Google has always been keen on improving user experience when it comes to their search engines. Knowing what their latest algorithm changes are will help you determine what search engine marketing strategies you should incorporate into your overall digital marketing strategy for 2019. The good news is that the most recent changes have made it simpler for digital marketing managers and business owners to figure out. If you are also trying to improve your ranking in the search engine results pages (SERP), make sure to know the trends in SEO in 2019.
But why invest in doing SEO for your business?
Value of SEO
According to Statista’s survey conducted from 2014 to 2017, 46.8% of the global population used the Internet in 2017 and 48.9% in 2018. This Internet user penetration statistics is expected to grow to 53.7% by 2021. Google is reported to handle around 2 trillion searches worldwide every year, which meant it processes 63,000 searches per second. To drive more traffic to your website, your ultimate mission should be to reach the first page of the SERP. A study showed that websites ranked on page one of Google SERP generate 91.5% of their traffic, thanks to their ranking. That is definitely a result worth your effort.
Those who use search engines to search about products or services are likely ready to purchase whatever it is that they are curious about. Getting your prospects’ attention by ranking high in the SERP is important in nudging potential customers to make that final move to buy your product. So, establishing a strong digital presence is unarguably a critical digital marketing strategy that you should implement.
What Search Engine Marketing Tricks to Pursue
Focus more on topics, not keywords
SEO in 2019 is so different from what it was a few years back, when you’d only need to find the most searched, most popular keywords related to your product, optimize your page for it, and see your position in the SERP rise.
But it caused a lot of issues for Google as digital marketing managers and website owners misused it. They tried to rank for various target keywords by creating lots of web pages, causing search engine users to get less than useful pages during their search. It did not matter to them that they have poorly constructed their content is or low quality authority sites attached to their pages, as long as they’re able to make some quick money.
When Google spotted this problem, they resolved it to improve their users’ search experiences and protect their $109 billion revenue. They changed the ranking algorithm to make it more human, helping it understand what content the users really want to see. For instance, those who are looking for the best cameras to buy and would type “best camera” or “camera reviews” as keywords would like to see customer reviews or testimonials, product features, and pictures. The new algorithm can deliver similar content for both keywords. If your website provides the content that the algorithm understands is what the user is looking for, your page will rank on the first page of the Google SERP.
In 2019, you might want to change your game to focus less on keywords and more on the topics of your content. You would see the relevant topics if you look at the results under “Searches related to keywords” if you use Google. Use these suggestions to optimize your pages and improve its SERP ranking.
Start with identifying a page that you want to optimize and pluck out the keyword that you want it to rank for on Google. Enter that keyword into Google’s search bar and look at the search engine’s suggestions in the related searches. Incorporate these relevant terms into your content and do it as organically as possible.
Just like how Google puts their searchers first, you can do the same while developing your website and producing your content. Keywords, authority, and technical SEO tweaks take a backseat as you should focus on what your prospects and customers really want to know when they visit your site. Then write content that covers the topics that your target audience is likely interested in.
This change in Google’s algorithm that allows you to prioritize the topics you’re going to cover instead of the keywords will not only benefit Google searchers, but website owners and marketing managers as well. It will not require you to write as much content as before, allowing you to enjoy some free time or spend more time on the other aspects of your business. It will also help you produce more comprehensive and better content, let you get to know your audience better, and give you more opportunities to create more powerful content on your website.
Featured snippets will still be trending in 2019, providing searchers with basic answers. In fact, these are the reasons why website owners now aim to be in rank 0 since featured snippets rank higher than organic results.
Google pulls out the snippets from sites that they think provide the content that are relevant to a searcher’s query, although it is unknown how Google determines that relevance. Most queries, though, are provided with a knowledge graph from Wiki pages.
To improve your Featured Snippets’ ranking, consider putting a Question and Answer section in your web pages. Your content should answer questions related to your target keywords, provide those answers in list or in their briefest form, put the questions in headers, and the page being optimized for Featured Snippets should already be ranked on the first page of Google SERPs.
Optimized user experience
As you try to accommodate Google’s preferences, the bottom line is that you are accommodating Google’s users. This is why improved user experience is crucial if you want to rank better in the Google SERP.
To do this, check your site’s current loading time and speed it up if it’s less than satisfactory. You wouldn’t want impatient Google users leaving your website for another site because you’re slow.
Having error-free websites also increases your credibility and your target audience’s trust in you. Your web pages should be easy to navigate to encourage searchers to keep coming back to your site.
