We love a challenge here at Infobunny and writing a competitive SEO Guide for 2018 that will stand out from all the other SEO guides and best SEO tips posts in the SERPS is no doubt a massive search engine optimization challenge.
Am I setting myself up for a fall to sit on page 3 or 4 of the SERPS when we are looking for page 1 results?
Well maybe, we will find out soon.
Is page 3 or 4 a bad position to be in? Hell no that is a great start. SEO is not just about optimizing your page there is a lot more to it than that. It often takes time for you to find your true position on the SERPS.
You can create great content where your on-page SEO can literally be no better yet you don’t really get the results you want. That is because there is more to Search Engine Optimization than just optimizing your site.
The reality is we will probably struggle to make a spot in the top 10 pages of Google and that is not because my SEO is bad. It is down to the fact that the competition is just so tough for the term SEO Guide.
We are sold the story that SEO is the holy grail to rank well. Yes, it is a major factor but it is not the only thing to consider.
There is more to SEO than just SEO Optimizing. And that is exactly what you are going to find out in my Simple Guide To SEO 2018.
Let’s break down SEO a little
Here at Infobunny, we split our SEO Strategy into 3 areas.
1/ On-page SEO
On-page SEO is everything that you can do on your page to SEO optimize for search. This is the only area of Search Engine Optimization that we are in 100% control of.
2/ Off-page SEO
Off-page SEO is really all to do with backlinks and how your content is received by others. Your on-page SEO has to be good to get any kind of traction on Google and that then leads on to you improving your off-page SEO as you are found.
Bloggers and content creators find you, like what you do and hopefully use you as a resource and link to you. It is all about gaining organic backlinks and building lots of social signals and stacking positive votes. All of this organic activity pointing at your site tells Google that your content is great.
You can’t really control this happening. It just takes time and effort. But you don’t just have to sit on your hands and wait you can force the issue a little. Be super active and engaging with others on social media. Visit other bloggers and content creators and comment on their pages. Offer them some value. You want quality traffic and engagement on your pages so to get this you must first give the exact same thing.
Comments And Engagement
A good blog commenting strategy is a fantastic way to drive traffic to your pages. But commenting on related content only works if you add value when you comment. Short cheap comments not only look spammy they are often caught in spam filters so the webmaster may never see them anyway. And if they are seen they will probably be rejected because they are just lazy and offer no value.
A good quality comment will bring you attention from not only the webmaster but also everyone following the conversation as they click through to your site.
Good quality comments provide a great source of backlinks to your site. You will find that your own site’s comments grow with valuable keyword-based comments that will really boost your SEO strategy.
The whole process of engagement and building relationships and reaching out to webmasters is absolutely key to building quality backlinks. You may then receive anchor text links within posts where other bloggers use your content as an example or qualifier for what they have written about.
3/ TrustRank – Your reputation
Once you have areas 1 and 2 covered TrustRank kicks into play. TrustRank is your authority on Google, It is how Google views your site. When Google trusts what you are doing, they start to recommend you, you move up the search engine results, your traffic increases and you are found on the SERPS
Once Google trusts you on-page and off-page SEO becomes less important because you have at this point you have Google’s seal of approvement.
What you can expect from this SEO Guide 2018
SEO is a complex subject or at least that is how it is viewed and how SEO experts want you see it. So in this SEO Guide 2018, I am going to break it down so that it is incredibly simple for you to understand.
You are not going to be shown any complicated analytics, or hard to follow formulas, you are just going to be given what you need to know so that by the end of this guide you will say to yourself “wow ok cool, now I know what to do, this is not so hard” This is going to be the best SEO guide you read this year.
Lets Flick The Switch
So the idea of this 2018 SEO guide is to basically switch the light on in your brain so that you understand what we need to do to rank better and why we do it what we do.
Please take note of how I set this article up as I have my SEO hat on (White hat of course, not black, black is bad). Your gonna see exactly how we optimize for SEO here on Infobunny.
Now like I said I may be (definitely) setting myself up for a fall here because I am going after some very difficult keyword phrases the main one being SEO Guide, with variations like SEO Guide 2018 and Best SEO Guide. But I’m not worried by that because SEO is a long game.
Just cause your page 1 on Google doesn’t mean that the content there is better than page 2 or 3. If Google is doing its job right yes the page 1 results will be the most relevant. But your content is great as well, right? you just haven’t built up your reputation to that of what Google requires.
