SEO Guide 2018 – The Real SEO Guide For 2018 & Beyond!

SEO Guide 2018 - Infographic

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SEO Guide 2018 - Introduction

The real SEO guide for 2018 isn't a beginners guide to SEO. Instead it's everything you need to know for Blog SEO (search engine optimization) - past present and future! In this SEO guide for 2018 you will learn all you need to know about SEO on your blog or website.

What Is SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Search Engine Optimization or SEO is the practice of optimizing your website in order to rank better in search engines like Google and Yahoo. There is quite a lot involved in doing this effectively enough to be successful and get mountains of targeted traffic. The truth is there is no magic bullet to get lots of targeted traffic from SEO in 2018.

Instead it takes work and sometimes a lot of it, so rather than tell you everything I know I will keep to a more general best practices SEO guide for 2018. I will expand over time to help you get more website traffic. These links will provide information I either agree with, use myself or have learnt techniques on getting traffic to my website.

SEO Guide 2018 - First A Warning!

The first thing you need to know is the truth about SEO and some of the tricks some SEO companies use to get their rankings. In that article I explain how most so called gurus try and sell you links on high authority websites. How most use the wrong methods and some of these methods can be very dangerous for the SEO of your website.

Don't Buy Links For SEO Reasons!

Why shouldn't you buy links? By purchasing links in this real way it can lock you into the practice of buying them to get (and keep) your search ranking. There are many other hat that is black methods that some SEO companies and gurus use. Not only are they costly but you can also find that your website can run the risk of being de-listed from Google search results.

Don't Pay For Search Engine Submission!

Apart from selling you a link bought at a much cheaper price another common charge SEO companies still charge for in 2018 is search engine submission. Some SEO companies charge their clients literally hundreds of dollars for a push button service offered in most hosting backends.

SEO In 2018 Isn't Overly Difficult

Really the main thing to remember is to be relevant in the content of your website, so pages with a name, have that name and variations of it throughout any text that might be on the page. Any pictures and other media like videos should also be relevant. Linking your content to other pages and websites will help to get links in return and every link is a vote!  There are certain methods and strategies that can be implemented to create backlinks these will be covered in other articles.

Why Is The Real SEO Guide For 2018 Everything You Need To Know?

The real SEO guide for 2018 is proof that (as I will show) the big boys in the game can have competition from you! This guide for search engine optimization in 2018 will explain everything you need to know on how to rank a blog or website page on the front page of Google and other search engines. 

About The Real SEO Guide 2018

This article you are now reading is written with one goal in mind - to show you how my SEO guide for 2018 will rank among the big names in the industry if not even out rank them! If I can achieve what seems like the and that is impossible out rank the gurus and other SEO experts for terms like "Real SEO Guide 2018" or other medium keyword phrase variations then so can you! This guide also includes articles from guest authors.

SEO Guide 2018 - The Real SEO Guide!

Some SEO History - Where SEO Started - What SEO Is? And How It Works Since Google

Anyway let's start with a little bit of history on SEO and where it is now in 2018. It's hard to believe that search engine optimization is around 25 years old this year! In that time there have been many search engines launched. Just like search engines there have been SEO guides for almost as many years.

A Brief History On Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Have you ever wondered when the first search engine started? Or where did SEO first start? Read on for a little history on search engines and search engine optimization. I'll tell you what I've learned in researching this SEO guide for 2018.

The first few hundred web sites began in 1993. Most of them were at colleges, long before most of them was Archie. The first search Engine created was Archie, created in 1990 by Alan Emtage, a learning student at McGill Uni in Montreal.

Tell Others About Archie!
It All Started With Archie The Search Engine!

The history of SEO is around 1991 with the actual first use of SEO being hard to determine but based around link building. Since then it’s become an important part of business. I don't want to spend a lot of time on the history of SEO though.

Needless to say though SEO is a young industry, and changes frequently. The biggest changer to SEO methods has been since Google come to life in 1998.Yes Google celebrates it's 20th year as a search that is popular in 2018.

