SEO in 2019: What You Need to Know

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Your Audience and Your Website

Audience, audience, audience. 2019’s best-ranking websites will be the ones who are audience-centric and focused on ranking for the right and best terms. What are those terms? They are those which are further down the sales funnel, where consumers are ready to purchase the service or product they are searching for. So, it’s important to market to that group, rather than just to the group searching for more broad terms alone; they are most likely in an information-seeking phase as opposed to being ready to buy.

It’s also extremely important to check the SERPs to see whether or not websites like yours are showing up for targeted phrases. If you look there and find that review sites, directories or the like are brimming to the top—and your site isn’t one of them—it’s a good idea to move on.

Additional tip: try to rank for terms that answer the questions that your potential customer is asking after their initial ones. It’s that kind of anticipatory work that will pay off big time for 2019 SEOs.

Structured Data Markup Proficiency

In 2019, SEOs need to not only understand structured markup, both active and passive behaviors and schema, but they also need to connect these with search intent behaviors from their potential customers. Making the link between behaviors and topics when it is backed up by structured markup is crucial for further online ranking success. Speaking the right language, if you will, helps a great deal in Google and other search engines’ abilities to crawl and rank your site higher in SERPs.

Create Genuine, In-Depth Content

We all appreciate another person who is genuine as opposed to the opposite, and with each year that passes, being “genuine” online counts more and more. Gone are the days when sites can stay afloat just by writing filler blogs. It’s the sites that blog in-depth posts that solve problems, motivate and cater well to the reader’s needs that are most successful, and we see this trend only grow as we launch into the new year. People want in-depth experiences, and that is just what we expect Google to reward this year. It can be as easy as identifying a problem you know how to fix and being the avenue for solutions to your readers. That pays dividends over just trying to SEO your blogs to an extreme extent. Again, being genuine goes a long way.

Don’t Underestimate On-page SEO

On-page SEO isn’t a one-and-done activity; ongoing SEO’s importance cannot be understated. A few ideas for doing this effectively include providing a short conversion process, using a chatbot, having a simple checkout process for returning customers and answering common questions with blogs. Another two are providing easy, visual forms and having simple navigation. Implement ways for your site to best cater to visitors and keep it updated regularly by getting feedback from the customer on their experience. Then, when changes need to be made, they are done quickly and your website is pleasing to its users and to search engines.

To Google Search and Beyond

It’s not only your website that you should be driving traffic to anymore. You need to meet your potential customer where they are. For example, ranking in app stores or for podcast searches can prove to be powerful—that is, if that’s where your audience is searching—because it’s another place for you to show up and stay relevant. SEOs need to rank for more than websites alone.

Tip: with the popularity of home assistants and other audio devices, your company may benefit quite a bit from being optimized there as well.

Give Your Site Something to E-A-T

Another trend to acknowledge this year is that of establishing your expertise, authority and trustworthiness, or E-A-T as Google refers to it. According to Google, E-A-T is part of the top three considerations in page quality. While these guidelines for “grading” a site are really written for raters, it helps us to navigate Google’s direction and expectations and use that to our advantage.

Implement Technical SEO

As websites grow in complexity, technical SEO is where to place your focus. Google is rewarding websites for speed, so we will most likely start seeing sites become faster and simpler in comparison to years past. A couple of other areas are evolving as well: JavaScript and Progressive Web Apps. With tons of sites utilizing JavaScript heavily, have at least a general knowledge of it so you can understand how Google and other search engines are cooperating with it. As for PWAs, think about if and how your site could someday exist as one. Ensure that it would cater to your users in a way that causes them to keep you top of mind and on their home screen.

Voice Search and Machine Learning are on the Rise

Voice search was a huge topic of conversation in 2018, and it’s only going to get more popular. It’s really only just getting its momentum, as some companies were hesitant to jump on the bandwagon. 2019 will be a different picture, or so the experts in this arena claim. We can expect an even bigger shift in voice search as technology moves us into a more conversational journey when it comes to search.

Dave Davies is one of many that feel strongly about machine learning, too, growing substantially in 2019. Using this method to create content for SEO purposes could mean a great deal for SEOs moving forward.

Google SERP Features Optimization

Google’s featured snippets, answer boxes and other search features alike are growing steadily. These featured areas will claim an even bigger piece of the organic traffic pie. This means that optimizing for Google search along with your website is crucial in 2019, as your presence in the SERPs matters as much as clicks do. Several SEOs that have achieved a spot in a featured snippet have noticed huge gains in their analytics.

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