What Really Matters if you do SEO in 2018?

 “There aren’t any quick magical tricks that an SEO will provide so that your site ranks number one. It’s important to note that any SEO potential is only as high as the quality of your business or website so successful SEO helps your website put your best foot forward.” 

In my opinion, here are the things that really matter if you do SEO in 2018, and I would wager that both white-hats and black-hats would agree on these:

  • Don’t block your site
  • Don’t confuse or annoy a website visitor
  • Don’t block Google from crawling resources on your site or rendering specific elements on your page
  • Have a responsive design that works on mobile and desktop
  • Be situated local to your target customer
  • Geotarget your site in Search Console AKA Google Webmaster Tools (unless you have a country specific domain)
  • Put your keyword phrase at least once in the Page Title Element
  • Put your keyword phrase at least once in the Main Content on the page (at least once in page copy (in Paragraph tags)
  • Avoid keyword stuffing main content
  • Optimise your meta description to have a clickable useful SERP snippet
  • Ensure the Main Content of the page is high-quality and written by a professional (MOST OF YOUR EFFORT GOES HERE – If your content is not being shared organically, you may have a content quality problem)
  • Ensure the keywords you want to rank for are present on your site. The quality of competition for these rankings will determine how much effort you need to put in
  • Use synonyms and common co-occurring words throughout your page copy
  • Add value to pages with ordered lists, images, videos and tables
  • Optimise for increased ‘user intent’ satisfaction (e.g. increased dwell times on a page or site)
  • Keep important content on the site updated a few times a year
  • Trim outdated content from your site
  • Avoid publishing and indexing content-poor pages (especially affiliate sites)
  • Aim for a good ratio of ‘useful’ user-centred text to affiliate links
  • Disclose page modification dates in a visible format
  • Do not push the main content down a page unnecessarily with ads etc
  • Link to related content on your site with useful and very relevant anchor text
  • Use a simple navigation system on your site
  • Create pages to basic meet W3C recommendations on accessible HTML (W3c) (H1, ALT text etc)
  • Create pages to meet basic usability best practices (Nielsen) – Pay attention to what ‘annoys’ website visitors
  • Create pages where the main content of the page is given priority, and remove annoying ads and pop-ups (especially on mobile)
  • Develop websites that meet Google technical recommendations on (for example) canonicalization, internationalisation and pagination best practices
  • Ensure Fast delivery of web pages on mobile and desktop
  • Provide clear disclosure of affiliate ads and non-intrusive advertising. Clear disclosure of everything, in fact, if you are focused on quality in all areas.
  • Add high-quality and relevant external links (depending if the query is informational)
  • If you can, include the Keyword phrase in a short URL
  • Use the Keyword phrase in internal anchor text pointing to this page (at least once)
  • Use Headings, Lists and HTML Tables on pages if you show data
  • Ensure on average all ‘Main Content’ blocks of all pages on the site are high-quality
  • Ensure old SEO practices are cleaned up and removed from site
  • Avoid implementing old-school SEO practices in new campaigns (Google is better at detecting sites with little value-add)
  • Consider disavowing any obvious low-quality links from previous SEO efforts
  • Provide Clear website domain ownership, copyright and contact details on the site
  • Share your content on the major social networks when it is good enough
  • Get backlinks from real websites with real domain trust and authority
  • Convert visitors (whatever that ‘conversion’ may be)
  • Monitor VERY CAREFULLY any user-generated content on your site, because it is rated as part of your own site content
  • Pay attention to site security issues (implement https, for example)

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