Google Has Changed Everything Since Archie!

Google has completely changed the face of SEO with it's sophisticated algorithms and now AI in the form of Deepmind and Rankbrain. If you want to read more on the history of search engines believe goes back to 1945 - but you can read about it here:

What Is SEO or Search Engine Optimization?

What is SEO (search engine optimization) - In a nutshell it's the process Blog and website owners use on and off their website to make it rank in search engine results. How has SEO changed now for 2018 or how is it different from last year? To be honest there is always the push for higher quality content and security.

I've often enjoyed seeing the results of a successful SEO campaign. The art of SEO is exactly that - an art form! There are literally hundreds of different elements to SEO these days. Don't worry though as this SEO guide for 2018 will help you through the SEO minefield.

SEO Guide 2018 - Why Blogs & SEO Go Hand In Hand

How Does SEO Work And Why Is It Important For Your Blog Or Website? SEO works because people search for what they want. Search engines like Google want to provide the most accurate result for each search a person makes. So providing accurate information on your website page or blog post (even if it's your opinion) is required just to begin with.

Why Are Blog Posts Important
For SEO In 2018?

Blog posts are important for your SEO in 2018 for a true number of reasons. Blogs allow for fresh content on your site.

They allow you to add back links to your pages. They allow you to add more relevant information about your sites pages.

They help your media and content get shared on social websites.

SEO Guide 2018 - Why Are Blog Posts Important For SEO?

How Writing A Blog Post That Ranks In Google Helps SEO

I've already written an article on "How To Write An Article That Ranks In Google". I explain quite a lot about the structure and content that is needed to help your blog article or post rank in Google. This post is also like a SEO starter guide for 2018 also as it really does contain much of the basic information you need to achieve top SEO rankings.

If you really want to go into every last detail on how to do SEO on a page or post properly in 2018 then this guide will explain it from top to bottom! On to the  Real SEO Guide 2018...

Let's Start With Your HTML Elements

SEO Guide 2018

First let’s take a look at the main parts of HTML you should optimize for all the content you produce.

SEO Guide - SEO Traffic Generation with Header Tags

What Are Title Tags In SEO?

Title tags are what shows up when you put your mouse over a link. They are usually used on links, pictures and other elements. The HTML tag for them is called title. But with blogs, it's normally a h1-tag. Header tags are usually numbered 1 - 6 with 1 being of higher importance and 6 being the lowest. Use your header tags according to the importance of the content that follows it.

What Is Meta Description?

Why Is A Meta Description Important For SEO In 2018?

Meta descriptions are what show up as an excerpt when Google displays your page as a result to searchers. It’s easy to spot who’s done their SEO homework and who hasn’t by the meta description.

If you optimize a meta description result, Google will never cut it off and end with “…” or make it seem like it ends mid-sentence. Optimized meta descriptions also often mention the content’s keyword up-front.

SEO Guide 2018 - Yoast SEO Meta Description Snippet

Don’t overthink this 160 character text snippet though. When writing it, you should keep the searchers in mind much more than the search engines. My favorite way to edit both of these is by using the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin.

How Using Yoast SEO Helps In 2018

1. Your Words Matter For SEO In 2018

The words on your page matter, so you can't post nonsense and it must make sense. Make sure your writing for humans to read and not bots. If you want to rank for a particular word you will find it much harder than ranking for a "keyword phrase" plus a phrase is more likely to be searched for than a single word. So that keyword phrase and even key word should be used throughout the page in relevant ways using variations where necessary. Yoast SEO helps you write your content properly!

2. Are Links Still Votes For Your Website Or Blog?

When you put a link on your website, it should be done in a contextual way meaning the link should be used in the sentence with the keyword or phrase in it. If possible you should give the link a title that describes in a few words what that link is about or for or going to and again it must be relevant. Yoast SEO let's you know whether you are linking correctly or not!

