A Recap Of SEO Marketing Trends in 2018

Every year, every quarter, every month, digital marketing sees new trends. In this ever-changing industry, if you’re not one step ahead, you’re already behind. In the past year alone we saw a new Google Search Console, Google Algorithm Update 2018, and many other changes to the way we reach consumers. Google also rolled out new updates that included mobile-first indexing, page speed as a Google search ranking factor, and a drop in snippet lengths. This is all towards Google’s goal of improving the online searchers’ experience. Those working with SEO have had to make great efforts to keep up with the constant change.

Why Follow SEO Marketing Trends?

The consumers’ behavior and priorities are always evolving, as well as the way they engage with brands. And when the consumer changes, so must the way companies market to them. People have learned that there’s no need to waste money on out-of-date SEO marketing strategies. By keeping up with the most recent SEO trends and techniques, you can ensure that your company wins a spot on the top of the search engine results page. If you can get on the top of the SERP, you’ll get more traffic to your website, improve your online presence, build your brand, and consequently convert more customers.

With 2019 finally here, we thought we’d go back and take a look at the most popular SEO trends from 2018.

Video SEO

Forrester Research found that, in 2018, having video content on your webpage made it 50 times more likely to get organic page ranks than plain text results. In fact, by 2022, internet video streaming and downloads will take up 82% of all online consumer traffic.  Visual content has been shown to increase click-through rates, double search traffic, and attract more inbound links.

Video SEO

Last year, digital marketers made great efforts to optimize video content for SEO. The goal of video SEO is to create viral content; stuff that people want to share, will get backlinks, and that will convert new customers. The importance of video SEO stems from the necessity of having all forms of high-quality content that consistently garnishes backlinks over time. Although it had been previously overlooked, in 2018, digital marketers stepped up their video SEO game.

Speed It Up

In August, the Google algorithm update 2018 made changes that involved the more technical side of SEO. Page speed became an influential Google search ranking factor for mobile search queries, as Google wanted a faster mobile experience for its users. Many sites were greatly affected by the update and had to quickly implement new SEO practices, such as enabling compression and minimizing JavaScript, in order to keep up.

Thankfully, Google did not leave us in the dust. They hooked us up with numerous new tools, such as Lighthouse and the Chrome User Experience Report, that help monitor and optimize speed up your site. For reference, Google says that good site speed is under three seconds. But the faster your page loads, the better!

Voice Search

In 2018, the Virtual Digital Assistant (VDA) Market was worth about $5.21 billion, with nearly 40 million Americans owning some sort of smart speaker. As the systems become more advanced, people have become conditioned to rely on virtual assistants such as Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and the Google Assistant to manage their lives. Since the VDAs have developed more distinctive, human-like personalities, people have found it easier to integrate them into their everyday lives.

Content Optimized For Voice Search

In order to be utilized by a VDA, markets must make sure that their content is optimized to answer voice searches. To do so, the content must be able to easily answer the search query, but in a conversational manner, created specifically for the searcher’s intent. Long-tail keywords and phrases are highly recommended.

Here are some tips on how to optimize your content for voice search.

Mobile-First Indexing

According to Statista, by the end of 2018, 56% of organic search engine visits in the United States came from a mobile device. As such, in March of 2018, Google started implementing mobile-first indexing, essentially rewarding sites that have mobile versions available. The Google algorithm update 2018 prioritized sites that are mobile-friendly over those that are not, meaning they placed them higher up on the Google search ranking. Now, the mobile version of your website is the primary version presented on the search engine results page.

Mobile-First Indexation

To find out if your site is mobile-friendly, click here!

New Google Search Console

This past year, we were gifted with a new Google Search Console. The program makes it easier to optimize a website so that it ranks well on Google. The console allows you to see how well your site is performing overall, the status of index coverage and how you can improve it, your mobile usage metrics, and a broad report of all the data that applies to your website’s presence on the search engine.

For local businesses, the Google My Business app is a great way to manage your business’ presence on both Google Search and Maps. The app lets businesses edit contact information and location, add photos, and see the metrics of where your customers are coming from. It also allows them to engage with and monitor their customers through reviews, which is extremely important for local businesses.

