SEO in 2018 no longer exists in its own world. Digital marketing has become a many-headed beast, with each facet affecting the other. Content and user engagement have become some of the biggest rankings factors, while link building is beginning to fade in importance. The only way to look at SEO now is as a small part of the larger whole. A holistic approach aims to improve the quality of every element, helping create strength through sustainable and reputable means.
SEO in the early 2000s
In the early days, SEO revolved around keywords and volume-based content and links. Build a big backlinks profile, cram your content with keywords and the results would roll in. Your rankings were dependent on how many links you could buy, and it didn’t matter if your content was in any way useful to the user.
SEO in 2018
These days, SEO has exploded in more than a dozen directions, each one impacting the overall picture. These areas include:
This means that digital marketers have to think broadly about their strategy, with no one aspect taking precedence. Although some of the older strategies may still provide some quick results, their impact has lessened and come with the risk of penalty if you stray too close to the black side of SEO. Your social campaign has to complement your content, while your content has to work in harmony with the design and user experience, all of which has to be optimised for mobile browsing and interaction.
The good news
A tightly integrated marketing strategy means that your campaign will have a longer reach, with much more longevity. Google’s algorithm updates have been working to reward stronger sites that are built on quality content and a streamlined user experience. Honest link profiles are more valuable than ones that have been bought and the penalties for not adhering to the guidelines can be harsh and long-lasting. Developing a comprehensive strategy with sustainable methods can seem like a slow burn, but it will reap rewards for far longer than the early 2000s slash and burn tactics if they were applied today.
How it all comes together
Each aspect of a campaign has to be of the highest quality. Allowing your user experience to be let down by the poor content or vice versa, will undermine the whole effort. For a small business it can be difficult to cover all the bases and ensure the campaign has the desired effect, but focusing on the core elements will ensure your strategy helps, rather than hinders the overall effect.
It is vital to understand that SEO no longer exists in a vacuum and that every signal that leads to your site has an accumulative effect. These include comments you make on other blogs, to social media promotions, from a link to a disreputable site to an inaccurate map listing. A complete SEO strategy could even encompass a hashtag that is related to your business or a particular promotion. Google’s algorithms are designed to assess every aspect, and regardless of how rudimentary some parts currently may be, their track record of pushing the envelope of search technology virtually guarantees they will keep developing and improving their calculations.
A world of possibilities
While it may seem suddenly overwhelming, Google’s changes are more about levelling the playing field than making it difficult for businesses to rank. They aim to reward hard work and quality sites by ranking those that add value to their search results page. As a business themselves, their desire to keep only the very best websites on their first page means that the more valuable your website and the more authoritative it is in a field or industry, the better the chances of getting good rankings.