SEO in 2018: How It’s Changing and What You Need to Know

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SEO is inherently based on change. Of course, ten years ago–and even far more recently than that–it was presented as an inscrutable dark art in which companies would basically waste thousands of dollars on second-rate and identikit SEO firms who relied on short-sighted tricks to get quick results that evaporated in the Penguin-Panda purge of 2011 and 2012. Since then,  compelling content has been the keyword but many still did not grasp a lot of fundamental truths about what it means to “do SEO” in 2017 and it’s mainly because many SEO’s do not know how to either. 

Why? Well, the answer lies in the very thing that’s changing the nature of SEO: content. To create compelling content, you don’t have to be a creative but BuzzSumo and other content tools will only get you so far. And as we discussed earlier, multiple studies confirmed that pages in the top three positions are typically forty-five percent longer than those on page two while there is less chance to get on page one as Google shrinks the number of organic results. But it is a big mistake to invest the resources in making a page long just because many well-ranking pages contain in-depth content and articles. Those pages provide meaningful information to readers and keep them on the page by the sheer quality of the content in addition to providing answers to questions that readers likely have. 

One of the best ways to come up with an article that will actually do well and receive engagement and shares from users is to write an article that answers a question you’ve found yourself asking but could not find an article for; that’s often your golden content egg. Because if you have that question, chances are others do as well and not only will they read the whole thing if it’s well-written and engaging, but they will share it with their friends who also have likely asked that question to themselves. 

Of course, while having capable creatives and writers on your team is now a necessity, that doesn’t mean you need to dismiss your staff who used to link build or focus on other SEO practices that don’t get a fraction of the results that creating engaging content does. These days it’s all about porous structuring; opening up channels between departments that were once kept unnecessarily separated. Make your content decisions based on the data gathered by your analysts and hold regular meetings in which your social, digital and print content strategists and producers are talking with each other on a daily basis as each department should be amplifying what the other is doing. Social should promote your content efforts, your content should be optimized for social engagement, and your paid ads team should have a supplemental itinerary to your content calendar so they can determine which pieces could use an extra push. 

SEO has ceased to exist in a vacuum. It’s not magic and it’s not even particularly effective when practiced with no insight into what the other departments are doing. Open up those communication channels and promote synergy across your company.