Every year it seems Google gives us a new ranking signal.
In 2014, HTTPS became a ranking signal.
In 2015, mobile usability became a ranking signal.
Then, 2016 shifted content development as RankBrain came onto the scene.
And, in 2017, there was a more significant push for more HTTPS websites.
Now, in 2018, mobile page speed looks to be the next big ranking signal to focus on.
All that said, John Mueller assures us that “awesomeness” is the key to ranking in Google.
But, with over 1 billion websites online today, how do you create awesomeness?
One thing I know for sure is that all of these ranking factors are all shaped to create a better, more awesome user experience.
With Google evaluating sites based on hundreds of ranking factors, knowing where to aim your SEO strategy in 2018 for the biggest bang might seem impossible.
But good news: Ranking signals are going to continue to adapt to the user.
This means that new SEO trends already surviving have roots in the current algorithm — and with a little creativity and SEO savvy, it’s entirely possible for you to rank well in 2018.
While ranking signals are far from limited to just seven, the factors highlighted in this post are ones I consider to be the most important for this year.
Here are the ranking factors that will really matter in 2018, and why.
1. Publish High-Quality Content
“I don’t need quality content on my website to rank,” said no one ever.
The quality of your website and blog content is still crucial for 2018. Content still reigns as king.
As Rand Fishkin pointed out in a Whiteboard Friday, content that is optimized for keywords still holds valuable SEO power.
Your content needs to provide valuable information. Creating pages with no real value can come back to haunt you, thanks to Google’s Panda and Fred algorithm updates.
Pages like this portal site.
Even big names like eBay and Apple aren’t worthy of the content crown. Thin content hurt both brands.
High-quality content is about creating pages that increase time on page, lower bounce rate, and provide helpful content for the user.
Blog pages like this and guides like this are the type of high-quality content search engines, and users want.
High-quality content pages must do more for today’s SEO than just be well-written and long-form. They also have to cover the following areas to increase their presence in SERPs:
Knowing users’ search intent is essential to creating pages that drive organic traffic.
CoSchedule saw a 594 percent increase in traffic by reshaping their SEO content strategy to be more aligned with searcher intent.
To understand what your target searchers intent is, you need to dive into your Google Analytics to see what users are looking for.
Reports like Site Search and User Flow can give you an idea of what your customers are searching for.
You can also view Search Analytics report in Google Search Console. This report will give you insights into what people are clicking on the SERPs to get to your site.
Despite the word on the street that keyword research is not needed to rank, keyword research still supports quality content creation. Unlike traditional keyword research, today, keywords serve as a content creation roadmap.
Through competitor research and data mining, you can uncover keyword gems that have average search volume, but high click-through rate for your audience.
Check out how Chris Hornack, founder of Blog Hands, saw an 80 percent increase in traffic after performing keyword research.
So, as the industry continues to whisper about the negative impact of keyword research, you need to identify your primary keywords and bucket them into topics suited for your searcher.
Andrea Lehr, Brand Relationship Strategist at Fract, shares insights on how she buckets her keywords here.
According to Google, 72 percent of people who own a voice-activated speaker say that their devices are often used as part of their daily routine.
It’s evident that since the growth of AI assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Cortona, a new way of searching is coming.
Optimizing for the way people speak can feel like going to your first yoga class.
You’re looking around at what other people are doing, trying to breathe deeply while holding your lotus cup above your head, meanwhile, you’re just waiting for savasana. #Awkward.
I get it. And, Dawn Anderson does too. She offers some awesome tips on SEO for voice search, including thinking about how people ask questions and understanding local queries and intent.
And, Brian Dean recently shared his insights into optimizing for voice search after reviewing 10,000 Google Home results.
Rich snippets use schema to markup your text and data for better visibility in Google search results.
Rich snippets could mean photos or ratings on your result (which is standard for recipes) like this.
Rich snippets can increase your click-through rate and lower your bounce rate because it gives users more of a preview of your content before they click on it.
If SERPs are the front door to your business, your content pages are the interior, showing users that your website (and therefore, your products or services) are worth their time.
By building high-quality content for your website, you create a warm and inviting place for your users and search engines to make themselves at home.
Continuation part here it goes