In conclusion, as much as Google works hard to help the searchers, they work hard for us too. Digital marketers understand that search engine optimization is a key factor in the success of your company. By staying up to date on the latest SEO trends, you ensure that your business never falls behind. At least until the next update.

How To Optimize Blog Posts For SEO

As content continues to be king, in order to run a successful digital marketing campaign, companies and marketers need to consistently publish quality blog post content on their website. However, these blog posts would be basically useless if no one saw them or was even searching for them. That being said, knowing how to optimize blog posts for SEO could mean the difference between a successful and unsuccessful business. Content writing is one of the SEO best practices that can really help your website and your blog post start to garnish rankings.

Unfortunately, most bloggers and webmasters don’t apply the practice and disregard SEO. That is why there are over 644 million websites in Google’s index and only a fraction of them make it on the radar.

Now let’s take a deeper look at how to optimize content for SEO.

1. Truly Know What You’re Talking About –

Before starting to write, there are two things you should consider. First, be sure to clearly identify the goal of the blog post and research it thoroughly. Whether the goal is to sell a product or educate the audience, people can smell BS from a mile away and can tell if a writer doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Make sure to be educated on the topic before even beginning to try to put it into words. When actively learning how to write blogs for SEO, this is always the first place to start. Do the necessary research and be elaborate.

Second, Google ranks websites higher when they deem them as best matching the user’s “search intent,” which is what that person is looking for when they’re using a search engine. When readers get the information that they’re looking for, they often spend more time on your site, are more engaged with the article, and are far more likely to share it with their friends/colleagues. These are all behavioral factors that are often correlated with high rankings and more visits.

If a user reads the entire blog post or watches a featured video, Google will consider the page to be relevant in a specific search query and is more likely to rank it higher on the SERP. This is because the dwell time, or the total time they spent on the site, was longer than time spent on competitors sites publishing about this same topic. Conversely, if a user navigates to your post or site through a search engine and immediate bounces back to the search engine results page (SERP), Google may begin to think your page is not as relevant to the given query as they may have previously thought.

By engaging the reader with accurate and relevant information, the content piece is more likely to get your blog post ranking and driving traffic.

 

2. Keyword Research and Density –

Through the lens of wanting to write a content piece that is currently relevant and being searched for, the keyword research phase is one of the most important steps in the content writing process. Following deep keyword research, you will be able to decide what keywords you want to target, based on data. The decided upon target keywords should be word or phrase that has a fair amount of search volume (which varies from industry to industry/topic to topic) and that you believe would fulfill the users search intent.

When learning how to optimize content for SEO, be aware that it is necessary to master the keyword research phase and optimization process before you are likely to be able to get anywhere (at least this is often the case for small brands/businesses). As mentioned above, the trick is to find keywords that currently have a fair amount of search volume and, through reading your article, will fulfill the searchers intent.

Are they looking for a recipe for a chocolate cake, directions to the nearest coffee shop, or a new bathrobe? For whatever they want, there are specific keywords that, when included in the blog post, will help Google deem it relevant and will be more likely to have a higher ranking opportunity, resulting in more engagement and traffic.

To help simplify your keyword research process, use tools like SEMRush or Google Adwords Keyword Planner to get an idea of what keywords you should be using. Most of the high-volume keywords and phrases being used will be fairly similar, but don’t be afraid to keep digging and find those long-tail (but still highly relevant) keywords. Don’t shy away from using related terms, different variants, and synonyms, or keywords that are semantically related in some way. Google likes when the content piece is complete and covers all the bases.

If the goal is to rank locally before nationally, the SEO best practice would be to include the location after the keyword. For example, instead of saying “Italian cooking class” change it to “Italian cooking class in San Diego.” Location identifiers can help your website or article rank better in local search results, even if the searcher doesn’t use a location identifier in their query (Google knows where you are and where you have been…) Adding a location as part of a keyword is an easy way to optimize content for SEO at a local level.