3. Videos - Pictures & Other Media

When adding media to your websites page this media needs to be relevant as well, so when posting say a video from Youtube, things like the title and other content on Youtube becomes important as it must also reflect or be related to the content on your page as well. Pictures are a little different than videos, pictures still need to be relevant as well but you can also provide other information as well like ALT tags which are like titles for links.

A Little More On Yoast SEO

Below is a video on the Yoast SEO plugin which is one of the more popular plugins people are using to optimize their WordPress website, it offers ease of use as well as effectiveness. I use and highly recommend it!

Yoast SEO Plugin Will Help Your Search Engine Optimization!

I use Yoast SEO across all of my sites and those of my clients because it’s simply the best SEO plugin available in my opinion! It’s also one of the most popular, Yoast keep their plugin updated almost weekly, and it includes a lot of advanced time-saving features. It will not only help you quickly edit your titles and metadata, but it will also:

Help you set metadata for each social network so that Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Can Yoast SEO Do More?

Yoast will help you properly format your rich data, such as the images. It will help you create and update your XML sitemap as your site evolves. Yoast SEO integrates with your Google Search Console quickly allowing find and fix the biggest problem areas on your blog or website.

For example, instead of having to customize each page or post manually, you can create default settings for your titles and metadata.

SEO Guide 2018 - Yoast SEO Score Results

The Real SEO Guide For 2018 Recommends Yoast SEO

You can even add extra features. Two of my favorites are the Readability and Keyword analysis tools that help give simple benchmarks to people you’re working with or outsourcing to. These are built in free and give you little green red or orange indications that light up to indicate how your On Page SEO is going as you write your article.

That way, there are clear indicators for them to hit before ever publishing directly to your site.

SEO Guide 2018 - Yoast SEO Green

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RankBrain & Panda

SEO Guide 2018 - RankBrain And Panda

RankBrain uses what's called experience signals.

Last year it was announced by Google that RankBrain is it's third most important It's now a major ranking factor:

“In the few months it has been deployed, RankBrain has become the third-most Important signal contributing to the total result of a search query.” As Google refines its algorithm, RankBrain is going to become even MORE important in 2018."

What Does RankBrain Mean?

So what is RankBrain, exactly? And how do you optimize your page for it? Google RankBrain in a nutshell is an AI software that helps Google determine search results. RankBrain was derived from the same type of neural network as Deepmind. RankBrain analyzes how people interact with search results and displays the more popular ones.

SEO Guide 2018 - RankBrain And Panda Infographic

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Google RankBrain focuses mainly on just two things:

1. How many people click on your search result when it's displayed

2. The length of time someone spends on your page or post

So basically the more people click on your search result and stay on your page the better! rank best. Don't forget that Panda was released as Google's ranking algorithm which used to remove pages with low-quality, duplicate and other bad content. It was announced in 2016 that Panda had become a main part of Google's core search ranking algorithm.

Sorry No Articles Listed On Google Search Updates Yet!

More In-Depth, Accurate Engaging Content & Site Structure!

So instead of only measuring content, they now focus on context. What do I mean? Remember: Google’s #1 job is to show their user the BEST result. And in most cases, the “best” result isn’t a piece of keyword-stuffed content.

Instead, the best pages cover an entire topic in-depth.

A Google searcher gets everything they need in one with in-depth content place (one stop shopping). In fact, my recent factors that are ranking found that in-depth content tends to
rank best in Google.

Manage Your Site & Content

How To Write Comprehensive, In-Depth Content On A Optimized Site

So how can you write in-depth content that Google wants to see? 

A. Publish content that is more than 2,000 words.

That way, you can cover everything a Google searcher needs to know about that topic. In fact, factors that are ranking found that longer content (like ultimate guides and long-form blog posts) outranked short articles in Google.

B. Use Smart Catchy Titles.

Due to how RankBrain determines results, it's fiercely important to have meaningful and enticing titles to your page or post. Remember we need those initial clicks from the search to gain in search engine rankings. Your "click through rate" or CTR needs to be high - higher the better!

