Predictions for SEO in 2018

What Is Around the Corner for SEO in 2018

The world of technology is ridiculously fast-paced. Where some careers take decades (sometimes centuries) to implement changes and adopt new practices,  Google algorithms apply small changes in policies on a daily basis, and drastic changes on a yearly basis.

This creates an ever-present challenge for online marketers to predict the next factor that will count for or against building a web presence through SEO. There is an ever-growing obstacle of web designers and online advertisers struggling to answer the same questions from clients “How are you going to put my website on the front page of Google?”

I am not going to claim to know everything about the subject. After all, we are a small Alabama SEO company that has been building websites for about a couple of years. There are people with more resources who have been watching the trends for much longer than we have. However, just because we are a small Alabama SEO company, doesn’t mean that we don’t take pride in our research skills. We also want to equip our clients and other up and coming online marketers with the latest Google Updates and SEO trends.

That’s why, today, I am going to be covering the up and coming SEO trends for 2018.

 

Website Staying Power

For a long time, Google counted how many clicks to your website towards your website ranking. However, there are many “Web Gurus” who have opted to cheat the system in order to grow their ranking quickly. This has been done by the use of clickbait headlines on social media and hiring the use of “Click farms“.

alabama seo company, seo trends, 2018 SEONaturally, after the clickbait became rampant in the last few years, Google decided to transition away from counting just clicks towards web rank.  Instead, they added an inclusion towards its algorithm.

Dwell time, is the amount of time visitors stay on your page after the initial click.

Google has had algorithms in the past that point toward the implementation of favoring dwell time over clicks, but with major social media sites, like Facebook adding it to their own algorithms, chances are this will be a stronger implementation for SEO to come.

 

 

Mobile First Formatting

 

It is no secret that the number of smartphone owners is rising every year. And they are not showing any signs of slowing down.

smartphone, mobile friendly,

Worldwide, the number of smartphone users are on the rise in both developing and advanced economies. They are even used and owned by refugees from places like North Korea and Syria for its map function and other important reasons.

So, there’s little surprise that mobile friendliness is going to be an even stronger factor for ranking your website. In fact, when building a website, experts recommend you design with mobile phones in mind, not the desktop computer.

If you aren’t sure if your website is mobile friendly enough, then you are in luck. Google has provided tools that can test your site, and judge it on its mobile-friendly qualities.

 

Voice Search Optimization

voice based search, echo,

This one is a little less apparent compared to most SEO trends. Nonetheless, it is predicted to be a huge part of upcoming SEO trends by influential members of the tech and advertising industry. Voice command technology is a relatively new and has seen its fair share of setbacks. However, as of at least last year, voice-activated search engines are becoming more integrated with consumer technology.

Alexa, Cortana,  and several other devices were created solely as a voice-activated machine that are attached to things like Google, Youtube, Amazon, and MapQuest.  Sort of like a more compact and limited form of JARVIS from Ironman.

Naturally, that means that Googles ranking will come to favor less from what someone will type down as a keyword and more from organic queries that people speak out loud.

When typing down something, humans have a sense of self-monitoring. We are trained in schools to type things quickly and accurately, in lieu or typing down organic thought. When it comes to speaking, however, unless you are in a formal setting, we tend to blurt out what is on our minds immediately.  So instead of speaking to Alexa like someone with pure keywords such as “Cheap Alabama Web Design” we instead ask it full queries, “Alexa, Where is the Cheapest Alabama Web Design company?

If you take the time to pose and answer a direct question on your content, you are going to get more results and most likely indexed by Google through both voice-activated and organic queries.

 

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By |2017-12-30T14:25:04+00:00December 30th, 2017|Post|Comments Off on Predictions for SEO in 2018

Facebook Cracking Down on Spammers

Facebook is Penalizing “Engagement” Bait

It is no secret that Facebook has been trying harder to crack down on spammy behavior since at least last year. They have gone out of their way to reduce links that lead to poor quality content, news hoaxes, and fake videos.  Already, they have penalized the practice of click-baiting in their algorithm since 2016. But just what are these practices? What does it mean for the Alabama SEO company trying to grow their business through social media? Does it have any major impact on your SEO?

Today, I am going to dig deep and answer the questions as best as I can.

 

What is Click Bait?

For those of you who don’t spend a good chunk of time on the internet, the term might not be familiar. Do you remember watching your favorite tv show and at the ending, the whole thing cut off before you knew what was going to happen to the characters on the screen?  Will the judge rule the main character guilty or innocent? Can the hero survive hanging off the edge of that cliff?  It leaves you, the audience, infuriated that you will not know what will happen until next week. It also makes you eager to watch the next episode, or sometimes wait for over year for the next season to come on.  This is a writing tactic known as the cliffhanger, and click-baiting is the internet equivalent of that.

 

Spam, clickbait, Facebook

 

Usually, click baiters engage social media users, by showing an outrageous but effectively engaging headline of an article.  “Find out How I Lost 100 lbs“You won’t believe what he or she said…” Click baiters pique the interest of the user by posing a question or stating an outrageous claim. If the claim is intriguing enough for the user, they will click the text, and get sent to a web page with the article that answers the question but also filled with all sorts of spam offers, ads, and sponsorships that get in the way of that answer, or the answer is mundane and unfulfilling.

