Knowing even a little bit about how the number one search engine in the world, Google, works, means you know the importance of SEO and how positioning oneself using keywords is vital. And this is a long-term, ongoing job, which requires a lot of hard work, even to just simply maintain, if not increase, the positioning.
In a short summary – when someone searches for something on Google, let’s say they want to know where can they get their smartphone repaired, they will input a search query. Google, through years of data collection, has a dynamic list of keywords from these queries, in our case could be “phone repair centre”. Now, your web page needs to have this, and the many other related keywords for Google to show it in the search results.
Google has been making changes to make this process more accurate. Here is a non-exhaustive list of current or future changes:
The mobile-first index
The development of voice search
A more important meta description displayed
Tests for a display with 5 results per page on mobile
In order to help you in this process, here is a selection of 8 elements that you will absolutely work in 2018 to improve your SEO.
It is now a widely-known fact that a website must absolutely be compatible for all media: PC, smartphone, and tablet.
This may seem obvious to most, but it’s still seen every day among prospective clients and through SEO audits that these sites that are not mobile-friendly, even if designed less than 2 years ago.
At a time when Google is migrating to a mobile-first index, not doing what is necessary at this level is suicide.
By mobile-first indexing, what Google means is that it will visit the mobile version of your website (instead of the desktop version) and use the results of this visit for both the desktop and mobile search engine results.
To meet this criterion there are two main techniques:
The responsive, otherwise adaptive website
A mobile site.
To verify that your Google "likes" your mobile site, you can use their dedicated tool: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly
A protocol promoted by Google, the AMP Project, stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages, and is intended to offer lighter and faster versions of mobile pages. Another reminder, the mobile takes an increasingly important place in the use of search engines.
Google gives a bonus to these pages and you should not deprive yourself of setting it up on your site.
Content is king. A big part of SEO for a few years, this statement is truer now with the advent of voice search.
Recent studies indicate that 4 in 10 adults and 5 in 10 teens use the voice recognition feature of their phone to search on Google.
But what is the relationship between content and voice search? Well, search are simply. Where one would usually type keywords to find content, now you will ask a question or at least constitute a sentence.
For example, instead of typing: "boiled egg", you will say "How to make a boiled egg" to your assistant, who will answer you directly if it finds satisfactory information to your request.
As a consequence, we must adapt the content to these new requests to try to wait for position 0 (above the natural results). Do not hesitate to answer a question (and especially to ask it) that you could ask your assistant.
Regardless, quality content is the most important thing for a website. As a reminder, some essential criteria:
At least 400 to 500 words per page.
Visually structured content
Hierarchical content with tags h1, h2
Illustrated with one or more optimized images
One of the most important criteria currently, net linking is a technique that involves acquiring incoming links (backlinks) from other websites to yours.
Since Google has drastically hardened the rules on acquiring incoming links, it is important to be careful if you want to proceed on your own. The site that will link to your site must be in the same theme as you: if you sell pizzas, avoid tilers 🙂
First and foremost, check the quality of the domain name: does the domain have some seniority? Some popularity? Was it the subject of a penalty or has it already produced spam and was marked as such? Is it already linking to other sites and if so which ones and in what quantity?
Check in which part of the site will the link be positioned and in what context.
As you can see, the benefit of acquiring links is obvious. What is not as obvious is to get quality links. One can quickly end up with links considered as "toxic".
Lastly, remember to monitor your site. Anyone can link to your site, including rotting SEO.
THE RICH SNIPPETS
Rich snippets or rich content make it easy to understand the content of a web page for search engine robots. They are also used by Google to display information directly in the results. Rich snippets use the SCHEMA.ORG protocol to do so-called semantic mark-up.
Once again, because we are going on the search engines with our mobile, the performances of a website are part of the essential criteria to respect. The less efficient your site is and therefore the longer it takes to open, the less likely the audience is to remain on the site. This will result in increasing your bounce rate.
So, make sure that you meet the following criteria:
A complete loading of each page in less than 3 seconds.
Pages weighing less than one mega all resources included.
Loaded resources reduced to a minimum.
HTTPS / SSL CERTIFICATE
It does have a direct impact in SEO and in my opinion, you must go through it.
Although Google is announced that it no longer privileges sites with an SSL certificate, the implementation of the latter has become a standard, especially with the alerts displayed by browsers such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.