How to Improve Your SEO and Online Marketing Efforts in 2019
Search Engine Optimization Is as Important as Ever—Here Are Four Great Reads from Around the Web that Break Down SEO Best Practices in 2019
Sometimes we feel like broken records around here when we go on and on about the importance of SEO. We talk about it as much amongst ourselves as we do with our clients, knowing that it’s one of the most important factors for any business to be successful on the web.
With that in mind, below we’re sharing some great reading on the status of SEO best practices as they stand here in Q1 of 2019. Curious to know what’s the same about SEO in 2019 as years past and what’s changed (or, for that matter, what experts predict will change over the course of the year)? Read on.
Moz on On-Page SEO Best Practices for the Year Ahead
If you’ve been reading our blog for a while, you’ll know that Moz is one of our faves when it comes to all things SEO. This recent post about “On-Page SEO for 2019” poses as a great reminder that a lot of the same recommended SEO practices from times gone by are still super relevant today.
All the things discussed in this article are basically the love languages of efelle: We’re all about things like web accessibility, mobile responsivity, image optimization, great page flow and use of CTAs, etcetera, etcetera.
Another great takeaway from this post is not underestimating the power of a thorough FAQs page. Not only do search engines love this kind of content, as Moz’s Britney points out in the post video, if one of your questions gets pulled in as a “Featured Snippet” on Google, it can also help you expand “your real estate in search.”
Note: If you’re browsing this article and at any time find that you’re scratching your head and wondering what a given term means, there’s a chance we’ve covered it in our “Talk Like an efellian” glossary of web terms.
Search Engine Land on Google Being as Important as Ever, But...
Search Engine Land’s article on “5 SEO trends that will matter most in 2019” makes a pretty bold statement in its intro; on the one hand, it notes that “Google’s shaken the world with its mobile- and speed-related efforts” and that companies will—and should—continue to structure their SEO best practices around the Google algorithm. However, the article continues, “some ‘non-Google’ game-changers will also influence how we build our SEO campaigns” in the months and years to come. Interesting…
Here are a few words of advice the article provides based on 2018 trends that will inevitably impact 2019 and beyond:
- “Regularly check whether your pages deliver impeccable user experience.” This is especially true on mobile. Don’t just test on desktop—to Google, the mobile experience is actually more important.
- Make sure nailing a quick load time is part of your UX effort on desktop and mobile alike. “Desktop page loading time has been a ranking factor for a while,” and in the coming year, the same will likely be true for mobile: “Speed metric,” one of Google’s tools for assessing mobile page load speeds, “is something new, so it’s clear Google’s testing it” for broader ranking purposes.
- “Mention your brand name online whenever you have a natural opportunity.” We’ll get into this more in the article below, but for context here, the more your brand name gets mentioned online, the more context Google has to make assumptions about it. The flip side here is that you need to be extra cautious with reputation management and resolve online complaints ASAP.
- Be aware of all things GDPR and set up your site analytics accordingly.
So, what are those “non-Google game-changers” you should look out for? According to the article, Amazon is a big one, specifically when it comes to online shopping. Here’s a fun stat the article offers: “56% of consumers visit Amazon first if they have shopping in mind. 51% check with Amazon after finding something elsewhere.”
If you sell products online and aren’t on Amazon, now’s the time to change that.
Eric Siu and Neil Patel on the Importance of Boosting Your Brand
Technically, “How SEO Will Change in 2019” is a (very short) podcast, not a “read,” but if you don’t have your headphones available, Eric and Neil have a great bullet-point list of their main points available for easy viewing on the episode’s landing page.
The main point of this podcast episode is to highlight the importance of building up your brand online via as many channels as you can. Search Engine Land’s article noted above highlights the importance of this from a direct SEO perspective, but Eric and Neil go one step further suggesting that “Brands not only rank, but they rank in the long run and they have much more stability with algorithm updates” than other SEO best practices. As they note, backlinking and delivering quality content are still great ways to rank, but increasingly, if you can up your brand mentions and recognition across the web, your search engine result page rankings will look a lot prettier—and they’ll stay that way.
Here are some of Eric and Neil’s words of advice when it comes to brand building and SEO:
- Still focus on SEO and content as these are are two of the main “pillars” to “building a great brand.”
- Take an “omnichannel approach” to your marketing since “SEO alone doesn’t work as well as it used to.” Instead, invest in all the channels you have at your disposal (that make sense for your business).
- Be patient. There’s a good chance your brand-building efforts won’t bear visible fruit until the one-year mark!
Monitor Backlinks on What Experts See as the Future of SEO
There’s a lot of a great information to unpack in this post on “The Future of SEO,” with advice compiled by Elise Dopson for Monitor Backlinks. Check out the whole thing if you can, but in the meantime, here are some highlights:
- It’s not just those Snippets we talked about above that are important—a bunch of media and content types are now showing up above-the-fold on SERPs (search engine results pages). One expert suggests that “If you want to rank for some particular search queries, just Google those keywords yourself and look at what type of content appears on the first Google SERP. If it’s an image, you should probably create an infographic. If it’s a video, it means you need to have video content in order to rank well for that search query.” In other words, the web is forcing us to up all our games—great written content and backlinks alone may not solve all your SEO woes anymore.
- Be mindful of voice searches—they’re on the rise. As such, “expect SEO experts to start accounting for this by reworking site content to directly answer questions someone may ask Siri out loud.” And key to that understanding is marketers “...studying their users and brainstorming the kind of questions they may ask their devices.”
- Voice isn’t just important because of vocalized queries. Algorithms and AIs are becoming smart enough to detect “the 360-degree voice content” in things like podcasts, videos, Instagram and Facebook Stories, etc. The advice here, again, gets back to the importance of boosting that brand presence in any way possible: “Stop caring about the algorithm and build a strong brand that everyone in your space loves and talks about here and there.” Getting a shout out on someone’s social channel can give you more than just feel-good, pat-on-the-back vibes.
- If it’s not obvious yet, keyword density isn’t nearly as important as it used to be. “The goal is and will continue to be to cover an entire topic rather than zoning in on a specific keyword.”
- Focus on quality content that not only gets eyes on your website, but that keeps them there. As one expert suggests, Google has a lot of analytics on “the average bounce rate, time on page and pages per session” for most websites. “In the long run, I think they will certainly put more emphasis on these factors as they are harder to fake and spam compared to their current SEO ranking factors.” (In other words, UX matters. So much.)
A Quick Summary on How to Improve SEO in 2019
These days, SEO is about more than just meta tags, keyword-rich content blocks, and backlinks galore. Here are some quick, hot takeaways from the notes above:
- Think about what questions your users are asking and find ways to answer them directly and through plain language. This will up your chances of snagging a coveted “Featured Snippet” spot on Google’s search results landing page.
- Assess whether your content would be better served via another medium. Know what kinds of content delivery users querying your industry respond well to and create those for your brand. (Do they tend to watch videos? Are they suckers for gorgeous graphics?)
- Get people talking about your brand on as many platforms as you can (ie, use an omnichannel approach to brand marketing).
- Be obsessed with user experience. Gather data about your users. Analyze your successful competitors. And make it easy for your users to find exactly what they’re looking for within moments of landing on your website.
If this to-do list is making you feel nauseous, ain’t no shame in reaching out to the professionals. At efelle creative, we know SEO. We’ve got some of the best in the biz on our team, and we’re eager to help our clients get noticed on the web. Call us up at 206.384.4909 or hit up our online contact form for more info.