So, are the rules of SEO changing all that much in 2018? Sort of. However, the fundamentals, of course, will remain. You won't be able to game the system. You can't cut corners or take shortcuts. If you would like to crush it with SEO in 2018, then you will need to do a lot of hard work.
Know the truth. It takes time to understand search engine optimization and know how to use it effectively. Google's algorithm has hundreds of rules, so it is no surprise that it is very confusing. In 2018, if you want to stay ahead of the SEO curve, you will need to put in lots effort and time to deliver real value.
If your plan for 2018 is to dominate SEO, there are tons of rules you need to know, but there are 7, in particular, that stand out. Make sure to pay close attention to the following rules if you want to dominate the SERPs in 2018.
1. Create content that provides value.
Always create excellent content. And when you are doing it, don't try taking shortcuts. Google is getting increasingly better at being able to find and recognize great content. Don't try gaming the system when it comes to content. Instead, make an effort to create excellent content. When you do that, it will reflect on your website, and you will see increased traffic. Great content engages visitors and motivates them to want to share it. When creating your content, focus on the following elements:
- If possible, always write content that is at least 2,000 words.
- Get a healthy link profile created that includes both relevant outbound links as well as internal links.
- Back up all of your facts with studies and statistics and be sure to cite your sources.
- Make your content easy to read and divide it into sections.
- Make sure your primary photo is a high-quality, relevant image.
- Use keywords, but don't stuff or overuse them.
- Create informative content that helps people solve their problems.
- Write your content in an organic and natural way for humans while also paying attention to what the search engines are looking for.
2. Test your page speed and where necessary, make improvements.
Use Google's free PageSpeed Insight in order to determine what areas of your website need to be improved. When you increase the page speed of your site substantially, you can greatly improve your visibility. Tools such as Varvy, GTMetrix, and Pingdom can also be used. The following areas are ones you should try to improve with any kind of page speed enhancement that you do:
- Reduce the response time of the server to requests.
- Make use of browser caching in order for page elements to be served faster.
- Enable compressions such as GZip.
- Make sure all images are optimized using loss-less image optimizers such as Compressor.io.
3. Whenever possible, use a CDN for your DNS and domain so that your content is served quickly.
It is critical to use content delivery networks (CDNs) such as Amazon's CloudFront in order to serve your content quickly to users no matter where they happen to be located. CDNs can distribute your content across various servers located all over the world through mirroring it, and then the content is served from the server that is located closest to the visitor.
Another reason you should think about getting your DNS moved to CloudFlare or a similar type of configuration is that it can help to speed up DNS propagation times. DNS propagation tends to lag depending on your registration and the location of their servers versus where a DNS request comes from.
4. Ensure mobile usability and responsiveness across devices.
These days mobile searchers greatly outpace desktop searches. Focus on mobile usability and responsiveness for better conversions and higher rankings. Search Engine Land reports that in 2016 mobile searches were almost 60 percent of total searches. Take the time to make sure your website is optimized for all mobile devices and that it can be used across all platforms easily through getting a CSS library implemented such as Bootstrap. You can build your own as well.
5. Focus on providing an enhanced user experience.
Make sure to provide an excellent user experience. That involves making sure that your website is easy to use. It also needs to be easy to navigate. It should be easy to search for and find the content the user is looking for. The following are a few tips:
- In your navigation use breadcrumbs.
- Get a fast site search implemented.
- Make sure your website isn't too rich in graphics.
- Make sure it is easy to use the main menu.
- Use categories or tag to categorize your content.
- Avoid using a lot of pop-ups.
6. For keyword diversity, make use of Latent Semantic Indexing.
The core technology used by Google in its Hummingbird search is Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI). This is the current iteration of the search engine's semantic-style searching. What LSI allows Google to do is display relevant content through understanding what a user is looking for instead of attempting to return content that is specially based on a keyword. LSI is simply a fancy way of saying something differently.
For example, you can say "make money online" in different ways such as "earn cash on the web" or "generate income on the internet," and so forth. Google recognizes that it means the same thing. Use this in all of your content. It will enable you to create natural-sounding and organic prose without it seeming to be keyword-stuffed.
7. Leverage trusted domains to market your content.
Whenever I am creating content, even when posting it on a trust domain, I also make sure to use other authority sites to market the content. No matter where your content is published, marketing it is one of the keys to effective SEO in 2018, or any year. Create other useful content on authority websites such as Medium, LinkedIn Publishing or Quora, and have a link point back to your original anchor content.