You’re producing great contents. And you’re doing all you can to get quality backlinks.

Is that all to SEO?

Probably not—not at least in 2018.

If you’re a new blogger, you need to do a lot more to combat high competition, build trust and get high organic traffic.

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Without wasting any time, let’s jump right into it…

Here are 9 on-trend advanced SEO techinques 2018 every blogger must pick up for the remaining of year and beyond:

1. Optimization for Featured Snippet

In case if you haven’t noticed, for many queries, Google is trying to solve your problems right on its result pages. You don’t even have to enter any website.

Google something and more often than not the answer to it will be right there in front of you. Here’s an example:

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There are many types of featured snippets. Some result can include bullet points, others can contain paragraph and graphs.

It depends on your query type.

Generally speaking, such rich snippets are triggered if a query is in a question form, including ‘how, who, why and what’.

But this is not entirely true. For example, Google ‘Reduce Fat’ and the result still comes back with a numbered featured snippet.

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In either of the search queries (question-based or not), one thing that we establish is – two of the most popular and SEO-friendly article types are listicles and how-to based ones.

There are few other rich blocks you will find on SERP that don’t explicitly qualify to be called featured snippet. But they are important nonetheless.

Like, in recent times, Google Answer Box has become more prominent on the result pages.

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Here’s rich snippet…

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Then there’s knowledge graph

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Now, unsurprisingly, websites getting featured in these special boxes would have high traffic. A study done by HubSpot showing that winning featured snippet actually doubles the Click-Through-Rate (CTR).

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So how do you optimize for the featured snippet and other rich blocks on Google SERP?

There are no hard-hitting rules for it. But multiple case studies have found the following ways to help you win featured rich snippet:
  • Find a popular question in your niche and answer it clearly and precisely. 
  • Along with the direct answer to the question, provide other valuable inputs as well. 

(For example, if the question is ‘What is Content Marketing’, answer it precisely in few lines. Then go on to explain how people can plan and implement content marketing strategies. This will add more value to your article.)

  • Keep the length of your precise answer between 40-50 words count. A study by SEMrush found it to be the most common length for featured snippets. 
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  • Do a research on competitors in your niche who are getting featured snippets. And find out the keywords they are targeting and in the format they are answering the particular question. Then (partially) copy them. 
  • Be careful of the header tags. Use H1, H2, H3 tags correctly. 

Additional Reading: HubSpot’s Guide to Winning Google’s Featured Snippet

2. Mobile-Optimized Fonts


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Your fonts might look decent on the desktop. But that might not necessarily be the case when viewed on a smartphone.

In fact, even till this day, of all SEO techniques and strategies, readability is an extremely overlooked aspect of on-page optimization.

Take Quicksprout blog of Neil Patel for example. It’s filled with great contents, on conversion in particular. However, for some rather odd reason, the font size of the articles is very small for mobile view.

There are countless such examples, including many popular websites. Does your belong to the same group?

It is important to have right font size, as well as font weight, style, line-height and spacing well optimized for the mobile users.

Additional Reading- Fix Your Fu%ked Up Font

3. Using LSI keywords

If you ask me which SEO techniques are popular the most, I would put this one in Top 3.

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Google has become much more intelligent today. No more is it relying on just keywords to identify the intent of your content.

It is using various other parameters as well to know whether or not your article is relevant to what a user is looking for. Latent Semantic Indexing is one of those parameters.

Basically put, LSI is a method that helps Google look for the synonym and related words of the primary keywords in your article, and then connect it with the intent of the user.

These synonyms and related words are called LSI keywords.

For example, if your article is based on the keyword ‘Amazon’. How will Google understand that it’s about e-Commerce platform Amazon and not Amazon forest? It will use LSI keywords to judge that.

If your article includes words like ‘shopping’ and ‘buy’, the search engine will know the content is about Amazon e-commerce. If the article contains words like ‘forest’ ‘rainforest’ and ‘Brazil’, it will know that you’re talking about Amazon forest.

So when you use LSI keywords in your content, you help Google better understand the intent of what you’re trying to say. And the better it understands your article, positively it will impact on your SEO efforts.

LSI Graph is a great tool to generate LSI keywords.

Additional Reading- How to use LSI keywords to boost your SEO

4. Thinking About Voice Search


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As of January 2018, one billion internet searches are happening over voice every. And by 2020, 50 percent of all searches will be voice searches. (Source)

So have you still been careless about this aspect of the search industry, you might want to change your stance.

We’re already in an era of voice searches. And we’re going to stay here for long. So you must optimize your blog accordingly.

Optimizing for voice search doesn’t really require much extra effort. For example, if you ask your Google Assistant what is SEO, it will simply read the information from the featured snippet.