C. Increase Your Engagement.

Once your visitor arrives from Google (and other search engines) it's important to keep your visitor engaged as long as possible. I've read that a good amount of time is 3 minutes or more - my average is 10 - 12 mins! Do this with great compelling content, use videos, infographics, quizzes and diagrams etc.

D. Keep a site structure that is logical.

The pages that are most important accessible from your homepage. Keep site menus arranged in a logical straightforward fashion. The names of your URLs (pages, categories, etc.) reflect your site's structure. Internal links point to your important pages.Ensure there's a search box on your site to help visitors discover other useful content.

E. Make use of XML Sitemaps & RSS feeds.

An XML sitemap helps Google and other search bots find and index all your sites pages. RSS/Atom feeds are a common way to notify search engines about any fresh content recently added to the site. RSS feeds are also often used by journalists, content curators and other people interested in getting updates from particular sources.

Here Is What Google says: "For optimal crawling, we recommend using both XML sitemaps and RSS/Atom feeds. XML sitemaps will give Google information about all of the pages on your site. RSS/Atom feeds will provide all updates on your site, helping Google to keep your content fresher in its index."

F. Make Your Site More Secure With SSL

During August 2014, Google stated that HTTPs or SSL usage is treated as a positive signal for determining search ranking. This has caused somewhat mixed theories on whether having an SSL installed does actually help your page or post to rank. In SEO 2018 it's 100% confirmed!

SEO Guide 2018 - site security-ssl

So I have used Really Simple SSL WordPress plugin.  

SEO Guide 2018 - site seciryt-ssl-2

Just generate your SSL in Cpanel then search Really Simple SSL in the plugin directory and install and activate it - bang your done!

SEO Guide 2018 - site seciryt-ssl-3

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Site Speed - Google Mobile Index & Voice Search 

In a nutshell you need to use a Caching plugin like Autoptimize, start using a CDN to deliver static content like Javascript, Pictures & CSS Files. You can check how well your site is optimized in this fashion by Googling words like:  site speed checker - Neil Patel offers a good one his site worth checking out.

SEO Guide 2018 - CloudFlare CDN - Site Speed

To further enhance your site speed you should be using a caching plugin like Autoptimize or WP Super Cache. These plugins cache the static files like JavaScript & CSS files and combine them to offer visitors a faster loading experience.  This is another must have feature for a fast loading site.

SEO Guide 2018 - Autoptimize For Site Speed Optimization

The last thing I recommend doing for a fast loading site is move your site to VPS or virtual private server. This type of hosting dedicates server resources to your site rather than sharing them among other sites. You can find VPS for around $30 per month through most reasonable priced hosts.

Googles Mobile First Index - What Does The Mobile First Index Mean?

Let's go into more depth here about Google's Mobile-first Index. Google announced recently they have switched over to what they call a “mobile-first year index”. 

What does this mean for your website or blog though?

Let's just say that Google will now treat the mobile version of your website or blog as the “default version". This will be true even if people are searching your site from a desktop. Already over 60% of Google searches are from mobile devices. 

SEO Guide 2018 - Google Mobile First Index Optimization

Why is Google introducing the "Mobile First Index"for? 

Well recently the number of mobile searches has exceeded the number of desktop searches. So Google has launched it's mobile-first index. This means their algorithms will primarily use the mobile version of a site's content to rank that sites pages, understand it's structured data and show snippets in search results. Here is what Steve Slater and David Miles have to say...

This doesn't mean you need to worry that your website or blog will drop out of the search results if it doesn't have a mobile version. Google will simply use the desktop version to rank the site. However, if you do stick to a non mobile responsive design your user experience and rankings will likely suffer.

I suggest getting prepared for Google’s Mobile-First Index now!

How Do I Prepare For Google's Mobile-First Index?

It's Easy - Follow These 2 Simple Steps!

