Wondering how to dominate SEO marketing in 2018?
I’ve put together a list of four great SEO techniques all marketers should be using to boost their rank in the search results.
As marketing and SEO continue to evolve, it gets easier and easier to fall behind. Things like AMP and voice search are no longer relegated to the distant future – they’re here, and they can’t be ignored.
Instead, optimize. Here’s how.
SEO Technique #1 | Get Your Website On AMP
You’ve likely heard of AMP.
It stands for accelerated mobile pages, and it’s been big news on the marketing scene since its debut in 2015.
AMP is an open source project designed to make mobile pages load quickly. Really quickly.
In its official blog post, Google says that AMP:
“Every time a webpage takes too long to load, they lose a reader—and the opportunity to earn revenue through advertising or subscriptions…(AMP) aims to dramatically improve the performance of the mobile web. We want webpages with rich content like video, animations and graphics to work alongside smart ads, and to load instantaneously.”
While that was back in 2015, getting on AMP is now a bigger deal than ever.
That’s due in part to Google’s mobile-first initiative. Google knows that 1.) more users than ever are using mobile devices to search the web and 2.) people like pages that load fast.
And because Google’s all about providing a seamless user experience, it will reward sites that do just that. That means that pages that use AMP are likely to rank higher.
But do be aware that for all its benefits, AMP comes with a few disadvantages as well.
Most notably, you may notice a drop in conversions as you implement it. In order to work so quickly, AMP strips out all extraneous code in order to increase load time. To get your conversions back, you may need to add some of that code back in.
Despite it’s few downfalls, AMP will be increasingly important to web functionality in the long term. I recommend starting on your blog, and then adding AMP to the other pages of your site.
For a full guide on adding AMP to your web pages, click here.
SEO Technique # 2 | Increase Page Speed
This goes hand in hand with AMP.
Think about it this way: users already spend an average 69% of their media time on smartphones. But when they visit a site 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less, and 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
Load speed is clearly a big deal. And as I covered above, Google’s been pushing the mobile experience for quite some time.
Until recently, page speed was only a ranking factor for desktop searches. But Google very recently announced that starting in July 2018, page speed will also be a ranking factor for mobile searches.
That means that companies have just a few short months to get their load times up to snuff on mobile. There are many factors that could be affecting a page’s load time, and luckily, they can be fixed.
Here are some of the easiest ways to increase your page speed:
- Fast server response time – this one’s an easy fix; I use wpengine.com, but there are plenty of good servers out there
- Have a content delivery network (CDN) – this will deliver your content significantly faster (I’ve seen this improve client’s sites 20%-30%!)
- Limit your redirects – too many can have a negative effect on your page speed, so make sure you’re periodically cleaning up your redirects and only keeping ones that are necessary
- Optimize your images – this is a big one; slow images = slow page speed. Don’t try to cram huge images into small spaces; this will have a very noticeable effect on your load speed. Instead, take the time to make sure all images are sized and optimized correctly
- Enable compression – when you deliver items through the browser, compress them in a zip file to make the process much faster
- Enable browsing caching – when a website is “cached,” it means that a user has visited it before and has come back to it, making the page load much faster
- Reduce the number of plug-ins on your site – less is more when it comes to plug-ins. While some are understandably necessary, try to limit the number you use to ensure a faster load speed
SEO Technique #3 | Run Creative Campaigns That Get Shared
It remains as true as ever: content is king when it comes to marketing.
There’s no question that the more quality content you produce and the more shares and links it garners will lead to a higher ranking.
But if you really want to be successful, you have to choose your content wisely. With the influx of information available on the internet, your company needs a clear creative strategy designed to gain attention, fast.
According to Moz, one of the most important characteristics of great content is “creating emotional engagement.”
You need to hit them with something unexpected and capitalize on an emotion.
Case in point: viral content.
Anything has the potential to go viral, whether it’s a cat gif or a dress color debacle. What separates a viral campaign is that it has a clear message contained within the content.
And while it’s hard to predict what will ultimately go viral, there are a few tactics that will help take your content to that level:
- It must evoke an emotion – humor is the obvious one here, but content doesn’t have to be humorous to go viral. It could be confidence – Dove’s recent body positive campaign is a great example of this. It could be charity; who hasn’t suppressed a tear or two during the ASPCA animal commercials? Whatever it is, decide on the emotion you’re trying to convey and deliver it in the best way possible.
- Look for new ways to deliver traditional content; for example, I recently released SEO: The Movie. While this would traditionally be expected in blog or ebook form, I made it into a movie. It was unexpected and allowed for far more creativity, and therefore proved more engaging than the norm.
- Make the ordinary extraordinary – Dos Equis Most Interesting Man in the World, anyone? The campaign turned to an average beer into an internet sensation by appealing to their audience’s sense of adventure.
SEO Technique #4 | Optimize for Voice Search
Voice search is the latest trend in internet searches, and it shows no signs of slowing down.
In fact, 20% of mobile searches on Google are now made via voice, and it’s predicted that 50% of all searches will be made through voice by 2020.
So if you haven’t already, now’s the perfect time to take a serious look at voice optimization.
The first step in doing so is understanding how voice search differs from traditional search. One of the biggest is the way the query is framed: with voice search, queries are often made in question form and tend to be more conversational.
To make sure you’re adjusting your strategy for the change, it’s important to understand what people are searching for by getting a list of voice search queries and optimizing for them.
For example, 22% of voice searches are made for local content and information. That means that local businesses, or those involved with local search, need to put serious thought into their local SEO by claiming their Google My Business page, getting involved on Yelp, etc.
Another major factor of successful voice optimization is your page’s ability to reach the coveted position 0 on Google’s SERPs.
Also called features snippets, these are the results featured above the first result in Google, with a headline and a short snippet of text.
The snippet is pulled directly from the website’s page, and when Google Home or Google Assistant returns an answer to a searcher’s question it reads the snippets directly from the site ranked in position 0.
Which means if you want your page to be featured in Google’s voice search results, you need to focus on optimizing for that featured snippet position.
Here are a few pointers:
- Have a direct answer to a question at the top of the page. Google will often pull their featured snippets straight from the source, so having a short amount of answer text near the top your page will increase the likelihood that you’ll rank 0.
- Be specific about how you structure your content will help as well. Use Q&A and FAQs formats to signal an answer to a specific question
- Use long-form content. Recent studies have shown that pages with long-form content (a few thousand words) are more likely to have a featured snippet.
- Keyword research. As always, keyword research is crucial to SEO and the coveted 0 position. Make sure that you know the exact types of queries you’re targeting, and are targeting not only a primary term but related terms as well
- Create a list of all the questions users could potentially ask about your page. Answer every question in a concise format that could be pulled as a featured snippet.
- Focus on why and how questions. Those are most often pulled for featured snippets.
If I had to throw in one more, I would say also optimize your site for an advanced Google SERP feature. If you look in SEM Rush, you can see what you already have in regards to your websites lists. You can also put in your competitors and replicate it.
Get Started With These SEO Techniques
SEO has experienced its fair share of changes over the years. And while it isn’t always easy keeping up, it’s worth it not to fall behind.
The SEO techniques above will keep you in line with the competition and set up you for up for search engine success in 2018.