Before you read this article, Happy New Year 2018!
Year of the Dog 🐶
The last time I wrote an article like this one, it was in 2015. Fast forward 3 years to 2018, SEO is evolving at much faster pace (No, SEO is still not dead), Rank Brain is here and I started blogging after having a static site for 10+ years. Mainly because search engines don't like me as well, so your not alone. I'm no SEO guru but being in this industry for 10+ years I can give some helpful real world advice.
What Ranking Factors Will Matter In 2018?
On Page SEO
The biggest improvement you can make next year is to your own website. What should you change the most?
Meta Description - Google has updated its meta description length to 230 Characters on average in early December. Previously the length was 150-160 characters. Should you change your meta description? its up to you. If the page or landing page is doing well CTR wise then don't, if its not then change it to take advantage.
Schema - No matter what kind of website you have, your web developer should be adding some basic schema to your website. If they don't know what Schema is in 2018, get rid of the agency or the developer. Schema mark up can make you look like a hero in search results. If you need help with advanced schema deployment, you can hire me to do so.
Content - You must have heard the phrase "Content is King", well that is wrong. This does not apply to most websites anymore, because anyone can write content. What separates content from "great content which is shareable" vs "just content" is engagement signals from social media. Now if you say, I can write content and share it on fb will that work? my answer to that is NO.
Off Page SEO
Brand Mentions vs Links - If you want to get noticed, do something worthy of online mention. If someone mentions your "name" or "brand name" naturally on social media or in blogs then search engines can notice that. If you think getting links will help you, well think again. It is 2018, Google algorithm has gotten so smart that it can identify link blasts and patterns to ding you for no apparent reason. One way to bring in brand mentions is giving something cool to your customers ;) so free really should be free, stop playing games.
Email - If you send out a lot of emails to your customers or any sort of newsletter then make sure your main domain is safe. My suggestion is to get separate domain email address so your original website is not dinged for email abuse.
These factors are my own opinion, just my 2 cents on what ranking factors might work in your favor, do your changes accordingly. Please A/B test to see results.
What do you feel will matter in SEO for 2018? Let me know in the comments below.
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