SEO Tips 2018: Be Safe and Sound

brighton_seo_marketing_challenges

April 23, 2018

Author: Nils Ehlert

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There is no denying the dominance that is Google. And in other breaking news, the sky is blue and water is wet. While doomsday generalizations help you survive dinner parties or drinks at corporate events, they rarely help you in your day to day business.

Understanding where Google updates in algorithm, formatting, or development focus impact your bottom line still holds necessarily great value. When looking at the rest of 2018 and beyond there are recurring Online Marketing topics that you, independent of your status, as an agency, small or big business or self-employment, should have on your mind in order to succeed and not be run off the road by your competition:

  • Security
  • Voice Search
  • Mobile Page Speed
  • Content
  • Site Architecture
  • Onpage Optimization
  • Search Intent
  • Searcher Task Accomplishments
  • Keyword Research
  • Rich Snippets
  • User Experience
  • Link Buil….
  • ..

That’s a lot and way too much to discuss in one blog post, so let’s tackle the first two at least in broad strokes so you get a good understanding of where to start updating your online marketing strategies. For the rest of the topics and much more I always recommend (besides our XOVI and Expert Blog of course) checking out conferences and inspiring events to get up to speed on all the latest trends.
Pro-Tip: The next big Event in Europe is BrightonSEO on April 27th 2018 and you can see their full speaker list here:

BrightonSEO SPEAKERS
I will link to an on-point and fitting BrightonSEO talk further down the blog post which you should definitely check out to be able to set up impactful online marketing campaigns in 2018.

Security

The easiest topic comes first and it’s pretty straightforward. If you don’t have a properly installed SSL certificate on your domain in 2018, your site is just as relevant as a hairspray to a bald guy. Right now, if your site reads “http” on the top left corner of your browser tab and you are asking for user data on your page then you will see a grey text reading “not secure”:

But this is going to change soon, as the tame grey will turn bold red with an exclamation point. Just imagine your customers that regularly visit your site and suddenly overnight they will see this:

Now you have two choices:

  1. You warn your support team about the upcoming flood of questions related to potential viruses or cyber attacks and prepare to lose a lot of customers who don’t think their data is save with you
  2. You install a SSL certificate. There is really no excuse for not having one as there are free solutions like Let’s Encrypt, which you should definitely check out

letsencrypt-logo

Don’t ignore the security status of your domains, because it will cost you in the end if you are not prepared.

Voice Search

Almost 50 years ago we sent the first man on the moon using the most primitive computing power but combined with the visionary ideas of the smartest minds on the planet we took humanity into the future. And now the smartest minds with the technological advancements of the past 50 years have revolutionized the consumer industry: Talking to a machine about the weather and good pizza places and getting responses. Oh, the humanity!

But joking aside voice search, especially compared to consumer technology duds like 3D and the current state of VR and AR is here to stay. According to a study by ComScore 50% of all searches will be done via voice by the year 2020, which isn’t too far off.

What does that mean for your online marketing campaigns? On a very basic level it means two things for you:

  1. Questions, questions, questions. This is not me contemplating while writing this blog post but it’s actually the answer. You have to optimize your site for long loooooooong tail keywords to include questions and more specifically the classic question words like WHO, WHERE, WHEN, WHY, WHAT, WHICH, HOW. First easy tips:
    • Take some members of your marketing team and sit them next to your support team for two days. Let them write down the actual questions the support receives on a daily basis and rework your FAQ page with the actual long form phrasing accordingly.
      Plus: Use heavy internal linking to your FAQ Page so Google understands how important it is.
    • Try to mix up some headlines and use questions to show Google that you are posting in order to solve problems for the user.
  2. Optimize your content for featured snippets, they are taking over voice and mobile search like nobody’s business and according to a study by ROAST 80% of Google Home results come from snippets. So having your content be displayed in those snippets is key to being relevant in voice and mobile search.

Side note: Remember that roughly 60% of all searches happen on mobile. The featured snippets on that smaller screen take up a majority of the SERP real estate which according to a study by Wordstream leads to a massive decrease in CTR as 57,1% of Google search results on mobile lead to no click at all. Why? Because mobile users already get all the answers they were looking for on the search result page via featured snippet, so why click on anything?

TALK TIP: At BrightonSEO Rob Bucci is tackling exactly that topic and it’s absolutely worth and necessary to check out.

But I don’t want to end the topic with just more homework for you, so here are 3 things to help you breath calmly again:

  1. It’s not too late to optimize for voice search. This great article by Sherry Bonelli makes notice of a great quote by Gary Vaynerchuk

    It’s called Voice-First, and anyone currently building a personal brand needs to learn about it fast and early. Its platforms are the equivalent of yet-to-be-discovered Malibu beachfront property, much like Twitter in 2006, Instagram in 2010 and Snapchat in 2012.

    So the time to adjust for voice search is right now, you haven’t missed it yet.

  2. You have to check the purpose and content of your site and ask yourself if Voice Search actually applies to you right now. If you get most of your traffic from local search, then yes you need to optimize for voice. If your content offers answers to straightforward questions like

    What is Bruce Willis famous for?

    then you should also optimize for voice. If, however your site provides in depth research information and links to important academic papers then you probably don’t have to optimize for voice search right now, because a university student will probably not ask Google Home about good recommendations for papers to write her thesis.

  3. The aforementioned article by Sherry Bonelli is really worth checking out to understand the basics behind getting into the golden 1st SERP spot by understanding how to optimize for featured snippets using Schema markups. Additionally, she points to the importance of having a SEO tool to keep track of all your optimization progress. Working at XOVI, I am not even going to comment on how, to the 10th degree, she is right on that. So if you are already using a SEO Tool like the XOVI Suite: “Good on you! You made the right choice.” If not, then you should definitely change that to take your Online Marketing game from little league to the big league.

Trust me with all the marketing challenges that will come your way you want to have the right knowledge and mindset and not just for your dinner parties or corporate events. That means to understand what to look out for and be invigorated to tackle every challenge head on. A good conference trip, leading with tremendous seminars and engaging talks will do just that.

My tip for you right now is look up an event near you, like BrightonSEO, and form new partnerships, get new ideas, be inspired. And if the tickets are free like the ones for Brighton SEO and it’s at a beach then there is really no excuse to miss out.

You can probably see the next part coming: XOVI is going to be at BrightonSEO this year, so drop by and say hello!

And if you can’t make it, there will be more content about SEO trends and tips on how to tackle upcoming online marketing challenges in future XOVI and Expert Blog posts, so make sure to check back in the comings weeks.

If you don’t want to wait for either BrightonSEO or the new blog posts then you should definitely start your SEO journey right here, sign up for free, get your feet wet, swim a few rounds for 2 weeks in our All-In-One SEO Suite and have a chat with our SEO life guards in a free training session.

Author: Nils Ehlert