Keeping up with the latest trends, strategies, and tactics for SEO ranking is critical when trying to build your website’s rating. To stay ahead of the game, you need to stay up to date with all of Google’s latest top ranking factors.
You don’t want a Google Penalty because you used some shady Black Hat SEO tactic you saw on YouTube or tried using outdated strategies that no longer work.
White Hat SEO requires staying up to date with search engine algorithm changes and following googles terms.
Keep your SEO in the white hat zone, so you can sleep peacefully when an update comes and be filled with almost every time, because you can usually expect good results.
Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing need to understand what’s on your pages and posts to properly index your website.
Making sure your site is found by the right visitors is the key to higher conversions. If your website has tons of traffic but not traffic that converts, then it isn’t going to benefit you.
Having the ability to scale organic traffic to your site or business, to create brand awareness is 100% necessary in 2018 to become the leader in your industry or niche.
Google has undoubtedly released some major game-changing algorithm updates to start off the year, so read our SEO ranking factors 2018 guide below, and you will be one step closer in the search results.
Mobile Search Engine Optimization
Mobile Search Optimization will no doubt, be apart of SEO ranking factors in 2018.
Searches from mobile devices account for approximately 60% of all searches on the internet according to Search Engine Land
So mobile search optimization will no doubt, be one of the major SEO ranking factors in 2018.
An increasing number of people are refraining their laptops and using their smartphones or tablets instead. With this in mind, you need to be sure that your website is optimized for all devices.
If you are not sure if your site is mobile friendly, Google offers a Mobile-Friendly Test to check.
For an added boost in mobile speed, make sure you are taking full advantage of AMP enabled pages to improve load times.
AMP Pages provide mobile visitors with high speed load times for your websites articles and also gives you the chance of being featured in the SERPs.
Check out this video below for an introduction to AMP:
Mobile Voice Search Optimization
According to Google 1 out of 5 searches come from voice queries.
This is changing the way we look at SEO ranking factors in 2018.
Devices like Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Home are providing an increasing number of people with voice search from the convenience of their home or office. The technology quickly becoming many people’s very own virtual personal assistant.
Almost all smart phones in 2018 provide voice search features as well.
Optimizing content for long tail keywords is excellent for voice search optimization because most people don’t even optimize for how someone speaks into there phone for a Google search.
Most people who use voice search will use more words then they would when searching something with their phone.
So be sure to Optimize your SEO for natural language queries (Mobile Voice Optimization). People use their voice to order food, find services, check the weather, etc.
Because of this, Mobile Voice Search Optimization will no doubt be a leading SEO ranking factor in 2018.
Google is going to start crawling websites from the perspective of mobile first, emphasizing the rising importance of mobile usage.
So, make sure you are optimized for mobile devices or you could be missing out on a lot of traffic.
Google My Business, Claim it!
Google My Business (GMB) plays a huge role in mobile search optimization, so if you have not already, claim your listing.
GMB is responsible for local searches and helps mobile search optimization, for when people google search with their voice.
Make sure to keep your GMB listing up to date, because this increases your chances of success.
Staying up to date means filling out all the information GMB asks for, it’s also a great idea to make sure all the information is correct and completely filled out.
Make sure you have all your information up to date, as well as, photos, hours, categories and more.
Another great tip is to check and make sure your listing is accurate once a week. Weekly checks are important because Google has made it very easy for someone to make edits to your GMB.
Take a look at this picture, this is how easy it is for someone to change your information.
Make sure you are optimizing your Google My Business (GMB)
When it comes to local SEO, GMB is a must-have if you want to appear in the local pack and Google maps. Doing this will help you to take up even more real-estate on the search results page.
But far too many people don’t bother optimizing their GMB to its fullest potential. To embrace all that GMB has to offer make sure you optimize it using keywords you want to rank.
When choosing your keywords, ask yourself…
Does this keyword provide me the visitors I want?
You also want to upload plenty of pictures of your business, with proper descriptive filenames on the images, and make sure you are getting plenty of business reviews.
Lastly, you want to make sure you respond to a large majority of the reviewers, to help boost your SEO ranking.
Make Use of Featured Snippets
Snippets are more commonly remembered as (position 0).
Snippets uniquely feature your site, through an answer to a question, recipe or the most popular for local business.
“The local three pack.”
There are about 16 different SERP features Google has implemented:
- Featured Snippets
- Local Packs
- Local Teaser Packs
- Twitter Packs
- In-depth Articles
- News Boxes
- Knowledge Panels
- AdWords (Top / Bottom)
- Shopping Results
- Image packs
- Knowledge Card
- Search Boxes
- Related Questions
After Familiarizing yourself with all of SERPs features, be sure to optimize your current and new content.
