Keeping track of all the changes in search engine algorithms is difficult. When you think you understand SEO, something new comes along that makes you reconsider your whole strategy.
While some SEO techniques have remained the same for a few years, there are some emerging SEO trends and tactics that you can’t ignore. Here, we’ve broken down some of the latest strategies to strengthen your SEO for years to come.
Optimize for User Intent
Google’s algorithm is constantly evolving to understand the intention of users better and deliver more accurate results. For this reason, using exact-match keywords for web content is becoming less crucial.
Tip: Focus on creating content that directly answers questions from your target audience in easy-to-understand language. Organize your content into “themes.” Use more related phrases that link ideas and information, and use internal linking to connect associated topics across your website.
Focus on YouTube SEO
Around 55 percent of all searches on Google return at least one video on the first page of results, and 82 percent of these videos are from YouTube. To give your video content more search engine power, optimize videos by using relevant keywords in the filename, title, and description.
Tip: Avoid posting long videos. According to one study, videos up to two minutes long get the most engagement2. Videos on landing pages are also more likely to show up higher in search results, and emails with videos have higher click-through rates.
Be Ready for Google’s Mobile Page Speed Update
Page speed has long been a ranking factor, but mainly for desktop searches. Google has announced that in July 2018, page speed will officially become a ranking factor for mobile searches.
Tip: Make the switch to Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights Tool to identify areas where you can improve your mobile page load times.
Optimize for Voice Search
In the next few years, voice search technology will become even more sophisticated. With more home assistants coming onto the market, an increasing number of consumers will rely on voice search to find out information and make purchase decisions.
Tip: Try using a virtual assistant to search for businesses like yours. Take note of which sites the results come from, and then optimize your content for these sites. For example, the top result might be a Yelp listing, so make sure your business is listed correctly on Yelp. Update all your business details on review sites, business directories, and Google My Business.
Extend Existing Pages
According to a recent study, the longer your content, the more chance it has of ranking higher in search engine results pages3. Rather than writing an entirely new article, upgrade existing pages that are already performing well.
Tip: In Google’s Search Console, find blog posts that have a decent ranking on search results pages. Then update these articles with new, helpful information that increases their value to users.
Test Local Pay-Per-Click Campaigns
According to Google, almost a third of mobile searches have local intent. To take advantage of this trend, Google is giving more priority to local search advertising.
Tip: Experiment with Google AdWords using more local keywords to attract more website traffic. Keep track of your ad wording and adjust your future ads according to the results.
In SEO terms, user engagement is a measure of how long users spend on a web page. Although Google hasn’t officially stated it, evidence shows that Google gives higher search rankings to sites with more user engagement.
Tip: To improve your site’s engagement, format your content for easier reading. Use shorter paragraphs and sentences. Use more subheadings and bullet points, and break up text with images.
Build More Quality Backlinks
Building quality backlinks, still crucial for good rankings in 2018, will continue to be a significant ranking factor. Low-quality links from third-party sites, blog comments, and paid links just won’t help anymore and are likely to damage your search rankings.
Tip: Earn quality links by producing more high-quality content on your website, and build relationships with influencers in your industry. Also, add relevant outbound links to credible sources such as news or government websites.
In summary, you can fortify your SEO in these ways:
- Create content that directly answers questions from your target audience.
- Create and optimize more video content.
- Optimize your website for mobile searches.
- Extend well-performing pages with fresh content.
- Test pay-per-click ads using more location-specific keywords.
- Format your content to improve the user experience.
- Build better links by creating high-quality content and developing online relationships.
Try these strategies out one by one, and focus on the ones that give you the best results. Give it time, and SEO will give your business the competitive advantage.
Optimization techniques will continue to change as search engine algorithms evolve, but these are some of the most critical actions you can take today to improve your SEO power now and for years to come.