Are we really talking about SEO in 2018 already? Well, it’s never too early to start planning for the success of your company. Looking into the future, it’s important to know that the basics of SEO are still critical to succeed. But, there are also a lot of other factors to consider. What follows isn’t meant to be an exhaustive look at SEO, but a peek into trends and tactics that can get ignored or that you may not know about yet.

Basics of SEO

At UZU, we continue to see people who have been taken advantage of by SEO companies, or see companies hiring people that don’t know the basics of good search engine optimization. Of those basics, here are some of the most important that any expert should be covering first:
#1 – Onsite SEO – Header and Title tags are huge, but many of the sites I look at get this wrong. Research keywords ahead of time, and build your site around what you want to be found for. Also, be realistic. You’re not going to rank next week for national keywords, or highly competitive ones for your city. Any good SEO strategy needs to be built on both easier and more difficult keywords.
#2 – Content – Content has been essential for years, and it’s more important than ever. It’s where most of your SEO will happen, and good, regular, relevant content is a huge signal for Google. Make sure you don’t over optimize though. Write your content for people first, and Google 2nd. There still needs to be those signals for the search engines. As Google’s Rankbrain advances in sophistication, these signals might become less and less important, but we’re not there yet.
Social Media, of course, is another form of that content that can’t be ignored, but I don’t see many SEOs that ignore the impact of social media. Still, the message is… focus on great content and the Google gods will reward you.
#3 –  Link Earning and Outreach – I’m still not sure how people do SEO without some kind of a link strategy, but it still happens. With that said though, there are lots of bad ways to get links. I won’t get into that here. (Go research it, if you haven’t yet). Avoid those.
Also, consistent outreach around good quality content will continue to be foundational in any search engine optimization strategy. Have a solid direction to go with this. If you need some ideas, check SEM Rush and their blog “How to do SEO Outreach in 2015” on this subject.

More Progressive SEO Tactics

#4 – Mobile first – More than just passing Google’s mobile friendly test , websites should strive towards Responsive Design (RWD) or being mobile first.

“In May 2015, Google reported that mobile searches had surpassed desktop searches on its search engine. Since then, the company has taken many steps which signal that mobile, not desktop, should be considered as the default user experience. In fact, Google recently announced that it has begun experiments to make its index mobile-first.”

#5 – AMP – Accelerated Mobile Pages aren’t bleeding edge technology, but they’re still pretty progressive. If you look on the first page of many of the SERPs, it seems that up to a half of them are AMP. Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages strip out all of the slower loading content to give only the fastest experience for web content. Fundamentally, it’s an HTML page designed to be super lightweight and therefore really fast loading. It should definitely be on your list for optimizing your content.
#6 – Speed – Not just AMP, but loading speed in general will also continue to dominate top search results. Cleaning up websites has become a key factor. Tools like GTMetrix.com are valuable for assessing ways to improve speed scores.
#7 – Video – Not necessarily a tactic, but more of a priority, video is the future of web. Without a video strategy, companies will become less and less relevant. Video content accounted for a huge 64% of all the world’s internet traffic even 2 years ago in 2014, and has done nothing but increase. According to a new report from Cisco, by just 2019, online video will be responsible for about  80% of global Internet traffic. The estimated stats for the U.S. are even higher, coming in at 85%.

Future Tactics – 2018 SEO and Beyond

Once you’ve tried everything else on our list, then (and probably not before) there are some other things that you can spend some time on.
#8 –  Voice Search – This is going to be more and more important as time goes on. With Siri, Cortana, and Google now, voice search is going to quickly become the norm, especially as we increasingly multi-task. Though not essential right now, we have to adapt our SEO strategies to encompass this.
#9 – Answers and Intent –  Especially since Google is the biggest player in the search engine game, spend time learning about Google Answers Box. Gearing content around Answers will grow in importance, as people are frequently just wanting a quick answer to a question. With the advancement of Rankbrain and other AI, as mentioned earlier, the ability of search engines to understand the relationship between search and intent of the user will be a huge priority. Creating strong content won’t just mean that it should be keyword rich, but that it should answer the questions and/or problems of your audience.

Hope that’s helpful! If you’re a marketer in a company or even an agency level SEO, you’ll always benefit from spending time each week researching and learning. I’m sure there’s a lot more out there, but those are things that we’re either doing (or looking at implementing soon) at UZU to move our company and our clients forward. If you need help with your SEO, get in touch!