These positions are often held by the industry leaders but sometimes are left to websites like yours and can score you an easy win if your first to optimize for it.
The schema also plays a great role in optimizing how Google sees your content, this could also be the difference in winning a SERP.
For an in-depth guide on all of SERPs features see a great article from Moz.com here.
Does Security Play a Role in SEO?
Security undoubtedly plays a significant role in the SEO industry.
If the internet has taught us anything, it’s the fact that cybersecurity threats are real, and we all have experienced them.
Google takes security to heart. And will look very closely at a “Searcher’s Intent.”
You would not want to go to a site that’s known to have security issues, would you?
Well, Google feels the same way, they want to make sure their users are finding safe sites, not creating problems with their computer or even costing them money.
Ditch HTTP for HTTPS, The Web’s Preferred Protocol
Since 2014, Google has revealed the “HTTPS” protocol as being an important
ranking signal, there has been a gradual migration of websites moving away from HTTP.
Nowadays, you will seldom ever see a website with the HTTP protocol, and for a good reason.
Aside from the obvious security issues, there is also the issue of user experience.
You don’t want someone’s browser to return a “not secure” message when trying to connect to your site.
It’s a great way to send visitors running away, and your rankings will suffer. So be sure to make the switch if you haven’t already.
Recognize The Importance of Page Speed
If your site does not load in under three seconds, you could be losing potential traffic.
The average visitor will leave a page before it loads if it takes longer than three seconds.
User experience is key when it comes to ranking. Site speed is essential in making sure your visitors stay on your page.
Most SEO Enthusiasts are fully aware of the implications that can come from slow site speeds and tend to put a lion of shared efforts towards the problem.
But too often, attention is put solely on the homepage speed, leaving other page speeds neglected and slow.
Site speed is the page speed of a page, whereas “page speed” is the “load time,” or the amount of time an individual page takes to load and render.
An essential differentiation between the two is it only takes one horrible loading page to make someone leave your site.
Next time you are browsing the web, try to count how long it takes for the page to load and how long your willing to wait.
This will put your sites load times in a better perspective.
To combat this issue, it is vital that you are using analytical software such as Google Analytics. The software offers an in-depth “page speeds report,” to monitor the respective page speeds on your website. It is especially great for looking at pages where you are expecting a high level of engagement.
You can cross check the page speeds with the bounce rates and other data to paint a picture of the user experience people are having on the various parts of your site, and optimize from there.
Below is a great tool we use for checking page speeds and finding the root of your problems.
Purge Your Website of Redirect Chains
If your page has redirect chains between pages, it can slow down the overall speed of your site.
Redirect chains are when you have multiple 301 redirects between successive pages and are an often-overlooked problem when it comes to technical SEO.
Redirect chains have a negative impact on the promulgation of authority throughout your site. This is because more and more link equity is lost with each successive redirect. This causes an adverse snowball effect on your website’s overall SEO.
You want to make sure you are using a web scraper and making sure only one redirect is found between pages on your website. An excellent tool for checking this is Screaming Frog.
Link Internally & Externally With Proper Anchor Text
Linking internally and externally is still one of the industry’s favorite ways to transfer link juice and rank pages throughout a site without having to build a bunch of backlinks.
If you are a blogger, it’s crucial that you streamline this task and make it a habit of using a set number of internal and external links in every piece of content, linking externally where it makes sense to link externally, and linking internally where it makes sense to link internally.
You also want to be sure you are using proper anchor text when linking to another site, make sure that it’s contextual, natural, and won’t send any negative signals to Google.
Building links have always played a significant role in SEO, but it’s more important than ever to have quality links relevant to your niche.
This does not mean go out and buy a bunch of links from the most popular sites.
It means, take the time to build quality links within your industry or niche.
An easy and effective way of doing this is by having websites with authority guest post your content with a backlink to your site.
There are many blogs out there that accept guest posts but finding them can be difficult.
Look no further than MainStreet Design for your guest posting needs. To submit your article or blog post, email us.
If you are trying to guest post content that is unrelated to our website, click HERE for an article outlining over 1500 blogs who accept guest posts.
Guest posts are great, but it is important to also remember traffic from referrals can still grow your site’s organic traffic. Driving traffic from referrals is a critical process in building long-term relationships with your industry.
Traffic referrals are also great for establishing brand awareness.
Use Schema Markup
Schema markup, also known as “rich snippets”, is a type of structured data that helps tell search engines what the content of your page is about, which helps to provide more detailed information to searchers.