Sometimes, the highest-ranking keywords sound funny, like “best turf dogs” or “coffee San Diego” and it can be hard to include them in a text without it coming off weird. However, over time, it will be easier to work them in so they sound natural and fluid. Feel free to use prepositions to help with the keyword target flow, search engines like Google are pretty smart and can likely tell if you are just trying to stuff words where they don’t fit – so make it flow and make it feel genuine.

A word of caution: when the text is bombarded with the same keywords and phrases over and over again (this is known as keyword stuffing) Google will actually penalize the site – so don’t keyword stuff!

Remember to also include your target keywords and phrases in the title tags, meta description, header tags, and, if possible, at least once above the fold. The presence of these phrases in the meta-data is also a crucial search engine ranking factor that shouldn’t be overlooked when someone is first starting to learn how to optimize content for SEO.

3. Article Formatting –

There are typical formatting rules that will help someone learn how to do SEO friendly blog posts. People in the SEO game have learned that by taking a look at their competitor, they can get an idea of what Google is looking for and what formats readers prefer.

To start, search your target keyword and click through the top 10 SERP results and determine what kind of articles Google is currently ranking well. The top three results will get the bulk of all clicks, so take a look at how they’re formatting their posts and decide if it would be beneficial to emulate. Then take notes. Is the blog post in numbered lists? Sections? Are there a lot of photos? Is the article long or does it have a detailed infographic?

Whatever it may be that makes the page unique, the websites that are ranking on the first page of the SERP are doing something right. It couldn’t hurt to follow their lead and make yours even better!

4. Mobile-Friendliness –

Now that Google has moved to mobile-first indexing, having a mobile-friendly website is a very valuable digital asset. Given more than half of the people using search engines are doing so off their phone, you will want to be able to serve your content in an understandable way, to both desktop users and mobile/tablet user. That being said, it is essential that webmasters/bloggers optimized their content to be mobile-friendly. Certain platforms that are used to build websites, like Shopify, Squarespace, and most modern WordPress themes, already include automatic mobile format settings – which means less work for you!

Some ways to ensure that a site is mobile-friendly is to use dynamic font sizes that change based on the given viewport, increase the site loading speed by compressing any images, minify your code and CSS, use a simple theme, use a minimal number of plugins, and creating a design that can automatically adapt to any device screen. It would be smart to occasionally pull up the site on a tablet or mobile phone to make sure that it is running properly.

Check out this article on how to make your website mobile-friendly for more information!


Source: Statista

5. Internal and External Linking –

Both internally linking and externally linking can help move the SEO needle for your blog post. When internally linking, not only does it tell Google and the reader that your website has another page that may go deeper into a given concept, but it also helps spread the overall authority and link equity around your site.

External linking helps show Google that you are properly citing references and giving credit where it is due, while also allowing readers to view other sources that are writing about the same topic. Providing sources and a different perspective will help keep the article from appearing bias, and often makes a reader feel more confident in the source they are reading.

Furthermore, the link architecture, or the way internal linking is applied to a website, will not only allow search engines to find the site pages, but it will also enhance the visitor’s experience as they are more easily able to navigate through the website. Viewers will stay on a website longer and this will tell the search engine that your site has quality material.

As a rule of thumb, any time a source is linked, include an anchor text. The strategic use of anchor text is a great way to tell an audience what they’re being directed to and to allow the search engine to associate the correct keyword relevance for a given page. So, whether it’s to a third party statistic, a deep resource link, or simply to the homepage, use anchor text that is relevant to the destination URL.

This linking practice will also benefit the websites you are linking to. That being said, external linking could even help you earn organic backlinks from the site you linked to, as well as others from websites that may want to be linked to in the future (which will help your post rank even better.) Nothing beats some natural, you scratch my back, I scratch your back, blogging etiquette!

6. Crawling and Indexing –

In order for your site to be added to a search engine’s index and start ranking, it must be reachable and crawlable. When a website is crawled by Googlebot or another search engine spider, the search engine discovers and analyzes the page, and then attempts to determine where it should rank. These bots (aka web crawlers or spiders) will follow the internal/external links between pages, crawl through the meta-data, H1 tags, on-page copy, and alt-tags, as well as consider a large variety of other ranking factors.

