SEO is here to stay, and you better ensure that it is at the core of your digital strategy. With content being updated online every millisecond, you need an optimal on-site and off-site SEO plan to rise to the top. It’s 2018, and the factors that determine a good ranking will continually change. We know it’s tough to keep up – but there is no other choice.
Thankfully, we have some tips to make it easier for you. Here is a 10-step SEO strategy for Higher Search Rankings in 2018:
- Optimize your title and meta description tags
Meta and Title Tags
The title and meta description tags have been around for ages, but people STILL don’t take them seriously. As Marketeers, we need to realize that paying attention to details will help us create a sustainable long-term plan. The title and description are the first elements of your website that appear in search results. They need to be crisp, unique, useful and within the character limit. Remember always to use specific keywords pertinent to your target audience.
- Online directories and citations
Online directories are a splendid resource for SMEs, yet they are often overlooked. These listings have a higher SEO ranking than most websites. Therefore, it is essential that you are present in the significant listings, citations and data aggregators in your region.
One primary listing that you should 100% make use of is Google My Business, the search engine’s very own directory. The listing is entirely free of charge and requires a straightforward verification procedure for setup.
- Encourage online reviews
User-generated and word-of-mouth content has always been a valuable brand awareness tool. Nowadays, online reviews are also crucial for improving your search rankings. Two critical platforms where customers should review are Facebook (to drive potential sales through social media) and the Google My Business (this shows up on Google’s search results).
- Recognize the importance of Artificial Intelligence
AI is the way of the future. No, we aren’t talking about robots. AI is slowly penetrating into our everyday lives including Search Engine Optimization. New AI tech such as natural language processing and deep learning allow search engines to become more intelligent and understand humans in a better way. To put it simply, every time you search for something, AI will take into account your search history patterns, your interest and more – which will influence the search algorithm accordingly.
As such, the more valuable your content, the higher the chances of appearing on top during a search.
- Create Content that Matters
Content isn’t merely about writing words on a document. It is about adding value to a person’s life. Content which doesn’t add the intended value will get penalized during search rankings. Google’s search algorithm looks for content that resonates with the audience. Your content should be emotionally stimulating, useful, opinionated and have a credible author. All of these conditions need not be met, but at least one or more should be for optimal results.
Understanding user intent involves truly getting into the minds of the searcher to understand what their needs are, and developing a content strategy that fulfills those needs. And by fulfilling these needs, an increase in clickthrough rates, traffic,…
- Build a content hub
Instead of only focusing on individual pieces of content, Google’s SEO looks at how conclusively your content pages are linked together. These are called content hubs. For example, you might have an article about the latest fashion trends, and others about specific styling and beauty tips. Keeping your fashion article at the centre, you can link all relevant pieces together. Your website benefits as a whole on the search rank. This strategy also encourages readers to stay on your website longer.
- Build the right links
Although not as crucial as creating value-added content, link building is still required to beat the search algorithms. Focus on high-quality back-links rather than links that could come across as spam. Link building is all about relationships and maintaining them. Create a list of the most important link builders on your network and work towards maintaining them. Remember, link building goes both ways. Ensure that you also link to high-quality websites on your article.
- Build a keyword theme
A significant mistake that people make when it comes to building keywords is that they try to rank only one keyword at a time. If you are planning to compete with just a single keyword per article, it will gravely affect your chances of beating the search algorithm. Furthermore, people often choose keywords with too much competition or keywords that do not have enough traffic or conversions. To tackle this, you could create a keyword theme with a large group of keywords that can suit your website. These keywords need to be specific, multiple-themed and have a lower competition.
- Don’t ignore mobile and voice
According to a study by Google, 40% of searches are now on mobile. You don’t want to be one of those websites with illegible content on mobile. That will reduce your ranking. Making your customer’s mobile experience excellent is pivotal in today’s day and age. You will also need to work on a viable voice search strategy. Often the way we type and speak are separate. Therefore, it is essential to take into consideration what your potential audience will say on applications such as Siri and build a strategy around it.
- Structured data markup
Structured data markup, also known as schema markup, is a critical element of SEO services. It should be added to your website so that search engines can obtain more information about your business. Not many use this markup, but it is encouraged to do so by Google. You can utilize the Structured Data Testing Tool to check if you have implemented your markup in the right manner.