As you could imagine, schema markup can significantly improve click-through rates, making you stand out in the chaos of the SERPs.
So, it is something you should take full advantage of if you haven’t already, going forward in your SEO endeavors.
When using schema markup, you want to make sure that you are using JSON-LD type of data, the most preferred type of schema by Google.
If you want to take full advantage of every schema possible for all your pages and posts in a timely manner, then I would HIGHLY recommend Schema App.
Schema App takes the coding work out of the equation and lets you focus on optimizing your websites Schema in minutes.
Add Some Diversity to Your Backlink Profile
Maintaining a healthy, diverse Backlink profile should be at the heart of your off-page SEO strategy, and it will only get more critical in 2018 as RankBrain, and Google’s machine learning technology, gets more sophisticated.
RankBrain is thought to cast ever-increasing scrutiny on backlinks, and the issue Google sees as cumbersome and a problem that’s at the heart of its never-ending quest for making sure it provides its users with the best user experience possible.
With RankBrain, Google is going to weigh backlinks more heavily when it comes to user experience to make sure people aren’t exchanging links just to be exchanging links.
One of the factors considered is the “diversity” of the backlinks when it comes to anchor text and the referring domains.
Always make sure you are using diverse and contextual anchor text when you link back to your site and also try to get diverse domains with TLD’s as well.
When you have a bunch of relevant backlinks from domains with such TLD’s as “.gov,” “.org”, and “.edu”, this signals to Google that your content is helpful and legit, and that you are an authority on whatever subject is at hand.
This works exceptionally well if you happen to do a proprietary study on a particular subject and domains with the TLD as mentioned earlier, link back to you, referencing said study.
Unearth Broken Links For Link Building Opportunities
Broken links provide a golden link building opportunity. Make sure that when you are canvassing those high DA sites looking for link building opportunities, that you have a broken link checker, checking the various pages for broken links.
It presents an excellent opportunity for you to send over a friendly email to the site owner alerting him to the broken link and offering up a link to your website with content that fulfills the searchers intent.
Use Search Friendly URLs – Internet search engine optimization doesn’t stop in the usage of keywords and rich content. One aspect overlooked that regrettably causes a leak from traffic funnels is the type URLs they use.
Tips To improve Search Engine Optimization
Just a few quality articles could boost driving website traffic, social traffic & provide the leads you need with highly targeted content creation.
Making sure you understand SEO the right way or obtaining a search engine optimization agency is crucial for internet marketing success.
Regardless, here are some great tips to use.
Aim for the “0th” position
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but a search of goods and services on Google usually returns
results that seldom, if ever, have organic rankings “above the fold.”
Paid ads, the local pack, and content that’s within the featured zone tend to take precedence over the organic listings, and as you could imagine, these make a significant number of clicks away from what the following organic listings could be getting.
In 2018, more and more will be gunning for the highly coveted “0th” position, as this puts you squarely above the fold and even gets you in the place to have your content optimized for voice search.
So it is essential to try to optimize your content for this position by researching an answer to a question you think searchers would want to know within your content, keeping long-tail search queries in mind, and thinking about what people might say to find your product or service.
Answer the questions and then follow it up with more detail, making the content more in-depth.
Now there are many variables behind ranking in the “0th” position, and doing the aforementioned may not get you there, but it is indeed a start.
Start Prioritizing When Building Local Citations
Building local citations can be tedious work these days. It can take up a significant chunk of your time, if you haven’t delegated the tasks to someone else.
Going forward in 2018, you should start prioritizing your citations, going after the more prominent and more relevant directories that relate to your industry.
These directories have more consistent traffic, and therefore, are more important towards your local SEO ranking factors.
Focus on sizeable and relevant business directories first.
Researching Correct Target Keywords
Researching the right target keywords with the target audience is vital.
Think about what your visitors are typing in the search engines to seek out details about your product or service.
Remember, to always analyze your searchers intent and keep your goal for the target “keyword phrase” in mind.
If you find a target keyword and provide a quality, well-written article, this will create traffic if optimized, researched, and marketed correctly.
Social media is a fun and effective way to distribute links of your posts or high quality content.
One good thing about these social platforms is they’re capable of creating free and viral traffic since such content is shared within users of the platforms and communities.
Follow and like pages with similar interests, post relevant content often, and try to build an active following, to drive more traffic to your site.
This simple approach could exponentially increase the number of visitors to your website in a brief space of time.
Take Full Advantage of “OG” (Open Graph) Data
“OG” data, also known as “open graph” data, is all about controlling how our content displays on various social media platforms.
