Is it too late to say, ‘Happy New Year’?
If you’ve launched a first-rate 2019 SEO plan, then it’s never too late: this year is – and will continue to be – a very good year for you.
But if you’re still struggling to find your online Mojo (and you’re using online marketing ploys from five years ago) it’s probably a different story.
SEO strategies change, and change fast!
Not learning new ways to tackle issues of online visibility and low visitor numbers could be your downfall.
Over the last few years, the internet has been well-fed by pseudo-experts who share with you their best tips in order to get you on track.
But here’s a question:
Is what they peddle all that it’s cracked up to be?
Or is it just their strategy for the moment; the one that works best for them?
Surely, the key to success is to find out what works for you. That’s logical, right? What will YOUR business have to do in order to attract and retain online custom? Do you know? Have you ever known?
Why is SEO so important?
SEO is still the most important foundation of any online marketing strategy. Get your SEO on-point and you generate digital footfall, people start talking about you on social media (good things, all good things!) and your business page takes a hike towards the top of the’ Big List’.
But this adventure isn’t just about reaching the summit of online performance. It’s about finding a place to set-up shop on the summit and urging customers to climb through the wilderness to get to you.
In short: get yourself known on search engines such as Google (and a few of the others) and people will come to you, no matter what.
And the crazy thing about SEO is this: it’s fairly straightforward.
Yes, you heard us right…
It isn’t as treacherous and as complicated and as expensive as people think it is.
That’s not to say it isn’t hard – it is. Something that is uncomplicated can still be difficult. And vice versa.
Get it right, and you drive traffic and sales skyward.
Here are our 5 tips for SEO strategy in 2019, primarily taking into account all of the latest changes Google has made to the way it ranks online businesses and to the changing face of the internet.
1. User experience
Most people want to be entertained online; even when it comes to an informative article or a blog about genetics: the more colourful and eye-catching something is the more likely it is to hold the reader’s interest.
This ‘user experience’ (UX) is measured via a plethora of factors, including how long a visitor to your website stays, how interactive they are and how many times they return to the page or at least the domain.
In short, if people are entertained enough by your content they won’t be able to get enough of you.
A good user experience is measured in various ways, but a recent addition to Google’s way of doing things is RankBrain.
RankBrain is the ultimate 2019 measure of user experience and works in several different way, some of the most important include the tracking, by Google, of how long someone stays on a particular website, how often they click on your page from the search engine results page (SERP), do you have a favourable bounce rate, and several other mitigating factors.
If a visitor is on a site for a while (over 3 minutes is a good dwell time) and has chosen to flick through multiple linked pages within the domain, RankBrain judges it to be a worthwhile site and pushes up its rating.
Conversely, if someone visits your site and bounces straight back off again without interaction then RankBrain knows they were clearly dissatisfied with their experience, found nothing of interest on your page and drags you back down the rankings.
Write great and useful/entertaining content, add multiple types of media (images, infographics, video etc.) and use a flurry of medium-tail keywords to urge RankBrain to give you top marks in your SEO strategy.
Here are just a few other things you can do to improve your visitors’ experiences and keep them lingering on your website:
- Answer questions users may think of once they’ve seen your page
- Make your page easy to read; simple, concise, well structured, clear and well-written
- Include other ways to impart information; infographics and video are great for this
- Include highly relevant links and offers within the content
2. Video SEO
People don’t like reading stuff these days (except you, of course).
Our attention span for reading is at an all-time low: down to eight seconds, according to some analysts.
Of online advertising, it is predicted that video content will surpass written content over the next few years, and IT and networking giant Cisco predicts online video to make up 80% of all online traffic by 2021.
There’s no getting away from the fact that the moving image is more instantly attractive to a viewer than words on a page.
Videos engage directly with the audience, and if produced to a sufficient standard can project a slick and professional image to customers in a heartbeat.
Video can also hold the attention of your potential customer and tempt them to stay longer on your site (that is, if they haven’t gone on to YouTube to watch it); that in turn brings us back to our first point about dwell times, and how good THEY are for your website rankings.
