The dream is to throw a few affiliate links in an article and fly out to the bahamas. That’s the hope of most bloggers, and the promise from wannabe experts online.
You see these scam artists, within a blog post, hold a wad of cash in their hand promising you the world, and traffic, if you buy their course of how to get rich. After watching this you go crazy and start banging on the keyboard hoping to strike gold. It’s what I call, “blogging fever”.
A year rolls by, and you notice something. 10 visitors saw your site yesterday, and your PayPal account is as dry as the Sahara desert. You’re losing steam, and a hopeless feeling is taking over. What if the old days of SEO is dead? What if SEO doesn’t roll in like it use to?
Reality is kicking in.
The old way of SEO is dead. You can’t just write and expect the world to flood in tomorrow, next week, or even next year. You must work for it. Why? Google is flooded with articles to choose from, just as they planned. They can now offer the best to their users and dominate the world with the greatest results in the knowledge realm.
Good for them. Bad for you.
Or is it?
SEO is still a thing of the present and you can still get it. Only thing is, you’ve got to get the get rich stuff out of your head. It doesn’t exist. The greatest things come slowly, and that’s okay, because you’re a man/woman of valor and patience.
The next step is to understand the 11 truths about SEO. These 11 factors will help shape you into becoming an SEO machine. Let it help shape your attitude when you write your next article.
Don’t forget to download my SEO checklist that is based on the truths of this article. Download that here.
Here are 8 things to know when diving into SEO in 2018
1. The SEO world is saturated
The heroes of 2008 won’t be the same as in 2018. We’re going to push a little harder and fight a little stronger for our traffic.
As SEO in 2018 becomes more saturated, it will be harder to find that free swift traffic. However, there is still some niches out there waiting to be unlocked.
In 2018 though, I would pretend as if SEO did not exist and simply write for people. I mean yes, optimize for SEO and have everything there for possible SEO triggering. After this though, don’t sweat if Google doesn’t pick you up, you can’t help what they decide to do. Depend more on your outreach and your personal efforts.
Writers have become famous before Google and they’ll become famous after Google (with or without it’s help). Never wish for success. Work for success.6 So if it comes, great! If SEO doesn’t come like you want it to, that’s okay too. That doesn’t determine where you’re going.
Over 1.5 million articles are published daily on WordPress alone. That’s very saturated and “hoping” for success won’t get you to the top.
2. Backlinks are harder to get as Google becomes stricter
Guest posting was the way of the future in 2008, but now it is the way of the past (for links at least).
Guest posting is not the best way to get links. It’s still good for traffic and relationship building, but Matt Cutts stated that guest posting was dead as far as he was concerned.
Blog comments isn’t the place to build links and neither is the bio section of a post. Google wants you to get links from places that is nearly impossible. Why so strict? They know if Huffington Post, Forbes, or even Jeff Bullas is linking to you, you have something of value to share.
The best kind of links are the hardest to get. However, if your friends are bloggers who love you like no tomorrow, then they’ll be more than glad to link to you. No blackhat SEO has to get involved in order to crush SEO successfully.
Connections dominate and always will dominate Google.
3. Design is everything in 2018
After reading the 160 page document Google released, it’s clear that design means more than ever before. They plan to have a “rater” come by and check out sites based on design.
If it looks spammy, you get a low score. If it looks professional, you get a high score.
Friendly user navigation is huge along with long amazing content. Every rater must read the 160 page document before becoming an official part of the team. Based on collected data among the raters, they will combine their ratings and calculate it with the algorithm already placed within Google’s system.
How will they scan every website out there? No idea. I assume they’ll focus on the top 3 results of major keywords and work down the list of keywords. They haven’t really stated though how’ll they do this. We’ll have to wait and see.
4. Longer is always better when full of actionable content
Content is huge as you know, and Google sees the word count within every post. They use this as a factor when ranking your site’s position.
Since Google can’t read, yet, they compare word count among others as one of the factors to determine expertise. Also readers love this, they see this as major effort on your part and see you as an expert when you do this. It definitely looks impressive when your content is long and full of actionable, fact based, and creative content.
As for the length of content, your 1000+ articles do best. The closer you get to 2,000-5,000 words the better. I understand that’s not possible at times, but those article that do reach this length end up doing well.
Buffer recommends 1,600 words based on a study performed on Medium.
Hubspot wrote about this very topic, and they’re recommendation? Write until you’re done. Write until you feel like the article is complete.
I agree with that, but always have a goal. If your goal is 2,000 words, you really need to search yourself to make sure that there is absolutely nothing left to say. I agree the best blog posts are written with passion and burning knowledge. However, Google can’t read like we do, yet, and with that being said, they do go by content length.