You are specifying what your content title and excerpt say, and the image to display when its shared on social media.
With the ever-increasing role that social media is playing when it comes to driving web traffic, you need to make sure the content that you are promoting is easily shareable, to maximize its reach truly.
So, make sure you are adding open graph data to the content pages you intend on sharing with social media.
There is a great tool by IFRAMELY for checking how open graph data is displayed on your site here.
Optimize Images For Visual Search
Search engines such as Google and Bing are investing heavily in technology around visual search, and it is only going to get more critical in 2018 and onward.
Make sure you are optimizing your images file names, alt tags, and file descriptions for SEO.
Also, it is imperative to remember to only optimize your alt tag on your first main image for your target keyword.
Use Infographics to Supercharge Your SEO Ranking
Infographics are some of the most shareable content on the internet and they are perfect for spreading information and creating leads.
They also provide unique opportunities for links back to your site and will be a nice addition when crafting a plan for well-rounded off-page optimization.
Try incorporating infographics into your SEO ranking factors strategy
Make sure that they are visual more than textual. People respond better to pictures than they do text.
When designing the infographic, make sure it aligns with your particular style of branding.
Slap the name of your site onto the infographic and promote it across social media. Also reach out to bloggers in your vertical looking to exchange value.
Over time you’ll notice upticks in traffic coming in as a result of the infographic.
Infographics work particularly well on sites like Pinterest, so make sure you take full advantage of them.
Implement Videos Into Your SEO Strategies
These days, a video can be an essential part of your SEO ranking.
Implementing video into your SEO efforts is essential and is only going to get even more critical in 2018 and the years to come, moving forward.
Videos serve several purposes when it comes to crafting a well put-together SEO strategy, but here are two not so obvious ones:
Firstly, they help with overall engagement and increasing the number of time visitors spend on your pages.
This will invariably help you in the rankings due to Google aligning longer time on pages
with good user experience.
Secondly, if you optimize YouTube videos for keywords correctly, you have the opportunity
to get ranked for those particular keywords within Google’s search results.
Not only will you benefit from traffic within YouTube itself, but you’ll also benefit from the incoming traffic from Google’s search result page.
This also creates the possibility of being featured in the SERPs.
Content is King; This Will Never Change, Don’t Ignore It
Remember, “Quality over Quantity”
One solid long-form juicy piece of content can provide more traffic than ten 300 word articles.
I hate sounding like a broken record, but again “searchers intent.”
Would you rather come across a summary or a page providing everything about the given topic?
Quality long-form content – If you’re a passionate blogger then you know adding fresh content to your blog is priceless, because this is what’s going to make visitors happy and come back for more.
Develop a blogging schedule, at first do once a month, once a week, or whatever you can handle.
Try increasing your schedule to post more often when you accomplish your current plan efficiently.
You may find that you enjoy writing more than you thought. The faster you become and the more dedication you put in, will help you to create a well-crafted article.
Take pride in your articles and engage your readers.
Write about types of services you offer, or maybe even topics within your niche.
Don’t get stuck with writer’s block though; we have some tools to help you along the way:
Answer The Public: Visual Keyword Research and Content ideas.
Buzzsumo: Analyze what content performs.
An important question you should ask yourself is…
What do people use search engines for?
They use them to find information, products, or services about the given keyword phrase. Now, with that in mind, you need to ask yourself continually.
Is my content fulfilling the searchers intent?
Google’s #1 leading concern is fulfilling the searchers intent and making sure they are receiving the correct content they search for; search engine optimization is also the process of auditing your content to make sure you are attracting the right kind of visitors and its relevance to the given topic.
Build Authoritative, Long-form Content
The SEO landscape is super competitive and is only going to get more competitive in 2018 and beyond.
These days, the pure traditional keyword research we’ve grown accustomed to is just not enough, as many of the highly competitive, valuable keywords are already sewn up by domains with high authorities and hundreds of backlinks.
If you are just starting out, you are going to need to go above and beyond to be able to rank competitively from now on.
So how does one stand out in the face of such fierce competition?
The answer is building comprehensive, authoritative long-form content around whatever keyword or keyword phrase you are trying to rank.
Making sure that you cover searchers intent through your whole page.
Also, don’t forget how your content is all-encompassing, and that whoever is searching for the query that you are trying to rank for, will leave your site satisfied knowing all there is to know about whatever it is that they sought.
You can use the searches related to Google at the bottom of the search results page after you type in the query, these are keywords relevant to your search.
Include these keywords in your content to expand your reach.
