You wouldn’t be wrong in thinking that SEO is getting more complicated as each year goes by.

SERP snippets, structured data, voice search, mobile-first indexing; it seems like if you’re anything other than an SEO expert, you might as well just give up on the ranking game altogether.

But whereas it is true that the mechanisms behind SEO are getting more complex, this is, as with all good design, actually making things simpler for the layman. Search engines are getting smarter, and as they do so they refine their algorithms and act more like a human brain.

As marketers and the people that use them, that means for us they become much more intuitive to work with. Peculiar methods like keyword stuffing and backlink building all but lose their significance, and natural practices like user experience and relevance roll in to take their place.

The ranking game is changing, but there’s no need to quit just yet. Make sure to include these three SEO tactics in your digital strategy and you’ll be sure to make a flying start to 2018.

1. Semantic keywords

Marketers have long known they need to be crafting content that includes keywords and their related words, also known as LSIs (Latent Semantic Indexing). But what most don’t realise is that these types of words are not just synonyms or phrases that hold similar meanings.

LSIs are words that are in some way or another semantically connected to your primary keyword. That means they have a direct or indirect relationship with your target word or concept. For example, if you’re writing about the NHS, you may use LSIs such as Sir Bruce Keogh and Jeremy Hunt to help search engines better differentiate and understand your content.

As secondary and other related keywords are becoming ever more critical as a ranking factor, digging out semantic keywords should be high on your list of SEO priorities for 2018.

2. Content Promotion

Influencer outreach and content promotion are today stages in the content cycle that are just as important — maybe even more so — than the content itself.

However, many marketers and businesses still think that once a piece of content is written and published, their job is complete. But if you want your content to reach its audience and make a splash in 2018, there’s no debate: you need a clear strategy that shows how you’re going to do it and who’s going to help you.

That means knowing your niche and the thought leaders within it, as well as ensuring you provide value with every piece of content your produce. A good place to start is by asking the question: What do I have to offer that is unique and who will it be of most value to?

3. On-page Optimisation

As the demand grows for faster and more seamless digital experiences, Google is cracking down hard on sites that fail to live up to a certain level of performance.

As has been shown over the past few years with increasing focus on HTTPS, safety is a big part of this shift. Secure websites will soon become standard, and many browsers such as Chrome and Firefox already show non-secure warnings if sites fail to comply.

However, the biggest change will be from a visual and UI perspective. Today, users expect nothing less than visually stunning experiences that allow them to complete their task quickly and effortlessly — on any device and at any speed. In 2018, user experience and safety are essential SEO tactics.

Employ these three areas together — context-rich copy, a solid promotion strategy, and a safe and visually appealing user experience — and your business is sure to continue rising through the rankings throughout 2018.