5 White Hat SEO Tactics To Focus On in 2018
When it comes to the best SEO tactics to focus on in 2018, you’ll want to pay attention to these 5 elements of SEO for your advanced tactics.
With the advent of Penguin 4.0 in 2016 and other mobile friendly updates, 2017 seemed to be a relatively calm year in terms of Google algorithm updates. The truth is, in 2017 Google made tons of algo updates and some of them were classified as major updates with high impact on SERPs.
In 2017 we definitely saw brands focusing on creating the best user experience possible as a core SEO tactic and we will certainly see that continue through 2018.
What should your SEO strategy focus on in 2018?
These five critical SEO tactics should be your focus as we gear up for 2018 to go along with creating the best user experience.
Opt for mobile website first
By now, you must be aware as to how important it is to have a mobile-friendly website. Statistics have proven that over 55% of website traffic comes from mobile friendly websites and that number is certainly expected to increase in 2018. More importantly, being mobile-friendly isn’t going to cut it anymore, now you need to think “mobile-first.”
In the coming time 2018, mobile-first indexing is going to be the new norm and ranking signals are now going to come from the mobile version of your site and not from the desktop version.
It’s time to start prioritizing your mobile SEO first:
- Get mobile friendly first and fix the broken links and incorrect redirects.
- Intrusive pop- ups are a big “No”
- Make the best of mobile usability in terms of text size, configuration etc.
If you think that mobile first indexing is going to rule out your responsive web design – you’re wrong.
In fact, Search Engine Land recently followed up on Google’s recommendation to move from m-dot to responsive in order to prepair for mobile first indexing:
- Get your responsive site ready.
- Configure 301 redirects on the old mobile URLs to point to the responsive versions (the new pages). These redirects need to be done on a per-URL basis, individually from each mobile URL to the responsive URL.
- Remove any mobile-URL specific configuration your site might have, such as conditional redirects or a Vary HTTP header.
- As a good practice, set up rel=canonical on the responsive URLs pointing to themselves (self-referential canonicals).
Improve search accuracy by better understanding searcher intent.
As the Internet of Things has changes so has our way of searching for information. Semantic search has evolved and search engines are working better than ever at understanding queries as well as what the context of that search query is.
Semantic search allows search engines to understand natural language queries far better than ever before.
Knowing how to build content that embraces semantic SEO better will be key in ranking your content on Google:
The premise of semantic SEO suggests that there is significant opportunity for marketers to reach users along very specific trains of thought by understanding the relationship between micro-moments, intent and keywords, and then respond accordingly.
- This means small changes to keywords and phraseology will have a significant impact on how Google views your content. For example, a local hospital might create individual landing pages focused on meeting their key practitioners for different areas of treatment. Consequently, this would give the hospital a much higher chance of showing up for a variety of specific search queries such as;“Oncology doctors near me”
“top urologists near me”
or “best vasectomy doctor”
- By trying to understand searcher intent, you can create quality driven resourceful content.
- Creating “complete guides” and including relevant short- and long-tail keywords will certainly add relevance to your content.
Feed Google with as much info as you can!
Machine learning is a way for search engines to make “educated guesses” about what ambiguous queries mean and to deliver better search results as a whole.
Google’s algorithms are ever changing and machine learning has taken online search to a whole new level of understanding. In fact, machine learning has been responsible for the drop in traffic and rankings for thousands of sites, often attributed to “algorithim updates”. However, if your content fails to provide users with a positive experience, then you’re going to have a challenging time trying to rank in the top positions of the SERPs as machine learning continues to evolve.
Get going to creating robust resources that are best optimized for semantic search and user experience.
Featured Snippets- the ideal way to generate answers to questions in real time
Featured snippets provide users with “rich answers” in short-based on facts giving answers to simple queries. Google in the recent years has created millions and trillions of featured snippets such as “Who and in which year did the first person land on the moon” or “how to build a robot”.
By means of snippets Google intends to generate answers in real-time via text, images and even videos so that users can find answers without ever needing to click on a link.
These featured snippets are incredibly powerful as in the recent time studies have proven that they precede top ranked websites in SERPs.
How do you create featured snippets for search?
This is a great question.
Unfortunately, Google determines which site gets the featured snippets area dedicated to answering a specific question. The good news is, you can follow these steps to ensure you pages have a better chance at getting this coveted position in search.
- Set up you page to ask and answer a specific question. Easy, right?
- Make sure that you provide THE BEST ANSWER. Seems easy, but take this seriously by providing an in-depth answer with clear guides, steps, screenshots and video if necessary. Break everything down into bite sized and extremely detailed sections.
Voice Search is the current trend
Know about is the rising trend of virtual assistants and voice search such as Siri, Cortana, and Alexa. Statistics have proven that over 55 % of the young teens and 40% of adults make optimum use of voice search.
You can already ask Google simple questions like “which recent movie to look for in a theatre of your choice. Isn’t that great! It certainly won’t be long before virtual assistants are held responsible for booking restaurants and other tickets.
You need to follow some essential steps to optimize your content for voice search:
- Get going to claim your My Business listing on Google.
- Prioritize the use of long-tail keywords and optimize for natural language queries that appeal to semantic search.
- Make optimum use of social media listening tools to find mentions of your brand and your products and address customer concerns. Some great tools for this are:
Lastly as machine learning plays a bigger role in our industry, the future of SEO looks better than ever. The SEO community is glad to see keywords stuffing go and looks forward to creating unique user based content to capture rankings.
This certainly seems to be a win win situation and it can be predicted that 2018 holds an even greater shift toward mobile first category, quantum of increase in users opting for voice search, and better virtual intelligence than we saw in 2017. The biggest website growth is going to be facilitated by delivering high-quality content and striving to continue to upload the best content forcing other marketers too do more.
To 2018… the year of better content that dives deeper into explanation in order to deliver exceptional quality with crystal clarity.