5 Local SEO Factors to Focus on in 2018
How to Prepare for Local SEO Strategy in 2018 (Backlinks, Content, Citations and General Strategy)
What is working for SEO going into 2018?
Over the last year in 2017, the landscape has changed for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Many factors have changed for SEO strategy in 2017 and leading into 2018, you should pay attention to a few key points. Back in 2016, and 2015, Private Blog Networks (PBNs) were still a strategy that worked. Private Blog Networks still work today but are considered Grey Hat SEO (not so ethical).
Focus on Strategy in 2018
For SEO, you want to focus on your level of strategy. Do you care about Grey Hat, White Hat or Black Hat SEO? How risky do you want to get with your SEO campaign? With White Hat SEO, the strategy is simple; build great content and a core foundation of user experience. Grey Hat and Black Hat SEO are strategies that include PBNs, bulk link-building strategies, and unethical marketing tactics.
Now more and more strategies like Guest Posting Services are being utilized as a top strategy for link-building. But, are these strategies the best fit for your SEO campaign?
Creating a better User Experience in 2018
In today’s world, it is more about User Experience and creating content that people want to consume. What we always go back to in every SEO campaign is creating a core foundation of content marketing for your strategy. Without a core foundation of content, you are going to have a hard time offering real value. Without real value, how can you gain a quality user experience?
If you are a small business looking for SEO factors in 2018 and SEO strategies in 2018, you will learn something by reading this. That is what SEO is about; learning something or providing value. The real goal of SEO should be in creating a value-based piece of content that will educate your audience.
Using video like a documentary style interview in your content approach is a huge plus going into 2018. User experience is everything and by creating video content in your marketing approach, you give your audience a better experience. But, be careful and wary about creating generic pencil videos or 60-second explainer videos ad these typically don’t offer much in the way of real value.
There are hundreds of companies that use generic videos in order to create media-rich content, which does provide value. But, in the long run, Google and the Search Engines will catch on to this because of the bounce rate. People are smarter than you give them credit for and a pencil scratched video that you paid $2o for, isn’t very engaging or original.
Don’t get us wrong, a video is great but at what level are you adding real value to your video or audio content is the question. Let’s jump into a few strategies for 2018 that your local business should be focusing on. Since we are a local El Dorado Hills SEO company, we wanted to create an SEO article on hyper-local SEO strategies in 2018.
Top 5 areas of local SEO focus on in 2018
- #1 – Backlinks are not Everything (Local Backlinks are Everything)
- #2 – User Experience and Local Value
- #3 – Optimize for Searcher Intent
- #4 – Create Quality Content not Quantity Content
- #5 – Starting small with keywords and Scale Accordingly
- #6 – Bonus – Audio, Video, and Visual
#1 – Backlinks are not Everything (Local Backlinks are Everything)
Backlinks are the gasoline that fuels your fire and creates a massive explosion, right? In some cases, yes. Backlinks can be the single most important aspect of your SEO campaign on a local level. You absolutely need backlinks to rank on a local level. Especially for local markets like El Dorado Hills and other suburb markets.
Instead of reaching out for backlinks on national blogs or articles, start in your local market first. Every local market has a local market directory. Add your business to these local directories first before reaching out to national blogs or press release submissions.
These local directories and localized websites add hyper-local relevance to your website which is key for trust flow and authority. One link on a localized directory is better than a few links on random directories saturated with OBLs (Out Bound Links) in different industries.
Establish a Foundation First
What is more important than backlinks alone is making sure you have the core foundation of content on your website to support those backlinks. If your website has thin content with a wide variety of backlinks, this doesn’t look natural.
Instead of hitting backlinks hard out of the gates, you want to focus on a core foundation of content. We have mentioned this many times before and this strategy is still holding true today but with even more power. Creating well-written articles that provide users with true value is incredibly important.
Once you create your foundation – Hit local links hard
Without creating a core foundation of content that offers value, how do those backlinks look legit in the Search Engines eyes? They don’t. What you have heard about backlinks is true, they are important.
What is more important than a backlink is a localized and geo-targeted backlink. These backlinks are from websites in your local market that are also topically relevant. These are the backlinks you want to focus on in 2018.
#2 – User Experience and Local Value
User signals for SEO in a local market are challenging to optimize for, to say the least. This is one of the most important areas to optimize for when it comes to SEO. SEO is not all about backlinks, content, and citations anymore.
It has shifted even more to engagement, goal completions, time on page, bounce rates and user experience.
A huge growing signal to the search engines in 2018 is local value. Like, did you know that the population of El Dorado Hills has grown to over 50,000 since 2015? That is a local SEO signal. The more local SEO value you can provide to your market in your market will keep you relevant. It’s not all about population. But things going on about development in your community as well.
