Seven Questions You Might Have About SEO in 2018
by Mike Khorev
Search engine optimization might still mystify you, even if you’ve managed to learn all the basics to help your business. While you’ve maybe found some success with the process recently, what happens when you want to move to a more advanced level?
You shouldn’t fret, because every business that works with SEO is bound to have questions sooner or later. What kind of questions do you have about some of the most confusing aspects?
Take a look at some of the most common asked SEO questions we’re seeing this year. All have answers that may surprise you if you’ve had other impressions about how each subject works.
1. Should You Only Do Blogging for SEO?
When you first started doing SEO, did you start a blog to improve your search engine rankings? While creating a blog never gets old and is still effective, don’t just do this alone. In fact, a standalone blog won’t help your SERPs much without having domain authority on a website first.
This is why so many people place internal blogs on their websites, though only after gaining clout. Domain authority was created by the website Moz with a scoring system of 1-100 to determine how well your website ranks.
How do you go about improving this to assure your internal blog gets read? You’ll want to take this seriously since there isn’t any point to writing a blog if nobody can find you.
A few steps to earn your domain authority:
- Moz looks at social signals to see how much content from your website is getting shared on all the popular social channels. Make an effort to post your content on social media and promote it with hashtags.
- Focus on choosing a good domain name. The easier your domain name, the better so people remember it easily. Make sure it stays active for several or more years.
- Optimize your on-page content and provide linkable content. All of these give legitimacy to your site and help you rank higher.
- Remove all bad links on your site while making your site friendly for mobile devices.
- Work to get your website pages to load faster since mobile users won’t have patience with slow load times.
2. Should You Optimize Just for Google, or Customer Pain Points?
One fault businesses make with SEO is an assumption they only need to mechanically create keywords to rank high on Google. Just optimizing for Google shouldn’t be your sole prime directive, because it can take away from targeting specific demographics.
Your best path is to address specific pain points of the people you’re trying to attract. Don’t look at SEO as cramming in keywords and thinking it’s enough. You have to think about what your prospective customers really need and build your keywords based on this.
A few tips:
- Base the customer pain points on customer intent and what they’d realistically search for on textual or voice search engines.
- You’ll discover pain points differ among all your customers. Research each pain and integrate each point into your keyword campaign.
- Work on creating customer personas to further delve into customer pain points you might miss.
3. Do You Need More Than Keywords to Rank High?
Don’t always think of SEO as being solely about keywords. If you’re still learning the basics of SEO, you might form the initial impression that focus on keywords is everything. Without knowing the purpose behind keywords, they become overly mechanical as in ignoring above pain points.
As Neil Patel notes, Google Hummingbird changed the approach to how keywords get used in SEO. However, it also led to a misconception about keywords no longer mattering.
They still do, though it forced those doing SEO to think about how keywords affect the end user. In other words, it’s now about unique value over unique web content.
Creating unique keywords is the real secret to ranking high. As Brian Hughes of Huffington Post points out, it’s all about authentic viewer engagement over stale keywords and gimmicks.
4. How Do You Create Quality Content Using Competitive Keywords/Phrases?
Now that you know quality content is the nucleus of effective SEO today, how do you go about creating content with value?
You’ll want to do this using competitive keywords and phrases lining up in a conversational way. This can still turn stale if you merely throw in keywords popular in common search results.
What’s key is to do some research first on potential keywords you can realistically use. Long-tail keywords are very important here, usually with more than four words. Broad-based keywords are already competitive, and they’ll likely have domination from big companies.
Once you create unique long-tail keywords that apply to customer pain points, what moves should you make to stand out from overly basic content?
Keep these tips in mind:
- Create unique content that applies to a particular niche and helps solve problems for your customer base.
- Find a problem you need to solve for your customers and solve it better than your competitors. The whole premise of your SEO brand falls apart if you can’t create content based on solving a common issue.
- Come up with less competitive keywords and write content around those. If you dig deep into your brand, and know what your customers generally search for, you’ll find more unique, non-overused long-tail keywords.
5. Are Meta Tags Really All That Important?
You’ve probably worked with meta tags in your past SEO efforts, though maybe slacked off worrying about them. Some SEO experts floated the idea meta tags no longer mattered when the Hummingbird updates occurred on Google.
In truth, meta tags are still very important. You just have to use them correctly if you want to make any search engine impact.
There is truth to the idea meta tags don’t always help boost your search rankings. Meta tags have evolved into giving search engines an idea of what your site is really all about.
You can look at this meta tag evolution as providing a preview of your content’s quality. It gives a fast indication to those doing searches you provide something unique. Overall, it’s just one piece of the algorithmic pie in convincing places like Google your site should rank high.
6. Is SEO All About Being #1 on SERPs?
One of your obvious prime goals is to get yourself to the top of SERPs on more than just Google. However, is pursuing top ranking on SERPs really the only goal you should have in getting your content found?
The answer to this is a resounding “no.” If you just pursue being #1 on Google, you’re going to miss the point of increasing traffic, upping engagement, and bringing conversions.
These three aspects are what you should truly aim for rather than just going for the #1 position. Even if you’re not immediately #1 on the SERPs, you can still achieve the above goals with attention to making the content useful.
It’s worth noting 70% of traffic on Google doesn’t come from an initial organic result. Ultimately, you have to prove your content clout to eventually build to #1 SERP position.
7. Does Mobile Optimization Require More Than SEO Basics?
This question is perhaps top of mind for you lately due to mobile continuing to become the preferred way most people find fast information.
Answering the question comes down to eliminating any notion doing basic SEO is enough to create effective rankings. You need to think about more than just creating keywords since Google looks at a bigger picture when it comes to mobile SEO optimization.
A few things to think about when optimizing your website for mobile:
- The speed of your mobile pages now plays a major factor in your Google ranking factor. Finding ways to speed up all your mobile pages is imperative to avoid any Google penalty.
- Design your mobile pages for multiple mobile screen sizes, or you’ll frustrate many first-time customers and create more bounce rates. It doesn’t take long for high bounce rates to start affecting your ranking status.
- Make the design of your site easy to use for a mobile screen, especially with interactive elements. Google takes this seriously as much as page speed, giving you a stronger advantage. Keeping your design simple helps eliminate any downtime having to fix problems later.
These answers to today’s most important SEO questions should give you a good start on SEO for the rest of 2018. Many of these are going to stay relevant into 2018 and beyond. However, Google’s continual evolution on SEO may impose all new questions before the next decade arrives.
March 14, 2018