If for whatever reason, search engines like Google are unable to locate and crawl your page, it will not be added to the index – ensuring that your site/pages are easily reachable is a crucial aspect to utilize when strategizing how to optimize blog posts for SEO. To expedite the indexing process, be sure to utilize the Google Search Console. The proper use of a sitemap and robots.txt can also help you lead the spiders in the right direction and ensure they know what to crawl and what not to crawl. 

 

7. Optimizing Images –

Putting images on a website can be beneficial in many ways. Although crawlers can’t see them like they do text, they can still be indexed under Google images – which can help enhance your overall ranking. It will also keep viewers on a page longer, extending dwell time, and give that page bonus points with Google. However, they won’t be very useful if they aren’t easily crawlable, so it’s extremely important to know that, when you are optimizing your content for SEO, be sure to include images with optimized alt-tags.

There are specific ways to label and present images so that they can help get a blog ranking. In some cases, optimizing these images can be nearly as valuable as the content being created.

First off, it’s important to make sure the keywords and phrases chosen are listed in the alt-tag and description. Besides the keyword in the metadata of the image, the file should also be a clear name and labeled with plain and descriptive language – which could be something like “man-sitting-in-tinted-black-car.jpg.” This is so that, when someone searches something of that nature, that image pops up and they will know what it is simply based on the file name, making the user more likely to trust the image and click it to be directed to the associated website.

Infographics are another great feature to include on a website. They are rising in popularity and can be helpful with your link building efforts (learn more here).

8. Topic Strategy –

When deciding on a topic to write about, find a topic that people currently want to read about or would be interested in reading. Make the post a popular resource in any way possible, whether that be making it visually appealing, include unpopular arguments, original opinions, and thoughts, or formatting it as a list. Do whatever is needed to get the ball rolling.

If short on ideas, start with looking at the biggest names in the industry. For marketing, several that come to mind would be Neil Patel, Hubspot, and Moz. Take a look at what they’re writing about and use that as an inspiration for new content.

While checking out a competitor or big company’s website, take a look at how consistent they are with content. Take notes on how they garnish backlinks or interact with their audience. Tools like SEMRush and Ahrefs are also useful when researching what keywords they are using for a specific topic.

9. Optimize for the Featured Snippet –

Something to consider in terms of SEO when blogging is the featured snippet. This feature allows users to ask a question in the search bar and immediately see an answer to the question that has been pulled from a portion of an article on the web. Optimizing to be the featured snippet is a new way for bloggers to boost their visibility in the SERP and attract readers to their site.

In order to be the featured snippet, you must optimize your post. “Snippet bait” is the term used to describe how to optimize to be the featured snippet. Snippet bait consists of writing 40-60 words of text, typically in the first few paragraphs of your article that are optimized to give answers to burning questions people are searching for on the internet.

Above we can see that Layla Sleep, a mattress brand, is the featured snippet. Because their titled and numbered text answers a commonly searched question “how do you wash a weighted blanket”, they were chosen as the featured snippet. Layla Sleep answers this question in 40-60 concise words and uses the keywords (bolded in the featured snippet) various times naturally throughout the chunk of text.

10. Link Bait –

Linkbait content is content that has the potential to go viral and garnish natural backlinks. This type of content could be a funny video, crash-course guide, research project, or a stellar infographic. Basically, any content that people find valuable enough to share and link to. Although very difficult to do, writing linkbait focused content can garnish many desirable results in regards to your websites ranking and domain authority.

These 10 basic and actionable tactics are the first steps in optimizing your blog posts for SEO. However, optimizations are not one size fits all. Be sure to test, track, tweak, test, track and tweak again to be sure you squeeze all you can out of your article.

At the end of the day, the goal of writing a blog post is for people to read it, drive traffic to your website, convert the readers to customers, build additional brand awareness, and further engage and create a relationship with the audience. Despite the amount of work and time it might take to create a stellar content piece that ranks, it’s easy to see how knowing how to optimize blog posts for SEO could be a valuable skill to any business creating content.