That’s why it is a long game. Search Engine Optimization is always a work in progress and that is not going to change in 2018.
Expect lots of rich content in this simple SEO Guide. Moving into 2018 SEO will continue to love rich content like images and videos.
So let’s get started
We suggest that you bookmark this page as you can expect it to be a long article.We are already at 800 words and we haven’t got out of our SEO Guides introduction yet.
But as we know Google loves long articles. So yes bookmark us, and share us on your social channels so you can easily find us and come back because you’re probably going to have to read this a couple of times. I’m also going to keep it updated so you are going to want to keep coming back.
The Ultimate And Best SEO Guide 2018
Keyword research is extremely important for SEO and it will continue to be extremely important. You need to work out the best keyword phrases that will help you be found and then optimize for them, Now with this guide, we are reaching for what is known as the “high hanging fruit” the question is can we reach the apples?
In this case, the high fruit is the most obvious search terms. The keywords in searches that people make when they don’t really know what they are looking for where they just search “SEO Guide” rather than drilling down to something more specific like “Local SEO Guide 2018″.These short 1 or 2-word keyword phrases are really difficult SEO keywords to rank for.
But we have taken up the challenge. As we said earlier we are shooting for “SEO Guide” as the main keyword phrase. THIS IS MADNESS! 😉
If you want to learn about SEO you would do a quick search for SEO Guide or SEO Guide 2018 or What is SEO or maybe even Best SEO Tips?
These short tail (high hanging fruit” keywords are highly competitive. If you search any of these terms now you will see some major, major sites dominating the SERPS.
If you are going for short tail keywords you need to decide if you’re in a position to succeed and get results with them. Is your site in a place to compete? Is your on-page SEO on point? Do you have quality backlinks? better still do you have authority site backlinks? If not then you may want to shoot for longer tail keywords, or as it is referred to within SEO, the “low hanging fruit”
The Low Hanging Fruit tends to be easier to pick and so these keywords tend to be easier to achieve good results with. They tend to be more specific like “how do I set up my page for SEO in 2018?” or “how do I do SEO for my site?”.These long tail terms tend to be searched less and as a result. So there is less competition making it easier for you to rank for them.
My Simple Seo Guide 2018 has been optimized for some very competitive keywords and a good mixture of low hanging fruit mixed in as well. Because this article is so long in length I have an opportunity to shoot for the stars with SEO Guide but then also hit the mark with a term like simple SEO Guide 2018 and still produce a reader-friendly article.
Keyword Research For SEO
So keyword research, well we are not going to show you how to do this in this SEO Guide because that would just make this article way to long.
But if your new to keyword research and would like to get some clues as to good keyword phrases then just do a search on Google for some terms. At the bottom of the page, you will see a People Also Ask and a Related Search section.
Searching SEO Guide, for example, gives you some interesting People Also Ask and a Related Search section keyword phrase ideas for you to investigate like:
- How do I do SEO for my website?
- Do It Yourself SEO guide?
- What is an SEO in writing?
- How do you learn SEO?
- How do I do SEO for my blog?
- Best SEO tips 2018
The suggestions above are just a few of the ideas that Google offers searchers to find what they are looking for. As well as helping the user they also help us to distinguish what is being searched and the popular searches. I stress the word popular. These recommendations may not be the low hanging fruit you are looking for. Instead, use them as a guide for your keyword research.
This is as far as I am going to go into keyword research because keyword research for SEO is a whole other article in its own right and one that I have already written in detail so check out Never Do Keyword Research. Do This Instead.
On-Page SEO Explained
I have written about On-Page SEO a lot in stand-alone articles but I have never written about it as part of a comprehensive guide to SEO before. Like I said On-page SEO is the only area of Search Engine Optimization that we do control. But how much control you have depends on the platform you are using.
If you are creating content on self-hosted WordPress then you really can SEO optimize your content to the max. You also have some really cool SEO plugins like Yoast SEO and All In One SEO Pack that will guide you in what needs to be done so that search engine optimization really does become easy.
So what is On-Page SEO?
On-Page SEO is you telling Google what is important on your page and giving them as much information as you can. Think of a blog article as a newspaper article. With a newspaper article, you would have a main headline and then sub-heading. Articles would be split into paragraphs with images breaking up the text. Search Engine Optimization is no different.
The title of your page or post is your first chance to add in your chosen keyword phrase. It must be added to your title. You also want your keyword phrase within your post URL if possible.
