Another year passed. SEO in 2018- A dramatic year indeed! Google has launched some major updates for their search algorithm in 2018. Some of these updates have quite an impact on SERPs for a number of websites and brought about significant change in the way we do SEO. However, we must learn to adapt to the new trends.
Key Takeaways From the Article
- Do not ever try to trick Google
- Focus on satisfying your users with the products or services or information on your website
- Spend 70% of your time on technical SEO and learning about your audiences then take actions.
- Do not focus on rankings keyword
- Spend 100% time promoting the brand itselfs
- Good branding strategy never left SEO, SEM, SMM, Content Marketing, and many more platforms alone. Successful Online Branding= SEO + SMM + SEM + Content Marketing + Reputation Management + Influencer Marketing and so on.
- Always test something new &
- Be consistent.
Google Algorithm Updates in 2018 (Confirmed)
- “Brackets” Core Update — March 8, 2018
- Zero-result SERP Test — March 14, 2018
- Mobile-First Index Roll-out — March 26, 2018
- Unnamed Core Update — April 17, 2018
- Snippet Length Drop — May 13, 2018
- Video Carousels — June 14, 2018
- Mobile Speed Update — July 9, 2018
- Chrome Security Warnings (Full Site) — July 24, 2018
- “Medic” Core Update — August 1, 2018
There are many unconfirmed algorithm updates. But, these updates are the most important and confirmed by Google.
You will find tons of article about the SEO trends in 2019. Same thing again and again. In my opinion, people shouldn’t be worried about Google algorithm updates or any SEO trends in most cases if you have an honest approach to your marketing strategy. Despite some technical guidelines, to my understanding, the purpose of Google Algorithm update is to provide the most relevant results as well as better user experience. Unless you are trying to cheat your way to the top, you are up for Google penalties. Better content, better product or service, better user experience & better engagement would take you a long way. There is no shortcut in SEO and if you follow or try to find any shortcuts then you should definitely be worried about algorithm updates.
On January 31, 2018, I have published an article Explaining Top SEO Trends in 2018. In this article I’ve shown “Relevance is the Key to Success” and established the following two relationships-
- Quality Content + Faster Load Time + Longer Dwell Time—>>>Good UX (User Experience)
- UX + Backlinks + CTR (Click Through Rate) + Social Signal—–>>>SERPs (Search Engine Result Page)
Yes, you are right! I have removed the term “Bounce Rate” from the relation. Because, it can be manipulated and it’s also related to dwell time (always learning :D).
I bet everyone would agree that 2018 was all about “Relevance” and it will remain as one of the most important factor in SEO for 2019 and beyond.
8 Important Factors to Boost Your Website SEO Visibility on Google SERPs
In addition to “Relevance”, here are eight important points to focus in 2019 and beyond. These points are not just ranking factors provided by Google but contain direct and indirect factors that might have influence on the rankings.
- Page Speed
- Dwell Time
- Technical SEO
- User Experience (UX)
- Brand Signal
Every day the web search is becoming more and more mobile based. Search Engines like Google always emphasize highly on users satisfaction and it is important for websites to present a better user experience. When you think about user experience, page speed is the very first thing that comes into mind. Not only for mobile devices but also for desktops, slower load time results in users to bounce away.
Google is taking page speed factor more seriously than ever and made it one of the major rankings signals.
To check the page speed score try Google Page speed Insight Tool right away.
Factors That Might Affect Page Speed
Web hosting is one of the major issues that can affect your page speed badly. It is really important to choose a good hosting service for your website. From my experience, I found Convesio quite amazing. Convesio offer a new take on WordPress Managed Hosting designed specifically for agencies and businesses who need high availability and performance from their website.
If your files are large, this will weaken the page speed score. The larger the file longer the load time. So you may want to compress the large files or use other suitable methods of minimizing file size. Additionally, optimize your file types to render the best outcome.
Having too many plugins can affect your page speed. Use the plugins that are absolutely necessary.
Browsers can affect page speed specially for an older version. Besides, you should optimize your CSS for the most used browsers.
Volume of Traffic
The larger the amount of visitors the larger the bandwidth usage. So, you might want to check the bandwidth usage as well.
The Google rank brain uses Machine Learning Algorithms which analyzes the users behavior. For example, when an user search with a keyword and click one result from the serp. Here are two possible scenarios:
- The user found the information he/she was looking for and close the search result page. This can send the relevant and trust signal and this will help rank brain understand that this webpage is highly relevant to the query and then give this page a ranking boost.
- The user found nothing or little information relevant to his/her query, leaves the site almost immediately and visits another website from the result. This might send a negative relevance signal to rank brain and then give this page a ranking demotion.
Click Through Rate (CTR)
Click Through Rate (CTR) is another important things to look at if you really want to move to the top. Along with page speed & dwell time, the machine learning algorithm takes CTR into account to display the most relevant result on the serps.
