The best SEO techniques going into 2018 include:
- Preparing for Google’s mobile-first index by ensuring your website has a responsive theme that looks great and is easy to use on mobile and desktop devices
- Adding structured data markup to content to increase chances of double-ranking on the first page of Google in featured snippets
- Creating 15+ minute YouTube videos to increase dwell time and increase potential of double-ranking on first page of Google
- Focusing on long tail keywords to account for the increasing use of voice search and mobile usage
I’ll touch a little bit on each of the techniques because it’s a big question if you are not constantly immersed in the SEO world or if you are a beginner.
1. Prepare for Google’s mobile-first index
What is it?
Google announced they will be switch over to a mobile-first index, which means the MOBILE version of your website will be considered the ONLY version of your website.
Why should I care?
If your website looks fine on a desktop, but looks like garbage on mobile, then after the switch, your website will just look like garbage. Whether a user searches from a cell phone, tablet, or a desktop will not matter anymore. If you have a separate “m.” version of your website (), it will not work. You need one website that is responsive, not a designated mobile version.
How can I prepare for it?
- You need to have a responsive website theme, not a separate “m.” version.
- Your website needs to create an easy and functional mobile use experience.
- You need to have content consistency across desktop and mobile. Some websites’ mobile version hides portions of the content to make it easy to read. For example, you may come across a website that shows a few lines about an article then has a “click to read more” link that opens the full version of the page. When the switch happens, all that content hidden for mobile users will be hidden for desktop users too. All your content should be visible for both desktop and mobile users.
2. Add structured-data markup
What is it?
Structured data is a standardized format Google uses to classify aspects of web pages. It’s basically Google’s own personal filing system for indexing webpages more quickly and easily.
Depending on the content type, Google Search will display rich sets of features for your page when you provide them with structured data markup. So an event will show dates, ticket pricing, and other relevant details in a clean format. While a cooking recipe will likely show up in a carousel format that allows the user to swipe through relevant recipes featuring pictures, reviews, and instructions.
Why should I add it?
Google is obviously having success with featured snippets, so if you want your content to stand a chance at displaying on the first page for a search query, your content needs to be riddled with structured-data markup.
How can I add it?
Go to, choose your Google property, and under “Search Appearance” select “Data Highlighter”, watch the videos and start highlighting your data.
3. Create 15+ minute YouTube videos to increase dwell time
What is dwell time?
It’s one of the leading factors Google’s new AI called Rankbrain is using to determine which content will appear on the first page of Google’s search results.
It tracks the amount of time a user stays on a page after clicking on it from search results.
Why should I care?
- The average amount of dwell time the top 10 Google search pages have is 3 minutes and 10 seconds. That means if users aren’t spending at least 3 minutes on your web page, you will never stand a chance on ranking for high-quality keywords.
- With users’ decreasing attention spans, you need to couple written content with a 15+ minute YouTube video. YouTube videos rank in Google search results and the ones that rank in the top 10 positions are an average of 15 minutes long. So your written content AND video could take up TWO spots on the first page of Google. I personally have optimized content to take up 4 spots on the first page of Google: two YouTube videos, a rich snippet, and a written article.
- It’s estimated that 80% of internet traffic will be for videos by 2020. The amount of time people spend on YouTube is up over 60% from last year and 55% of all Google search results contain at least one video. Everyone is too lazy to create videos, so get ahead now!
4. Focus on ranking for long tail keywords
What are long tail keywords?
A regular keyword would be “raised garden,” while a long tail keyword would be “how to make a raised garden bed.” Or “clarified butter” versus “how to clarify butter.”
Why should I care?
- Most people’s search queries are becoming longer and more specific due to voice search. It’s estimated that 40% of adults conduct at least one voice search per day.
- When people use voice search, they tend to use more natural language, resulting in longer queries.