When you want to find something, what do you do? Chances are, you Google it. Being found online is so important now more than ever. We are living in a digital world – whether or not you have a digital brand or business, so you need to step up your Search Engine Optimization game in 2018.

Search Engine Optimization Tips

1. Focus on quality content

When people find your website, you want them to love what they see so much, they stay for a while. Jeffrey Bumbales, Founder of JB Digital Solution, calls this a “long click” and it serves as future-proof. When people stay on your website for longer than a few minutes, it means the content is relevant to their search query, it’s valuable and so is their user experience, and it’s current and up-to-date.

2. Speed up your website

Business owners should make sure their website is mobile friendly and loads fast on a mobile device. “56% of sessions are abandoned if the website takes longer than a few seconds to load, Amine Rahal said. She is the founder and CEO of IronMonk Solutions, a Google Partners agency. I don’t know about you, but my attention span is very short when it comes to waiting for websites to load.

3. Make sure your website is mobile friendly

Traditionally, Google has used what is known as a desktop user-agent to discover, crawl and index websites. This essentially means that websites have been graded on how they appear on a desktop platform. In late 2016 Google announced that the more than 50% of searches were now coming from mobile devices, and as such, they would be transitioning to a ‘mobile-first index‘ where websites were graded first-and-foremost on how they would appear and function on mobile devices.

4. Have good PR

Public relations is so important to SEO. When you’re featured or mentioned on popular websites and your website is linked, it increases your domain authority by sending a message to Google and other search engines that your website is important. The more links, the better! PR doesn’t only help your SEO. It increases your awareness, credibility, and authority. For example, all the backlinks I’ve earned myself by acting as my own publicist helped get my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages verified. (No, you can’t pay for verification. You need to earn it.) free-media

5. Conduct SEO research

I mean real research. Don’t just write about whatever you want or use words you think people are typing into a search bar.   I use SEMRush to find out exactly what people are searching, how many people are searching it, then how many results there are. I don’t want to compete with something that has tens of millions of results. Instead, I try to find the needle in the haystack. If you don’t want to spend money on something like SEMRush, try Google Trends.

6. Use the Yoast Plugin

Don’t use this plugin until after you’ve done SEO research. The Yoast Plugin will only work for you if you’re focusing on the right words and phrases. It’s great because it tells you how often to use the word or phrase and where to put in your copy.

7. Make sure Google My Business is current

If you’re a business, you need to create a Google My Business listing if you haven’t already. It can include things like photos, hours, address, phone number, and even reviews. Joe Sloan, a marketing and communications coordinator said keeping your listing up to date will help you rank higher in local searches too!

8. Earn great reviews

Every business benefits from online reviews, but many don’t realize how much it helps with SEO. Reviews are now considered the most prominent factor in influencing results for local search. “For business owners who rely on local search and want to crush it in 2018, online reviews that could have the most impact, said Mark Nicholson, VP of Marketing at NiceJob.Not only do reviews provide signals to help with SEO, they also provide social proof that helps conversion.”

9. Retarget visitors

If you’re not using Facebook ads right now, you may in the future. It’s important to put the Facebook pixel on your website. This will keep track of everyone who has already shown interest in your, your brand, and what you offer and will be able to retarget people on Facebook if and when you do advertise. The average person needs to see something eight times before they take action, so this is online data you want to start collecting now!

10. Don’t forget about voice searches

Who else has an Alexa like me? (It was the most popular selling item on Amazon this Christmas.) If you don’t use Alexa, maybe you use Siri. In 2018, it’s time to optimize for voice search! “How consumers verbally communicate significantly varies from how individuals type out search queries. Because of this variation in behavior, you will begin to see more long-tail keyword queries and this will allow brands to create much more accurate and intelligent keyword search optimization strategies since more granular data will be available around consumer behavior,” said Kent Lewis, President and Founder of Anvil Media, Inc. Local and location-based retailers must also play a leadership role in the “near me” searches.

11. Pay attention to your metadata

You know how when you Google something you see a bit about what you’re getting into before you click on it? That’s called metadata. It’s important to have that text there on any piece of website content because it lets the search engine know what your web content is about to determine if they should show it to someone searching for it. According to Dani Benson, an SEO Specialist at Talent Inc., 63% of website owners completely forget to create a meta description and almost 54% of websites have duplicate meta descriptions. “Duplicate content, even metadata, will prohibit the page from being indexed – meaning, it will lose the opportunity to rank for keywords and, therefore, not show up in organic search results,” Benson said. So, don’t let Google decide who your content is good for. Tell them! Oh yeah, Google’s algorithm is constantly changing… like hundreds of times a year. These SEO strategies are pretty standard but they are also just part of what you should be paying attention to.