So in order to perform well for voice searches, you must first optimize for featured snippets. Few other tips on SEO for voice searches include:

  • Write in a conversational tone
  • Answer questions with clear and short lines and paragraphs. Avoid difficult words. 
  • If you have a physical address for your brand, update your ‘Google My Business’ listing. 22 percent of voice queries are for local contents. 
Additional Reading- How to optimize for voice search

5. Setup Schema Markup


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Schema Markup is a type of microdata that provides search engines the meaning of information on webpages.

While it has been in existence for about 7 years now, it is only now are webmasters and bloggers seriously recognizing it.

Applying structured data to your website can positively increase its ranking on SERP, which can eventually boost your CTR and conversion.

So if you haven’t already set up schema tags for your website, do it right away.

Additional Reading: What is (and How To Setup) Schema Markup

6. Backlinks Without Links Back


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Does noFollow backlink helps SEO – this debate may finally settle in the coming months and years. Because here’s what Bing has explicitly said and Google has hinted...

They both are using brand mentions that aren’t hyperlinked as their trust and ranking factor.

Like, if I mention ‘Copyblogger’ here with no backlinks, it would positively affect the PR of Copyblogger.

This new rise of unlinked mentions establish two points:

  • You must focus on building your brand name. As a blogger, that should be one of your topmost priority. Because with competition so high in nearly every niche, identity, retention, and loyalty are the keys to success for bloggers. 
  • Even if you aren’t getting any backlinks or getting nofollow links, you must still put energy in guest blogging. The unlinked mention of your brand, in article or bio section, can end up influencing your blog ranking. 

Additional Reading: 20 Tips to Brand Your Blog

7. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Implementation


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Accelerated Mobile Pages is a pet project of Google to further optimize the experience of mobile users.

And 2 years after its launch, AMP has tuned up to be extremely popular, with many top brands implementing it.

As of October 2017, over 25 million domains have created AMP pages.

Implementing AMP is basically putting some extra set of codes in your website.

Once done, your webpages will load 2x faster than standard webpages and have one-tenth the latency as a responsive mobile page.

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Additional Reading: Create your first AMP page

8. Blogging and NOT Writing


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For many, it wasn’t always clear. Blogging is NOT just writing. It’s about talking, engaging and empathizing with the readers – and not providing them plain-vanilla information alone.

It’s about solving their problems.

In recent times, with more and more brands taking up blogging, this traditional notion is finally loosening.

86 percent of B2B companies are already blogging regularly and are not solely relying on Press Releases, Sales Pages, and Social Media posts.

Many of write-ups we see today reflect emotions, personality, and connection with the readers. And this, unsurprisingly, increases their dwell time and conversion, as well as decreases their bounce rate. All in all, thanks to the latest RankBrain update, it positively affects website ranking on SERP.

So, if you blog to convince your readers that you’re a great writer, you might be failing as a blogger. Blog for readers and not yourself. Because blogging is not just about writing.

Additional Reading: Do You Need to Have A Strong Writing Skill For Blogging

9. Micro-Targeting The Audience


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If you try to target everyone, you will fail to target anyone.

A common mistake new bloggers make is trying to woo everyone. And in this quest, they often end up making their piece of content rather broad and generic.

And this is not only a blogging fail #101 but also result in poor traffic and sales.

Say, if a teen boy is searching for relevant articles on tips to cut weight. He is more likely to click on a result ‘How to lose weight quickly for school going teen boys’ than ‘how to lose weight’.

He is likely to invest more of his time (and money) in an article that addresses his distinct needs and requirements than a piece of content that’s basically talking to everyone.

Content personalization is more important than ever today. It improves CTR rate, which then goes on to increase the conversion rate.

Plus, it can easily help you beat big brands who usually shell generic contents. By micro-targeting a group, you can attract more readers who use long-tail queries and then establish your readership into a tightly knitted community.

Remember, you don’t need millions of readers. Even a loyal following of thousand can turn you into a successful blogger.

So if you haven’t already found your blogging niche, find it. Know who your target audience is. Segregate them into multiple groups and then produce personalized contents for each of them. (Or simply target only one of these groups!)

Additional Reading: The Rising Importance of Micro-Targeting

These are 9 in-trend SEO techniques for bloggers that you must pick up for 2018 and beyond.

From improving search visibility to increasing traffic to boosting conversion—they promise to lift your blog to new heights.

Do you have any other ‘in-trend’ non-clichĂ©d SEO step that a new blogger can take?

Asif Ali

Asif is a certified content marketer and professional full-stack writer with 3 years experience in his pockets. Stratightedge, blogger and a full-time cloud-lover, find him on Facebook and Twitter.


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