January 10, 2018
Search Engine Optimization is an ever-evolving thing. The strategy which brought you the influx of traffic could now be the first hindrance.
The way keyword stuffing became one of the most important strategies in the SEO, is now the thing of yesteryear. As the Google keeps on evolving and keeps on changing the algorithm to enhance the user experience.
It is clear that Google makes almost 500 also updates every year and keeping up with those changes would keep you in the game of ranking.
In 2017, Google made changes, some were high-end changes that rattled the ranking of the existing websites and some were minor changes. However, it is at times hard to recognize how any change in algorithm would impact the rankings.
Checking back the last year would give us a better projection for the year.
Updates in 2017
There were reports, claiming that the site which has been ranked better were drowning overnight. Many communities started complaining as their tactics started to fail as well. All of that happened in the first week of February.
Albeit the updates paid dividends, as many websites profited from them and many sites lost their rankings. But all those updates can give us a peek in the future and what to expect in the coming time and how to be prepared for it.
All of these updates were concentrated around user-experience. And Google started wiping the websites which were not on the mark of delivering the quality as expected from them.
Sites with broken menu, tricky ad placement and poor UI are the examples why sites suffered such lower rankings. Google also penalized the websites which were presenting the content in multi-page form. This makes easier to conclude that everything that Google has been doing was all about the user-experience and user-engagement.
Heavy pagination was always deemed as something annoying and Google, later on, found it and penalized the websites which were concentrating on ad promotion.
Google aimed to be the best and compromising with the quality was not tolerable and hence, actions were taken and tactics failed.
At the same time, the updates then affected thin content and low-quality.
The content which is only intended to circulate the traffic and is short is the thin content. Thin content is the stepping stone in terms of diverting the traffic further. Another update was about the mobile compatibility of the website. If your site is not ideally optimized for the mobile experience then this is another setback you have in your website. Poor mobile usability and broken menu would suffer the same repercussions. The next part of the update was to take on the deceptive advertisements.
Rankings would suffer again if the ads are woven into the content as if they are the part of the content. This again is one thing which irks the visitors and contributes to the poor user-experience. And these links have been driving users to the different websites which are menacing in terms of safety. That is another loophole spotted by Google. Other than the deceptive ads Google took its bait on the website which were drifting away from the user-experience.
Sites that were using the ads on the top of the page were also penalized and that cost them their rankings. If the ads are published at the places that it can take the user away from content, trouble is hovering right above your head.
Next update was major which rolled out in the first fortnight of March. It was named as Fred. This update was hitting on the websites which were violating the Google’s webmaster guidelines. Websites which were solely reliant on the blogs to generate the ad revenues.
Google was again on spotting the thin content and the sites that were playing the system by promoting affiliate links.That was it! If your content was not helping user instead your intentions was only to benefit from the affiliate links, Google was ready to penalize.
Again massive drops in the rankings of low-quality and heavily ad-driven websites were apparent.
We saw major updates rolling out last year and preparing for the year is the only thing which can be done.
However, it is hard to spot and pinch the right buttons of the strategy in order to bring the harmony to the strategy. But something can be concluded from the updates of last year. And based on them the strategies can be altered for this year.
2018, in the hindsight!
Content, the only thing which you should focus most on is content and this has been from many years. But do not confuse the content that will drive the traffic with any content. The content which is poor and thin would not make the cut and will be left in the lower ranking by Google. Google is watching every content and the screening must have started and thin content would simply would not go far in terms of ranking the websites which are boasting full and strong content are supposed to gain the considerable boost in the rankings.
SEO 2018 is in the nutshell of content and user-experience.
But the kind, quality and quantity of the content are what we will focus on now. Topics and sub-topics, you cannot simply leave the trimmed and half content and leave the users on the web with half information. Quality and authority of the content are the things where you have to work on the most. Content authority is another tool that would complement the content and will boost the rankings with in-depth information over any topic. There are tools like content authority which will help you and will shield your website from the penalties.
The longer the post the more of the profits. It is clear that thin content (content below 1000 words) has been discarded in terms of quality but when it comes to the perfect content the options are slim and the time which is supposed to be invested in more than average.
The strong content which has witnessed strong outcomes fell in the range of 2000 words, meaning you would have to invest more than 3 hours. The 2000 words in the post are, however, has denoted the best or strong results and the content brimming over 1000 words has delivered the mediocre results and below 1000 words, worst.
The most important thing which Google has targeted in the recent time is user-experience. Nothing at all can be compromised in regard of this. The content alone would not be solely enough and to make the things clearer you would have to create the space around the content not distract the user from the content. Mobile optimized sites and ad-free experience is projected to be the aim of Google now and playing with that would bring severe penalties for sure.
Along with that the other thing which you need to do is to improve the loading speed of website, whichever the platform is. It has been witnessed that slow loading websites are losing the traffic, and the amount is not either minimalistic, about 40% of users are abandoning the websites which are taking more than 1 second to load and the websites which are taking over 3 seconds to load are losing 80% of traffic which will never come back on them.
Hence, the idea about 2018 is clear, all the things which have been annoying the users are supposed to be cut out. Else, the consequences will be severe and the reputation of your website could be in jeopardy.
Focusing on the user-experience and on the content should be your top priorities and mobile compatible sites would also contribute to attract more traffic and more rankings.