Your Guide to SEO Best Practices in 2018

What is SEO and how does it work? Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is constantly evolving due to the constant updates to Google's search algorithms. This means the SEO trends from five years ago won't necessarily work today.Yet SEO is a necessity for any business to survive. This means you'll have to commit to keeping up with the changing practices and trends to ensure your site and backlinking efforts don't go to waste.You may be wondering how to do seo? To help you keep a foot forward, here is a look at the SEO best practices in 2018 that you should follow and prioritize:

Updating SEO Best Practices in 2018

The best search engine trends constantly change and update with each passing year. Google is always releasing new algorithm updates and new features that can make or break the way people conduct SEO. Look back five years ago and most blog sites littered their posts with over twenty keywords but now it's all about smart, natural placement.Remember that this is because the world's biggest search engine focuses on two major results: better user experience and relevant search results. These two go hand-in-hand to ensure that Google does its job: finding the exact information people search for.That brings up the first important SEO trends 2018 focuses on--improved user experience (UX).

Stronger Focus on User Experience

Before you launch your site or redesign it from the ground up, make sure to test what you have in regards to user experience. This involves letting other people visit your site and run an analytics test to check your site's performance.Look for details like how long it takes someone to find your contact information, how much effort does it take to find a product they want, or if it's convenient and quick to check out an item from their cart. You'll want to test if the visitors get what they came for or if they bounce back out because they can't navigate around the site.If you're not sure how to check user experience, use something as simple as a survey or A/B testing tools. These can help you monitor which segments of your site people like and respond to and which ones people ignore or dislike.

Understand SERP Features

Gone are the days where Google SERP reveals on a plain list of websites for you to click on. The long list of blue links is now accompanied by a multitude of Google SERP features. Some of these include:

  • Featured snippets
  • Local SERP pack
  • Reviews
  • Paid Ads
  • Relevant Tweets

A vast majority of these SERP features appear above the organic search results. This means you also have to rank high on these important features too. Local customers, for example, will prefer to click on sites that appear on the featured Google Maps section and have their address or phone number displayed.

Page Speed

Google announced this past January that a new update will launch this July 2018. Called the Speed Update, it will alter Google's search algorithm to favor sites that are faster. This folds back to the importance of user experience.The longer a web page loads, the more likely it is people will bounce out. On average, people will leave a site if pages load more than 3 seconds.How can you achieve a faster, more stable site?You can start by using tools to compress images without reducing their quality. You should also utilize a stable hosting service to make sure the site doesn't fluctuate with denser traffic. Enable browser caching and minimize server response time.

Newer Keyword Trends

One of the best practices is to stop focusing on short, one-word keywords. Narrow things down by focusing on a niche, longtail keyword phrase. Instead of a keyword like "cheap dress," you can focus your efforts on "cheap summer dress Ontario."The latter example hits multiple targets at once. It caters to people in a local area, it caters to those looking for affordable products, and to people looking for a specific type of dress instead of a generic option. It's also a niche set of keywords which means there could be lower competition.It's not only a good practice to use longtail keyword phrases for organic SEO efforts. You should also use these if you're investing in a PPC campaign.

Mobile First

One of the SEO best practices in 2018 you absolutely have to prioritize is a mobile-first strategy. Google's newest algorithms prioritize websites that cater to the mobile crowd.This should come as no surprise because mobile browsing dominates over traditional desktop use. 52.3% of internet traffic comes from smartphone users while desktop computer users only account for 43.4%. The remaining 4.3% comes from tablet users.Also, keep in mind that smartphones are cheaper than a traditional desktop computer or laptop. Even high school kids now have easy access to a smartphone. If you want to rank higher on Google SERP, you'll have to cater the larger crowd and it happens that the target audience is now on mobile platforms.

Invest in Voice Search

Voice search is no longer a novelty. With the introduction of Siri a few years back and the rising popularity of Alexa, you'll have to also focus on content and keywords that cater to the new technologies.A wide majority of people now use voice search and not in the way most marketers think. Instead of using chopped up, awkward keyword phrases the way people search via text, people use conversational queries when using Siri or Alexa. You'll have to work your content to work for these searches as well.Yes, voice search is a little trickier to work with. The good news is that this area of SEO focuses on natural-sounding search phrases instead of the traditional, parsed keyword phrases utilized for text-based searches.

Discover More SEO Strategies Today

Keeping up with the aforementioned SEO best practices in 2018 will ensure your site can rank higher on Google SERP. However, these aren't the only important tools and strategies you'll have to monitor and master.If you're looking for more SEO tips and tricks, visit us today. Check out our other online guides, like this post that showcases 7 SEO strategies for small business owners.

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