You can increase your revenue, strengthen your SEO, grow your brand, and lower your PPC ad cost, and make Google happy in 2018 by simply following a few guidelines.
Of course, you can still find plenty of blogs talking about how to outsmart the Google algorithms. Good luck with that.
Here’s a Truth Bomb for You:
Google only has two main objectives as a company:
Correctly delivering people the content they’re really looking for builds consumer trust, which then allows them to sell more advertising.
After all, if Google is smart enough to match searcher intent with the quality information, then they must also be able to deliver the correct ads to the correct audience at the correct time, right?
Google continually improves their ability to match people with the information and products that they desire in two ways:
Google wants to identify who the true authorities are in any given industry because that’s what online searchers are typically looking for — the best information available.
In 2018, instead of trying to outsmart Google, try something much better. This year, simply acknowledge that you actually are the authority in your industry.
Revolutionary, right? Then, you just need to learn the correct way of presenting information so that Google can easily recognize you for the authoritative genius you truly are!
I can’t help you with the self-recognition part. But when it comes to presenting the information so that Google thinks you’re the cat’s meow, I’m confident I can help you.
The big changes in the air for 2018 all revolve around two core principles: mobility and information. More and more, people perform their searches on-the-fly, and often with only their voice — no screen at all!
With that in mind, the BIG THREE for 2018 are:
Back in the good old days — you know, 2017, you could safely assume that the desktop version of your website was the one that everybody cared about. Not any longer.
Sometime in 2018, Google will be officially transitioning to a “mobile-first” indexing model. This models places emphasis on the mobile “version” of your site, whether you use Accelerated Mobile Pages, mobile-optimized sites, or responsive designs.
Position “0”. Ever heard of it? It’s the very top position on a search engine results page, reserved for Google’s “featured snippets.” Believe me, that’s where you want your website to show up, if at all possible.
Snippets are one way that Google delivers simple answers to simple questions that lie just beyond the realm of “common knowledge.”
Snippets, as information, still rely on somebody in a position of authority to answer the question, but the answer can be delivered quickly and simply — inside of a box, with the contributing company’s URL displayed neatly at the bottom. How sweet is that!
If the answer to a search query is even simpler, such as “what time is it?” Google doesn’t even need a featured snippet. It just answers the question using its built-in functionality. Boring, but useful.
Why are snippets so great, you ask? Because when your website makes it into a snippet, it just instantly achieved the top position in the search results, and it cost you absolutely nothing. Gold star for you!
So how do you achieve that coveted position “0”, you ask? You practice clean SEO, and you get really good at predicting user questions, knowing and formatting the answers, and by continually presenting yourself as the authority.
Quality matters to Google. In fact, quality is everything.
For example, while writing this post I typed into Google: “
So, for 2018 you want to answer the questions of common questions as part of your content strategy. What are the questions that your clients or customers are always asking? Those can be your snippets!
It’s been predicted that by 2020, over 50% of all searches will be done using the voice, and 30% of searches will be done without a screen!
Voice search is easier, faster, more natural, and can be done on-the-go. There is no shortage of blog posts talking about voice search SEO strategy, so I’m not going to bore you with the basics. It’s all about optimizing for natural speech. Moving on.
What’s important to know is that if any part of your website can be served in the form of a simple answer to a simple question, you’d be well-advised to spend the rest of 2018 focusing on that as a significant part of your SEO strategy.
To help formulate a strategy, comb through your site and decide what your customers might be asking their Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Siri, or Microsoft Cortana.
Let’s say you own a pizza shop. Are your customers driving around asking how to make pizza? Possibly. But it’s far more likely they’re driving around asking such things as: “Siri, what’s the best pizza restaurant near me?”
If you’re the owner of the pizza joint, and your site is properly optimized for SEO, the assistant could very well guide that searcher right to your door!
To leverage Google’s cool new technologies, you’re going to have to get everything on your site cleaned up, tuned up, and organized.
Ranking well on Google is a group effort. The algorithms are smart, but they need your information to be formatted correctly so that the information can be properly indexed.
Here’s the good news – you don’t have to be the world’s best at SEO to be successful, you just have to be better at SEO than your competition.
Every page of your site needs a specific, well-defined purpose.
If the page is about “Product A,” you must only talk about “Product A.” Don’t even think about mentioning “Product B” on that page. Don’t even think about it!
Don’t dilute the focus of any page. Focus the subject.
Google only cares about your site content, not how pretty your site is.
Good quality content keeps users on the page, and higher “dwell time” improves your rank.
Your company’s information in online directories, LinkedIn, Google Maps, etc. should all be consistent.
The integrity of data is everything to Google, and integrity is largely determined by consistency.
If the Meta Descriptions and Titles have too many characters, it won’t fit inside the viewing area on a user’s mobile device.
The best test of mobile performance is actually testing it on a mobile device.
Duplicate Meta Descriptions, Page Titles, Header tags and content throughout your site will trigger penalties.
When Google encounters duplicate information, it doesn’t know which version is the one you want to rank for, so it just penalizes all of the duplicates!
Every website we’ve ever analyzed has had duplicate content of some kind. If you don’t know where your site stands, have it analyzed.
Do not steal content! Google crawls absolutely everything on the Internet (except for what’s intentionally hidden from crawlers) and will know if the content is original.
Also, Google’s superpower is identifying relationships between bits of information, so it will most likely know if you’re trying to tweak content in an attempt to make it unique.
If you simply hate creating content, outsource your content creation. Just make sure whoever you hire isn’t copying and pasting content from somewhere else online.
Better yet — hire us! We love creating original content.
Having optimized countless client websites, we find that speed issues are usually caused by something ridiculously easy to fix.
For example, there’s no reason that any image on your site needs to exceed 100k. I’ve optimized client sites with images big enough to use on a billboard!
Keep content clean and optimized for maximum performance.
If you need a video, by all means use a video – but make certain it’s properly optimized.
Every website needs good navigation.
But, the truth is that certain pages on your site are going to function like landing pages whether that was your intention or not, because Google is going to deposit users right on those pages, bypassing your navigation entirely.
You need to acknowledge the importance of SEO and UX on every page that is likely to eventually be served by Google.
Your Title Tags, Meta Descriptions and/or Structured Data are what determine how your listing appears on the search engine results page. Unless you’re actually advertising on the Search Network, of course.
You have to make people click!
Test your SERP (Search Engine Results Page) result in the real world by typing your own URL into Google. Look at your listing. Would you click it? Read the other SERP results. How about your competitors? Are they more clickable? Be honest.
The CTR is really the most critical link in the chain. If the user doesn’t click on the search result, nothing after that matters anyway.