Search Engine Optimization is the key to get the ideal customers into a website. Through this practice, you can end up in the top results for what potential customers are already searching. However, search engines are continually improving their algorithms, so it’s essential to keep on top of things. These are the main trends for SEO!
If you’ve had a website for a while, you might find that SEO in 2019 is a continuation of previous years. Still, it's still critical to look into what needs improvement - and what doesn’t. The first weeks of the year offer the perfect opportunity to review the status of your online presence.
And, of course, if you’re about to launch a website, it’s best to start with the best SEO practices.
In any case, here's how to summarize everything you’ll find on this SEO in 2019 post: quality. Google, Bing and other search engines are getting better at recognizing quality. Long gone are the days where all it took to reach the top results page was sneaking endless repetitions. In 2019, you need to be putting out great content that matches the products and services you sell.
So, let’s get to it!
Where to Focus SEO
SEO in 2019 isn’t about new fads like artificial intelligence, but rather about building around what you have. You need to make sure the experience you’re offering on the website is pleasant on every front. These should be your main concerns:
- Optimize for mobile
- Make your website better: that means it should be faster, simpler and with Schema.org structured data
- Create great content
- Optimize for promising technologies
- Think beyond the website and focus on social media and alternative platforms
Optimize for Mobile
Thanks to the rise of smartphones, mobile searches have been a growing trend for years. Users are looking into their desired products on the go, and a site not optimized for mobile is at a disadvantage. Google recently switched up to mobile-first indexing, so SEO in 2019 makes it essential to build a site for smartphones and tablets. The basics of optimizing for mobile are:
- Responsive design that adapts to any screen size seamlessly.
- Structured and complete functioning data.
- Images should have relevant alt-texts (namely, focus key phrases or related ones).
- Get rid of extras that only work on a desktop. While you may love little animations, those may not work well on mobile, providing a slower and cumbersome user experience.
Make Your Website Better
It’s impossible to guarantee first-page results with a specific keyword. There are, however, a lot of things you can do to improve a website. SEO in 2019 invites site owners and webmasters to focus on quality above all else, on every level.
These are the main things you should work on improving:
- Speed. Any website that takes extra precious seconds to load is at a significant disadvantage. It’s critical to declutter the site of any additional code or heavy images slowing it down. Focusing on loading time can take up a lot of work, but you’ll also be faster than the competition.
- User experience. Is it easy to navigate around the site? It could be an excellent time to perform focus groups, interviews or polls on visitors. Improving user experience is a sure way to get noticed by Google.
- Simple structure. Look into the fabric of the site and ask yourself if it’s simple and easy to use. Are the menus and submenus understandable and accessible or do they look cluttered? Checking structure is particularly important for websites that have been around for a while. Take the New Year to assess whether the structure works the way you need it to, and simplify if it doesn’t.
- Schema.org structured data. Structuring data through Schema.org is a sure way to decode it specifically for search engines. Using this tool helps search engines put data into context, thus allowing you to rank higher. It also makes a site eligible for rich results, and it’s the basis for voice search.
Content is the Key to SEO
Every guide to SEO in 2019 (and the last three years or so) will tell you the highest-ranked sites depend on content. There almost two billion websites out there, perhaps hundreds of thousands using your keyphrase. You need to set yourself apart, and the key is through enticing posts. First off, ask yourself a few questions:
- What are you bringing to the table?
- Is your content unique?
- Are you updating the blog often?
- Why should you be on the first page of results?
- What are your competitors discussing on their blogs?
Generally speaking, there are a few things you can do to set your website apart and make it shine:
- Think of search intent, or why users search for a particular thing online. You need to determine what leads users to your website, whether they want the answer to a question or a specific product. Once you know the intent behind a particular search, you can tailor content around it.
- Keep in mind users know what makes good content, and so do search engines. With each update, crawlers are more aware of what constitutes quality, and half-baked writing isn’t going to cut it. Factual and grammatically correct content looks more professional, inspiring trust. A well-written text makes visitors more likely to stay and see what you have to say. Good copywriting practices are critical for SEO in 2019.
- For people improving websites, it’s essential to recheck their keywords. In these fast-moving times, it’s important to be on your toes. The keywords that worked well last year may not have the same impact right now. There may be innovations in the industry, or your company could have changed. Look into the language your customers and competitors are using - don’t get left behind!
- Be mindful of context. Each page is part of a whole website, and the only way for a search engine to know that is content. Adding links to the rest of your site to each post helps search engines understand the surroundings, and so does the use of relevant key phrases. Add as much related information as you can. Become a savant in your industry by adding new and relevant content and updating and fixing your old one.
- Look at old posts to figure out if they’re still working. When you’ve had a blog for a while, it has traces of your different strategies. You may be working differently now and even targeting different people, yet that outdated content is still there. Another big issue is keyword cannibalization: you may have used the same keyword more than once, and both pages are competing against each other. It’s critical to go through every single old post and look into it. Is it still relevant? Are the keywords unique? Are all links functional? It’s a tedious process, but the reward is worthwhile.
Go Beyond Web Search
While Google is still king of search engines, SEO in 2019 doesn’t necessarily mean paying more attention to it. Depending on your site, industry, and actions, you may need to think outside “traditional” search engines. Whether it’s a new technology or other platforms, you don’t want to miss out on opportunities.
Take time to review whether you should be paying more attention to platforms beyond Google and Bing. Some other alternatives you could be working with:
- New devices. Are you optimizing for the rising trend of voice searches?
- Apps. There’s currently a big surge of links to apps on mobile, and you may want to get on board.
- Social media and other platforms. Many users, especially younger people, go directly on Instagram or Facebook when they’re looking into a company. Major eCommerce platforms also play a role in searches. A lot of people go directly for big platforms like Amazon or Etsy when searching for products. Cater to them!
Let’s delve deeper into each of these.
New Search Technologies
Thanks to innovation, we’re on the brink of an overhaul in the way users search for things online. Voice search and online assistants like Alexa or Google Duplex are changing things up and may become mainstream soon - or at least big enough to deserve your attention.
Searching through these platforms isn’t the same as doing it on Google or Bing. Why? Because these are programmed as conversations instead of loose phrases. You might want to consider optimizing for voice search too!
There are services out there that work solely as apps, such as Uber. You can go this route and link to an app of your own on your site and social media.
- Apps offer a different and more palatable way to reach your audience.
- If you don’t have the resources to build a native app, you can hop on the progressive web apps bandwagon.
- Apps are everywhere, and even Google is testing structured data for software apps.
A few different platforms to consider:
- Social media. You may want to consider having a strong presence in the social networks most used by your target.
- Non-traditional search engines. YouTube has become a great source of information, and Amazon is the go-to place for product research for millions. DuckDuckGo is a search engine that focuses on privacy and keeps away from profiling users, and you may have traffic coming from there.
SEO in 2019 is very particular in the sense that it’s on the brink of a major overhaul. For years, giants like Google have promised to switch things up and become virtual assistants rather than merely search engines. We’re starting to see it happening, but it’s not quite there yet. Maybe 2020 will be the year - but meanwhile, it’s all about quality. An excellent website is the first step towards a successful online presence.
At Bright Vessel, we specialize in building online solutions to clients from all walks of life. Whether you’re looking for a small blog or a national franchise, on any industry, we can help you with a custom strategy. Find out more about our SEO Services.