Ultimate SEO Guide 2018

Best practices for SEO change rapidly as search engines update their algorithms, so keeping up to date with SEO guidelines is necessary for maintaining an online presence.

With that in mind, internet marketing companies publish SEO guides to help their readers stay abreast of changes in the industry. One of the latest guides to hit the market is by Web CEO, who published their ultimate SEO guide for 2018.

Besides referring you to Web CEO’s guide, we also want to share our thoughts on key SEO guidelines, as an agency working daily in the SEO trenches to keep our clients at the top of search engines.

Smart Keyword Research

People search online for the content they seek based on keywords (e.g., single words, or phrases).

So, it’s important on web pages to include keywords people are using in searches, in a logical and well structured manner, along with the metadata that communicates to search engines, in order to rank in search results.

Furthermore, implementing content with the keywords that are employed by search engine users seeking products and services you provide, and the keywords most likely to drive them down the sales funnel to conversion, is extremely important.

How do we find these keywords? We use software to discover and analyze search traffic to identify short-tail and long-tail keywords we can use to attract users to the website to consume content, and travel down the sales funnel to conversion.

Although the user experience is of preeminent importance, keywords must be creatively and strategically implemented within the content:

  • Placement on the page.
  • Inclusion in the page URL.
  • Inclusion in H1 and H2 tags.
  • Inclusion in anchored text for external or internal links.
  • Inclusion in metadata (i.e., the SEO title and meta description).

Backlinks (i.e., links to the page from other web pages) with anchored keyword text are also important because they signal to search engines that the page is authoritative and should appear high in search results.

User-Friendly Content

As mentioned already, the user experience is of preeminent importance. Not only is high-quality user-friendly content important to rank high in search results, it is important to converting users into customers.

Content, therefore, should be useful, relevant to the keywords used, formatted well, visually appealing, up-to-date, original (not plagiarized), and focused on the user.

Content should be suitable for the target audience.

  • Content will be more technical on some websites and less technical on others.
  • Content will be more story based and entertaining on some websites, and more fact based on others.
  • Short form content will work best on some websites, while longer, in-depth content will work better on others.

As a result, it is important to constantly test to discover which types of content attract, retain, motivates, and convert your target audience.

Local SEO

Nearly half of internet searches have local intent. Search engines, therefore, deliver local results rather than national or global results. For example, you search Google for a pizza restaurant, and you receive results for restaurants close to your location, not for restaurants in cities a thousand miles away.

Therefore, local SEO is of paramount importance for local businesses to be found online, and to generate leads and sales from internet search results.

Local SEO is the practice of targeting location-specific traffic through the use of localized optimization and relevant keywords, such as specific city, town, street, state, or country names. Keywords should still be well researched before use, even if they are localized.

Beyond keywords, local SEO includes mobile optimization, local citations (listings in directories and websites with your business’s NAP and website URL, optimized Google My Business listing, complete customer-facing business information, structured data (markup communicating information to search engines), local backlinks, and positive social reviews.

Link Building

Internal link building and backlinks are very important to SEO, because they help search engines understand more about the page, in addition to the authority of a page.

  • Internal links are links from one page to another page of the same website.
  • Backlinks are inbound links to a website. For example, a link from a page on Wikipedia to a page on your website is a backlink.

Internal links are important to the website’s architecture and the user’s experience, which are both important to SEO and for conversions.

Internal links are important because they connect pages together for easy navigation around a web site, so that visitors can find any page easily and quickly. Internal links increase visitor usability, search engine crawlability, page authority, especially when optimized anchor text is strategically used throughout the site.

Backlinks from credible and authoritative websites improve your search rankings and your site authority. However, backlinks must be acquired in a way that follows search engine guidelines to avoid being penalized.

Some strategies for link building include link reclamation, broken link building, guest blogging, online interviews, becoming a source for a reporter’s article, and link round-ups.

Spamming other websites with links to your site (e.g., in the comments or otherwise), a sudden and unprecedented increase in backlinks, linking schemes, links from unrelated sites, low-quality site links, or hidden backlinks can result in a penalty from a search engine.

Mobile Optimization

In 2018, mobile internet usage is expected to continue trending upwards, surpassing the already high 50% of current online searches. Therefore, search engines like Google rank websites based on mobile optimization.

Perhaps most importantly, people who search using a smartphone convert more quickly than desktop and tablet users:

  • Nearly half of all consumers who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit a store within a day, versus 34% who search on a desktop or tablet.
  • 18% of local mobile searches lead to a sale in one day.
  • 78% of local-mobile searches result in offline purchases.
  • 71% of people look up and confirm the location of a business before going to it the first time.
  • 33% of smartphone searches are made right before a store visit.
  • 76%of local searches result in a phone call.

Take Away

SEO is important for every business wanting to be found online through search engines, including Google maps. In today’s world, therefore, SEO is essential for local businesses, and every business needing national and/or global visibility.

If you need help with SEO, and being found online by potential and current customers, please request a free consultation, or contact us at your earliest convenience.

Download Web CEO’s guide: The Ultimate SEO Guide for 2018.

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The importance of Local SEO

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Allan McNabb, COO, Internet marketing by Image Building Media

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