Photo by Arnold Exconde
In a world where technology is advancing faster than we sometimes anticipate, the best that we can do to stay ahead of the curve is studied the present as a means to prepare for the future. Artificial intelligence is getting smarter by the second, which means search engines are becoming more accurate.
To prepare you for next year, our 2018 SEO predictions for the latest SEO trends emphasize mobile, quality over quantity, and–of course–a seamless and enjoyable user experience.
Photo by Maliha Mannan
2018 SEO Predictions and Why You Should Start Optimizing Now
If you haven’t been living under a rock for over the past year, you already know that SEO for mobile is one of the industry’s main talking points. With most online traffic coming from tablets and smartphones, it’s no surprise that Google is making mobile a top priority in 2018. Since users are moving away from searching the web from a desktop computer and Google is taking notice, optimizing (and in may cases re-optimizing) your website for mobile is a must.
Of course, Google’s main priority is giving users a reliable and repeatable, quality experience. Google noticed that users a) search mostly from their mobile devices, and b) will bounce from a webpage if it takes longer than three seconds to load. These user behaviors have indicated to Google that an excellent mobile experience isn’t only advised, it’s absolutely critical. Therefore, Google encourages implementation of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs). AMPs were created to make mobile web pages load faster. It’s recommended to first implement AMPs to your frequently visited web pages to increase page speed for user’s benefit, as well as your own.
Other Mobile Optimizations
Aside from AMPs, there are many other things that can shape a quality mobile experience. For example, make sure you’re leveraging browser caching, optimizing images, decreasing internal redirects, etc. Talk to your web developer to check into these issues for you. At this point in time, these optimizations play an indirect role, but a vital one nonetheless. For example, if your website takes too long to load, it will translate into a poor user experience. So, mobile optimizations – indirectly – affect your page rank. There’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t take advantage of them now.
Photo by Helloquence
Search engine optimization was once thought of as a science. Today SEO is much more of a creative process that requires some serious TLC. With artificial intelligence on the rise, the overall quality of SEO is as important as ever.
Typos, misused or inaccurate information, and broken images are common SEO no-nos, but it’s projected that 2018 will demand more of your on-page content.
Back in the day, displaying content on a web page meant checking off another box on your website’s to-do list. These days, content can be relevant and informative, but that’s not enough; content needs to be relevant, informative, and engaging. But how do you appeal to your users in this way? Get to know your audience by using free analytics tools, such as Google Analytics or Google Search Console. Analytic tools can’t tell you exactly what’s engaging per se, but they can help you figure out what’s keeping your readers interested. Many tools allow you to see pages that were viewed the longest, distinguish between new versus returning visitors, how frequently users “bounce” from your website, etc. Answering questions like these are useful when learning more about your target demographic. It will greatly influence the writing process and, in turn, attract more users to your website.
Link building is an important component of any website as it helps build domain authority. But, getting an authoritative website to reference or link to your website isn’t an easy task. It’s difficult to build domain authority in this way because it’s a practice that relies on the willingness of the party you’re trying to appeal to. In 2018, it’s also not enough to connect with a high-ranking website. Links need to be from a quality, high-ranking website.
Make sure the website you’re targeting:
- Isn’t hacked
- Doesn’t contain numerous 404 errors
- Isn’t loaded with ads
- Doesn’t portray an overall sketchy appearance
The goal is to make sure users trust every aspect of your web domain, including the links that are referencing your website.
Let’s talk about search terms and keywords. What’s your target audience searching for that leads them to your website? When it comes to “quality,” we’re talking about relevant traffic that’s directed to your website. Relevant traffic is good traffic. You might have traffic to a website for example, but if the information isn’t relevant, a person will “bounce.” If enough people bounce, you can expect your page rankings to take a hit—sooner rather than later. That’s poor traffic. But how do you avoid this? Instead of targeting short-tailed keywords, that are extremely competitive and difficult to rank for, go long-tailed! Long-tailed keywords should mirror the types of search queries your audience is most likely using to find not only you but the product or service that you’re selling. Users will like what they experience, and in time you will begin to stand out from the crowd, rank better organically, and generate additional traffic.
Photo by Mike Wilson
Optimizing for an excellent user experience is our over-arching theme, as it’s easily one of the most important aspects of SEO. If Google is focused on user experience, you should be too. In general, put yourself in the shoes of those that are visiting your website. Is there a clear call to action? Is the website easy to navigate? Is important information easily accessible? If these small, yet very important, qualities aren’t present throughout your website, this can deter a user from returning. Make sure you tweak your website to be extremely “user-friendly” to make people want to visit again.
Rapidly advancing technology and the seemingly limitless capabilities of artificial intelligence are raising the bar for even more accurate, credible, and thorough SEO practices. In particular, our SEO tips include optimizing your website for mobile devices, discovering ways to engage visitors with unique, quality content, and gearing towards an impeccable user experience. After making the above adjustments it’s imperative to keep up with Google’s algorithm updates and trends to stay competitive and prosperous in 2018!