Search engine optimization is always essential. Unfortunately, too many brands ignore it. There are lots of reasons why getting into the weeds with SEO can feel complicated. It feels like there are a lot of 'rules' around optimization. Or, with so many other things going on, they just don't have the time to devote to it.

Here's the thing though, you can't ignore it forever. While not the most critical part of your content strategy, SEO is a key component. So, that means you have to work on improving it (if you aren't already).

In this post, I'll share a few tips on the things you can focus on right now, in 2018, that will help you get your SEO strategy up and running.

Focus on Mobile

More and more people are accessing the internet via mobile devices now, and the number is only going to continue to rise. If your site doesn't load quickly or isn't mobile-friendly, they're going to leave it within just a few seconds.

So you have to be sure you have a plan to make your site responsive to mobile devices (phones and tablets). If you're on WordPress that can be as simple as installing a plugin like one of these.

Improve Site Speed

We know that site speed is one of the key factors that Google uses in ranking so don't let this be something that you ignore.

When people stay on your site for only a second or two and then jump off because it takes too long to load your bounce rate will go through the roof, and you'll just get fewer conversions in general.

Use a tool like Pingdom to see where your site speed is running and how you can fix it.

Don't Write for SEO All The Time

There is such a thing as over optimizing your site. You can help solve this problem by mixing in content that is specifically aimed for SEO with content that is more focused on getting social clicks and views.

With a healthy mix of content, you're still going to appeal to your readers by writing in an authentic voice that sounds and feels human (which is precisely what the search engines want you to do) and not for bots.

Highlight Related Content

Google tracks the time that someone stays on your website as a good thing. And it's even better if they click on various posts and pages within your site.

So make it easy for people to do that. You want to include at least 1-2 links to other pieces of content on your site in every post you do.

And you can also use some WordPress plugins to highlight 'related content' right at the bottom of your posts. That way, people will get to the bottom and be offered more of what they are already interested in, keeping them on the site.

Local Business Link Building

The long tail keywords are where local businesses can find a lot of traction. These can not only highlight a location "South Newton dry cleaners," but they can also feature important buying or intent keywords like "business card printing coupon code."

If you're a local business owner work on building links, sponsor events, partner with other organizations, get involved with the local chamber of commerce and leave a digital footprint wherever you go.

Final Thoughts

These are five of the things you need to focus on for 2018 if you want to improve your search engine rankings. SEO is always changing, but you don't have to go too deeply into the weeds to see some improvement.

While being that #1 spot on Google isn't as important as it used to be, having your brand land on the first page for a keyword result can still bring you some big benefits.