The practice of leaving a strong headline as a marketing tool isn’t a bad tactic by itself. After all, how else do you get readership if you don’t grab the attention of your audience?

The problem is that it has been most often been utilized by spammers, hackers, and websites that aim to increase their social ranking artificially.

 

What is Engagement Bait?

Engagement bait is a term coined by Facebook in their latest algorithm update announcement.  Their definition of the term states, that it is a  “tactic that seeks to take advantage of our News Feed algorithm by boosting engagement in order to get greater reach.”

As the current algorithm stands, if a post receives a constant stream of likes, comments, and shares, it starts to show up in other people’s news feed, in order to create a more widespread following of a popular post.

facebook, engagement bait, clickbait, spam

Copyright Facebook

 

The problem is that the same spammers are capitalizing on this algorithm thus far by a few variations of this tactic to create a larger reach.

Average Facebook Users and Facebook itself see this as a variation of click-baiting, so naturally, they are changing the algorithm to reward users who don’t engage in that behavior and punish those that do.

 

 

What does it mean for SEO?

It doesn’t do major damage to your web SEO if you have legitimate engaging content. Likes, Shares, and Comments, do add up to your social media score for your website, but that is only a fraction of what Google puts into your SEO ranking. Google uses social media, the content on your site, tagged images, relevant keywords, outbound linking and inbound linking to rank your site. It is only a small part of a larger whole, so if you fail it, it isn’t the end of the world.

The whole point of this new Facebook policy is to create authentic value for user interactions and prevent the idea of growth hacking to cheat the system. If you have legitimately good content, then you have nothing to fear, except for the occasional misunderstanding.

Conclusion

The official motive does sound admirable, but we have yet to see if the execution will help or hurt legitimate Facebook businesses. After all, no human is perfect, and neither is any string of complex codes. It could backfire on small businesses if the algorithm lacks any sort of nuance.

Facebook did provide a link to their new guidelines about how businesses should behave themselves on Facebook, and are allotting at least a 7 week adjustment period for bloggers to learn how to navigate with this new algorithm that is being applied.

For now, only time will tell.

 

Written by:

Web Design By Purple Tie Guys Decatur Alabama, alabama seo company

An Alabama SEO Company dedicated to getting your business Web-ready all over the globe. If you liked this article, click here to read another one like it.

Other Sources:

https://marketingland.com/facebooks-latest-news-feed-tweak-penalizes-pages-solicit-likes-shares-230493

https://www.theverge.com/2017/5/17/15654730/facebook-news-feed-update-kill-off-clickbait

https://thenextweb.com/facebook/2017/12/18/facebooks-crackdown-engagement-bait-long-overdue/

By |2017-12-26T22:15:05+00:00December 26th, 2017|Post|Comments Off on Facebook Cracking Down on Spammers

Why is it So Hard to Rank on Google?! – Part 2: Inbound Links

Part 2 – Getting Google to Like You

I mentioned last week that Google, much like a sophisticated lady,  is a classy entity that does not favor just everyone. It is a respectable index that has, since the beginning, relied on its own set of rules in order to keep its reputation as the most popular search engine. If you play by the rules and stay patient, Google will notice.

We touched on the “Know” part of the “Know, Like, Trust” business model last week. We talked about SEO Keywords, Outbound Linking, and Readability. All three of these things play a part in letting Google know that your website is being taken seriously. Believe it or not, while it takes a lot of effort,  that was the easy part.

Writing and editing your website does take effort, but there are tools, widgets and instructions that help. If you misspelled something, don’t have the right amount of words, or need to change your keywords, you can go in and edit it yourself.  The “Know” part is the outcome of your actions. You aren’t paying for the consequences of anyone else’s actions or inaction.

However, the “Like” part of the Google equation is contingent on the actions of other people, and that is what makes it so hard. You have to convince other people, on the internet, to vouch for you.

 

like, facebook

 

Like

There is a universal truth when it comes to social interactions that most people learn about when they go through kindergarten or first grade. The harsh reality when it comes to social situations is that no one has to like you. There are going to be things that people are willing to do for you because they like you and there are going to be things that people won’t bother with because they don’t care about your needs. Add the anonymity of Internet users and you can see why getting people to vouch for your website can seem daunting. But, you still need those users to vouch for you. How do you do it? What can you ask of them, and how can it be accomplished?  Well, according to Google you need Inbound Links from other reputable websites to vouch for yours.

 

What are Inbound Links?

Inbound links are when other websites link to your content on their website. When other websites link to yours, it increases credibility to your site and boosts your reputation when the search engines start to rank you inbound linkagainst your competition.  While the concept and the actions behind inbound linking seem easy enough, you still need to get people to care about your content enough to go through the effort. There are multiple ways to try and convince other users to show off your website for you, but Google still has a list of rules that you must abide by to get each one of them to count.

Don’t Cheat

If you wanted to date a girl or boy that you think you might like, but you do questionable things beforehand (stalking comes to mind), there is still a possibility of you reaching your end goal. However, that comes with a huge risk of this person finding out what you did. If they did, they’d call you a creep, dump you on the spot, and tell all of their friends.

