SEO in 2018 and the Implications for Website Content

A word scramble of things relating to websites

SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation is all about ensuring that a website is configured so that Google and the other Search Engines ‘like what they see’ and list it when people search for relevant phrases.

To be ‘properly configured’ means that the site is created in a way that the search engines can read the content easily and that the ‘important’ areas (the Meta Title and Header Tags) in the pages have the ‘important’ words and phrases in them. There are other issues like using ALT (alternative text) tags for images, as well as using descriptive file names (eg alsatian-dog.jpg rather than image75.jpg) of course,  the whole idea being to make sure that the Search Engines know exactly what a page is all about.

However there is another side to SEO, that of links to a site, these being treated as ‘votes’ by the Search Engines as to the usefulness / popularity / authority of the site and that particular page. In the past it was the pure number of these links that counted, but over time, things in this area have changed and changed again (they have with content too of course, stuffing a page with the keyword phrases you want a page to be found for being a real No No today).

But why is SEO important in the first place?

For many sites it is not, these sites relying on getting their visitors from other traffic sources such as Email marketing campaigns or where the site is a ‘Brochure Site’ (one that is just there for people to visit when given for example, a business card).

For sites that want to get traffic from the Search Engines though, getting a good ranking is vital as it means that they will start getting noticed by people who before, never knew they even existed….

We All Know SEO is Changing But What Does This Mean for My Website?

This is the key question and the whole reason for this post.

As mentioned above, the world of SEO has changed a lot over the years.  But when it comes to 2018, what is the key message that ALL website owners, who want to get or continue to get, traffic from Google and the other search engines have to take into account?

For the Past 5 Years it’s Been All About Content

One thing that has not changed is the need for good content, but there will soon be more to ‘good content’ than just placing something ‘reasonable’ on the page. But what is the reason behind this change?

Quite simply put it is all about having content that is not just good enough, but instead having content that is just so good that people will want to mention it on their websites (with a link back of course) and talk about it on the Social Media accounts.

This is important not just because excellent content means that your visitors are more likely to stay longer (and that your ‘standing’ with them could be enhanced, and that can only help increase sales), but also more vitally, because it will enable you to collect links in the way that Google intends…

The Way it worked in the Distant Past

In the early 2000’s it was said that you could get a blank page on the first page of Google, simply by creating hundreds of links to it. These links could come from just about anywhere, be created in a matter of hours and use the same anchor text throughout.

The Changes

These were many and basically have resulted in the current situation whereby if you want to create a linking structure that will pass ‘muster’ with Google you have to:-

  • build links from relevant sites,
  • from articles and blogs whose contents are also relevant
  • on reasonably powerful sites (this based on its Domain Authority),
  • using anchor text carefully (not using your ‘money phrases’ – the ones you want to be raked for) too often
  • slowly over time (i.e. not hundreds all at once),
  • whilst at the same time ‘supporting’ these links with links of their own
  • as well as Social Media mentions (this whole process being called ‘Power Linking’).

As you can see this is a lot different from the way it was at the start of the century, these changes themselves resulting in a boon in the numbers of Guest Posts being published and a whole industry based on charging people not for links (which is deemed to be a ‘No No’ by Google) but for the privilege of placing an article on their site, that article of course containing that all important link…

This Still Works at the Moment

At the time of writing this blog, the above process of link building still works well for SEO, but the time will come when it will not do the whole job, it being reduced to a ‘supporting’ act, the main event being all about CONTENT THAT PEOPLE WANT TO SHARE

The Future of Link Building

There are two reasons for the changes we believe are on the way. One of then concerns Google, the other the growing importance of ‘Social Interaction’.

First let us deal with the changes that Google is in the process of putting into place.

These changes deal with the way in which Google treats links. Over the years these have altered quite a bit and the usefulness of links from irrelevant sites has declined and declined yet again. Soon, it will only be links from really relevant sites that are counted at all and even then, it will be the Content that will make the difference between getting rankings and not.

The upshot of this that soon only links on powerful sites will really be worth the effort and that means you will have to work that much harder to earn them and that means having Great Content on your site, content that is really worth linking too.

The Importance of Social Interaction

There is more to this than just Tweeting and creating Facebook posts, this area also covering the need to contact the ‘Influencers’ in your niche and, by having great content, persuading them to mention your site in their various Social Channels. Do this and you suddenly have a Brand that people can recognise and become interested in.

It does not stop there either, as if you do place a Guest Post (one that is mentioning that great content on your site) and that Guest Post site allows comments, you also need to interact with the people who leave comments, just as you do on your own site and Social Media channels.

It’s All About Traffic

In the end it is all about traffic, but whereas link building the old way was just about boosting a site’s rankings (by getting it more ‘votes’) in future it must also be about getting traffic FROM the Guest Posts themselves and that in turn means placing them on high traffic sites, or at least sites that are highly relevant and get low levels of traffic from people who are likely to be interested in your products and services.

The Path That Must Be Trodden

The first thing to do is to decide what you can add to your market place, what questions need to be answered and what new topics and discussions you can start or add to. Then you start to create the content needed and once completed, place it on your site.

Then you can start to look around for websites that take Guest Posts and which are both highly relevant and have a high Domain Authority (and thus hopefully Trust Flow, either as classified by sites like Majestic or by Google).

You can also look at the Influencers in Social Media and connect with them, commenting on their posts and ideas all with a view to getting them, eventually, to consider mentioning your content.

This can take some time and is not easy, but can result in a lot of traffic (and passed on Authority).

But first you need the content and that is the real message of this post, so start thinking about the content you can create. The sooner you start this process the better for it is this that will make the real difference in 2018.

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