Here’s the good news, though no one can predict the unpredictable, many of the SEO Keys to Success in 2018 are obvious ones. Below, you will find 6 of the best SEO techniques that can get your site on top of your competition.
Social Media is BIG for SEO rankings
SEO is far from dead, don’t believe the hype. Social Media now accounts for over 25% of people’s time spent online. Social Signals are top on our list of SEO Keys to Success in 2018 as they are a big reason contributing to where websites rank for keywords. We expect this to become an even stronger reason in 2018. Below is a highly insightful graphic from SearchMetrics breaking down their analysis of SEO ranking factors, the orange bars showing the Social Signals with the most influence. Notice that much of the most influential SEO ranking factors are Social Signals! Adding Facebook, Google+, Twitter & Pinterest social sharing buttons to your website are proven ways to get more Social Signals! Being active on these social media sites and executing a high quality content marketing campaign will have a direct & highly valuable impact on your SEO efforts.
Content marketing is the secret sauce that drives Social Signals. We hear it all the time… “Quality content” but this cannot be stressed enough. Gone are the easy days of ranking websites and getting tons of leads. Visitors are increasingly demanding engaging content and websites providing it are being rewarded with higher rankings, greater Social Signals, higher readership / time on site, stronger brand identities and better overall visitor experiences all translating into more business. Content Marketing is as it is the backbone of greater Social Signals as well as what grows a high quality back link portfolio, bring us to #3:
Back Links, Back Links, Back Links!!!
Many of you have likely heard about last weekends Google’s Penguin 3 Update. Now that some of the dust has settled, it seems that websites with low quality back links and not enough high quality back links were the ones hit worst. MicrositeMasters published a real interesting article on their findings, (their link to the post no longer works), but here is our overview:
“At a glance these numbers might not seem that interesting. Nearly 100% of non penalized sites had at least one good back link and nearly 100% of penalized sites had at least one obviously spammy , which is what you might expect. However if you look closer, nearly every site that was not penalized also had at least one spammy back link. What this means is that bad links by themselves did not cause sites to get hit by Penguin.”
“This graph shows once again that bad links are not the problem – nearly 50% of all contextual links going towards sites not penalized by Penguin were considered to be spammy. But even more important is the statistic for penalized sites. For sites that were penalized, under 5% of their links were considered to be high quality. This indicates that bad links had very little to do with the update. Instead the Penguin update is targeting sites that do not have enough good links!”
So in summary, MicrositeMasters analysis provides insight that Penguin 3 was not punishing websites for bad back links, but was actually removing any importance of them in its algorithm. As you can see in the first graphic in this blog post, SearchMetrics data shows a website’s number of back links to still be a big factor in SEO, with 8 of the top ranking factors seen having to do with a website’s back links!
Site Speed – Fast Sites = Fast Money
Website speed is an ever-increasing factor in SEO. Though lower on SearchMetrics list of factors, it is getting more importance as time goes on and we expect this to continue into 2018. One of the best tools in our toolbox is GTMetrix’s “Site speed” tool. It provides a wealth of data points about a website’s speed, bottlenecks’s with highly insightful data on how to improve website speed. Making use of a CDN (Content Delivery Network) is one of the best ways to easily improve your website’s speed. CloudFlare, which we’re seeing added to many hosting account control panels, offers a free CDN service. We’ve seen very notable site speed improvements just from using CloudFlare’s free CDN service. Site speed is the top ranking factor in the SearchMetrics data for its Content Ranking Factors:
Mobile / Responsive Website Design
Mobile usage is set to overtake desktop usage in 2018. This means if you don’t have a responsive website design or offer a mobile version, your competition will have an advantage over you. Search engines are beginning to boost websites that offer mobile or responsive website versions in their mobile search results. Mobile keywords, website interaction and engagement are very different from behaviors on desktop computers. Understanding not only the differences across different devices, but how to effectively deliver your products and services in meaningful ways to boost engagement and especially Social Signals is becoming increasingly more important. Displaying your traditional website’s content correctly on a mobile device is a MUST for 2018.
As we begin to wrap up 2014, the Top 5 SEO Keys to Success in 2018 are increasingly more clear. You need a comprehensive process to reach viewers through social media and this needs to revolve around giving them focused, related and engaging high quality content to drive more Social Signals and generate high quality back links. You need to reach viewers on the devices they are using and your website needs to be fast!