It’s a brand new year, and that means new marketing goals! Crafting a plan of action on how to achieve them? You need to get thinking about the latest SEO trends and which SEO techniques you should be leaving behind in 2018.
SEO is a fast-moving and ever-evolving industry. Google is constantly changing and moving the goalposts on what it is looking for from a website. This means that we have to stay on our toes and make sure that our SEO techniques are always as up to date as possible.
How have the latest SEO trends moved on from the past?
Keyword stuffing is one of the worst SEO techniques to leave behind in 2018. In the past, websites have attempted to improve their position in Google’s rankings by keyword stuffing their content. This is when the same keyword is used over and over again within a piece of content, without variation and with little consideration given to the impact on the user experience. Whilst this technique has proved successful in the past, Google now recognises such practices and will actively penalise websites that carry out such a technique. As a result, a website can slip dramatically down the rankings.
No one wants to read keyword stuffed content. Frequently tedious, often unintelligible, and almost spammy, keyword stuffed content rarely offers any value to the reader. It is only written with spider crawling bots in mind. Take the following lines as an example:
“Are you looking for laptop deals? Look no further, we have all the laptop deals you could want. Our wide range of laptop deals are the best on the market and you won’t find better laptop deals anywhere else. Browse below to search all our laptop deals and pick your perfect laptop deal today.”
Any guesses as to what the keyword was there? Needless to say, it does not make for a pleasant or particularly useful reading experience.
A word of warning, don’t try and trick Google by including the keyword invisibly. Your audience might not be able to physically see any white text against a white background, but Google and other search engines certainly will.
So how should you use keywords correctly? What is the latest SEO trend for keywords? We recommend assigning a focus keyword for each web page around which you will build your informative and useful content, putting it in context. Focusing on a single keyword for each web page signals to Google exactly what your content is about. It will also prevent you from targeting the same keyword on multiple pages and competing against yourself in the rankings (keyword cannibalisation).
Remember, Google is intelligent enough to understand synonyms and long-tail keywords so you don’t have to keep using the exact same phrase. For example, ‘laptop offers’, ‘best UK laptop deals’.
Other best practice tips include writing a minimum of 500 words per page and ensuring that the keyword is featured in the page URL, meta title, meta description, first paragraph, subheadings and image alt tags.
From a design perspective, it can often be tempting to hide the bulk of your content in accordions or below a ‘Read More’ tab. That way, more space can be given over to images and branding, a particular concern on mobile sites. However, this can be a risky approach. Whilst Google will still crawl this content, it will be given a lesser weight and your website won’t rank as highly as it otherwise might have done. Why does Google do this? User experience.
Imagine you’re looking for a specific piece of information online and have typed your search term into Google. When you then click one of the presented search results, you expect to be taken to a web page where that information is clearly visible. As intelligent as Google is, it cannot read and understand an image that doesn’t have an alt tag stating what it is.
When it comes to link building, think quality not quantity. Rather than investing lots of time and effort in trying to secure hundreds of poor backlinks from really low quality sources, we recommend that you instead focus on acquiring a handful of higher quality links that will actually provide value to the users. Within the latest SEO trends, the signs of a bad link include:
Low Domain Authority. Whilst one or two backlinks from sites with poor reputations are unlikely to have an impact on your website’s search rankings, hundreds in a relatively short period of time will draw Google’s eye? and could result in a penalty. As much as possible, try to ensure that your site earns links from high authority sources.
Avoid Too Much Keyword-Match Anchor Text. If the anchor text of the backlink perfectly matches the keyword your page is optimised for, Google may become suspicious Remember, you want your links to look as natural as possible.
No Context. The best links to have pointing to your site are those that come from a context that is relevant for your site. Taking our laptop deals example again, you’d ideally have backlinks coming from consumer recommendation sites, tech sites and so on.
Diversity Of Domains. You might find that one site in particular is keen to create a lot of backlinks for you on their site. This might sound tempting but is definitely an SEO technique to leave behind in 2018. Google will rank you higher if you have fewer links coming for a wider range of sites.