Your competition may have a much larger marketing budget than you do. Yet, they’re going after the same audience. Is there any way your business can compete with a movie being promoted on a national level? Could a library possibly win in a fight with book-selling giant Amazon?
The good news is, thanks to digital marketing, you have a chance to get a fair share of the pie. All you need is the right strategy that will let you reach your target audiences in a way that produces results. You can use free marketing options such as search engine optimization (SEO).
The key to your success when it comes to brand awareness is applying the strategy the right way. This is crucial when it comes to SEO. It’s a complex topic that keeps on changing. You can’t use strategies that were effective five years ago. The reality is, you need to be ahead of the game. You must be ready for the next year. Here are some tips on you can adapt to new changes in SEO, as well as 7 specific ways things are different now.
1) Credibility matters more than ever
SEO is so complex that you can pinpoint a single aspect that drives algorithm changes. However, if you had to bet on one thing, it should be credibility.
Google takes special care to ensure that only credible websites rank high in the search results. In the past, you could link from anywhere, and it would help improve your rankings. These days, the links must have credibility in order to have a positive effect.
You can expect that whatever changes in 2018, it will be focused on credibility. Not so long ago, Google was in the headlines facing allegations of promoting fake news. As a response, the company has promised that they will devalue what they call “non-authoritative websites.” It appears upcoming changes will be geared towards that mission. If you want to succeed, you have to ensure that you use ethical SEO tactics and that you link only to credible sources.
2) Good Content Carries More Weight
Does the term Google RankBrain sound familiar? You might benefit from reading up on it. This tool determines how websites are ranked, using machine learning. The world’s largest search engine relies on it to figure out how credible a site is. It also looks at how your users experience your website.
This means you have to create content that actually matters to your audience. Content that feels and sounds natural. You want people to spend time on your site after they click-through. This will boost your rankings in the future. When it comes to SEO, building a site doesn’t do the trick anymore. You must also ensure that your visitors love what you offer them as content. As a strategy, you should survey your audience every now and then. This will help you figure out what they want to know about. You’ll be surprised how much info you’ll get that way.
3) Voice-Based Search Is On The Rise
Typing on the keyboard is no longer the only way to search. According to statistics, about one billion searches were done via voice command in January 2018. The smartphone or a smart home device is used daily to do a voice search by 40 percent of American adults.
This suggests that you must revise your SEO strategy. To start with, a typical voice search will tend to be longer than a text-based one. Questions are used more frequently, as full sentences. To succeed in 2018 and beyond, you should shift your focus to conversational keywords.
4) Featured Snippers – A New Way to Dominate
Moz has pointed out that featured snippets have become a major way to control the top of search engine results pages. They work by making a single result more prominent. The snippets usually contain an answer to a question, or they have the most relevance to the search terms. Featured snippets have a major impact on click-through rates and increasing traffic for a site that manages to land one.
However, it’s not all about luck. A careful strategy is required to get featured in a result page snippet. To begin with, do your keyword research and look for snippets that apply to your company. Then, do your best to provide an answer to that question – in an easy to understand fashion. You could also benefit from ensuring that the article has answers to several questions. You may also want to use eye-catching images. This may take some time to work however it can give you an advantage over your best-funded competitors.
5) The Demand for Comprehensive Content
Content length does not directly correlate with SEO success. Yet, your content in 2018 has to be comprehensive. It must provide an in-depth story. RankBrain, mentioned earlier is part of the reason: longer content will increase the length of time visitors spend on your site. But, there is more to this.
There is a quote by Backlinko that says covering a topic in-depth is what makes the best pages. A user can get everything they need from the page – just like a one-stop shop. Hence, it’s best to have at least 1,000 words in a piece of content. 2,000 words might even work better, especially if you go beyond your main topic by focusing on related keywords.
6) The Mobile-First Index is coming!
You may already be aware of the need for mobile digital marketing. Yet, you may not know that it will be a requirement for SEO success later this year. Google is predicted to start using it’s Mobile-First Index. This will result in sites being ranked as if they were displayed on mobile devices.
From Google’s point of view, this makes perfect sense: in many keyword categories and industries, over 70 percent of searches originate from mobile devices. Your business must start preparing for this. Your website should be responsive, and your content should be easy to read even on small screens. Many people will visit your site while on the go, and they expect to find the information they want quickly.
7) Linkless Mentions – A New Frontier
The smart search engine algorithm is reducing its reliance on its biggest SEO ranking factor: backlinks. In the past, attracting high-profile links was a standard way to build credibility. People used to step over each other to get those links. But now, things are different. Very soon, just a mention, without a link, will be enough to gain effective SEO clout – just like a link would. This suggests that search engines can recognize mentions and connect them with you. In turn, this will improve the authority and perceived quality of your website.
Linked mentions are already being used by Bing in its ranking algorithm. Most experts agree that Google is next to follow. Don’t discard your current SEO strategy though and get rid of your links! But, you should start noting your sources in all the content you create.
Building a Future-Proof SEO Strategy
Change is the only constant in SEO. Marketers with years of experience know that effective tactics from just a while age are not relevant anymore. You shouldn’t be surprised that the way you rank in search engines will be different in 2018.
Are you and your business prepared for the new reality? If you rely on organic search visits, you must get ready. Create your SEO strategy with future changes in mind, and you’ll keep attracting visitors and sales even when faced with high-budget competitors.
Edmonton SEO Guy
4935 55 Ave NW #216 Edmonton, AB T6B 3S3