Just since as recent as 2015, Google has made significant changes to its SEO algorithm with its formula now attaching much more weight to elements such as site security, mobile responsiveness, and site speed than was the case with its SEO formula earlier this decade. Someone who’s SEO guidebook was published prior to 2015 would still be operating under the belief that inbound links are the tell all; be all to SEO success. While inbound link building remains an important cog in the SEO formula, it is less so today than it was back in the day. As such, what are the SEO tactics in vogue circa 2018? Let’s explore together.
In this post, our Endertech crew reveals the top SEO techniques to help propel your rankings and boost your on-site visitor volume. But before we delve into improving your web page ranking, let’s take a benchmarking moment to test your current page ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). Here is a free tool offered by SERPS to determine your current page ranking based on keyword searches. Now, to the main event:
Echoing the immortal words of Sally Field afterwinning the Academy Award for her portrayal in the movie Places in the Heart, “you like me, you really like me”. The more people like your site,as reflected by your site engagement – the ability to hold a user’s attention as measured by the amount of time spent on a page – the evidence suggests the more those sites are rewarded with higher page ranking. This relates to the search engines’ objective of guiding people toward websites they actually desire to visit. There is no halo benefit for a search engine to prominently list a website for which it has demonstrable evidence showing people do not wish to engage extensively with.
Engagement as evidenced by Bounce rate (visits of a single page view) is especially noteworthy, as according to research done by WordStream, there’s a correlation between bounce rate and a page’s organic position. As bounce rates rise, the lower (worse) a site generally becomes ranked in search.
Make your existing pages longer
300 words per page is the generalized achievable benchmark Endertech advises clients. In some verticals 2,000+ word blog posts have achieved prominence, but that’s an intensive, time-consuming undertaking. Easier to take existing content with authority and readership already established, and refresh it with updated information and extra content.
Focus on YouTube SEO
For years Google has been touting how YouTube is the second largest search engine on the planet with 3+ billion searches each month, surpassing all combined searches on Bing, Yahoo, and AOL. YouTube videos also rank prominently on Google SERPs. As such, consider creating video content, or optimizing existing videos with a descriptive filename, title, and description. The title should contain 5+ words and include a broad targeted keyword. Video length, as with on-page word content, can propel SEO by being longer, and a compelling video thumbnail will attract more clicks, which is an SEO signal.
Improve site speed
A core value proposition of a partnership with Endertech is having us refine your website’s plumbing to serve up its content within the rapid timeframes expected. We sometimes inherit sites who have servers that take 3 to 4 seconds to serve up the first byte of data back to the browser. Circa 2018, TTFB (time to first byte) should adhere much closer to 1 second.
Focus on topics instead of keywords
The Google algorithm has evolved toward understanding user intention, beyond the user’s typed in keywords: What do they expect, what are they actually looking for, and what search results would truly best help answer their query. For a large number of queries there is now a search result #0 – the block of informative content above the search text listings showing the best answer. The percentage of queries that had a rich result listing 0 in recent years:
22.6% in 2014
31.2% in 2015
40.0% in 2016
Notice in this example how rich result listing 0 appears at the top, followed by a YouTube (YT) link, and only then the first organic text link on the page. Sometimes PPC ads will also appear above result 0:
Cultivate inbound backlinks
Diversification in finance means focus on many options. Diversification in SEO means pursuing many focus areas that provide signals to the search engines. The tried and true core focus of SEO, recruiting backlinks, is still crucial for good search rankings. It remains the leading factor for determining search rank. According to MOZ, without building backlinks it is essentially not possible to achieve a page 1 ranking.
A. Switch to HTTPS – not only is security vital for helping make it harder for malicious parties to break into your website, not being SSL circa 2018 diminishes your site in the search engine algorithm ranking.
C. Semantic markup of on-page content, such as with H1 tags, to help emphasize key information on your website.
D. Fix 404 errors where a search engine can’t find pages because internal page links lead to a dead end.
E. Website Plug-Ins – including for canonical consolidation of pages regardless if the domain was typed with or without the leading www. You only should have one version of your site as browseable; meaning all https and http variations, as well as all www and non-www versions, should redirect into the same singular address.
Local SEO and Listings
Back in the day business exposure depended on “Let Your Fingers Do the Walking” through the yellow pages. Circa 2018 the dominant business lookup tool is the search engine. As such, it is vital that your business’ address and phone number are up to date in the various directory databases compiled by on-the-ground sources, which gather, aggregate, and submit relevant data for area businesses.
One of the technical ways Endertech can help with this is schema markup – one of the most powerful, least used parts of SEO. Schema are brief snippets of data that supply additional information about a business to search engines.
Here is MOZ’s take on the vast jungle that makes up the local search ecosystem:
Getting a blog to rank higher involves having a niche focus; rather than a broad topic narrative. Guest blogging involves offering to write a guest post for another website, typically on their blog. Getting a backlink from an authoritative blog is gold..
SEO circa 2018, while not radically different from SEO circa 2015 in the context of needing to be content focused, has evolved enough so that one does need to adapt, especially for the technical trends like SEO health, site speed, mobile responsiveness, and schema that have become much more core to the SEO algorithm formula than they were back in the day.