What really matters as regards to ranking in 2018? it seems every year that new there are new signals emanating from Google as what is and what is not important.
Let us go back in time and in 2014 it was HTTPS making all the news, this was followed in 2015 and the signals were all about mobile usability. In 2016 there was a shift to RankBrain then a year later HTTPS was making all the news again.
The signals for 2018 is that mobile page speeds are the next big step to focus on, but a comment from Google’s John Mueller rather shook everybody up when he said that the key to Google’s ranking is awesomeness!
If you would like to know what this terminology means then contact Voova Digital and talk to their experienced digital marketing team who will be happy to oblige you with your enquiry.
What on earth is meant by that single word, awesomeness? How do you go about trying to create awesomeness. Do we really know what Google is looking for when it evaluates the hundreds of factors that can affect ranking. What can you aim for in 2018 to give your site the best visibility and rankings?
The good news from Google is that ranking signals are continuing to adapt to the user, and it is all about user experience. In this blog we look at some of the more powerful factors that will be highlighted in 2018.
Content, content, content…it always seems to go back to content when it comes to driving traffic and attracting rankings. The quality of your content will again be king in 2018, and content that has good optimization for keywords will be really powerful.
As always the content must provide content that is valuable to the user, and high quality content must be more than just well written, it has to have certain qualities to increase its power in SERPs.
You must know what the intent of the user is when they are searching, this is essential to drive organic traffic. If you reshape your SEO content so it has more in common with what the searcher’s intent is then you will see a dramatic increases in traffic.
Search Analytics reports in Google Search Console will give you a good idea of what people are clicking on the SERPs to get to your site.
Many people ignore the value of ranking with keywords, this is a mistake as it still supports good content. Keywords have changed in terms of importance, today they serve as a content creation strategy.
To keep your keywords fresh you have to first identify the primary ones, then put them together into topics that will attract anybody searching.
Over three quarters of people owning voice-activated devices use this feature daily. Assistants such as Alexa, Siri and Cortona hint that there is a new way of searching on the horizon. Soon optimizing sites for the way people talk will be a common occurrence.
Rich Snippets use schema as a way of marking text and data so it is more visible to Google search results. This content can be written, images and photos, it gives a better preview to what your site is all about.
Your Site Must Be Mobile-Friendly
A responsive mobile friendly website is definitely the way to go, although Google has publicly stated they do not particularly have any preference of how you go about mobile websites, a responsive one is their favourite.
A responsive design so Google says “Helps algorithms accurately assign indexing properties to the page rather than needing to signal the existence of corresponding desktop/mobile pages.”
In summary this means any time you can possibly make it easier for a search engine to improve its results then do so.
HTTPS Secure Your Website
If you don’t switch to HTTPS it will not particularly damage your site, even though way back in 2014 Google announced that this was a ranking factor.
The Chrome Browser which is used by 50% of us, will start to flag up sites as unsecure in the URL browser starting in 2018 if they are not HTTPS.
If Google did not consider that HTTPS was important then Chrome would not be doing this.
Improve Your User Experience
One of the major contributing factors to ranking is UX or User Experience, it can lead to awesomeness on your site. Nearly forty percent of users will stop viewing your site if the layout is bad and the content is not clear and informative.
Google also looks at dwell times to give an indication of how the user liked your site before they clicked back to the search results. You must pay attention to UX as a part of your overall SEO strategy if you want to be successful in SERP’s.
The way the architecture affects your site will also impact the UX and SEO, it has been claimed that fixing your site’s architecture can make a real difference to UX. Site architecture guides users to find what they are looking for, and it also assists crawlers to find more of your site’s pages.
The way to structure your architecture effectively is to lay the pages out as simply as possible so they are easy to find. The last thing you want is a user having to click three or four times to get to where they want to be.
Make Sure Your Page Speed is up to Scratch
Starting in July 2018, Google has announced that page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile devices. So the slower your site performs the more it will affect viewing figures and consequently revenue.
There are good tools that you can implement to understand the speed of your site and most fixes are relatively easy as long as a professional knows what he is doing. Voova Digital are a professional digital marketing company, and their experienced staff can undertake such work correctly.
Master On-Page Optimization
We have talked about the importance of UX, and the on-page optimization is an important factor in providing good user experience. What this entails is the technical behind the scenes parts of what your SEO is trying to achieve.
By cleaning up items like metadata, schema and linking structure the UX can definitely benefit. Also by doing this it can make it easy for Google to find your pages.
The Importance of Backlinks
In 2018 for your site to do well in rankings then links will remain an important component. Links can be formed by utilizing many different strategies such as:
- Roundups – provide collated detail of what is on the site
- Case studies – shared by a client telling how they achieved their results
- Infographics – infographics are shared heavily online and really provide a snapshot on a chosen topic.
- Podcasts etc – any useful content that can help influence searchers
- Industry news / surveys – detailed info on related topics is really good as informative and authoritative data.
- White papers / free content – could include e-books, quizzes, tools and reports
It may be the case that backlinks will lose their importance over the next twenty years or so but still for now don’t lose sight of their importance.
Taking all these factors into account it will help create the awesomeness that Google is looking for. What John Mueller actually meant by his awesomeness comment is a more sophisticated and comprehensive SEO strategy for your site.
In 2018 as more Google updates are rolled out, what is required is a high quality short-term focus for gains as an attacking way forward as part of your overall SEO strategy.