Top 5 SEO Strategies to Focus on in 2018
Anyone heavily involved in search engine optimization is accustomed to evolving their approach. Some SEO strategies remain useful for a long time, with only slight tweaks required. However, plenty of other methods move from being highly beneficial to extremely dangerous. If you test the limits of your approach, updates can lead to severe penalties or even bans. A more white-hat plan, though, won't usually have the same impact, with updates having less impact or perhaps improving your rankings. So what are the main SEO strategies you should be focusing on in 2018?
Smart Keyword Placement
While keyword research is still an important part of SEO, the approach required for ranking is considerably different. A successful strategy in the past was to create a new post for every keyword, using the chosen term in the title, description, URL, and various times within the content. An updated approach, though, will focus on grouping keywords together into related terms. Google is far better at deciphering patterns between words and phrases, so you don't need to explicitly make clear what the content is trying to rank for. Ultimately, the focus should be on quality content, written for readers, and built around a clear theme.
Internal linking is not a new strategy, but it can be efficiently used to optimize your website. Instead of merely adding links without any clear structure, consider the hierarchy of the site first. Your highest priority pages should not be far away from the homepage, requiring minimal clicks to reach. A large e-commerce site might internally link between relevant products in the same category. A blog might add links to articles within a related topic.
Safe Link Building
On-site factors relating to trust and relevance have become increasingly important, but backlinks are still a key factor. Using automated software to gain large numbers of links should be avoided, with smaller numbers of quality links offering a more efficient approach. Guest posts, directories, and social media can all provide safe links, but there is more need to research the quality and relevance of the linking site carefully. It is now also necessary to remove bad links from your profile, monitoring your backlinks using the Google Search Console.
Titles were typically seen as a place to include some prominent keywords. There is now, though, more focus on trust and relevance, so a low click-through rate (CTR) and high bounce rate can damage your rankings. Create a title that lets searchers know what to expect, using the characters to craft a heading that resembles an advertisement. A good title can lead to a higher CTR than sites ranking above you, with Google then rewarding you for providing relevant content.
Websites typically build up a lot of content over a long period of time. Much of this material might not resonate with an audience, though, and probably receives little or no traffic. Occasionally auditing your site can uncover articles that are low quality and didn't meet visitors expectations. Look at the pieces receiving no traffic in Google Analytics, consider if the content could be improved, ensure the word count is sufficient, and create any necessary updates. An additional benefit of this approach is the ability to promote the content as new.
There are no certainties or guarantees in SEO, with disputes commonplace among the most active bloggers and forum users. There are, though, many best practices that will usually lead to positive results. It is essential to monitor the impact of new changes, being willing and able to adapt if you find ranking doesn't improve. However, an SEO campaign focused on these key strategies in 2018 is primed for a successful year.
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