The following steps can be difficult for the notice starting out in site design and search engine optimization. So I'll just run through these steps in a simple format to describe what you will need to do.

1. Move From Mobile To A Responsive Design.

If you currently have a mobile version of your website or blog typically seen has an "m." before your main domain name usually in a sub domain. You should do away with this and move to a mobile responsive design.

What is a mobile responsive design? This simply means your site automatically resizes to the browser size that's displaying it.

2. Ensure Your Website Or Blog Stands Out On Mobile.

Most sites do display on devices although they don't always display properly or well. If people using your site find it hard to navigate or use they'll simply click away ruining both your engagement and bounce rate!

TIP: Pay Attention to Voice Search!

Pay attention to voice search as it's  like going to be  “the next big thing” in SEO. The popularity of voice search IS growing insanely fast. It's most commonly used on mobile devices whence why I said about optimizing for mobile first.

How To Optimize Your Site For Voice Search In 2018.

1. Your content needs to be on the first page!
2. It helps A LOT if your content appears in a Featured Snippet.
3. Include a relevant question (and answer) in your content.

Why are these important for? From my research and testing,  Pretty much every time Google voice search tends to spit out the text inside of the Featured Snippet. So when someone does a voice search Google usually picks a page that contains a) the question and b) the answer.

Sorry There Are No Articles On Site Optimization For SEO Yet!

Video SEO 2018 - What Is Video SEO?

In case you haven't already heard online video is HUGE right now. Video is now one of Facebook's highest form of engagement material, Youtube is delivering over 1 Billion hours of video a day! The funny thing is this still does not satisfy the demand for video!

There Is More Video Being Produced Than Every Before!

It's a well known fact that while there is more video being produced there than ever before it's still early days for it yet. So to be really honest if you are not using video as part of your SEO strategy in 2018 you really are going to struggle with engagement. I'd strongly suggest you take advantage of video’s engagement benefits in  for your SEO strategy in 2018 and beyond as soon as possible. Check my digital tools page to see what video editing tools I'm using.

Start Optimizing For Youtube SEO

I suggest Tapping Into YouTube & Facebook. YouTube is already the world’s 2nd largest search engine. Facebook video interaction is reaching an all time high! In short, more and more people are searching for stuff on YouTube and watching video on Facebook some are even skipping Google altogether.

So if you want to get more website & blog traffic from SEO in 2018, I highly recommend creating and optimizing some of your content specifically for YouTube. It’s a search engine that’s too big to ignore. I also suggest using Facebook to tap into it's high level engagement and using that engagement to increase your site visitors.

Embedding video from Youtube waiting to engage your readers can be a great technique. It can increase your website and blog traffic by  helping with your social signals  (more about social signals later) as they share your videos and other content. The main aim here is social sharing, engagement and dwell times.

Sorry No Articles On 2018 Video SEO

Content and Links As Always Are Key or Are They?

YES! Of course they are but it's about getting those links the right way! So particularly your content comes first and then the links will come! SEO is still as always all about content and links. Without amazing, engaging and shareable content, you’ll never get links! Without links, you will struggle to rank on the first page of Google and other search engines.

Remember if you’re not on Google’s first page than all the rest like RankBrain, Voice Search and the Mobile-first algorithm won’t matter. Those only come into play once you already rank! So as always content is king and acquiring links will still be the foundation of SEO in 2018. 

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Create Social Signals

Why Are Social Signals Important For SEO In 2018? 

The answer is search engines favor websites with a strong social signals. I usually calls these SEO arrows or vectors in my SEO strategy. Your Google+ posts, Tweets & Pinterest pins can get their own Google organic search results, this is another great way to drive additional free website and blog traffic.The effect this has had on a sites SEO in relation to these new rankings hasn't been confirmed yet but to me it's a clear indication that it likely helps!

Other social signals include the direct sharing of your content, How that content get's shared and many other things. The main point here is to make your content as shareable as possible.

Make Your Website Or Blog Content Engaging!

