Why SEO is harder in 2018 than it was in 2017?

Think about this. Where do you head first when you have a problem or curious to know about something? Google, right? In an increasingly digital world, Google is the perfect matchmaker between businesses and potential customers.

In the past few years, more and more businesses have realized that organic channel can be the most powerful weapon in the digital arsenal and invested heavily in SEO understanding its importance in marketing space and establishing itself as the ROI-driving channel.

As SEO continues to grow and evolve, it is harder than ever to get a space in SERP real estate. Simplification of basic SEO tactics has not just streamlined the process but also raised the bar. When most sites utilize relevant keywords, have Titles and Meta descriptions defined, and are getting crawled by Google, what’s left? Just the tough and technical stuff!!

You Need to Focus on Content Quality Over Quantity

As Google rolls out updates every few weeks, the biggest challenge remains to be the content creation. When it comes to the more subjective elements of content creation strategy, the to-do’s become muddled.

It’s important to understand that Google’s objective is to help users by showing the best results. In order to get new web visitors and to make them coming back, you need them to give a reason. Creating quality content is just that reason. “Business card websites” that simply mark a presence on the web and have nothing to offer to users can’t expect to it to make to the first page of Google.

If search engine ranking is your biggest dilemma, creating a long form of content is one of the proven techniques to give real value to your website visitors, boost keyword rankings, increase traffic and user engagement.

Writing couple of 2000 plus word blogs every week means serious business. A HubSpot study reveals articles with a word count between 2250 -2500 bring in the most organic traffic.

You Must Optimize for Featured Snippets

As Google has moved past its traditional 10 blue links, the space occupied by special SERP features continues to grow. This makes

it is becoming increasingly hard to build organic traffic. Featured snippets are selected search results on top of SERP aimed at answering the user’s query right away. Here is an example of paragraph snippet.

The most popular are paragraph snippets showing up in around 82 percent of featured snippets.

Usually, Google pulls the snippet answer from the pages that rank on 1st page of SERP but the page that gets features doesn’t necessarily be #1 result. This leaves the door wide open for content that isn’t #1 to appear before the #1 spot. Sounds good?

Here are some actions you can take to get your webpage featured:

  • Identify the pages that rank on 1st page but do not occupy a featured snippet.
  • Update and optimize old and high-quality content on your website. It is a good idea to rank for question-based queries e.g. Who, How, What, When, Where, Which, Why and many more.
  • Leverage Quora and Reddit to your advantage by incorporating them into your keyword research to know what your audience is asking and create content that revolves around it.


Voice Search is the Game Changer

Voice search is not the thing of the future- it is here today. As you may be aware, searches on mobile had exceeded that on the desktop way back in 2016. In the words of Google, the voice is the fastest growing form of search.

Paired with increasing adoption of virtual assistants and smart speakers, optimization of voice search will be the key to success of online marketing efforts. Online searchers are hungry for faster answers. If used property, voice search could not only improve website traffic but also improve user experience, which is one of the most important ranking factors used by Google.

A study by Higher Visibility throws insights to the when people used voice search. Interestingly, a majority of them put voice search to test when they were preoccupied with another activity. Needless to say, having a mobile-optimized site is even important when it comes to optimizing for voice search.

The best way to create content optimized in the era of voice search is to listen to how your customers talk about your business when they engage on social media or write reviews. Working closely with sales and customer service teams could help to know the top questions they get asked by customers. Using same language and tone in your content will help you create content optimized for your users and get rewards from Google.

You Cannot Neglect Influence of Machine Learning

Google processes enormous data every day and to give users the most relevant results, Google uses RankBrain – A machine learning system that measures how users interact with their search results.

Why should you care?

Well, along with content and links, RankBrain is one of the top three ranking signals that Google uses. While the purpose of RankBrain is to understand the meaning of content and intent behind search query, it helps determine the click-through rates (CTR) and dwell time.

When your website appears on the 1st page of SERP but not getting clicked, Google has every reason to push you down the ladder. Sometimes websites from 2nd or 3d page of SERP manage to make it to the 1st page simply because of higher CTR. This is why optimizing for CTR can provide significant gains.

Dwell time, is a critical and often overlooked aspect of search engine optimization. Briefly, dwell time is the period between clicking a page on SERP and returning back to SERP. If a user is spending time on a website, interacting with it and not bouncing, there is something valuable for that particular user. Google takes note of it and a result your SEO improves.

As SEO specialists in Toronto, we always have an eye to the latest in the search industry and where SEO is headed next. We are confident in our ability to design a results-driven strategy and rank your website better in search results. Contact Us today to speak to an SEO expert.


“If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.”
― Mark Twain

Recommended Posts