Is SEO worth it you may wonder often? After all, you’ve used all the techniques you have read about, and you still can’t come up in search on page one of Google. Your small business or blog is not generating a lot of traffic today. What is one to do?
Certainly, SEO has changed over the years just like all of the marketing has. What once worked well for many SEO specialists today does not. Those days of stuffing keywords on your posts and pages are long gone. If you try to do that today, you will surely not be found online.
What has Changed with SEO Recently?
Gone are the days you could have 10% keyword density on a page of your website or blog. Today 2-3% is more in line what Google wants. You need to have several keywords per article or page now to use for your keyword strategy. I love using the Yoast premium plugin as it calculated this for me as I wrote each new post or page.
Google Brain Rank
Google now uses a machine learning artificial intelligence system to sort through the search results. It helps Google to process the search results. It’s not the only way Google ranks content in its search results, but it does have an impact today. Search Engine World explains in depth how this works with Google’s other ranking like Panda, Hummingbird, etc.
They do say that Brain Rank is the 3rd most important factor out of 100’s for Google ranking in the search results. They go on to explain “RankBrain is designed to help better interpret those queries and effectively translate them, behind the scenes in a way, to find the best pages for the searcher.”
How We Search Today
The way people search today is different too. Many are doing it from their mobile phones and by voice. Searches are no longer done via a desktop anymore. Look at your Google analytics to see where people are searching from now.
If you haven’t looked in a while, you may be amazed how many are searching from their mobile devices or speech tools like Alex and Google Home.
Mobile Friendly is a Must Now
If your website is not mobile friendly you are being penalized by Google. They did warn about this for some time, but it has taken effect now. Your site must be able to be found on all devices and be ready for users to look around. This is the #1 factor now for SEO in 2018.
This one is important today more than ever. People have the attention span of a goldfish which is just 8 seconds. If you don’t have someone’s attention in less than 8 seconds, it’s over. They move on to another site in their search. No one wants to wait for a website to load anymore.
Your Website’s Security
Your site must be secure from hackers. Have the HTTPS for any website that does sales on it is a must today. Be sure you use a reputable company where you can have the keys to your SSL certificate. Read more on Inspire to Thrive about SSL certificates. Not only is this one important to SEO but it’s important for your website users. They will not want to enter in any fill forms without a secure website that is reputable.
Long Tail Keywords
Long tail keywords are generating more in search today than ever before. This levels the field for many smaller businesses today. What exactly are they? Long tail keywords are three and four keyword phrases which are very, very specific to whatever you are selling.
You see, whenever a customer uses a highly specific search phrase, they tend to be looking for exactly what they are going to buy.
Therefore, long tail keywords can help you generate more SEO authority and increase your ranking so your content can be found organically.
If you need help researching keywords Neil Patel has a new tool called Ubersuggest. It is a free tool and is easy to use. I highly recommend trying this one out!
Some small business can do well via local searches. If their websites are optimized for local business those near them will find them in their searches. One of the ranking factors for this is to claim your business via Google. This is one I see many small businesses overlook.
Smaller Subtle Changes vs Big Drama Changes in SEO
This is great news to most of us. If you don’t keep up your site won’t totally vanish, but it will decrease in the rankings gradually (unless it is not mobile friendly). Back in the day some websites that were on page 1 vanished altogether. Now one may notice a drop to page 2 or 3 more gradually.
Backlinks Are Still the Backbone of SEO
The links that are incoming to your website are still considering a ranking factor today for SEO. But the quality of them matters today more than ever.
Therefore, if your backlinks contain authoritative websites it will give yours a better ranking.
When you produce great content, people will automatically want to link to it. ShoutMeLoud recently had a Twitter chat about backlinks that gave some great tips for generating backlinks.
What is this? Schema Markup is a semantic vocabulary of tags (or microdata) that you can add to your HTML to improve the way search engines read and represent your page in search engines pages.
This helps the search engines understand your content and provide the best results for those searching. These work well for products, events, place, person or organization. These are recognized by Google, Yahoo, Bingo and Yandex.
There is no clear data saying that schema markup points to higher rankings, but many believe if it doesn’t now it will in the future.
These have been around a while but in 2009 Matt Cutts of Google said he doesn’t use them at all. They are basically useless now and since 2009.
You may notice others still using them, but they are of no use today in 2018. They hold no SEO value so why use them?
Excellent Relevant Content
The type of content you produce today is not only good for you but good for your website’s SEO. Quality content is a ranking factor today. If you are writing blog posts they should be at least 900 words long.
Likewise, there should be a structure to your posts with internal links. Outbound links must be relevant to your readers. Links should not be there for linking sake.
This excellent relevant content will be shared more among the social networks. That type of content will signal that the content is sharable, and that people are reading it.
Content should be updated regularly for Google to crawl your website. Whether your website is a blog or a retail website it should be updated on a regular basis. Google crawls sites that are updated often. It is now part of SEO to have fresh content.
Gone are the days of making a website and leaving it there for years. It must be changed and refreshed to compete with newer websites being made daily.
Having a blog on any website is a great way to have content updated on a regular basis. The same goes for a blog, you should be updating your older content with fresh content. This will allow Google to crawl that post again as a fresh piece of content.
SEO is Not Just for Google
Don’t forget Bingo, Yahoo and Yandex. Google is not the only game in town when it comes to SEO. Many people use Bingo and Yahoo and some even use Yandex. Bing is run by Microsoft and their phones and computers run off the Bing network.
After you have put these SEO tips to work be sure to check your Google and Bing webmaster tools and analytics. SEO is like housework – the job is never DONE.
It’s ongoing. Doing SEO for your website is a daily or at least weekly task. Things change rapidly today online, and you must be ready to make changes rapidly as well. Gone are the days of put the site up and forget it.
You can now have emails sent to you from your Google Analytics. Just be sure to ask for the specific questions you want to know about. It could be about a specific audience’s behavior on your website. Track how they are going from one page to another.
If speed was an issue on your site, it could be the new methods you implemented to improve them. Get the emails on the page speed weekly so you know if it has changed for you.
In Conclusion – Is SEO Worth It In 2018?
The answer is a definite YES. SEO is still very important in 2018. Most online activity today starts with a search today. (3.5 billion searches alone on Google per day!)
If you want your content or products to be found online, you must use SEO methods that are relevant today to be found quickly. Like with most things in life, you either have to spend time or money to implement these strategies.
Otherwise, you’ll end up NOT on page of one of Google and all your hard work will be not be found. People no longer have the patience to search for more than 8 seconds.
Be aware of that when you write a new page or post for your site. Make sure it can be found in search when the question is asked.
Therefore, with so much competition online today SEO is worth it more than ever before!
Feature image: Shuttestock.com
In – Post Image: rginfotech.com, shuttestock.com