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How To Rank Higher In Search Results In 2018

  • Written By Chris
  • Posted December 1, 2017
  • 6 minutes Read Time

So 2017 is about to come to an end and chances are you’ll be looking at 2018 thinking ‘how can I rank higher on Google?’

Well, it’s been a big year for the world of search engine optimisation – and things are likely to change again going forward.

We saw some key updates to how organic search results are ranked and understood by Google in 2017 – perhaps the biggest of these changes has been a clear shift towards conversational language and voice search courtesy of more significant algorithm changes.

It’s fair to say that you can no longer take shortcuts or cut corners when it comes to SEO for eCommerce. As we edge towards 2018, the SEO game has never been more competitive. If you’re keen to box clever in the new year, you’ll need to put in the hard work that’s required. Organic traffic is free but search engine optimisation still takes time and effort.

Probably not the answer you were looking for, right? Sorry to disappoint you!

The truth is quicker solutions like paid ads and rushing a site to the top of Google can definitely work, but they are unlikely to be a viable long-term strategy for any type of business. Sure, you’ll feel great when your ads are delivering quick wins and making you money initially, but there are a huge number of metrics and variables in doing this. Chances are you’ll eventually feel like you’re wasting money rather than making it.

SEO could get those people to your site for free.

That’s specifically what SEO in 2018 – and any other year for that matter – can do. How? Well, you’ll need to take a look at our three cornerstone features that give any site a better chance of appearing higher on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Technical SEO encompasses much more than just these three elements of course – and we’ll come onto to some of the other elements you change to help you dominate rankings in 2018 later on – but these cornerstone features have broadly stayed the same:

1. Content

The way Google reads your content has changed massively over the last few years. Gone are the days of pages flooded with keywords and popular search terms – content in 2018 needs to be high quality and above all engaging for the reader. Invest in your content and it will pay you back twice over.

The logic behind this is simple – engaging content is more likely to be read, shared and viewed by potential new customers which broaden your reach and is seen as a positive indicator by Google.

2. Authority

In this instance, authority specifically relates to both the quality and quantity of your backlinks. Search engines commonly use links almost as a type of online review system – lots of high-quality links from plenty of domains indicates to Google that a site is relevant and engaging, and chances are this site will enjoy a boost in SERPs. Work to improve your backlink profile steadily over time and avoid any ‘black hat’ techniques as these are a big no-no.

You can test the authority of your site by using an online tool like MozBar or SEMRush – the higher your score, the more authoritative your site.

3. Age

The third and final cornerstone feature is index age. Generally speaking, the longer Google has been indexing your site, the likelihood is that you’ll appear higher on organic search results. If you’re launching a brand new site on a new domain, you’ll need to focus more than normal on the quality of both your content and link profile; set the bar high from day one. The age of a site obviously takes time too, so hold tight as there’s no way to rush this.

These three elements form the basis of success for SEO across any industry. Keep these principles in mind and you’ll be giving yourself the best possible shot at ranking organically for your target keywords.

Organic traffic is free but search engine optimisation still takes time and effort.

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So how can you dominate SEO in 2018?

With the three cornerstone features at the heart of everything you do, we’ve gathered together some important site elements that you’ll need to be on top of in 2018 to give yourself a chance of appearing high in organic rankings:

Speed – Site speed is now more crucial than ever and was recently recognised as a ranking factor by Google, so you certainly need a fast site both on desktop and mobile devices. Test your site with Google’s own Page Speed tool and make the relevant changes it suggests.

Responsiveness – No, we don’t mean how quickly you respond to emails. This relates to the usability of your site on tablets and smartphones, where more people are searching for content than ever before. Take the time to ensure your site looks just as good on a mobile as it does on desktop computers and you should see your rankings jump.

Great User Experience – At the end of the day, that’s what your customers will want. Buying something from your eCommerce website should be easy, dare we say enjoyable. Make it easy to navigate, search and explore; this will pay dividends with better sales and higher levels of engagement which we know Google loves.

Keyword Diversity – Another big change for next year you should be considering is the diversity of your keywords or Latent-Semantic Indexing (LSI). Google included this system of indexing in its Hummingbird update and simply put, it allows the search engine to serve content based on its own understanding of the user’s search instead of simply matching up the keywords. For you, this means you can create natural-sounding content without having to stuff it full of your target keywords.

Outbound Links – Having a small number of high-quality links is far better than a large number of poor quality links. Focus on writing great content and then linking to the highest quality domains where appropriate. Always keep your links natural and organic.

Stay White Hat – Last but by no means least, definitely avoid trying to cut corners by using anything underhand or sneaky. If you truly want your site to rank organically and win the SEO game in 2018, you need to play by Google’s rules; the house always wins.

So there you have it, simple and effective ways you can ensure your site ranks high on Google and other search engines. We firmly believe that the key to successful SEO comes from hard work, time and effort so don’t expect instant results, but you should see improvements after a few months.

Put our tips into practice on your site and give it the best possible chance of ranking higher on Google in 2018!

If you have any questions or you need more help with SEO for your site, get in touch with a member of our team and we’ll be happy to help.