I’ve seen within my personal studies, longer content almost always wins. Other things play a factor such as age, backlinks, bounce rate, load time etc. However, Google does see long content as a good thing. So just keep this mind.
5. Add lots of images within posts
It’s already proven that images say a lot of about the writer. Credibility many times is perceived by the look of the images. Investing in great artwork is worth the money and can set you apart when trying to gain trust from the reader. Every little thing counts when trying to get the reader to become an email subscriber.
Some great places to get images you can find here:
Here is me making blog titles look even better!
Great images affect many things also when it comes to SEO such as bounce rate.5
Bounce rate tells Google if the average user likes your content. If the bounce rate is high, you’re a poor writer, according to Google.1
Images however can help with this due to our love for images. It keeps us intrigue and fascinated. Since the beginning of time we have loved images as they are a thousand words to us.
Our minds “download” images as soon as we see them at speeds much faster than we read words. Within seconds we can determine how we feel about a blogger based on images alone.
Based on this we may stay or click on something else. So be choosy when selecting images.
Also, sprinkle them throughout the article, it shows Google you care for your users and want to help them with the subject you’re discussing.
To take this to the next level, try infographics.
Infographics work amazing
I had an SEO project I perform to test my skills. It was a niche site in the bug world. I wanted to see how hard it would be to rank a website with less competition. Not easy either!
No real blogs that I could partner with and these people are somewhat introverts! I was still able to gather some major links including Lifehacker! You can see here:
My goal was to crush the insect identification world with my niche website. To help identify a bug within minutes. It could bring security to a young mother or a woman with spider-phobia.
So how did I get linked by Lifehacker and some bug blogs? It was easy.
An infographic. By creating an infographic even better than my “competition” I was able to land a powerhouse of a blog and gain a very valuable backlink. It brought credibility and I’m still bragging about it (like now!).
Here’s how I went about doing this:
Find an infographic that did well
Search the sites that used it
Make a better one
Reach out to the same blogs
That was my method and it worked. Once I landed on Lifehacker, I’ve been using that as my pride badge and people are featuring me on their site with my infographic.
6. Writing more than you promote doesn’t work anymore
The idea that Google is going to catch you and send you loads of traffic, just for writing another article, isn’t here anymore. It’s better to write 1 article and tell 100 people about it than to write a 100 articles and tell 1 person about it.4 That’s becoming the method of the latest success stories. Every piece of content is like a book to them, and their promoting each blog post like the pros.
If you really believe in your article, wouldn’t you be advertising it? The real reason most don’t do this is because all they see is sites like Mashable or Huffington Post publishing faster than we read them. That may work for them because they have promotion teams that do nothing but market their site. They can do that, but you can’t.
The only way to get serious SEO traffic today is by promoting and working for your links. Ask to replace dead links with a live link such as yours. Get involved within roundup post. Give lots of testimonials. Connect with bloggers who will talk about you.
If you’re not looking to promote like a boss, guest posting may be your thing. If you simply love to write, and not really dig into promotion, consider guest posting full speed. For every blog post you write for your site, you should consider writing 3-5 guest posts. This way you can be assured that new people are seeing your blog post every day.
The goal is to gain email subscribers.
7. The email list is huge for SEO
What if you had 50,000 readers waiting to see the moment you released an article. To read it, to talk about it, and to write about it. That’s like a dream come true.
That’s what an email list can do. So by building that email list, you’re increasing the chances of backlinks. Also mind you, this is THE best way in growing profits. You ask 50,000 people to buy something, and that product is a good one, you’re going to make money.
The email list helps your SEO, and SEO builds your email list. It’s an ongoing cycle that keeps growing, however, the end goal is to gain subscribers. That’s where the majority of energy should go, and that’s within the email list.
8. Keyword research is still huge
In the old days, you could keyword stuff your article and by repeating the word lots of times, you could very well rank. Well, those days are over, and I’m glad to see it too.
That definitely looked spammy when people did it. Some say keyword research is over also because of it. I understand we can’t take out keywords like we use to and rank as easily, but it doesn’t mean we should throw all of that away. Keyword research only reveals the demand of a topic and whose trying to tackle it. It can display where our energy should be, and how much time we should put in when trying to tackle each topic.
All of this is very useful and you should always let keyword research be a part of your blogging. If you’re looking to gain SEO traffic, you must find a gap you can fill. There is still weak articles out there that you can replace and completely dominate, it’s just going to take more energy.
Great tools to use to do this are Keyword Planner or Market Samurai.
By reading this article, and letting this set the stage, you can create each blog post that has potential for SEO success. You’ve just got to have a realistic mindset and put on your strategy thinking cap. To write an article without a strategy plan is already a blog post waiting to fall flat. You’ve got to take this to the next level.