile devices, and in 2018 it’s expected that Google is going to switch over to “mobile first indexing”.
What does this mean?
That Google will value the performance of your mobile site over anything else. (Reminder, performance means how easy and pleasant your site is to use. Think loading speed, how much you have to pinch and zoom vs scroll etc.).
If you don’t have a mobile site set up yet, then Google will rank your competitors over you, all things being equal. Of course, all other things are never equal, but Google wants to prioritize websites that give people a great experience, so your site should do that.
Want to know what Google thinks of the mobile friendliness of your website? Use this link to test it.
Rich Snippets will become even more prominent
You may not know the term “rich snippet” but you’ve certainly seen them around the internet. When you search something like “What’s the weather today” you’ll get a box with the weather on it, plus a page full of weather-related links.
This helpful box is called a “rich snippet”. They exist for all kinds of categories, like stocks, recipes, step-by-step how-tos, celebrity information, and so on.
When I type “Lisa Kudrow age” this shows up:
It’s the kind of result that means you don’t even have to click on any link to get the answer you’re looking for (which makes lots of marketers really frustrated–because their content shows up as the top result, but they don’t get the traffic from it).
So why would you want to get into these rich snippets?
Because research shows that these kinds of results get 30% more clicks than standard links. And that traffic is usually gold because people know exactly what they’re getting. Which means they stay around longer, giving you extra long dwell times, and thus increase your SEO. See how it’s all a big reinforcement loop?
Here’s how to get it:
Ok, this is going to seem really overwhelming…but stay with us here. There’s a super handy step-by-step article that shows you how to set up your code to do this. And I promise—it’s easy and you can do this. The article walks you through all the steps and tells you where to put the code so you can set it up properly. Start reading at the section where it says, “How to Implement Structured Data Markup”.
What hasn’t changed in 2018
Content is still your Biggest SEO Asset
Are you seeing a trend here in what the ‘trends’ are? It’s that the words on your website matter. To rank your site Google needs something to read, which means you have to write. And that Google bot is a fast reader, so it likes to see updated content. This means new blog posts.
When you have a new blog post, this does 2 things:
- It builds your library of content, giving Google more to read, and more words to associate with your site. It’s like seasoning in a soup. A brand new website is super bland, because it doesn’t have much content. But the more seasoning you add to your soup, the more you taste flavors like garlic, cumin, chili, etc. The more you write about your ideal topics, the more Google associates your site with them. That’s why we write about SEO, because we want Google to know that we’re an SEO company, and want to rank highly for SEO related search terms.
- It tells Google that your site is updated, and thus more likely to be relevant. Compare this to fashion. Are you likely to purchase from a clothing store that hasn’t gotten any new items in the past 6 months? Probably not. It’s not interesting anymore because you’ve seen everything that store has to offer, and there’s a good chance those items aren’t seasonally appropriate or stylish anymore. Compare this to fast-fashion stores that get new items every single day (and have the sales to support it). You certainly don’t need to blog every day to be relevant, but you do need to be consistent.
How to improve it:
- Create an editorial calendar and stick to it
Did you know that we offer content writing services? We’ll create an editorial calendar for you and write content on a weekly or monthly basis based on your keyword strategy. This is perfect for you if you want to get great SEO but don’t have the time to write the kind of content you need to get it.
- Write, write, and write.
If you decide to write content yourself, rather than hire a writer, the best thing you can do is write consistently. Consider this: if it takes you 4 hours/week to write an article, and you end up getting 1 new client/month because of the SEO boost it would give you…would it be worth it? Give yourself an SEO content boost challenge, and see how it impacts your SEO and bottom line. If it improves your bottom line, then keep it up. If it doesn’t either give it more time, adapt your strategy, or focus on other metrics. But our strong guess is that consistent content will drive business for you.
Backlinks are SEO currency
Remember when we talked about how backlinks are like People Magazine? Backlinks are like votes of popularity on the internet. The more you have, the more “popular” you are, and thus more likely to have a website that people want to read.
Google notices these backlinks to your site and takes them very seriously for your rankings.
How to get great backlinks:
- Guest posting (too busy to pitch? Write up a great post then hire a VA to do the research and applying for you. It’ll be worth your time!)
- Follow the tips in this article
Backlinks matter, and are an important part of your SEO, marketing, and PR strategy. If all you do in 2018 is consistently write content and create strategies for getting backlinks, then you’ll have super solid SEO by the end of this year. And we are certain that will impact your business because we’ve seen ourselves that SEO works.
Do you have questions about how SEO works? Are you curious about how it’s changing in 2018? Let us know your wins and worries about SEO. We’re cheering you on!
Clapping Dog Media Team