Mobile first indexing
If you haven’t made the move to improve the speed, links, content, and user experience of your website on mobile, make that move now before 2019 comes. Google announced Mobile-first Index and it only made sense for them to prioritize this feature as more searches are now done on mobile than on desktop. To make your website mobile-friendly, use responsive designs.
You can use Progressive Web Apps and Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), especially since the latter is projected to achieve even greater momentum in 2019. However, it is not compatible with all sites.
AMPS lead to fast-loading pages because they only contain plain old text, without pictures or structure. This is also why they are preferred by news sites.
As more people rely on their smartphones more, it changes the way they use the Internet. Research showed that people in the US use their smartphones for an average of 3 hours and 35 minutes daily. In 2017, 325 million people are using voice search when searching online and that 20% of Google searches are initiated through voice search, providing users with 95% accuracy. It is projected that by 2020, 50% of searches will be done by voice, making voice search a must-follow trend in SEO in 2019.
To optimize your website for voice search and get to the first spot on SERP, optimize your site for long-tail keywords and exact search terms. Go for the natural language keywords that your target audience may use when voice searching. Just like with how you can optimize your website for Featured Snippets, you need to provide content that aims to answer questions, too. Your website should also load fast to keep up with the quick results that your target audience wants to get. It will also help if your site is mobile friendly with a responsive design to persuade your visitors to stay longer.
Content is still king
Google has made significant improvements in textual content analysis, using RankBrain for it. But even with such improvements, you still need to outdo your competitors, the websites producing content or covering topics similar to yours. Your mission should be to keep producing high quality content about your specialty or product.
As what has been previously discussed, focus on optimizing your web pages by thinking about the topics that your target audience is likely curious about instead of investing a lot of content around certain keywords. You’d want to show your audience your expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.
If you want to produce great content, which will not only remain trending in SEO in 2019 but also likely in the years to come, do your research. Write your articles while connecting to your readers, showing them the fruits of your labor, and giving yourself the opportunity to carve a spot for your business on the Internet.
If your target audience only has an image to go by while using Google, then your site has to be searchable through image search as well. You can aim for a better SERP ranking by optimizing all your images. According to Jumpshot, Google Images searches account for 26.79% of all US searches across 10 web properties. This is around 10 times more than the times when people used Yahoo or Bing and over 40 times more than the time when Facebook was used for searches.
So, to improve your users’ experience and get your images to rank better on Google SERP, use appealing and good quality images. When you do need to reduce file size to avoid lagging load time, don’t compromise the images’ quality. You can find various tools online to optimize images. In choosing images, remember to use images with the standard image ratios of 4:3 or 16:9 to ensure that you’ll have images that will draw Google users’ attention. You may also want to refrain from using stock images as much as you can if you don’t want to come off as less than genuine in reaching out to your audience. Don’t forget to optimize labels, image data, tags, and descriptors too if you want your images to fare better in Google indexing and ranking.
SEO in 2019 will still make good use of on-page optimization. This should be an ongoing SEO tactic to get great results and not lose out to your competitors. Some of the key on-page optimizations that you can do include creating FAQ pages, ensuring relevant results for internal site search, hastening the restocking process for bestselling items, shortening prospects’ conversion process, providing responsive customer service, using chatbots for procedural tasks and answering common and easy questions, and easing up navigation, among others.
While some have considered link building antique SEO tactic, you should not phase it out of your digital marketing strategy just yet. You can still implement it for SEO in 2019 if you know how to do it right. It has changed over the years, though, with linkless backlinks likely taking center stage in 2019. Google still considers PageRank a good internal ranking signal and it attributes power or authority to backlinks. With linkless backlinks, Google considers references to your sites on other pages even without a direct link.
What can you do for optimization? Try guest posting, but provide only high quality articles. Make sure it provides value to Google users.
Google Chrome users would be familiar with the little lock icon in the left hand corner of the URL bar during searches. But the said icon only appears when you are browsing through a secure site. The alternative is a warning message about how a certain website is not secure. This is part of the July 2018 Google security update, which includes warning Google users about the unsecure non-HTTPS sites and ranking these sites less favorable on the Google SERP.
If you don’t secure your website at the soonest time possible, your site will keep sending prospects searching for more secure sites where they won’t encounter Google’s “Not Secure” warning. Your website users will far from enjoy their experience navigating through your non-HTTPS site as the lack of proper security may cause malicious software to overrun it. Get HTTPS for your site now, secure it, and give your users peace of mind.
Do all the preparations that you can oversee for SEO in 2019. The tips above should help you get ahead of your competitors when it comes to the race to the first page and even the first rank on the SERP.
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