The main title/headline for an article should be an H1 Tag. It is normally H1 by default. If it is not then this is your first SEO tweak to make.
Subheadings then need to be H2 and H3 tags depending on their importance. Your keyword phrase should be added to your main headline and then to some of your headings.
The meta description is a 160 character snippet that summarizes a page’s content. Search engines show the meta description in search results mostly when the searched for phrase is contained in the description. Optimizing the meta description is a very important aspect of on-page SEO. So make sure that your meta description says exactly what your page is about. It is the bait to catch the fish so make it good. Make sure that your main keyword phrase is within your meta description.
Your Paragraphs And Readability
Paragraphs should be around 300 words per paragraph to help readability. If your paragraphs are long you can split them up with sub-headings. Make your content as easy to read as possible. Sentences should be short and contain no more than 20 words where possible. Yes, you will go over this number but limit the number of times you do go over.
You should add rich content such as images and videos. Any images that you add should be optimized so that they load fast. Images also need to be optimized with keywords. You should make sure they are labelled with alt titles and descriptions. We suggest you use jpg rather than png as these image files take up less space and so load faster from the start. Even if you are using jpg you should still compress your files because load time and the speed of your site, in general, is a SEO ranking factor in this ever-growing mobile world.
You could also consider moving your site over to AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)
The AMP Project is an open-source initiative aiming to make the web better for all. The project enables the creation of websites and ads that are consistently fast, beautiful and high-performing across devices and distribution platforms.
Definition taken from AmpProject.Org
Google loves Amp. It is a stripped down mobile version of your site that is cached and loads super fast. It is way faster than desktop versions and way faster than any mobile responsive version of your site. Infobunny is now set up with Amp so your find we do load very fast via all mobile devices. There is controversy surrounding AMP in that it does just give you a basic mobile site that loads fast.
We spend time on the web version of our site only for the cool elements to be stripped out. There are a couple of very good WordPress Plugins that will make the switch relatively painless. AMP for WP – Accelerated Mobile Pages is a very good option.
Internal linking is key to help visitors to navigate your site and to provide relevant information to your visitors. Google hates dead ends. If someone comes to your site and then doesn’t find what they are looking for they will bounce right out. If you have linked to something related on your site you are much more likely to keep your visitors on your pages for much longer. You don’t want a high bounce rate.
Link to your Cornerstone content.
Your Cornerstone content are the pages and posts that you consider to be your most important. This SEO Guide 2018 is one of my cornerstone content articles so you will find that any of my other SEO Guide related articles that I have created all link to this post telling Google this is important content on Infobunny.
You can link to your Cornerstone Content by adding a few related article links just like we have at the bottom of the page. Or you can use anchor text where you link related keyword text within your article to a post.
An example of this would be:
For your pages to appear in the SERPS they must first be indexed by Google. The Indexing web pages and articles is the process of making your content available to search engines. You create a new article and then your invite google to crawl and index your page. Once you are indexed Google gets to work and adds you to the SERPS. Obviously, the quicker Google crawls your page the better.
Internally linking then also channels visitors to this page. It is the navigational system within your site. That is why it is so important for search engine optimization
Continuing the SEO navigation teme, Sitemaps. A sitemap is a file where you can list the web pages of your site to tell Google and other search engines about the organization of your site content. Search engine web crawlers like Googlebot read this file to more intelligently crawl your site. Your SEO plugin will cover this for you. Yoast SEO, for example, will produce a sitemap for you that you can then submit to Google Webmaster Tools. Yes, you will need a Webmaster Tools account. You will need an account to check for site errors and to request your pages are indexed
While we are talking Webmaster Tools head over to Bing and create a Bing Webmaster Tools Account. If you don’t submit your site to Bing then you won’t appear on Bing. Around 33% of all searches are made on Bing so to have a good SEO strategy you have to also be present on Bing and in fact on all search engines.
Take a look at the screen capture below.
On searching the terms “simple SEO Guide 2018” you will see the Bing search results below.
We have a Top 3 spot on Bing 😉 If you then go on to search for “Simple SEO Guide” you will find that we sit around number 10. If you then check the results in Google your find us at around no 8 for “simple SEO Guide 2018” and we are yet to crack the top 20 for “Simple SEO Guide”
So do pay attention to Bing as well as Google. Traffic is traffic at the end of the day.
External Linking is a big SEO ranking factor and will continue to be a big SEO ranking factor in 2018. Bloggers tend not to link out to other sites and particularly to other blogs. They are scared to pass on link juice.