Studies show that long-form content tends to work better than short-form content when it comes to ranking due to thoroughness.
Use Old content to Create New Content
Re-purposing old content should be part of your content marketing strategy.
Updating old articles with new, fresh perspectives keeps your content fresh, and it also saves you time.
Instead of re-writing another 4000+word article on the best PPC practices for beginners you wrote last year, just add in fresh, newly learned ideas and then indicate at the top in italics that “the content has been updated for the present day.”
Even adding a title modifier of the current year can make a world of difference.
That way, visitors won’t think your content is outdated when they finally do land on your page.
Leveraging 3rd Party Platforms Will Supercharge Your SEO strategy
If you aren’t thinking about incorporating 3rd party blogging platforms such as Linkedin or Medium into your overall SEO strategy, then you are seriously missing out.
With built-in networks that comprise of millions of worldwide users, these platforms present an excellent opportunity to amplify your on-site content and leverage their high traffic in your favor.
You should be treating 3rd party blogging platforms as places meant to amplify and broadcast the main content you already have on your website since you won’t benefit from the high domain authority that these platforms have directly.
For example, Medium affixes external links with “nofollow” tags, so you won’t directly benefit from these platforms as far as backlinks are concerned.
You will, however, have the opportunity of having your content shared across the web generating traffic to your site.
Implement The “Skyscraper Technique” Into Your SEO Strategy
If you aren’t utilizing the “Skyscraper Technique” in your SEO strategy, then you are seriously missing out.
This technique involves “1 upping” your competitors by unearthing their content based on targeted keywords and then putting together material that’s way better than theirs.
“Better” could mean providing more thorough, accurate, long-form content, that provides more detail, then your competitors.
Go over their content with a fine-toothed comb and see how you could write a better article. Look at what areas can be improved and what information is missing, then write a similar article with more relevance to readers today.
You want to put together something that’s more comprehensive and engaging, then the other guys.
You also want to use a backlink checker like Ahrefs to find the websites linking to your competitor’s content and shoot them a message mentioning your article and a link to a great piece of content that could be valuable to them.
“WayBackMachine”: A Clever Implementation Tool for SEO Strategy
WayBackMachine.com is the archive of the internet.
You can find content on websites that existed in the early 2000s.
It’s a unique tool and one that could be used in your SEO efforts when it comes to putting together “skyscraper” content.
For example, if you happen to find broken links on a website you want to build links from, you can take that broken link and put it into WayBackMachine and see the content that was once there.
You can then, using the skyscraper technique, write something way better and more thorough and alert the site owner of his/her broken link while pitching a link to your content.
This is a way more effective way of doing the “broken link building strategy” because you see what the content was before it died, which helps you put together better content. This will. In turn, maximize your chances of the site owner backlinking to your content.
Utilize New Features in Google Search Console
Google Search Console, one of the most valuable and indispensable tools in any serious SEO’s toolkit. They just recently released a beta version of new features to the public.
These newly released features provide such things as more in-depth analytics on your search performance history and a feature to check and make sure your AMP pages are in good standing with the search engine.
This helps to exemplify how vital AMP will be going forward and improving your SEO ranking factors in 2018.
Pay Attention to Keywords Your Content is Getting Impressions For
I find this tip to be seldom ever used by those within the SEO community, and it underscores just how much of a useful tool Google Search Console can be in one’s SEO endeavors.
Within Google Search Console, you can go and see the particular impressions your content receives based on search queries.
You can filter by pages, and see what keywords people search that make your content appear in the SERPS.
This is particularly useful because you can then implement those keywords into your
copy which will result in more traffic going to that page.
Overtime this will inevitably lead you to higher rankings.
Optimize For All Search Engines
Often, SEO specialist find themselves obsessing over optimizing for Google. Meanwhile, there are millions of other potential visitors out there using search engine’s like Yahoo and Bing.
Now I understand that Google is the world’s biggest search engine, but the world is bigger than Google.
Ignoring alternative search engines would be a huge mistake.
Focusing on optimizing for alternative search engines can also put you ahead of your competitors, due to those search engines being less competitive than Google when it comes to SEO.
Bing, in particular, has a pretty robust “search console” tool that you can utilize as well to
check and monitor your SEO efforts on the search engine.
What We Learned?
Making small changes along with consistently measuring your results, ensures that your website and its content is top notch.
Do all that was mentioned above and Google will certainly notice.
Leave a comment below, if you have any questions or concerns regarding SEO ranking factors for 2018.
As well, tell us what you think, and if you have any useful SEO Ranking Factors of 2018 information you think should be included.