After the broad core algorithm update on August 2018 Glen Gabe published a case study where he mentioned, “There’s never one smoking gun. Instead, there’s typically a battery of smoking guns.” This is one of the most lovely quote for me in 2018. Because, I always had that belief inside me. Like I always say, “Everything is Connected”.
It’s not about improving the CTR only but all other things as well.
Few Points About Improving the CTR
- Write a attractive meta title and description tag, aslo make it relevant to the page content.
- Test different versions of the meta titles and descriptions.
- Try to use review schema (aggregate ratings) for a rich snippet result.
- Do not over optimize the meta title and description tag in any way.
Technical On-Page SEO
Above every other things like backlinks technical SEO is far more important than ever. With a proper implementation of technical SEO, any website can be ranked on the first page for most industries. However no one can guarantee that. In last two years, over 90% of my clients achieved significant ranking improvements including first page rankings for a number of keywords after doing the technical on page SEO.
Technical SEO Checklist
- Meta Title
- Meta Description
- Heading Tags (H1 to H6)
- Image Alt Text and Description
- Schema Markups
- Canonical Tags
- Crawling & Indexing
- Page Speed
Read this article about complete on-page SEO checklist.
User Experience (UX) and User Intent (UI)
Google want us to be honest with their algorithms. Compare your website with another website which is on the top position from a buyer’s perspective. This is a great way to assess your drawbacks.
By understanding the UI, you can improve the UX. But, improving this is not one day job. You have to continuously track, measure and analyze the user behaviour and implement changes accordingly.
Today’s digital marketing success depends largely on how good you are on improving your site performance continuously.
“How good you can play as well as how long you are playing” – both are significant for success.
Strong brand signal indicates that you are a credible and trustworthy brand. Good marketing strategy always focuses on the brand. If your online marketing strategy just focuses on ranking keywords then you are gravely mistaken. There’s always a chance to lose the keyword rankings but if you can establish your brand you will never lose it. So, do something that makes people remember the brand but not the search term by which they found you. A strong brand visibility can increase the brand signal as well as can help other related search terms getting ranked.
So, how can you increase the brand signal?
- Have your brand mentioned across the web
- Focus on Better Products or Services with Better Engagement
- Have a strong social presence such as FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and so on.
- Establish your expertise, authority and trust by contributing on highly authoritative sites. For example, Entrepreneur, Forbes.
After the broad core algorithm update in august 2018, I’ve published this article Google Algorithm Update August 2018 – 5 Steps to Secure Your Website SEO Permanently
I stated there,
“Google is gradually decreasing the value of links. But the value of quality links can never be ignored.”
The relevant and high quality backlinks are key here. To determine the quality and relevance of a website,
Check the backlink source If-
- It is publishing relevant content regularly.
- It is getting good amount of organic traffic.
- Users are interacting with their content.
- The link can bring referral traffic
- The link are published through editorial review process.
At the end of the day, you must be honest and try not manipulate Google’s algorithm. The word “honesty” here strange a bit. I am saying this because-
- Lot of companies & agencies are still trying to manipulate SERPs by PBNs. We all know there’s many blog networks which Google actually likes, like Gizmodo Media Group. They have a giant authoritative network such as Deadspin, Jalopnik, Jezebel, Kotaku, Lifehacker, Splinter, The Root, A. V. Club, ClickHole, The Inventory, The Onion, The Takeout, Kinja. Why Google loves those sites?
- They proved their expertise, authority & trust to Google and people.
- They are an open network
- They publish quality content which people loves and then Google
2. Search Engine Optimization is not just about ranking keywords but establishing the brand itself. But, when it comes to hire an SEO professional, specially remote freelancers business owners always expect results within a short-period of time. But, they should be aware of the fact that there’s no shortcut in success even with the physical marketing. Read this post- What You Can Expect From An SEO Campaign
3. Many SEO professional still try to use & focus on exact match types keywords in their content and meta tags (titles, descriptions, headings, even in the web page copy). It’s time to avoid this approach.
4. You shouldn’t be worried about Google penalties, if you do everything in a right way.
I know there’s a lot of bullshit around the web as “SEO trends in 2019”. But, the truth is, it’s the same bullshit over and over. All the time Google is working for us, for their users who search and want to find the right information using their search engine. It’s obvious that they do not want to show bad website on their SERPs. That’s why they are always tweaking their search algorithms time to time. Nothing to worry about it. Just focus on things needed to satisfy your users. So that, they don’t leave your site without saying goodby.
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Jubayer Hossain is The Founder at SEO With Clarity, an SEO consultant and entrepreneur. He has proven himself as a successful online marketer since 2010 and founded Ninja Creative Marketing in 2017. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.