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SEO Tips & Techniques for 2018

Find the best SEO strategy for your business…

This marketing article will cover all of the SEO advice and implementations that should be performed on your websites for 2018:-

What is Rankbrain?

Rankbrain is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) machine learning system that Google developed to help sort out their search results.

Rankbrain focuses on two things:

  • Dwell time - length spent on website
  • (CTR) - Percentage of time spent on website
Image of an A.I Robotic arm pointing at touch-screen enabled glass.

So what does 'Dwell Time' mean?

Dwell Time means that you need to keep web visitors on your pages, each website needs to have a good amount of content on each page. There are many clever ways of keeping someone on your web pages including:

  • Having at least 2000 words of in-depth content (keep visitors reading)
  • Using Video (Set up videos with auto start)
  • Banners (Images that when clicked link to other pages)
  • Factual content that answers a specific question

Someone sat reading a website page online.

- the longer a visitor stays on the page, the better for your website rank.

And if someone bounces from your site after 2 seconds, that tells Google: “This result stinks! Let’s drop it down a few spots”.

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So what does 'CTR' mean and why are website link clicks so important?

Someone clicking a mouse.
CTR Is the ratio of users who click on a specific link to the number of total users who view a page, email, or advertisement. CTR or Click Through Rate Basically 'clicks' is the key, getting more clicks.

Google is tracking to see how many people click a link, an email, a link on social media relating to your business, this is why online marketing is key to getting your website to the top of the results.

Have you ever seen those annoying boxes floating on the page when you enter or exit a website? Do you know why they are there? They are not there to get your email address even though that is what they say - they are there to get you to close them - it is a smart way of them getting a 'click' off of you - I bet most of you click to close the box!!

This is what Google wants. If you type your search then click a link on the Google result page and then when you are on the website you click to close the box, Google is tracking that click, and this signal tells Google that you interacted with the page thus boosting that page higher up the rankings - clever hey!!

What ways can you get more clicks:

  • Write enticing meta descriptions and titles on your pages.
  • When posting on Social media, whether Facebook or Instagram or Twitter or any social site (there are over 2000) you need to be copying and pasting a URL from your website into your post. The idea is you want people to click that link - no link = no CTR - pointless doing social media if not adding your link to each article.
  • Email Marketing - writing articles on your website that answer questions in your industry, e.g. you have a painting/decorating business - an example article to write on your website would be "How to prepare my walls to be painted?" Then write roughly a 1000 word answer. Once created and published on your website, you can then copy and paste the link of this answer in an email newsletter - imagine having ten excellent articles, which would be ten links that you could put in a newsletter. Then when sent to your customer base, how many of those recipients will click on one of those links? All those clicks will lead to a higher ranking website!!
  • Adding a notification box so that people click to close it (as mentioned above!).

How to Reduce Bounce Rate and Boost Dwell Time

Push Your Content Above the Fold

  • When someone clicks on your site from Google, they want their question answered NOW. In other words, they don’t want to scroll down to read your content. That’s why I highly recommend removing anything that pushes your content below the fold. The fold refers to the bottom of your computer screen.
  • Use short intros to your page - try and use content/wording that will answer the query accurately (less waffle, more fact).
  • In-depth content - not only does it take someone longer to read a 2000 word article over a 400-word article but usually a more extended answer or more information is often more relevant than a shorter explanation or description. Plus imagine how long it takes someone to read all the text - this is good because it keeps traffic on your website longer = dwell time!!
  • Break up content into bite-size chunks, don't try and cram 2000 words into a single column of boring text - mix it up into small paragraphs or more easily digestible paragraphs.

Get ready for Google's Mobile First Index!

In 2017 Google announced that they would be moving over to a "mobile-first index".

This means that Google will be prioritising your mobile website over your desktop website. This means that if your business website is not optimised for mobile devices, then your ranking will drop significantly.

Even though it is not live yet, it will be soon, and that is why it is good to start preparing for it now!

In a nutshell, this means that you need to concentrate on making your website mobile-friendly or ultimately that your website is responsive (most client sites that we have upgraded over the last couple of years will already be mobile-friendly/responsive).

This move makes sense. Today, 60% of Google searches are from a mobile device. And that’s only going to grow in the future.

Is your website mobile-friendly?

Click the link and check your website by inserting your domain name on Google now! Mobile-Friendly Test

If you are unsure if your website is mobile-friendly or not - just click the following link and type in your website address -
https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly

Optimising your website for Voice Search

Firstly to be able to do this, one of your website pages needs to be on the first page of Google.

Secondly, you need to get your content to appear in featured snippets.

Thirdly you should start adding questions and answers into your web pages because the majority of voice-based searches are questions, e.g. Who starred in the movie Star Wars? Or How do I cook a rump steak, so it is medium-rare? Or Whats the difference between UK and US dress sizes?

No matter your business industry people are always asking questions about things, the thirst for knowledge is relentless!!

Ultimately the answers that you give to the question need to be in-depth.

However, it is up to Google whether or not to display your response. If you do manage to get your answer published on to one of these coveted pages, then you can pretty much guarantee that you will get a lot more business!

Structured Data, Mark Up, Schema or Microdata!

All of the above virtually mean the same thing.

What? Structured what?

The big 4 - Google, Bing, Yahoo and Yandex have all collaborated to help you provide the information their search engines need to understand your content and give the best search results possible.

When your websites page has been optimised correctly, the right amount of content is present, and the structured data has been added to your pages then Google may or may not choose to present your data in featured rich snippets. Featured rich snippets appear below your search engine result. Nearly every website that has these featured rich snippets appear at the top of the results page.

Adding Schema markup to your HTML improves the way your page displays in the search engines by enhancing the rich snippets that are displayed beneath the page title.

Structured data's effect on rankings

Whether structured data affects rankings has been the subject of much discussion and many experiments. As of yet, there is no conclusive evidence that this markup improves rankings. But there are some indications that search results with more great rich snippets (like those created using Schema) will have a better click-through rate.

*Please note - over 90% of business websites have still not been updated!!

Online Video - Tap into YouTube

Online video is exploding right now! By the year 2021 online video will make up 80% of all online traffic according to Cisco.

43% of people want to see more video content!

Hubspot.

Here’s how to take advantage of video’s SEO benefits in 2018:

Embed Video Content Into Text-Based Blog Posts

  • Firstly you'll need some niche articles written on your website that are about your business, or a specific service that you provide.
  • Secondly, you'll need to get some videos made, and it depends what your article is about to know what type of video to produce.
  • If you are explaining about one of your products or services then it would make sense for you or someone in your business to film yourself and upload it - an excellent example of this is Andy from AFB Motorcycles - Andy frequently uploads his videos - check out his videos here

That’s why I recommend embedding video content into your blog posts/articles. In my experience, this can give you a severe dwell time boost. The longer a web visitor stays on your website, the better it will be for your search engine rankings!

Duncan Maund
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Posted by Duncan Maund

An image of the Managing Director of Mediatopia
Duncan Maund is the Managing Director of Mediatopia. He has been educating business owners on Social Media & Digital Marketing for over ten years. Having been involved with over 1500 website projects, Duncan has the knowledge and expertise to coach and advise businesses how to succeed in all digital technologies.