SEO—what you need to know in 2018
In 2006, Google used just 200 signals for ranking websites. Now, in 2018, there are thousands: too many to understand and implement properly. To make it easy for you, we've outlined the top ten ranking factors that you should be optimising.
ENSURE CONTENT IS UNIQUE ACROSS YOUR WEBSITE
Refrain from producing content that is similar. Ensuring that each piece of content is unique makes better use of your crawl budget, speeds everything up and prevents cannibalisation. You can utilise a few shortcuts in Google Search Console to ensure there's no overlap with existing pages.
PRODUCE WHAT ISN'T IN EXISTENCE
Strive to have the best possible answer on the web, whatever question is being asked. Research every possible intent and constantly tweak your best performing pages.
PAGE LOAD SPEED
Google compares your website with those in your industry and the fastest page usually wins. Be mindful of radical advancements in technical SEO; content delivery networks (CDNs) are becoming the norm and should be at the top of everyone's technical strategy.
PAGE KEYWORDS AND CONTENT-BASED METRICS
If your page isn't relevant for the searcher's query, but more importantly doesn't answer the user's intent, you don't rank. Remember it's not about publishing the most; the biggest wins often come from optimising what you've got.
DWELL TIME OR LONG-CLICK METRICS
When you make a page live, how can you guarantee that the searcher won't click the back button? You know more about your business and its offerings more than anyone else. Prove it.
QUALITY OF VERIFIED, REAL-WORLD BUSINESS INFORMATION
The combined traffic of voice search, the local pack, Google Maps and the Knowledge Graph is immense. These rely on the accuracy of the information they're being fed. Clean your data on the web. The optimisation of location data and WikiData are not only hugely important, but don't often require development resources or an approval from compliance.
USE OF RESPONSIVE DESIGN AND/OR MOBILE OPTIMISED
This is not only a prerequisite of ranking on a mobile device, but it's also getting easier to get buy-in. It's easy to quantify how much money your business is losing out on without a mobile site.
"PAGE IS MOBILE FRIENDLY"
Mobile-friendly certification is a rare example of Google telling businesses, in a developer-queue friendly format, what they need to do to pass. It gives its seal of approval when the standards have been met. A goal for anyone creating a new website.
QUANTITY OF SEARCHES FOR SPECIFIC KEYWORDS, BUSINESS NAME AND/OR URL
Searchers do this because it's easier to search Google for pages on your website than use your navigation or own internal search. This must be optimised immediately for the benefit of your users.
CTR FROM GOOGLE SERPS TO THE PAGE FOR THE KEYWORD
Optimising your click-through-rate (CTR) is so easy. Schema mark-up is straightforward to implement, giving better looking listings. We consistently test our own title tags and meta descriptions, which are a crucial ranking factor. If we can get a better CTR in the second result than the first on the search engine results page (SERP), then rankings don't strictly matter, but the results will usually sway over time.
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