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Where We Are Thus Far in 2018 – As Far as SEO Goes!

Where We Are Thus Far in 2018 – As Far as SEO Goes!

Written by: Colleen Frye

My boss Greg & I were on a call the other day with a client & they brought a new person into the meeting so that meant we had to review what all we were doing from scratch. This is a great refresher for not only the newcomer, but the client and even ourselves alike. When Greg had introduced Upright Communications and what it is we do, one of the items later discussed was how ‘SEO is an ever-changing field and the only one with all the cards is Google’. Meaning, just when you think you have Google’s SEO algorithm figured out, it changes in the drop of a hat and you have to be ready!

So it used to be that keywords & backlinks were the main focus. You would be hyper focused on ranking #1 in Google and you had to make sure you were listed in every directory known to man. But SEO has come a long way from placing heavy importance on just your keywords & backlinks. It’s a far more complicated landscape & we’ve been seeing more and more ways that SEO is strengthening in 2018. So while keywords and backlinks are still on our minds, you can get better and even more success in totally different ways.

Let’s review the current landscape and what it is that SEO’s like us should be focusing on:

Page Rank – Mobile Website

A responsive website is the end all be all. If you’re a client of Upright-Tire, you’re covered. However, if your website is not responsive, meaning the layout doesn’t adapt to the size of the screen, then you’re out of luck! And that’s even since changed since ‘mobile websites’ were a thing. Mobile dedicated sites were just designed for mobile phones, but now you’re seeing a multitude of devices with all different screen sizes, so a responsive website design is key. Google wants to see that your website is changing landscapes alongside the smart devices… because if it’s anything like we’ve seen, smart devices will continue to change & evolve each and every year.

Voice Search

I personally have only used voice search when yelling at Alexa or Siri and it’s mostly to ask the weather because that’s about all they’re good for (and even then they get confused) – at least in my humble opinion, but more and more folks are speaking their search queries rather than typing them out. If your voice activated smart devices are smarter than mine, then you know what I’m talking about… you may have used your phone to say ‘nearest donut shop’ and good old Siri talks back to you with a hopefully helpful response. So even though I’m not totally along for the ride in this situation, it’s becoming HUGELY popular and it effects the way folks search. Your business needs to incorporate more than just basic keywords like ‘tires Cincinnati’… it needs to include ‘Tire shop near Northgate, Cincinnati’. You see the difference? That’s where Google My Business can help, pages on your website & even your blog. Those are great ways to incorporate the ‘long-tail keywords’ that folks are most interested in.

Instant Answers

Before 2018, the meta description was a place to write a brief overview of what your content was about, and doing so was good enough. However, with the rise of voice searches has come a requirement for featured content that provides instant answers. I know that I personally LOVE instant answers. Every question I have in my little brain, I tend to go to Google to search for the answer. And I can’t be the only one. This is where the Google Q&A feature on Google My Business can come in to play. You’re giving people quality answers to common questions that they ask. You can also benefit your website by incorporating it into your blog & even through the FAQ page on your website. Make it easy for folks to get their questions answered.

User Experience

While this SEO trend isn’t new for 2018, it’s still worth mentioning because of its importance. Google will continue to focus on user experience to help determine which websites to show in search engine result pages. For instance, when we developed the Upright-Tire website templates, we asked hundreds of people their opinions… we wanted to know if it was easier to use than our top competitor’s website designs. We were focused on user experience. Our template won in the end, but that was after we listened to their suggestions and put their thoughts and opinions to the forefront. This year, it’s all about helping the user… and that’s by way of your website, Google My Business, social media platforms, Yelp type listings… whatever it takes, we are there to make the user experience BETTER than those folks dealing with your competitors. I mean.. Just take a look at these algorithms that are in plain sight:

Facebook Message Response Time – Facebook tells users how fast the business responds to inquiries. Google pays attention to it. While it’s not the end all be all, it’s a way to show Google how helpful a business is to the user.

Review Reply Option – On Google, Facebook, Yelp and many other sites, you are able to respond to the user’s review. Whether it’s good or bad, Google wants to see that you’re addressing the user experience. If you’re a customer of ours, we’ve got you covered… but if you’re not responding to reviews, then you’re behind the curve.

Google Q&A – This new option is to ask questions and answer them to help the user. As a customer of Upright-Tire, we’re doing this for you and also answering questions that come from users. But again, this is just another way to see if you’re putting user experience first.

Google Text Messaging – We only have a few dealers doing this at the moment, but Google My Business allows users to text the business owner with a question. We know that everyone is texting nowadays and Google wants to see that your shop is following suit. (If you want this feature, just give us permission and we’ll get your cell phone connected)

There are many other SEO trends in 2018 thus far, but this is what we feel matters most. Let us know your thoughts by contacting us or getting in touch with your designated account manager.

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