We’re living in a digital world, folks. Many people interact more with each other online than they do in person. From dating to shopping to networking, the world on our smartphones seems bigger than the one around us.
In this digital era, search engine optimization can make or break a business. It’s not enough to do it when you first publish your site. A successful SEO strategy needs to be an ongoing project you monitor, adjust, and maintain.
There’s no doubt that SEO best practices have changed in major ways from their early days. So what’s the best way to attract web traffic in 2018? Try these key SEO consultant tips.
The Latest Tips from an SEO Consultant
A comprehensive SEO strategy combines on-page and off-page tactics. Here are the most important tips you should follow in 2018:
1. Focus On Long Tail Keywords
Long tail keywords are multi-word phrases rather than individual words, but search engines interpret them as keywords. For example, let’s say you’re a dermatology office. Instead of optimizing for the keyword “acne,” optimize for “best acne treatments.”
There are a few reasons you want to do this. First, it’s easier to rank for long tail keywords. Think about how many articles there are online for acne compared to the number there are for the best acne treatments. You’ll have far less competition.
Another benefit is that long tail keywords tend to have better conversion rates. When you’re optimizing for a more specific phrase, the chances are better that the user is looking for that specific information.
Someone who searches for “acne” could be looking for many different types of information, so there’s a good chance your article isn’t what they want. If they’re searching for “best acne treatments,” though, you already know they’re looking for the content you’re serving.
2. Place Keywords Strategically
Keyword stuffing is a strategy of the past, and in fact, it will hurt your rankings today. Instead of using a keyword as many times as possible, use it in a few select locations.
Include your target keyword in a header within the article as well as one or two other times throughout the article. You also need to include your keyword in the page’s meta title and meta description. It’s best to include it in the page’s URL as well.
3. Don’t Underestimate Local SEO – As Long As It Applies
Local SEO is one of the popular buzzwords of 2018. You want to target people who have the potential to be customers, and that means people near your business.
There are plenty of ways to do this. For instance, you can include your city name or neighborhood name in your keywords.
Be careful to only do this if it makes sense, though. If you’re running a store that’s online only, optimizing for certain cities will limit your scope. It may also seem ungenuine because someone looking for a local business will get to your online store and bounce off.
4. Set Keyword Research Appointments
Just like other aspects of SEO, keyword research should be an ongoing task. Every few weeks or months, check out how your keywords are performing. Look for keywords you can add or remove from your target list.
Trends and current events can change keywords’ performance in a heartbeat, and you need to stay on top of it. Try using tools like Google Ads’ Keyword Planner to get the metrics you need.
5. Fine-Tune Your Site for Mobile Users
Mobile is king in 2018. Now that the majority of web traffic comes from mobile devices, search engines are prioritizing sites that are optimized for mobile use.
If you still have a separate mobile site, switch to a responsive web design instead. Every time to make a change to your site, ensure that the site still works well on mobile devices.
7. Backlinks, Backlinks, and More Backlinks
Backlinks, or links to your site from other sites, are among the most successful ways to boost your SEO rankings. The search engine sees that another site found your page relevant enough to link to it.
Start focusing on getting more backlinks and getting high-quality ones. Approach other sites in your industry or sites with more general content. Offer to write a guest post for their blog if they let you include one link to your own site.
Make sure you play fair, too. Link to other sites on a regular basis so you’re supplying backlinks to others as well.
8. Consider a Web Design Overhaul
A great website is an investment, and there’s no way around it. If your site’s getting stale, it may be time to consider a full overhaul.
If your site’s design is poor, your bounce rate will go through the roof. The same is true for a great website design that has a slow loading time.
If users don’t like the experience on your site or they find it hard to navigate, they’ll remember and they won’t return. This can put a serious damper on your traffic and, in turn, your SEO. If it’s time for a redesign, make sure you put the focus on user experience, or UX.
9. Make the Switch to HTTPS
Have you noticed that many sites’ URLs now start with “https” rather than “http”? It’s a subtle switch to the general public, but it means a lot.
Without getting into the nitty-gritty, HTTPS is a new protocol that requires sites to be more secure. In recent months, Google has announced that sites with the HTTPS protocol will benefit in their rankings.
As an added incentive, people using Google Chrome will see a “Not Secure” note in their address bar when they’re on an HTTP site. If you haven’t made the switch yet, now is the time.
Updating Your SEO Strategy for 2018
There’s a reason large companies have entire teams of SEO professionals: because keeping up with the changes is a job and a half. Take it from our SEO consultant team, though: it isn’t something you want to skip. The tips above can help you keep up with the changes and build stronger SEO for your site.
If you’re looking for more hands-on help, contact our SEO specialists.