One main social signal to be concerned with is engagement. This is most important for SEO in 2018 and relates mostly to the length of time someone spends on your site from a Google search. The longer someone spends on your site from a Google search the better and I will detail later. Things like videos, forums, and other engaging website content will help your SEO in 2018.

How To Make Your Blog Or Website Shareable?

If you are like me and use WordPress then making your blog or website shareable is easy. I use JetPack to manage my sites, this adds some shareable functionality to your WordPress site. Another sharing plugin I use is AddThis - this gives me the nice floating icons on the side you see. AddThis has 200 social networks you can share too!

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Revise Your Local SEO Plan

Local SEO has always been about reviews, consistent NAP, and basic SEO best practices. Not much more  to add here really. The research mostly mentions ‘engagement' as a mainly important ranking factor. What this means is that Google expects you to interact with your customers. Among other things, remember to respond to your reviews and update your listing with fresh photos|, opening hours, etc.

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What's coming in SEO in 2018?

Here Are Some SEO Trends I'm Predicting For 2018 & Beyond!

There Are No Shortcuts With SEO In 2018. Prediction is always a risky thing but with SEO there are 2 things I can see affecting search engine optimization in 2018 and beyond. To some these things may be obvious but I'm going to say them here anyway. These are:

1. SEO remains part of multi-channel marketing

Customers can find your business through social, paid search, offline ads, etc. Organic search is an integral part of a complex path to conversion. Just be aware of these other channels and get savvy in additional spheres, if necessary.

2. Enhancements in artificial intelligence

Thanks to RankBrain the algorithm based on artificial intelligence and the neural net Google has become smart. It now also looks at synonyms, your niche connections, location, understands entities, etc. to see if  you fit the bill| to the search query. It looks like Google is actively moving in the direction of predictive and personalized search experience.

3. Google has widened its fight against spam with it's enhanced AI algorithms! 

It's now better than ever before at finding sites with low-quality content. It's more important than ever to be producing high quality and engaging content. If you've been relying on spammy content or other black hat SEO techniques you'll likely be punished and sand boxed by Google faster than ever in 2018.

4. Traffic Is Increasingly Staying On Google

Google has increased its effort to provide better more predictive search results. The main reason is Google's increasing number of featured snippets. Google is literally stealing traffic from publishers, and it will likely continue to increase. Now If you remember as I mentioned earlier it's featured snippets that are often cited by voice assistants.

5. Visual Content Is Also Still Growing Fast.

I've seen stats from polls where nearly 40% of internet marketers said visual marketing is the single most important type of content (aside from text) for their website or blog. Graphic content sites like Pinterest and Instagram are set to grow strongly in 2018. Using visual content is a great way to increase your backlinks, so making images embeddable is a great way to do this.

6. Do Comments Help Your SEO In 2018?

Do blog comments actually help your blog or website rankings? According to what I've read the answer is: “YES!”. Google has said developing a community or people who comment can help a great deal with your search engine rankings. So be sure to encourage comments! Google has also said that using comments for engagement signals is better for SEO than moving to social. So what Google really wants to see that you have an active community using your site and it's information or content. This shows that your site is engaging people. Google is more than likely going pay more attention to this ranking signal in 2018.

Sorry No Articles On The Future Of SEO Yet

The Real SEO Guide 2018 - Conclusion

In some ways SEO In 2018 has gotten much easier and in others it's become more difficult. As I mentioned earlier there are no short cuts to creating an effective SEO campaign in 2018.  Below is some of the sources of where I get my information from.

These guys either employ teams of people to do their SEO work or they are a team of SEO experts.

Sources: Brian Dean ( Jeff Bullas ( WebsiteSetUp ( SEMRush ( Yoast SEO (`Moz (

Leave me a comment

What are you doing to help your SEO in 2018? Is there something your doing that works and isn't listed here? How about letting us know what it is?
I would really appreciate your feedback so how about leaving me a comment?

Leave me a comment and let me know what your doing for your SEO in 2018