SEO Expert Services, What To Look For

Ranking for keywords has become its own search engine discipline. As a result, SEO experts services have increased in demand due to their ROI contribution. Why? Because 92% of internet users use a search engine. Having an SEO expert services allows your site to rank for keywords related to your business. You need an SEO expert to help you gain organic traffic.

This article will help identify what to look for when selecting SEO expert services.

You might have an SEO strategist but need to upgrade to one who produces better results. You may question the benefit of bringing an SEO expert on your team. Search Engine Marketing has become so competitive that you need a specialist. You can’t compete for organic traffic without an SEO expert. We will now explain the qualities to look for in a Search Engine Optimization expert.

Services

If you’re searching for qualities of an SEO specialist online, you already have a general idea of what they do.

But are you aware of exactly how much they should be doing to improve the efficiency and reach of your website?

You must educate yourself on SEO services to get your desired results. Certain skills will improve your page rank and boost traffic to your site. Consequently, this results in more customers and opportunities for you. Sounds great, right?!

A good resource to boost up your SEO knowledge is moz.com. Rand Fishkin is a leader when it comes to SEO and he posts valuable content on the Moz blog. To name every skill your SEO strategist should have would fill a library. Therefore, we will focus on a few important aspects. The team at NDMR has identified the following as vital SEO aspects:

  • Establishing your organic presence
  • On-page optimization
  • Content marketing
  • Link building
  • Metric analytics

These foundational aspects of SEO can take your website from functional to optimal.

Levels

We can divide ability into three levels:

  • Fundamental
  • Professional
  • Expert

Fundamental

A fundamental specialist will focus on “on page” optimization. They put effort into using the keyword in the title, meta description and content. They will also add internal and external links while making sure they have a nice header image. Hence, you will pay less for a basic specialist but may not get the desired results.

Professional

First of all, you will see more of an emphasis on research and analytics. In addition to an on-page focus, a professional will have a list of keywords and track page performance. They do page and keyword edits to help optimize for page rank. This also requires more investment than a fundamental specialist. Therefore, professionals put more time into their projects so they earn higher wages. But, paying for a professional will get you better results.

Expert

An Expert has systems that ensure results. They focus on these variables when creating keyword lists:

  • Keyword
  • Volume
  • Difficulty
  • Competition

Experts select keywords that are ideal for the client’s domain authority. They pick high volume keywords with preferred competition. This allows clients to get the best page ranking for their website. Competitor and SERP analysis help develop a comprehensive strategy for the client. Experts make it clear where the client should focus their efforts. They even help discover which product/services the client can rank best for. Most of all, SEO experts identify your true competition and allow you to compete with them.

Takeaway

  • Investing in SEO increases ROI
  • Organic traffic relies on the aptitude of your SEO efforts
  • Hiring an SEO expert will allow you to compete for organic traffic

NDMR SEO Expert Services

Finding SEO Expert Services that meet your business needs can be a challenge. If your organic web traffic is sputtering, NDMR can help. By performing an audit and creating a strategy, we can increase traffic for your business.

Visit Our Services page for more info.

3 Free Site Auditing Tools for the Beginner SEO

As a beginner SEO (and even as an avid SEO for that matter), you are always looking for a quick way to audit and dig into a given website with ease. We have all done the research and have tested out various options, but following chrome extensions are tools we often use and have found very helpful here at New Dimension, a marketing agency in San Diego. The 3 following tools do overlap in various ways, but you will notice that they may provide different results. That’s why at NDMR we have always found it better to have a few sources, rather than simply relying on only one.

  1. MozBar
    For many SEO Agencies in San Diego, the MozBar is a crowd favorite! It is your one stop shop tool to do in depth SEO research on the go. Equipped with domain authority (DA) and page authority (PA) metrics. With this awesome, you can also gather a given websites, meta description, title tags, structured data, mark up, link metrics, HTTP status, social metrics, and more – quickly and easily.

SEO agency in San Diego | MozBar

  1. SEOquake
    SEOquake is a great tool to use for a quick SEO overview of any page at a glance. You will also be able to see the given sites search engine results page competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, targeted keyword difficulty levels, as well as, external and internal links data. This is an awesome tool to manually dig a little deeper into your site analysis.

