Think there’s a secret code that will help you land top ranking positions on google search? Think again. Algorithms are ever changing, making it difficult for IT-business owners to keep up. Heck, they change so often it can be tough for even the savviest of digital marketing pros to make headway. But it’s what we do… and we do what we love. That’s why we’re sharing seven of the most important SEO trends we’re following in 2018.
#7 Page Load Speed
Faster, faster! Everyone’s in a hurry these days, and Google knows it. That’s why they are giving ranking preference to sites that load the quickest. If your site is slow to load, not only do users give up and move on within mere seconds, but Google will also take notice (and not in a good way). Especially as an IT company, it’s important to keep pace with the competition. Talk to your developer about the different ways to speed up your site. HubSpot considers the ideal page load speed to be less than 1.5 seconds. Test your page load speed in the Reports > Page Performance section of Hubspot (paid version), or by using Google’s free PageSpeed Insights tool
In a hurry and on the go, seems everywhere you look these days people are glued to a smartphone or other device. Guess what… Google took notice of that, too! In 2015, the search giant released a new ranking algorithm (affectionately known as Mobilegeddon), which was designed to give a boost to mobile-friendly web pages in its mobile search results. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, we strongly recommend you get that fixed ASAP. Start with Google’s mobile-friendly test tool.
Really? Still? (Sigh) Yes. Link score remains among the top algorithmic ranking factors. But not just any old link will do. Link quantity is important – but not nearly as important as link quality. Google determines link quality by calculating a link score, which is determined based on every individual incoming link’s quality score.
#4 Internal Links
The simpler it is to get from page A to page B on your website, the better. Google crawlers move from page to page to page via hyperlinks (picture Tarzan swinging from one vine to another through the jungle). If the crawler hits a dead link (pointing to a 404 not found page), it’s like Tarzan just swung himself into a concrete wall. Splat, done. The crawler stops there and moves on to the next website in line to be crawled and indexed. Making sure the internal links on your site are clean and easy to navigate will help ensure Google crawls and indexes your entire website properly.
#3 Click-through Rate (CTR)
A high bounce rate indicates to search engines that your web page was a bad match for the original query. Imagine Joe Prospect hops on to Google in search of AI software, sees a list of 10 possible choices, and clicks through to your page. When he gets there, he immediately hits the back button – for any number of reasons. That tells Google your page doesn’t fit the bill for “AI software” and you lose your ranking. Talk to your SEO copywriter about how to lower the bounce rate and make those pages super sticky!
#2 Meta Data
Speaking of super sticky pages, one place to start is with your Title and Meta Description tags. The title is the clickable hyperlink in the search engine results page (SERP) and the description is the detailed blurb below it. When you write intriguing, helpful, informative meta data, you help the user to better understand what he/she is about to find on your page. You’re helping them make a more informed decision about whether or not to click through to your page. When your meta data clearly reflects the content on your page, you’re well on your way to making those pages stickier. Try Hubspot’s paid Page Performance tool to analyze and improve the meta data on your site, or simply type “site:www.yoursite.com” into Google to instantly view all your titles and descriptions as they appear in the search results pages.
Yep, still King (or Queen, depending on who you ask). The SEO elements above are important to look at when taking stock of your overall SEO health. But it’s all for nothing if your site doesn’t contain quality content. You’ve heard it a million times before, and there’s a reason for that. The very best way to appease the Google Gods is to create user-friendly content that happens also to be optimized for search (as a secondary thought). Never, ever compromise the quality of your content just to optimize a page (read: no keyword stuffing!). If you generate useful, informative and entertaining content that real people actually want to read and share, then you’re well on your way to reaping the ranking benefits.
Speaking of which… did you find this post with a Google search query or perhaps via a social share? Did you find it helpful and/or interesting and entertaining? If so, we’d be forever grateful if you’d like and share it so others can enjoy too!
*This blog was originally published in 2017 but has been updated for freshness in June 2018.
Want to keep learning about SEO and how to incorporate best practices in to your Technology Marketing efforts? Download the SEO Myths eBook to stay in the loop. What’s presented are wrongheaded ways of thinking that can damage your marketing efforts on the web alongside some solid advice on how to avoid it. Please enjoy and apply, and best of luck in all your SEO efforts!