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SEO Must-haves for 2019

March 4, 2019 |

The way people are using the internet is changing, especially as mobile device use to visit websites increases.  We reviewed a host of SEO expert reports and findings and have identified the top 10 SEO and content strategy changes businesses should be looking to implement in 2019.

What are the SEO and content strategy changes your business needs to make in 2019?

We believe these ten methods are the key changes to make to enhance your SEO and content strategy across your website. 

Here are the 10 SEO strategies your website needs in 2019:

  1. Mobile-First Indexing
  2. Page Speed
  3. Voice Search
  4. Video Optimization
  5. Featured Snippets
  6. Blockchain Technology
  7. Amazon Search Optimization
  8. High Quality Content
  9. Structured Data
  10. Influencer Marketing


1. Mobile-First Indexing

Optimizing for mobile – if not creating a dedicated mobile marketing strategy – is something you should've done by now, but if you haven't, it needs to be done in 2019. No excuses.

This has become increasingly important as the number of users accessing websites from mobile devices continues to grow – 80% of internet users own a smartphones and 52.2% of worldwide online traffic was generated through mobile phones in 2018 according to Statistica.

Accelerated mobile pages (AMPs) offer the best user experience, loading about 30 times faster. Google, Twitter and some other companies rolled out this open source project, designed to make mobile pages super-fast – this also ties into #2 on our list.

Back in March 2018, Google began mobile-first indexing. In simple terms, this means that Google ranks websites based on the user experience for mobile devices. If a site has mobile and desktop versions, the mobile one is indexed. A website that isn’t mobile-friendly misses out on a huge amount of traffic. One of the steps businesses can take is to use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test site to see if your webpage is mobile-friendly or not. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile devices, it will tell you what steps you can take.


2. Page Speed

The amount of time it takes for your server/webhost to serve a requested page from your website by a user or search engine generally  takes milliseconds. However, if your server is not able to serve pages quickly enough it will cause problems, both with rankings and bounce rate. A bad user experience (UX) can cost you a loss of revenue if your target audience has to wait too long to get what they are looking for. They will just close your website. And above all, a slow page load is penalized by the search engines and has an impact on your ranking, both on mobile and desktop devices.

It is important to test how quickly your hosting service is able to serve up your web pages. Keep in mind that the problem may not be your host but the way your site is set up. You can use a multitude of tools to check the speed with which the pages of your site load or utilize the Google Webmaster Tools to find out how quickly Google is able to load your website's pages. You can also use Google's PageSpeed Insights developer tool to pinpoint some of the issues which may be causing the slowness of your site


3. Voice Search

More and more people are using smart devices and smart assistants on devices like Alexa, Cortana, Google and Siri. In 2019, voice search SEO will become increasingly important. Businesses need to employ voice search SEO if they want to set themselves up for success in a voice-driven search world. And today’s users are starting to expect these types of capabilities more and more.  Andrew Ng of Baidu, formerly of Google Brain, believes that 50% of all (not just mobile) searches will be voice by 2020. And here are some key stats from a 2018 Voice Search for Local Business study by BrightLocal:

  • 58% of users have used voice search to find local business information in the last 12 months
  • 46% of voice search users look for a local business on a daily basis
  • 27% visit the website of a local business after making a voice search

Both small businesses and chain companies looking to optimize for local SEO should already be taking voice search queries into consideration. Voice search optimization is already important for large and local small businesses. People often use voice search while driving, asking questions about business location, store hours, etc. Smart personal assistants are becoming a part of normal everyday life. By understanding linguistics and paying attention to smart device advertising, businesses can gain insights into how to adapt their search and online marketing strategy.


4. Video Optimization

Video SEO has to do with optimizing your video to be indexed and rank on the search engine results pages for relevant keyword searches. There are many optimization strategies to give your videos a higher chance of ranking. However, over the last five years or so, video marketing has become more and more popular with businesses. And the explosion of video makes it harder to get ranked in internet search results

A few of the methods we suggest to our clients include the following:

  • Optimize with keywords – insert a video transcript or captions
  • Use a compelling and relevant thumbnail
  • Create an engaging title and meta description
  • Create a video sitemap 
  • Ensure the entire video page is relevant and optimized for SEO
  • Increase video visibility by making it the focal point of the page
  • Sharing is caring – share it on social media and allowing sharing and embedding of your video
  • Embed the video you want ranked first in the page – Google typically indexes only one video per page

There are numerous ways to apply search optimization for your video content, but it all comes down to quality as the starting point for your strategy. It’s the actual content that will grab user’s attention and its optimization will ensure that you a higher position on SERPs. Once you are creating relevant content and high-quality content, your business should be applying these methods to get your message noticed, both by users and search engines.


5. Featured Snippets

A featured snippet, sometimes called rich answers or answer boxes, is a special block above the organic search results that Google sometimes shows for certain queries, usually questions (i.e., who/what/where/when/why/how). Featured snippets signal a new hope for many SEO pros, especially due to organic search results increasingly being eaten up by content such as ads.

Featured snippets differ in that Google pulls the information from one of the organic listings on the first page of search results, and Google gives that website credit via a link. Google shows featured snippets for more search results every day. And over 70 percent of them are from sites in spots 2-10, giving SEOs a nice way to cut to the front of the line and achieve position 0. Featured snippets steal traffic from the first-ranking result (the number 1 spot gets 26 percent of clicks when there’s no featured snippet, but only 19.6 percent if there is a snippet showing).

If your competitor is listed first and you’re languishing down in spot 5, featured snippets offer a real way to organically one-up them.


6. Blockchain Technology

Artificial intelligence and blockchain are two additional factors to consider, and it will be interesting to see what impact they could have on SEO in 2019. While blockchain technology is famous in the cryptocurrency space, it has been helpful in many other industries as well, including tracking supply chains, medical testing, making the internet more secure and transforming the marketing automation space.

