When it comes to digital marketing, SEO is arguably the greatest tool that you have at your disposal with the biggest bang for your buck. SEO, or search engine optimization, is the practice of leveraging the algorithms of search engines to boost the visibility of your website in search results.
Content plays a large part in a successful SEO strategy. So, how do you attract your target audience with quality content? This is called inbound marketing, which focuses on drawing in traffic organically with quality information that gives value to the audience (ie: answers the question they might be searching for online). Few people performing internet searches look beyond the first page of search results. To find new, organic visitors, your website needs to rank high in search engine results, preferably on the first page.
As SEO is a bit of a moving target with "secret" algorithms not disclosed by Google, it’s difficult to say definitively what will and won’t work for your website and business. But there are many strategies to improve your chances of success, and because technology is constantly evolving, so will your SEO strategy.
To keep up with the industry, make sure your strategy accounts for these five 2019 SEO trends:
1. Create Diverse Content
No matter what product or service you offer or where you’re marketing it, the first thing you need to do is learn about your audience and their needs. This is not a new concept, but the way you use that information is what keeps you relevant.
When you understand your audience’s needs, you can learn what information and types of content they prefer. Do they want to read blog posts? Do they want to watch videos? Do they want an app?
Videos are set to become one of the most popular forms of content in 2019. Are you creating content to adapt to this SEO trend? An active blog is a great way to drive organic traffic to your site and embedding videos in blog posts can add a new dimension to your content, allowing visitors to further engage and learn more about the topic being discussed. Let’s say you’re in the business of above ground pools. Incorporating a video into your content that shows a time lapse of a pool being installed, or a video showing various pools being enjoyed by customers will make the user experience that much more engaging for those who prefer to get their information by watching a video vs. reading an entire article.
2. Acquire the Snippets Spot
Snippets are the featured information that search engines place above the search results to answer questions. These sorts of responses are becoming more popular in search results, with greater visibility than other organic results. When a search returns a snippet (call this position 0), the percentage of clicks that the top result (position 1) receives drops from 23% to 19.6%.
Believe it or not, the snippets themselves receive fewer clicks than the top result, but if you can manage to land the snippet and the top result, there is huge potential for traffic. If someone else has the snippet, they will pull almost four percent of your traffic away.
To acquire the snippet feature, try to anticipate exactly the questions that your audience will ask. Then provide concise, clear answers to those questions within your content to take advantage of this SEO trend.
3. Optimize for Voice Searches
It’s anticipated that voice shopping will value at $40 billion by 2022. Optimizing content for voice searches helps your business get a piece of that pie. This SEO trend is increasingly necessary as smart speakers and smartphones become more widely used.
Smart speakers like Alexa, Google Home, and Apple’s HomePod are the most popular examples. Voice searches performed on mobile devices are also becoming more common.
When people perform voice searches, they use more long-tail keywords than they would if they were typing in a search box. By long-tail keywords, we mean full sentences or phrases like "installing a pool in downtown LA." As such, it’s important to know exactly what your audience is searching for so that these devices will present your information first.
Also, note that voice searches often respond with information in snippet results, making that feature even more essential to your SEO strategy.
4. Become an Authority in your Industry
When you’re an authority in your industry, consumers will start coming to you first to answer questions, check out new products, and hear your opinion on industry news. And when Google perceives you as an authority, they're more likely to serve your website up first to help users find what they need. To conquer this SEO trend, you may want to hire an inbound marketing agency to help you build authority as the process can be daunting, especially building links the proper way. In the meantime, here are a few current SEO strategies that will help you build authority:
Authoritative Data: Referencing data from established entities and publications that your audience already trusts will help show that you know what you’re talking about. Your audience will see that you’re educated in the industry and are staying atop the trends. Even better — use your own internal data to write data-driven content articles.
Authoritative Authorship: When you read articles for enjoyment or to learn something, do you prefer they’re written by people with expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness? Chances are, you do, and in the SEO world these characteristics are known as E-A-T, one of the most talked about SEO trends in 2019. Google wants to show articles written by people who are known as the best in their field, so if you’re not a recognized authority in your niche, you’ll need to get more brand recognition to rank well.
If there is a respected voice in your industry (perhaps a well-known reviewer of above ground pools, sticking with our pool business example), try to take advantage of their reputation and expertise by asking them to write a guest post or be featured in an interview. Not only will your audience appreciate this person recognizing your site as a trustworthy outlet, but the featured guest can use their wide audience reach to bring in new traffic to your site.
Backlinks and Brand Mentions: When other blogs or sites mention your brand name (either linked or unlinked), this helps Google see that you’re an authority in the industry and relevant in your market sector, potentially ranking you higher in results. The more that other sites and businesses in your industry are talking about you, the better. In fact, a large majority of professional SEO experts will tell you backlinks are the second most important factor in Google's ranking algorithm (next to content).
5. Prioritize Mobile-First Indexing
In March of 2018, Google officially announced that mobile-first indexing will become best practice. Before this change, sites were indexed based on the desktop version (what web users see while on a desktop screen). Because many users are now searching from smartphones, that had to change to accommodate the consumer experience.
If your website offers a mobile version, but it’s poor quality, this will hurt your ability to rank well in search engine results. If your site offers no mobile version, Google will still index your desktop site (but in 2019, you really should be offering a mobile site).
Make sure that your site is mobile-friendly, loads quickly, and is easy to navigate so that Google will rank your site as high as possible. Google recommends following these best practices:
Your mobile site should contain the same content as your desktop site. If your mobile site has less content than your desktop site, update your mobile version so its content is equivalent with your desktop version. This content includes text, images, and videos.
Structured data should be present on both versions of the site. Ensure that URLs in the structured data on the mobile versions are updated to the mobile URLs. If you use Google’s Data Highlighter tool to provide structured data, check the dashboard for errors.
Meta data should be present on both versions of the site. Ensure that title tags and meta description tags are equivalent on both versions of your site.
Are You Keeping Up with These SEO Trends?
Many different factors make up a strong SEO strategy. The examples we’ve covered are just a few of the latest SEO trends that you should be keeping in mind when deciding what to pursue next.
Because a strong SEO strategy can be tough to manage on your own, it’s a good idea to hire an inbound marketing agency. With help from First Page Strategy, you’ll be better able to keep up with your competition and bring new visitors to your site.
An inbound marketing agency can also help you stay updated on new trends, so you don’t fall behind. Remember, a good SEO strategy needs to be revisited and revised often to be effective, and with First Page Strategy you’ll have access to a completely remote marketing team at a fraction of a price for an in-house marketing team.