SEO Tips for 2019
Best practices for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) are constantly changing. As technologies behind algorithms evolve, so do the tactics to optimize content.
In 2019, marketers can no longer rely on outdated SEO strategies like keyword stuffing (artificially inflating keyword density), exact match domains, back-linking, or uploading different pages for every keyword variation to increase organic traffic and SERP (search engine results page) ranking.
Since there is an influx of new SEO tactics every year, we turned to our agency experts for their insight:
SEO Content Trends and Tips for 2019
1. Stay informed on the latest Google algorithm updates
Since Google’s algorithm is constantly changing, this means monitoring and adapting to Google SERP’s 2019 updates.
Doug Cooper advises that, “The best way to stay up to date with Google’s major algorithm changes is through their official webmaster blog or search-focused outlets like Search Engine Land and Search Engine Watch. MOZ also keeps a record of all of Google’s major algorithm changes.”
2. Update existing content by leveraging behavioral data
Keep the target audience informed and engaged by consistently updating content with new and accurate information. This is done by tracking user engagement using data tools like Google Analytics.
“Through Google Analytics, find pages that have a high bounce rate and strive to improve them. Due to Google’s RankBrain, if searchers are quickly bouncing from your content you could be negatively impacted in the search results. That also means users reading more content and spending more time on your pages will have a positive effect on your rankings.”
Doug Cooper, Swarm Agency
Google Analytics can also be used to track bounce rates, page loading times, user paths, overall click-through rate, and audience retention. When used in conjunction with Google Search Console, marketers can improve on-page SEO and SERP rankings by optimizing content for key audiences and creating relevant title tags.
3. Prioritize the user experience
Focusing on user experience (UX) means prioritizing the user’s goals and avoiding anything that would deter the user from exploring the content further. Some examples of good UX include:
A mobile-friendly website
Quality evergreen content published on a consistent basis
Copy that is engaging to read/is not keyword stuffed
Limited use of promotional pop-ups
Websites that load fast
Having a clear visual hierarchy for the information presented on each page
Establishing a user path through the use of clear calls-to-action
4. Consider the implications of voice search technology
Optimizing for keywords used to be the go-to SEO strategy. However, as voice assistants and smart speakers grow in popularity, keyword-driven SEO is now fading away and search engines like Google and social media websites like Facebook are investing heavily in voice search technology.
“[Facebook and Google are] both optimizing their experience for users on the go. Google, specifically, is providing Google Assistant with new features this year which includes an auto-translation mode and flight-check in,” says Cooper.
Consumers are shopping and searching more using voice. In fact, in the next couple of years, more than half of the population will own a smart speaker, using voice technology for their search queries.
For smart speaker devices like the Amazon Echo, Alexa, and Google Assistant, short voice search queries are only the beginning of what might be possible with voice search one day.
Nebo Agency’s Co-Founder, Brian Easter - who has a passion for voice technology - believes that, “soon (and very soon) voice tech will be the norm in our cars, TVs, radios and other IoT (internet of things) devices, and most will have multi-sensory inputs.”
Easter reaffirmed his belief on Nebo’s blog, stating, “The advances will more than overcome the UX challenges that voice-only devices have now. Moreover, they’ll add to the experience. They’ll make it richer and remove existing friction and UX barriers.”
By harnessing data on voice search behavior, machine learning is playing a critical role in the development of voice technology. In doing so, digital assistants will soon be able to process long-tail keywords/voice search queries and respond with more in-depth answers.
“It’s been said that 50% of searches will be conducted by voice by the year 2020,” Cooper continues, “Creating content that provides answers to search queries is currently the best practice. This will be expanded as voice assistants get more sophisticated.”
Read how to harness voice search marketing more effectively in Swarm’s blog, “The Future of Voice Search and SEO.”
5. Improve Site Speed
“With all of the attention focused on mobile devices, it’s more important than ever to make sure your site loads fast. The biggest offenders are usually images but there are other elements that affect a site’s loading speed as well. Work with developers to alleviate any issues that may be slowing down the site.”
Doug Cooper, Swarm Agency
Things that slow down website speed:
Ignored CMS/platform updates
6. Internally link pages
“Link pages on your site with keyword rich anchor texts to other relevant pages. This is usually one of the easiest and most overlooked SEO techniques. Strategically placing internal links on your site helps drive traffic to your best content.”
Doug Cooper, Swarm Agency
Link building is essential to SEO credibility - so internal linking is a no brainer. Keep in mind that every time a new blog is published, it should link to past content. Conversely, marketers should regularly update past content to link to newer content.