San Diego SEO Agency | SEOquake

  1. WooRank
    WooRank is an easy way to generate a high level website analysis and score. WooRank scores your website based one over 50 in depth criteria, ranging from on-page SEO aspects, to Mobile friendliness, to backlink profiles. Giving you a baseline score to strive to improve upon. This tool also extends recommendation on what you should attempt to fix and how to go about fixing it. That being said, this is a great tool to generate a quick website analysis report for a current client or to pitch a potential SEO client.

Marketing Agency in San Diego | WooRank

Give one, if not all of these a try and let us know which one you like best and find most helpful. Also, if you have another SEO chrome extensions tool that blows these out of the water, send it our way! We would love to try it out!

How Can SEO Help Your Business?

Far too often businesses are utilizing a digital marketing agency to run their SEO (Search Engine Optimization) campaigns, but don’t even have a clue what the acronym means, let alone know what they are paying the agency to do. Long story short, an SEO’s job is to help your business GROW! In a world where people of all ages and backgrounds are constantly glued to a screen, SEO should be an essential piece of your marketing efforts. By optimizing your business’ website for organic search, you are allowing your products and/or services to be discovered and explored by people that didn’t even know your company existed. In return, opening the potential to grow your business exponentially.

SEO Stats | New Dimension Marketing & Research

For example, the majority of people use Google (or Bing) to search for things like “video production services san francisco
” or “kids jiu-jitsu in San Diego”. When people search for these kinds of queries, you’d want your website (when relevant) to come up on page one, yelling, “Pick me! Pick me!” How do you do that, you might ask? The answer is good ol’ SEO!

Most experts agree that the top 3 ranking signals that impact SEO are content, links, and RankBrain. Content is an obvious factor as sites need engaging copy and entertaining pages for their users. Links earn your site rankings boosts though the “value” that each link gives. This can be tricky as link equity (also called link juice) varies. Check out this great link juice resource for further reading. RankBrain is Google’s AI program. Search Engine Land has a great resource on the subject as well.

Lead Generation | New Dimension Marketing & Research

On average, we have seen that once a site begins partaking in SEO best practices, both traffic to the site and conversions dramatically increase. However, as an SEO, the fun doesn’t stop there. Once we are able to track data on how your site reacts to different tactics being implemented, whether it be through link building or content writing, we can then utilize that data and continue to act on what is working, refining the tactics that are not performing as well, and stay a step ahead of Google’s infamous Algorithm. Most importantly, by taking a deep dive into the data, we can continue to drive growth by allowing potential customers to discover your products and/or services. Still wondering how SEO can help your business? Check out the full infographic below! Hang it on your office refrigerator and spread the word to your colleagues – Partaking in SEO is truly in your business best interest.

SEO Infograph | New Dimension Marketing & Research
Want to Learn More? Call (800) 316-3057 for a FREE Consultation. 

Why SEO? Understanding, Optimizing & Implementing

Problem: Let’s say you own a camping supply store and just launched your website. You have a ton of images displaying different types of items your store offers. Here’s the problem: Search engines can’t identify those images. They have no idea if that image is a picture of a tent or a picture of a German Shepard. That’s one way SEO is used. SEO efforts embed different tags and text on the back-end of your website to ensure search engines know exactly what you offer. This way, when people are searching for camping supply stores Google feels confident in bringing up your website because it knows it is relevant.

Implementing: When launching an SEO campaign we focus on two different strategies. Onsite SEO and offsite SEO. With onsite, our team makes sure your page has everything that would affect ranking factors. We recreate your content to use the most relevant keywords you want to rank for, update tags, add more thorough descriptions and make sure all of your URLs are search engine friendly. The second phase is offsite SEO where we make sure your page is being linked to from other reputable websites, utilize social media outlets/review sites, and really create overall buzz about your company.

Fact: By having a page that organically ranks high on search engines, you give consumers a vote of confidence. How many times did you search for a plumber near you and travel to the second page of Google? Most people would say never.