New year, new you, new SEO strategies. With search engines like Google looking ahead to improve their services, it’s vital to keep up and prepare for the changes headed our way.
That’s why we’ve asked some of the leading SEO experts about the most effective SEO strategies organizations can use in 2019.
Voice Search Is Still Growing
Voice recognition software and AI assistants have made voice search an increasingly essential part of search engines. AI assistants like Amazon Echo, Apple’s Siri, and Google Assistant have made voice search an established option for users while enhancing voice search’s functionality.
“[Voice Search SEO] represents the changing landscape of increased digital assistant use that I think will continue to grow,” said Stephen Vorwerk of Word Wright Web. “Many of our forward thinking clients are already diverting marketing funds to invest.”
Companies like Google are looking to capitalize on the growing voice search trend, and with good reason. AI assistants have become less expensive in the past year. That means voice search may soon be the top dog in SEO.
That said, in 2019, it may be beneficial to increase your focus on exact search terms and long-tail keywords to generate more traffic to your website.
AI And Chatbots
AI technology hasn’t only been contributing to the growth of voice search. It’s also contributed to customer service.
“The rise of AI and chatbots is something that can’t be ignored,” said Hillary Haynes of Coastal Web Consulting. “Now businesses can engage their customers, without actually needing staff on site. This is a great way to capture leads and engage your user base and will continue to grow in importance throughout 2019 and beyond.”
Google and other companies have been developing AI that are capable of creating their own speaking patterns. The software can perform tasks without user assistance, which makes them great for interacting with customers.
Chatbots have already become more frequent on company websites and social media pages. They provide 24/7 service and give customers quick, detailed responses to their questions.
AI technology has also changed website automation. It provides users with a guide that lets them navigate further into a website and even toward conversions. In fact, Google itself has started doing just that.
“With major updates to the Google My Business dashboard and continued focus on the Knowledge Panel,” said Brian Barwig of Integrated Digital Marketing, “Google is attempting to keep all aspects of the purchase behavior on their own platform rather than sending users to websites (specifically for Local SEO).”
More Authentic Content
The goal to create more authentic, evergreen content is similar every year. But that’s because search engines are evolving to give their users the best possible experience.
“I’m seeing on-site SEO ranking factors have more value, meaning they’re more important today than ever,” said Ricky Hale.
In fact, recent Google algorithm updates have been making authentic content a major priority to ensure quality content receives high search rankings.
“Google is focused on delivering a great user experience to their users,” said Leonard Raleigh of TelaPost. “They have been tweaking their algorithm in an attempt to deliver the best search results possible for the most important search queries.”
“In 2019, I suspect they will expand on this by examining a site’s purpose and holding content to higher standards in additional niches,” Raleigh said. “For many business owners, obtaining quality, relevant backlinks will still be a top priority as this will almost definitely remain one of the most effective ways to rank higher in organic search results in 2019 and for many years to come.”
For an SEO strategy to be successful, you need to create authentic and trustworthy content. Authentic content, along with the right tools to target your market, gives your website substantial traffic.
“In 2019, you need to focus on content quality,” said Hale, “site structure, internal link building, anchor diversity and ensuring your content answers the search query it represents.”
Although content ought to contain the right keywords that will lead users to that content, and the content ought to be informative and helpful, these factors are especially important now. Voice search is more relevant than ever before, which makes it vital to create content that answers their questions.
Users aren’t using voice search to scroll through Google. That means if your website isn’t on page one, there’s a good chance it won’t be seen at all.
“[More] marketers will start to look at organic search as the primary way to grow a website’s traffic,” said Ruan Marinho from DeveloMark.
But this doesn’t mean you need to have an entire content overhaul. Jonathan Bentz from Direct Online Marketing suggests that updating and republishing old content might even become a campaign staple.
“If you (or your clients) already have a stable of content on their site, maximize those resources first before committing to creating something new, because the turnaround time on results is much shorter,” said Bentz.
The stress for authentic content is why Eugene Farber from Buzzergy Marketing believes technical, on-page SEO is more important than ever.
“This is obviously partially due to Google’s algorithm changes/improvements, but I think it’s also driven by increased competition in the SEO space,” said Farber. “If it’s appropriate for your business (i.e., you have a local business), this is something you should be 100% in on.”
Farber says he’s seen many people get flustered because technical SEO decreases organic traffic to certain pages. “But I don’t think it signals the apocalypse that I’ve read about so many times,” he said. “And at the end of the day, SEO should be a part of a well-rounded marketing strategy.”
Jim Bernthal from TopFloor suggests simplifying your approach by breaking it down in three parts: messaging, core search profile, and content marketing.
“Sometimes companies jump on the content marketing bandwagon and lose site of the importance of their messaging and their core product and services search profile,” said Bernthal. “Core search may not be as exciting as content marketing but when it gets the proper attention it can make all of the difference in the world.”
Social Media And Live Video
The number of users and brands using live video on social media platforms has increased significantly since this feature was introduced on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. But live video hasn’t ended there.
Streaming sites like Youtube and Twitch have added new features that give users the ability to interact with those on camera. These features take the social atmosphere of being live to a new level of user interaction.
What does this mean for SEO? It means a shift in video marketing.
Internet speeds have been improving globally. Users now have the ability to take live video anywhere. Your business can capture events in real-time and give your audience the chance to interact with you instantly.
“We’ve been hearing more and more questions about YouTube and video marketing,” said Hernan Charry from Split One. “While isn’t new in the grand scheme, our clients tend to be smaller, locally focused businesses, and it is new for them to be asking.”
Video marketing is digital marketing technique that many brands ought to be taking advantage of in 2019. More and more users are streaming videos about sports, video games, and podcasts, making video marketing one of the most popular digital marketing strategies right now.
That said, SEO has come a long way and it’ll keep marching along to new strategies and techniques with optimization in mind.
“Trends are not stationary or stagnant,” said Mike Fox of Splash Design Works. “They constantly change and always evolve. When you’ve tackled a strategy, time to get up and learn the next one!”