Why would you link to a related article pass your link juice on, help the site you link to with its off-page SEO and help them outrank you in the SERP’S? Crazy Right?
But the idea that linking out is bad is just wrong. We know that Google wants to provide the user with the best user experience. If your site does not provide the answers a visitor is looking for then a link to another quality page on another site continues the flow of information which is exactly what Google wants. Google doesn’t want dead ends.
Linking Out Qualifies What You Say
Linking out to quality content also qualifies what you write about. When you write a blog article are we just supposed to believe that you know what you are talking about and that you are an authority? Are you supposed to believe that I know what I’m talking about? What qualifies me to write about SEO in 2018?
If you link to quality content that confirms what you say you are legitimised. Your providing access to authority content.on your site. And Google loves linking out to authority sites.
I can qualify this idea more by saying go to any news site. You will find that they will all link out to very similar content, your even find them linking out to sites in direct competition. They do this because it qualifies what they write about and because it is very good SEO practice
Linking out also increases the possibility of building more backlinks. Backlinks are crucial for off-page SEO and gets you noticed by the webmasters that you link to.
Get over your fears of linking out because it is just a really, really good idea to do this.
Linking out is a great 2018 SEO strategy. But sites often go black or pages get removed. This results in dead links and these are bad for your SEO profile with Google. You need to find and remove dead links. The Free Broken Link Checker will help you with this or there is also any number of plugins that you can use.
Schema Rich/Featured Snippets / Rich Cards
Schema Markup is code that you can add to your site that gives Google more information on what your content is about. This information is then added to search results for your content. There are many types of markup that you can add ranging from star ratings for products or services to displaying food recipes, events and reviews. They are visually eye-catching and result in an increased click through to your site. Adding the markup code doesn’t always add the extra visibility into the search results. It is down to Google’s discretion as to whether they display the thumbnail or video preview or whatever the code is that you have implemented.
You can and should also add Rich Cards to your site (not to be confused with rich snippets). Rich Cards are the newest addition to Google’s enhanced search results. Using structured data in the form of Schema.org, certain types of subjects can get an enhanced presentation on Google. Rich Cards are search results in card form that the user can swipe through and mostly pop up on mobile.
Off-Page SEO Explained
Off-page SEO is where TrustRank is earned. TrustRank is your site’s reputation. On-page SEO only takes you so far, you have to build up your reputation to really start to rank well on Google.
Here is a question for you.
“Have you ever visited a site or page via Google that ranks well only to find that it is pretty ordinary?
There is not much SEO that jumps out at you. No killer images or videos. In fact, it all seems to be laid out in a pretty generic theme layout. Yet it ranks highly. Well, the site more than likely has domain authority. It is aged, it has relevant quality backlinks. Google likes the page as it sees it as a quality source. Therefore it offers the page up in front of yours.
There is little you can do to combat this other than to just do the right things and be super consistent. The big news sites don’t sit around SEO optimizing their text, it is all quick turnaround content, written and published fast. Any SEO is more than likely added by default. The big ranking factor is that they are trusted. And they are trusted because they are super consistent producing quality articles daily. Because they are seen more they get shared more. They gain backlinks for fun, almost on auto-pilot. And they have authority sites linking to them because authority sites link to other sources that Google considers reputable.
This is why Off-page SEO and your TrustRank is so important. Once your reputation starts to improve in Googles eyes, everything just gets that bit easier.
Social Media provides social signals and sends visitors your way.
Newly published content should be shared to all your branded social channels. If you are looking to grow your online reputation then yes your channels need to be branded. Make it crystal clear whose channels they are.
You should use the same avatar. Where possible the same headers. Keep everything looking very similar.
You need shares outside of your own ability to share. So your content needs to appeal to your followers so that you can pick up Facebook Likes or Re-pins or Tweets.
Leverage your followers. You do this by providing great shares on your feeds and by engaging with your followers. You are also going to need to reciprocate the engagement. Sharing others related content keeps your feeds active and on topic and helps build relationships.
Social Sharing Tip
Head over to ViralContentBee and make an account.
ViralContentBee is a great site that allows you to add your blog articles to the ViralContentBee sharing platform to be shared by the members. To add your articles you need sharing credits. You can buy these by becoming an upgraded member or you can earn them by sharing member content.
Once you have some credits apply them to an article that you want to be shared. And let the members help to make your blog go viral.