Potential use case for blockchain, include using the technology to ensure high-quality traffic to boost SEO. This allows marketers to set up advertising campaigns on the blockchain to drive traffic back to their business landing pages but with the ability to guarantee the authenticity of SEO traffic. If blockchain was integrated into the ranking algorithm, it could possibly deal with those using black-hat SEO more efficiently.


7. Amazon Search Optimization

Google is what automatically comes to mind when we think of SEO and of course you want great rankings in the search engines. However, your website isn’t the only place on the web where you may be selling your product. If you have a product page on Amazon, you want it to be found by your target customer just as you would want your site to show up on the first search engine results page (SERP) for your industry keywords.

Taking SEO beyond Google is more important than ever for the following reasons:

  • Competition, which is getting fiercer
  • Google's business model has shifted in the last couple of years, and is getting aggressive
  • More click-less searches

It’s vital to understand that Amazon’s search algorithm works differently than any Google or Bing algorithm in surfacing results. In a nutshell, there are way fewer ranking signals or factors than with typical SEO.  Amazon’s search algorithm is is named A9. In its own words:

“We manage search and advertising technologies that are scalable, highly available, and cross-platform for our parent company, Amazon, and other clients.”

Amazon’s interest is connecting their users with products and converting browsers into buyers. The clearer and more targeted you make your pages, the higher the chances the eCommerce search engine will suggest your product to a potential customer. You can influence Amazon SEO ranking factors directly by the strategic use of relevant keywords in the following areas of your Amazon pages.

  • Product title
  • Business/Seller name
  • Amazon backend keywords
  • Product description and keywords
  • Product images
  • Reviews

Successful Amazon SEO comes down to knowing what Amazon’s algorithm wants from you, which is led by keeping customers happy. Your product page can be optimized in various ways, but they all come down to two main factors: relevance and performance.


8. High Quality Content

Today, in order to be ranking high, it’s not just about quantity anymore, but about producing quality content. It has been speculated that Google’s August 1, 2018 broad core algorithm update has something to do with a more advanced ability to evaluate how much websites are meeting the company’s E-A-T standards. This acronym stands for Expertise – Authoritativeness – Trustworthiness.

Quality content is primarily content that achieves its marketing goal, which might include the following for your business:

  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Ranking well on search engines
  • Improving click-through rates
  • Generating leads
  • Getting social shares

A piece of content that achieves any, or all of these marketing objectives is quality content and will go a long way in boosting SEO.  In a sea of content, standing out requires creating high-quality content. It’s an important part of any your SEO arsenal. We suggest the following approach when it comes to creating and producing exceptional content in your market:

  • Conduct ongoing research and always have a backlog of ideas. If you are lacking in ideas, you can check your competitors’ sites to see what type of content is working for them.
  • Develop your own unique perspective and style in your industry or market.
  • Create varying types of content and visual content, such as charts, videos, infographics and more.
  • Measure your content’s performance. Did it meet your business goals and objectives?

Creating content that is similar to what others have already created is sometimes inevitable. However, you can stand out in several ways with careful forethought and planning.


9. Structured Data

Structured data use is increasing and is in approximately one-third of the web now. The purpose or job of structured data is to help Google understand your content better. It is an important prompt or signal if you want your site to be visible within search engines. Adding structured data, also known as schema markup, to your website will give your business a significant SEO boost and increase your rankings. Structured data is a foundation for machines to understand your content, as it communicates to search engines what your data means.

Here are a few top benefits of using structure data:

Higher CTR. Having rich snippets show up for your products in the SERPs is a great way to increase click-through rates and draw more attention to your listings, especially if you have great product reviews.

More Conversions. Having rich snippets can also increase your conversion rates because if more people see your listings and the listings are positive, the likelihood that they will buy from you will increase.

Without schema markup, search engines can only tell what your data says, and they have to work harder to determine why it’s there. Basically, you’re helping search engines analyze your content more easily.

Google has posted some case studies that go over some examples of using schema for some large brands.

10. Influencer Marketing

Changes in Google’s algorithms have ensured that sites making use of techniques, such as paid links, keyword stuffing, spam comments, invisible text, and others, will get penalized and delisted. While these changes ensure better ranking with the use of honest and proven SEO techniques, it makes it much more difficult for sites to get ranked in search engines. This is where influencer marketing comes into play.  Influencer marketing can help your business generate authoritative links which have the additional benefit of an increase in your user engagement signals, traffic, and visibility.

Marketing-inspired word of mouth generates more than 2x the sales of paid advertising, and these customers have a 37% higher retention rate.

Influencer marketing and content creation isn’t easy, but it’s necessary for improving your search engine ranking. Not only does Google look at the content quality, keyword usage, and content readability, but it also looks the quantity and quality of social shares. Here are some of the most significant impacts influencer marketing has on your SEO:

  • Helps businesses build a diverse and strong link (inbound links) profile
  • Provide intriguing and unique content
  • Keeps your content fresh
  • Increases content reach and user engagement
  • Boosts brand visibility

Finding relevant authoritative influencers is the most important aspect of influencer marketing. You want your influencer content to reach your target audience with engagement. This will make your influencers SEO assets to your brand.


Does your website currently address these trends?

 If not, our team of skilled professionals work with tech, B2B and professional organizations of all sizes, including IBM, Cisco Systems and a host of small businesses. 

We offer fixed rate and billable hours options – with our goal to work within your budget. Sometimes small changes can go a long way.   Fill out the form below to have a member of our creative team contact you to discuss how you can get your SEO and content strategy ready for 2019 and beyond.  Now is also a great time to explore our premium hosting and other related website and marketing services to provide your business with on-going content and marketing expertise and support.


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