For SEO Success in 2018 – Be Relevant and Reputable

With SEO, the adage holds that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Searchers are still looking for answers, so these are key for SEO success in 2018. But what is a high-quality answer?

With SEO, the adage holds that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Searchers are still looking for answers and have become increasingly accustomed to and impatient to receive high-quality results. So high-quality answers are key for SEO success in 2018.

What is a high-quality answer? This is not a tricky question. It is a result that answers the searcher’s query and is from a reputable source.

This seems so simple, but it takes complex search algorithms to identify the best and highest-quality answer for each search from a veritable blizzard of information online. A page may be relevant and have information that addresses the query, but the question of quality must be addressed through other means than what is on the page itself.

In the past, SEO practitioners focused on “link building” to get other sites to in effect vouch for the page’s quality. To game the system, SEO tacticians engaged in link farming, selling of links and other abuses. Each of these practices has been discredited. Some SEOs have gone so far as to say that link-building and by extension links are not valuable signals for search.

This could not be further from the truth.

You Can’t Teach a Pig to Sing

Link-building is not an isolated SEO tactic that will magically transform a weak page on a poor-quality site into a page worthy of a number 1 ranking. This just doesn’t happen anymore. Once upon a time, it was possible to game the system and make magic happen. It is much harder today, hence the premature obituaries for links were written.

Today, for a page to rise to the top of the listings, it must be relevant, authoritative and trustworthy. The page must contain an adequate amount of high quality content to satisfy the relevancy requirement.

Many SEOs have latched on to content creation and curation as the solution that will propel pages to the top. In a vacuum, this might work. The SEO environment is not a vacuum so unless the page provides information that shows expertise on the topic, it will not by itself move up. The website must be viewed as a trustworthy, authoritative expert source. If your site and its pages do not meet these requirements, you will be passed over.

This does not absolve you from having a fast, technically sound site. This is simply that edge that can make a huge business difference.

Focus on Quality, Not Quantity

A few high-quality links will do wonders for your performance; whereas, numbers of poor-quality links bring little value. Quality links having staying power. Some high-quality links may still be shining authority on your site years after they were acquired, so they are worth the effort. It takes time and effort to cultivate quality links, just like building your business network. If you treat link-building as networking for your site, you will not go wrong.

How do you get quality links? You create content that shows your expertise. Do this often enough and you will become an authority in your domain.

It is my contention that all of us who are in business are experts within some domain. It is up to the site owner to determine what is the business’ domain of expertise and project and inject it into the site and its pages. Some of the ways might include creating solid content that the sources you want will use such as original research or analysis. You might consider creating a stunning infographic that clearly shows you as an expert in your field.

Once you create your work, don’t hide your light under the proverbial bushel, reach out to the sources you want to link to your site. As your network of links builds, you will be rewarded with more top placements for your site’s pages.

6 SEO Trends for 2018

With the holiday season in the rearview, it’s time once again to predict SEO’s biggest trends through the new year. The previous year was a big one, with mobile-first results and localized optimization among the most critical shifts of 2017. What challenges will 2018 bring? More importantly, what can SEO marketers do to stay ahead of the curve?

With the holiday season in the rearview, it’s time once again to predict SEO’s biggest trends through the new year. The previous year was a big one, with mobile-first results and localized optimization among the most critical shifts of 2017. What challenges will 2018 bring? More importantly, what can SEO marketers do to stay ahead of the curve?

I’m predicting the rise of a couple new SEO trends, and I also believe a handful of factors from the previous year will become top priorities in digital marketing strategies. Read on to see the top six anticipated SEO trends for 2018..

1. Page Share Becomes Critical

Earning the top organic search results on coveted search terms used to be the golden goose of SEO. In many cases, it still is. In 2018, though, expect this to change as Google refines its featured snippets, Knowledge panels and other SERP elements displayed above the organic listings. SEO marketers should already be familiar with page share — it’s the concept of optimizing for as many SERP placements as possible, rather than winning a single top-ranked search result. The more Google supplements its above-the-fold search results, the more important page share will become.

Also, consider the impact of mobile SEO on page share optimization. Smartphones supplanted desktop and laptop PCs long ago as the preferred devices for searching the Web, and Google’s mobile SERPs leave even less room for organic listings. Knowledge graphs now appear on most of the research-oriented searches that small businesses depend on for organic traffic. It’s time to optimize for those placements to avoid being pushed into digital obscurity.

2. Long-Tail Keywords Will Dominate

Long-tail keywords are finally becoming mainstream. For years, digital marketers used long-tail keywords as less-competitive sources of both paid and organic traffic. That was before the start of 2017, when a Pew Research Center study found more than three-quarters of Americans owned smartphones, and also before most new smartphones launched with voice-activated digital assistants.

Thanks to this technology, searching the web today is as simple as asking a question. More people are transitioning to this technology, too. Google’s Behshad Behzadi reported that 55 percent of teens and 40 percent of adults use voice searching on a daily basis. This opens a wealth of possibilities for opportunistic SEO marketers who research which questions their audiences are asking. Remember this form of question-oriented targeting when planning your content going forward.

3. Need for Speed

Page speed was already important in 2017, and it’s going to be big again in 2018. Google solidified its preference for mobile websites last year with its decision to move to a “mobile first” algorithm. Going forward, page speed will be a critical factor among digital marketers vying for the best SERP placements.

Faster is always better. You can find free online speed tests to learn how quickly (or slowly) your pages are loading.

4. Structured Data

I’ve already explained how page share is becoming more important than organic results. However, organic results are still vital. They bring scores of visitors to websites, and they’re also prime pieces of page share.