What are the most important factors for SEO in 2018? Well – according to many annual surveys of the most important factors for SEO, thought leadership/deep content and links are always number one and two for many years running. I won’t break with tradition here, but I will share some interesting graphs to give some visual representation to these two key factors, and my take on the THIRD most important ranking factor.
1. Thought Leadership – Original Content (guides, resources, answers to common questions your ideal demographic might have)
You need content. If you shovel out commodity content for awhile and see no real result, your industry might just benefit from your thought leadership! This means putting in extra effort and time to create resources, guides or deep question and answer hubs that allow people to understand what you do more fully.
Long content ranks better – as evidenced by this study of the top ranking pages and the correlation to the first 3-5 results in Google to higher content pages and articles.
2. Links from high domain authority, high page authority domains (ideally in your niche)
The reason I put links as number two is because without significant content you’ll likely never be able to earn links naturally, and even if you contrive some backlinks – your reign is likely to be shortlived.
Long-term, sustainable high ranking sites put out consistent content.
Links are that all-important number two factor because every link is like a vote on the quality of your site, and your page or article. But QUALITY is so much more important than QUANTITY here. All of my experiments and client work have shown, it’s way more worthwhile to hold out for three really amazing links on higher domain authority sites and working to push the page authority of the pages with the links on them, than any ‘shortcut’ to riches you might take.
There are ways to purchase backlinks, and I don’t disparage you of this route – it’s just crucial to note, it’s better to earn or buy much fewer high-quality guest posts, or links – than it is to throw as many at the wall and see what sticks. This might even hold you back, or at worst get your site or page an algorithmic or manual penalty.
The number one reason to focus on quality rather than quantity when it comes to earning backlinks – is that earning shitty backlinks is a waste of time and won’t help much.
3. On-page SEO factors.
Yes indeed – on-page SEO still matters, but you need to know where to put your effort. The domain age is one of the most important pieces of on-page SEO, but it’s not something you can change, just understand it does matter.
Beyond that, it’s the keyword usage, in the domain, in the URL, in alt-tags, in headings, the first paragraph. It’s not represented, but can also use it in the image file name, in your target tag for links, in italics and bold – as well as the last paragraph of the page as well!
Beyond keyword, research on-page includes HTTPS (more important than ever as an SEO ranking factor in 2018), the number of social shares, and even linking out to high domain authority sources (referred as co-citations), and including the keyword in the meta description. Keywords in meta descriptions aren’t a direct ranking factor per-say, but anecdotal evidence suggests that the fact they are bolded when people search may lead to a higher click-through rate.
For all of these factors, correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causation – the fact when people put a ton of work into the content they create they might be more likely to implement these factors and other possibilities, may drive up a seeming correlation without being the direct cause.
Bonus: Digital Marketing Experts takes on What’s important for SEO in 2018
“For Google, it’s all about the audience in 2018. So the top factors influencing organic search rankings will focus on the user experience, starting with user intent – pages that respond perfectly to user intent based on the search query are likely to perform better; and ending with the user journey – websites where a higher percentage of users end their quest signal a very strong message to Google. Between those start and end points, a number of other audience-related factors come into play, including click-through rates, bounce rates, time on page, and engagement rates. Of course, the good old factors – titles, links, keywords on page, etc. are still extremely important. The point is, in the future, those factors alone won’t quite be enough to secure top organic positions.”
“My prediction for SEO in 2018 is similar to what happened in 2017… I believe that backlinks will decrease in value while your content quality, your ability to serve searcher intent, and your on-site user experience will increase in value. Also, I believe that Google will improve its ability to analyze and assign a value to different media types such as video. Video is becoming (if it isn’t already) the most preferred way to consume content. In addition to that, voice search will continue to play a bigger role from here and into the future as well. I’m not too concerned about “how to optimize for voice search” because I believe it will involve a very similar approach. At a 30,000-foot view, those who can fulfill searcher intent the best will win in traditional and voice search.”
“I believe we are going to see more featured snippets and answer boxes returning from Google. So, the competition among businesses trying to appear in featured snippets will increase. And this will make SEOs go after a specific combination of factors and techniques to gain these boxes.”
“Hey everyone, it’s really amazing how fast 2017 has gone by and soon to be 2018. Days are already getting shorter and that cold weather setting in. For the past year or so I’ve been completely focused on blogging and ranking websites. Right now I’m going to say the most important thing to rank and get steady traffic is really good on page. Make sure your contents good and no duplicate. You can take a brand new website and start ranking pretty fast putting up a few articles, doing good on page and building up a few links with social media accounts. Wish you a great 2018.”
“Whether you drink the kool-aid or not, I can’t state enough just how important content is for SEO, and will continue to be. It allows you to (1) bolster a site’s relevance across targeted keyword verticals, (2) attract quality backlinks from relevant and authoritative sites, and (3) speak directly to users who already want to buy your products or services. Think about it: SEO is intentional targeting because organic search users are actively searching for the kinds of solutions you can offer them — meaning that they’re already one step down the conversion funnel. So if you have relevant content, you can rank it; and if you can rank it, you can convert the users who are already looking for it.”
“2018 is probably going to be the year Google integrates more advanced AI when it comes to valuing links. Link building is going to get a lot harder and I personally think the emphasis on TRAFFIC (clicks through the links themselves) is going to play a huge role from a link valuation stance. Authority and relevance will of course still be huge, but getting people clicking through from links is going to get more and more important.”
“As we enter 2018 the internet and as a bi-product search are increasingly becoming about how to find information quickly and efficiently. If you are a source of information you need your content to be easily pulled in by Google so they can use it to deliver answers. If you don’t think about optimizing for search you miss out on opportunity to be the answer provider for pressing questions. Structure your content as if it was made for a machine. Think through your headline, sub-heading, and body as if you were not thinking strategically, but rather completely logically.”
Like 2017, Content is definitely going to play a huge role in enhancing SEO in 2018. Producing benefit-focussed content should be the key focus for all marketers as it is the only way to drive more traffic, increase ranking and build quality links for your website. However, having said that, one needs to try out different content formats to keep their audience engaged such as infographic, explainer videos, podcasts etc. In addition, it is important to keep your site optimised at all times which includes task like updating your metadata as well as your site’s older content, implementing AMP, optimising your website speed and images amongst others. This way you’ll be able to enhance user experience and boost your ranking on SERPs.
Thank you for reading “SEO Graphs 2018 – Most Important Factors for SEO 2018 Statistics & Roundup”!
Feel free to use any of the graphs above in your articles and simply drop a link back to this page! If you want all of them in one handy-dandy little zip file click the bottom below to grab them 🙂