RELATED ARTICLE – How To Make Your Blogs Go Viral – With ViralContentBee
Social Blogging is really just an extension of your social; sharing efforts and is important for SEO in 2018. Simply rewrite or add cut-downs of your articles to your favourite social blogging sites. Reinforce the importance of these sub-articles by sharing them onto secondary social channels and Book Marking sites like StumbleUpon, Pocket, and Flipboard
Wakelet is also now establishing itself as a great content curation site. Shares you make to your collections currently carry dofollow links 😉
There are some very good social blogging sites out there. Medium, Steemit, and Quora are all great options. Quora also doubles a great Question and Answer site that is really using to generate traffic in its own right
Guest Blogging is a controversial subject. Matt Cutts former head of Web Spam at Google stated that guest blogging had become a more and more spammy practice, and if you’re doing a lot of guest blogging then you’re hanging out with some really bad company and it would be a good idea to stop.
But Matt is not saying don’t guest blog what he is saying is don’t guest blog for backlinks to improve your off-page SEO.
There are some really big sites that accept guest posts and they seem to be ok. Again it comes down to does Google trust you. If you do guest blog then your posts need to be as good as the posts on your own site. There is no place for cheap, quick, turnaround content designed just to improve SEO. It has to be quality all the way. Make your posts long in length. Add good rich content. Keeps links to your own site down to a minimum, consider even nofollowing them.
Don’t give Google the impression that what you are creating is anything other than a quality post to help and inform visitors and you’re be ok.
RankBrain And The User Experience
Google now uses a machine-learning AI (artificial intelligence) system called “RankBrain” to help sort through its search results. RankBrain is part of Google’s overall search “algorithm,” a computer program that’s used to sort through the billions of pages it knows about and find the ones deemed most relevant for particular queries.
Here Is How RankBrain Works
RankBrain is just one of the “hundreds” of signals that go into the search algorithm that determines what results appear on a Google search page and where they are ranked.
RankBrain is already the 3rd most important ranking factor. RankBrain simply measures how users interact with the search results.
Let’s say you search for the terms “SEO Guide 2018” and you check out results 3, 4 and 5. Result 3 is too complicated so you bounce from the site back to the SERPS. Result 4 is just too simplistic so you bounce out again. But the SEO Guide ranking in position 5 is “just right”. Sounds a bit like Goldilocks and the Three Bears 😉
As a result, you spend time, “Dwell Time” on the page you like. RankBrain reads the Dwell Time and uses it to determine rankings.
RankBrain pays a lot of attention to the Dwell Time on a page which makes sense because if visitors are spending time on a page then it has to be good.
RankBrain is Google’s way of reinforcing the fact that content has to be good. Cheap quick content that has a high bounce rate and low dwell time is not going to do well. Whereas if you read this post to the end then it would have a high dwell time and so would rank well.
We like the idea of RankBrain because you can’t cheat it. The content has to be good to keep visitors on the page so you score well.
How to optimize for voice search
It is good to note that we are extremely early in the development of voice search. But with that said it is clear that with devices like Amazon Alexa and Siri we are seeing voice recognition devices becoming mainstream in our homes voice recognition is the future. So it is a good idea to have some SEO voice search basics under your belt.
The first thing to note is that if you are not on page one of Google then your just not going to appear when someone makes a voice search. Secondly, the vast majority of voice searches are questions. “How do I this? What is the best…? etc. So your content needs to both ask a common question and then go onto answer the question.
Featured snippets also play a big part in voice search SEO. If Google gives you the one and only featured snippet on a page then your probably a good option to answer voice recognition questions.
Its been a little over a month since I published our guide so a good time to share some search results and as you can see we have top 4 spots on the 3 main search engines.;-)
SEO Guide 2018 – Takeaways
As you can see there is quite a lot to SEO in 2018. There is no magic list of best SEO tips that will put you where you want to be. This SEO Guide 2018 shows you that there is more than just optimizing your pages when it comes to optimizing your site.
This Simple Guide To SEO 2018 is just set out to give you a basic understanding.
Optimize your pages for on-page SEO, this you can control.
Off-page SEO will come down to your consistency and your ability to create great content and to gain quality backlinks to your site. It is much harder to control this but ultimately it is how you build TrustRank and your reputation with Google.
Moving forward just continue to update and manage your articles and stay super consistent. These are the best SEO tips I can give you.
Now it is over to you.
Hope you have found my SEO Guide 2018 useful.
If you have any questions then please leave them in the comments section below.