Search engine optimization techniques are forever evolving. That can make it a challenge for business owners (and even some marketers and analysts) to keep up with the rapidly changing times. While some SEO principles continue to dominate the field, others have fallen out of favor. But which is which?
Fortunately, our SEO experts have made it their mission to stay on top of the trends and to constantly revise their strategies as needed. Understanding the evolution of SEO in 2019 will be key for your digital success. Heres what you need to know to achieve your SEO goals this year.
Optimize With Voice Search in Mind
Users rely more on mobile devices and smart home gadgets to access information now. Ultimately, that means that the way they actually search for that information has changed. Instead of typing on a laptop keyboard, many people are simply asking Siri or Alexa to enter a query for them. Thanks to these digital assistants, voice search is becoming a much more popular option — and that might very well impact your efforts to optimize.
Google is getting better at understanding natural language, explains Tim Dugan of Web Services CT, and SEO practitioners should be optimizing for these types of long-tail terms. Consider a more holistic approach to your content strategy — rather than targeting keywords alone — that answers the query and offers more insight to what that user may be searching for. Write how people talk.
Instead of choosing broad keywords, most businesses will need to optimize using more specific questions. Natural communication hasn’t traditionally been a part of Google search queries in the past, as users simply wanted to access information quickly. But when people talk to Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant, they’re more deliberate so that their digital assistant can actually understand them.
As Jeff Irvine of InnoVision echoes, Shifting SEO strategy towards voice search now will ensure long-term success for quality traffic.
Claim and Update Google My Business Listings
Google My Business isn’t exactly a new tool. Since 2014, it’s given business owners a greater amount of control over how their organization is displayed in search results. But you’d be surprised by how many people aren’t taking full advantage of this service.
It’s not enough to merely claim your business here, explains Justin Mosebach of Improve & Grow. It needs to be regularly updated, particularly as Google makes changes and as customers start to interact with your listing.
For stores and service area businesses, fully-optimizing Google My Business will be the single most effective SEO strategy, says Mosebach. Don’t just make sure that basic business information is accurate; verify that all relevant categories are selected, general business descriptions are added, and (if applicable) service descriptions are filled out and service areas added Google removed the radius service area in 2018, so you’ll want to confirm that’s been updated. Also, make sure to use Google My Business Posts and Messaging, and check that there aren’t irrelevant photos from customers.
Businesses that rely on local customers will certainly benefit from taking charge of their internet listings. Since Google will likely continue to shine the spotlight on local search results, this is just one of the many ways to increase your company’s presence to those seeking answers nearby.
Collaborate With Knowledgeable Partners
You may be accustomed to wearing a lot of hats, but you shouldn’t have to find out the hard way that SEO is too tough to keep up with yourself. Remember that theres strength in numbers and that relinquishing a little bit of control over your digital marketing can lead to company-wide success. In some cases, outsourcing can be highly beneficial; in others, you may be able to depend on existing members of your team.
For example, your tech-savvy employees might have the ability to create incredible content you never even considered. As Julia Enthoven of Kapwing points out, “Everyone on your marketing team should be able to quickly edit and customize video files. It shouldn’t require a film school degree to A/B test different title copy in a video ad or resize a video for Instagram. If you expect to create stellar, shareable content, it’s essential to bring the right people — those who look toward the future and aren’t limited by restrictive job titles — on board.”
However, it may make more sense for your business to outsource your SEO and other marketing needs, especially because there are more affordable SEO services available than ever. Joshua Varghese of Arize Digital believes that an outside perspective will usually benefit businesses who don’t have a definitive approach to their marketing or their branding.
As Varghese notes, “Clients are looking for long term partnerships that can get them more leads We first make sure they have clarity over their brand. Then we have a strategy over leads and finally implement that strategy to convert to sales.”
Diversify Your Strategy
In many ways, SEO mirrors financial investing. It’s a long-term solution that can help your enterprise succeed — and it’s best to diversify your strategy. Rather than putting all your eggs in one basket, experts are now embracing the idea using several different techniques to achieve the desired result.
Lorenzo Luiso of Brick Digital explains: “In the past, digital marketing was something that only the smart businesses were doing, and by investing in one area (like SEO or Facebook ads) alone, they were seeing great returns. But in the past year and into the future, Ive noticed a trend that requires those businesses now to have a multi-pronged approach. Other businesses are catching up, and simply investing in one area isn’t enough anymore. Businesses need to understand that digital marketing needs a marketing mix, too! Re-marketing is becoming essential, as consumers need more and more touch points these days before becoming a customer. But without the initial paid or organic traffic, there isn’t anyone to re-market to. That’s what I’ve noticed most — the need for a complete digital marketing approach, not just focusing on one technique.”
This just goes to show that what once worked brilliantly in the early days of SEO no longer yields the same impressive returns. If businesses want to succeed in the digital landscape, they cant afford to ignore emerging techniques or dismiss certain methods. It’s far better to embrace a diverse approach than to rely on only one idea to get the job done.
Update Your Blog Frequently
Even with all of the changes that have occurred in digital marketing, content is still very much king. Some business owners feel that having a blog wouldn’t be relevant to their website visitors, while others don’t think they can commit to writing posts on a regular basis. But when your website has no blog, you’re missing a huge opportunity to optimize and drive traffic.
As Elvin Cheung of Witty Cookie notes, “Blogging can be an incredible way to rank for keywords and engage your website’s users. After all, every blog post is a new web page that gives you another chance to rank in search engines. If your business does not already have a blog, set one up. This is where you’ll elaborate on each subtopic and actually start showing up on Google.”
This may not be the most revelatory trend in SEO, but it’s got staying power. And as Simon Ramirez of High Caliber Group points out, “Although digital marketing is constantly changing, starting at the basics is essential. If you want to appear in search results for those optimized keywords and provide useful information to your audience, blogging is still one of the best ways to do it.”
Appeal to Mobile Web Users
Businesses across all industries need to focus on those who conduct searches using their mobile devices. If your site isn’t mobile friendly, you’ll end up frustrating potential customers and may experience a negative impact on your traffic. Googles prioritization of mobile first indexing rolled out not too long ago, which means your mobile site matters more than ever.
As Justin Collier of Alchemy Marketing explains, “With Google’s switch to mobile-first indexing, the businesses that will thrive in 2019 are those with mobile web pages that may look very dissimilar to their desktop counterparts. These mobile web pages will have more content on each page to reduce navigation and will have strong calls-to-action within every couple scrolls of the thumb.”
While Google wants to ensure that content is consistent for both desktop and mobile viewers, keeping the latter in mind will ensure that you don’t give users an excuse to tap the back button. Understanding how users interact with their devices and how they prefer to view websites on mobile can have a huge influence on your site design and the SEO tactics you’ll utilize moving forward.
Trends may come and go, but one thing we do know: SEO is here to stay — at least for the foreseeable future. By heeding the advice of our experts, you’ll have the potential to improve your position in Google search and to cement your brand’s reputation as a leader in your industry.
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