So, here’s the rub:
Get rid of small-time blog posts and articles that have weak SEO content. If people don’t want to read even the good stuff they are even less likely to read the bad.
Instead, spend time and energy creating videos and integrate them onto your website. There are even amateur video templates that you can use to advertise an aspect of your business, complete with music and images.
Just remember to update the title and description on older videos to keep them searchable and relevant.
3. Voice search
The word on the street is that 2019 is going to be a big year for voice search.
According to econsultancy.com, 30% of all website sessions will be conducted without a screen by 2020. To optimise your company’s strategy for voice search optimisation is therefore a must.
Typing a search is SO yesterday.
Voice search allows users to search internet engines without referring to a screen or a keyboard… or both!
The technology that’s being developed and refined today is able to not only recognise the voice search request but also interact with the voice.
Actually, voice search technology has been around for a while. Programs such as speech-to-text and voice dialling have been facilitating communication and internet usability for at least a decade. Now we have Siri, Amazon Alexa and others, which utilise voice search capabilities.
The communication skills of these types of tech is becoming better all the time but it is their use as a vehicle for internet searches (and therefore shopping and business use) that is picking up speed.
Tapping into a market soon to be controlled almost entirely by virtual personal assistants will therefore transform your business.
4. Go beyond Google
Google is SO yesterday.
OK, we may be getting ahead of ourselves there!
But its days as the go-to search engine may very well be numbered in a future closer than you think.
Agreed, the Big G is still the main engine for people searching for funny pictures of cats and trying to find out the latest (accurate) weather.
But the SEO strategies of 2019 incorporate tying to find a way to cover every platform that is used on the internet, not just Google, and in doing so capture customers regardless of where they search and what they search for.
SEO strategies must now include deliberations on how to best maximise visibility on platforms such as Amazon, YouTube (granted, a company owned by Google), and even Bing.
Not to mention each of the different types of home assistant on the market.
Search dominance, across every platform, app, engine and website is what 2019 SEO is all about.
There is talk of Amazon and Apple eating into the dominance of Google’s all-round search capability, so 2019 is a time to consider what other avenues your business can use to attract and drive custom inwards.
To rely solely on Google search optimisation could land you with a staid and limited appeal to those who will readily use other means to search for products.
5. Be the trust source
Website search engines reward reliable and informative pages. The better the expertise, the more worldly the authority and the more solid the trust the higher an engine will rank the page.
So, our last snippet of 2019 SEO advice is:
Make your site worthy enough to urge other professionals to talk favourably about it.
You will find that doing so pushes your standing just a little further towards the top of the page.
Google’s 2019 search quality rating guidelines are there to be adhered to more than ever. To do so requires a degree of subtle alteration of your company’s online ethos. You may write with great authority and know what you are talking about, but have to also generate an authoritative online reputation.
And in order to generate this you need to look at widespread content distribution and promotion: and preferably by people in the know other than you!
Try to hire known experts to write some of your website content, use data and link to data from known reputable, professional sources, give and receive authorship credit where possible and build solid unions (not just links) with other reputable businesses.
A level of expertise is what Google is looking for to power its results; what worthy interactions are coming to and from your site are what will ultimately pique the interest of Google’s ranking algorithms.
If your website is correctly optimised, it is attractive and as a result the number of sales of your services or products will increase.
It is as simple as that.
In order to see that growth in 2019 you essentially need to do two things:
1) Know Google’s demand for high quality and engaging content, and
2) Get featured on an abundance of online selling platforms.
You shouldn’t discard some of the usual tricks of the trade:
Using power words in your post headlines to trigger responses from searchers; using internal links to keep visitors moving to relevant content within the domain; installing an SSL certificate and moving to HTTPS to gain the trust of visitors are all still relevant to your overall approach.
But these must now be used in tandem with some of the points we’ve made above. Your task (or the task of your web manager) is to expose your name to anyone and everyone.
Be visible, proud and informative and you will win in the long run.