Grading Our 2018 SEO Predictions
At the start of the year, we highlighted a couple of trends that we thought would be at the forefront (see what we did there?) of digital marketing strategies. Let’s go through the list to see how we did.
1) Cybersecurity & Trust
As predicted, this was a big issue in 2018, and we even predict that this same focus on cybersecurity will carry over into the new year. We specifically mentioned the importance of a SSL certificate for your website, and wouldn’t you know it, that fact was later reiterated by none other than Forbes. We also made the claim that organizations that add an SSL certificate to their sites will see an increase in SEO rankings. Our prediction came true: Encrypted sites will be rewarded from Google with higher ranking.
2) The Power of Google Reviews
Don’t need no credit card to ride this train, but you do need to pay closer attention to your business’ reviews. In January, we said that Google reviews on local businesses will play a substantial part in generating better organic search for their websites. In Moz’s 2018 research evaluation of ranking local SEO factors, they found that reviews are among the top three factors affecting organic search content. Another case study from this year found similar results, meaning we got another prediction right (impressed yet?). Crowd-sourced participation from Google users also plays a role as one of the factors Google uses to determine SEO rank.
3) Clear Conversion Paths (& Conversion Rates)
Racking up those conversions is the ultimate goal of digital marketing. We mentioned before how important it is to make a clear conversion path for your audience. One of the ways conversions can directly boost SEO is through increasing your click-through rate (CTR). Having a user bounce around on your website suggests to Google that an organic user is going through the site, allowing it to rank higher in searches. Having a higher CRO (conversion rate optimization) will improve your CTR, which will, in turn, circle around and help you increase your organic search rank.
4) Google Quick Answer Boxes
Before the year started, we expected to see Google’s quick answer boxes continue to rise in utility, and early into 2018, Google confirmed an increased emphasis for its ‘snippets.’ One reason cited for snippets’ growing presence: the rise of voice search, which we expect to enjoy a sustained boost this coming year. Having a Google featured snippet gives you the opportunity to be the first thing someone sees when using Google search, and that often means an increase in traffic to your site.
5) Content Marketing, As Always
Again, we hailed content marketing as a major factor to consider for organic search in 2018. While UX design helps create the foundation of a good organic search strategy, the content within the website continues to play a massive role in ranking higher for SEO.
Moz breaks down on-page SEO into four categories:
- Title tag
- Image alt text
Whenever you’re creating content for a page, it is critical that these four things work together for form a cohesive style for your audience. And while you’re at it, you can use your content to show off your industry insight and educate your audience on your expertise while liberally distributing SEO keywords throughout. Oh, and don’t forget to keep your blog updated – not only does it keep your website out of that dreaded “last blog posted eight months ago” territory, it’s also a quick and easy way to add content. Your blog is another way to attract visitors to your site, and even has the ability to create a Google Snippet that leads to even more traffic.
Well, look at that. Our predictions for 2018 came out to be pretty much dead on, wouldn’t you say? Stay tuned to our blog to check out what to look for in SEO for 2019.