Google operates the exact same way.

According to Google, there is a right way and a wrong way to get backlinks. If you try to break the rules of conduct, you will get penalized for it. Some of these are considered “common sense rules of the internet” but others are a little more surprising. A few examples of ‘cheating’ with backlinks include:

 

  • Paying for Backlinks 
  • Auto Generated Links
  • Hiding Links in CSS or JavaScript
  • Low-Quality Guest Posts
  • Comment Spam

 

If you want to read more about link penalties and what to avoid, check out here and here. They go into deeper detail about the subject matter.

 

Ways to get Inbound Links

 

inbound linking content

 

The right way to gain inbound links takes much more time and effort but significantly decreases the chances of being penalized by Google. This can help you build further trust between Google and your site. These include but are not limited to:

 

  • Create Consistent Content
  • Encourage others to Share your content on Social Media
  • Speak at Events IRL
  • Offer Sneak Peaks or Free Samples of your Content
  • Review Something Everyone is Talking About

 

Check out these sources here, and there.  They go into further detail and offer a variety of ways to get other people to share your content!

 

Need marketing advice? Contact us! Want to read an interesting guest blog? Check this out!

By |2017-12-14T15:03:57+00:00December 14th, 2017|Post, Social Media Marketing|Comments Off on Why is it So Hard to Rank on Google?! – Part 2: Inbound Links

Why is it So Hard to Rank on Google?! – Part 1: Intro to SEO

Part 1: Getting to Know your Site

 

I’ve watched multiple clients wallow in the frustration of trying to figure out how to show up on the first two pages of Google. “My website isn’t getting any views!” “Why isn’t anyone visiting my page?” “Why am I not viral yet after a few days?” You may think that I was mocking you just now, but the truth of it all is that I have done the same song and dance as anyone who doesn’t grasp the concept of how Google works.

 

google, ranking on google, seo

Google seems to consistently change its rules every couple of months, and your efforts don’t seem to get any tangible or measurable results. I want viewership now, dammit?! Why is this not working?! The answer is a little bit more complex than you think.
Getting ranked on Google is much like trying to start a long-term relationship. You need to put in the effort, perform the right steps, and work with who you are compatible with. You can’t expect instant results with little to no effort, and you can’t take any shortcuts.

Businesses often refer to relationship building within companies as the “Know, Like, Trust” model. Over the next few articles I will explain this while making dating allegories to put it in a perspective that everyone can understand.

 

Know

Think about the art of dating in the pursuit of a romantic partner. Do you expect someone to commit to another person in a relationship after the first date?

relationship building google

A surprisingly old-fashioned search engine.

Of course, you don’t. Because real relationships aren’t based purely on physical intimacy. It is based on mutual trust over time built between prospective partners. And the only way to do that is to get to know someone.

Google desires long-lasting relationships with other websites. How does Google get to know your website? Through finding out what your site is all about with Readability,  SEO and Outbound linking.

 

 

 

 

 

Readability

A sophisticated woman on the dating scene has a certain standard of etiquette that she expects from the gentlemen who come to call. She expects the person that she is dating to be polite in their speech, mannerisms, and grooming habits.

The same can be said for Google when it comes to readability. Google has a certain standard when it comes to spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, and word count.  Usually, there are tools that will spell it out for you before you publish a post. This is mainly to the benefit of your audience but benefits Google by giving it more clarity in how it should index each relevant page.

Google looks at copy with these standards :

  • How easy it is to read for the general population.

  • The length of the paragraph.

  • The limited percentage of how many sentences have more than 20 words.
  • How many sentences contain a transition word.

  • How many sentences are written in a passive or active voice.

SEO

There are diverse types of websites all over the world. They could be about niche subjects like a buddy cop show from the 70’s or it could be broad, like religion.  But, until you declare what type of subject your page is about, you are nothing more than a stranger to Google.

SEO, ranking on google

This is where SEO comes in. When you declare a keyword that is relevant to your website and provide a proper description, you are signaling to Google, “Hey, this is what I am all about!”

From there, Google is able to sort you into the right category, because it knows who you are.

However, you want to be careful about repeating the same keywords over and over.

Just like any intelligent woman, if Google hears the same keyword over and over again it will either assume you aren’t taking the conversation seriously enough or that you are just a boring, one-note, individual. Take the time to expand on your subject matter by offering a variety of SEO keywords for each post.

Outbound Linking

linking, seo, indexing google

The ultimate way for Google to get to know you more.

How does any girl learn about someone who she might be interested in pursuing a relationship with? She learns about who the people who are in their life and watches how they treat them. From there she can gauge their values and personal interests further.

 

Outbound linking, aka “citing your sources,” is the webpage equivalent of this.  The larger the frame of reference that you give on where you

get your ideas and compile your information, the more likely you are to rank higher up the list of search results for the related keyword.

By |2017-12-14T17:10:18+00:00December 6th, 2017|Post, Social Media Marketing|Comments Off on Why is it So Hard to Rank on Google?! – Part 1: Intro to SEO