Another huge local factor for our El Dorado Hills and Folsom market is that we have a community called Folsom Ranch being developed. This small community near El Dorado Hills is poised to bring over 10,000 homes to Folsom which will have a massive impact on El Dorado Hills. While these facts may not mean much to someone in Iowa, they mean a great deal to someone right here in El Dorado Hills which brings great value on a local level.
With all of these homes coming into our area and the population growing in El Dorado Hills and Folsom, this means more competition. More competition for business and more room to capitalize on growing markets. If you are able to step up your SEO efforts and strategy now, then you are sure to be ahead of the curve when these new homeowners and business owners step foot into your town.
By providing facts about your town, city, along with demographics and correlating those facts to your industry, you can create hyper-local SEO value.
#3 – Optimize for Searcher Intent
Optimizing your website for searcher intent is huge. Searcher intent is the overall intention that someone has when searching Google. Take this article, for example. You are looking for 2018 SEO factors and how to prepare for SEO strategies in 2018. Well, we cover the top 5 areas that you need to focus on. In this article, you will learn about the top strategies to focus on for SEO in 2018. This covers your search intent (hopefully).
If in this article we had a list of SEO tools in 2018, that would not provide value to your search intent and keyword because your intent was to learn about factors and strategies.
For whatever industry you are in, you want to create content for searcher intent. In local markets, this is a little harder to do.
In local markets, most users are looking for a well-established, well-trusted, and highly-reviewed company. How do you provide value on being trusted?
In order to fulfill local SEO search intent, you might want to get creative with videos showing the service level of your company. How fast you respond to phone calls, how you address problems that arise, and the overall business mantra you have. You may also want to show your level of engagement with the community.
We are a member of the El Dorado Hills Chamber, the El Dorado County Chamber, and a few others. When people see that you support your local community, this automatically builds trust. But, people still need to check your company out in terms of reviews and actual client engagement.
Creating company videos will provide search fulfillment as well because prospects will understand the company you are and how you approach business on a local level.
#4 – Create Quality Content not Quantity Content
If you are looking to rank on a local level, you need to create stunning pieces of content that are media rich. Whether you are using video, audio or images, you need to showcase some type of media in each post. Most users are looking for someone to answer the phone fast and respond to their problems. Along with creating a great piece of content, you need to let people know that you are always around for a phone call as well.
That is why it is so important to show your phone number in all areas of your website. Your phone number needs to visible at all times. If one of your prospects is reading your content and suddenly decides they want to call you, you should have a phone number visible for them to click or dial.
Creating the best piece of content combined with CTAs is crucial for providing users with a good experience. You need to find the perfect combination of creating amazing content with a well-designed website that offers easily accessible and viewable phone numbers and eMails.
All pages are not created equal
If you know anything about SEO, you know content is important. The question should not be “how many words of content should I write”?
The questions should be:
- How can I cover this topic in complete detail and answer every question?
- How can I provide real value?
- How can we do something different?
- What has not been done yet?
- How can we do or offer something different?
- What hasn’t been done?
- What does my audience really “need”?
- How can we offer the answers to their questions faster?
By answering all of the questions above, you are creating the best piece of content for that keyword and for your industry in your local market. If you can answer all of those questions with 500 words, then that is all you need to write. There is no need to force 5000 words into a piece of content that just doesn’t need it.
If you have a short piece of content, you may want to accompany that page with some type of media, be it video, audio, graphics or infographics.
#5 – Starting small with keywords and Scale Accordingly
If you are a new website in a local market, things can be very challenging. Because your website has no age and no authority, you need to establish a foundation of content. Instead of targeting the most competitive keywords out of the gates, start smaller with the longer tail keywords.
By starting small with keywords, you can start to establish a foundation of content, page authority, domain authority and gain slow but important exposure.
#6 – Bonus! Audio, Video, and Visual
Create video for Geo Targeting Keywords in Voice. Video and audio will be huge going into 2018 for search as search engines pick up on audio signals. The more users start to engage with voice search, the more you need to have some aspect of the keywords in audio and video as well.
The future of SEO will be in the hands of media-rich content with the goal of creating content that your prospects can consume fast. We live in a society where people are on the go. Most prospects are not reading this entire 1500 word article. So, it is important to create many visual aspects or a video that allows your prospects to consume the content quicker or skim the article fast and digest the information quickly.
Finding a good video company that can assist in marketing your services through video is essential in 2018. The challenge with video is that it can get quite expensive if you are using a full-service video production company. The better production value of your video, the more trust you will earn from your prospects as they are naturally more professional.
There is also nothing wrong with shooting a video yourself, or in your office as long as you know what you are doing. There are many factors when it comes to video, though. You have factors like white balance, color grading, lighting, etc. The list is long.
Tip: Find a video company that is willing to set you up a small studio. Once they set you up a small studio, they can train you on how to shoot what they need for their edits. Once you pass the video company your video files, they can then adjust what they need to and publish a professional video.
If you have absolutely no video skills at all and don’t want to learn, reach out to a few video production companies to see how they can help create a video to increase your SEO strategy.