It’s 2019. Lots of new stuff to look forward to. And one thing that has not changed. SEO keeps changing, every day, and not just because Google seems to keep shifting the goalposts but because web users are changing the way they search for information and their preferences about what they want to see. So, even though you may have read a half a dozen articles recently about how SEO is dying (someone writes one of those at least once a week. According to some SEO has been dying since 2010 (or maybe 2009) and here it is still going strong…
While no one can quite predict what Google and the other search engines might have in store for 2019 there are some definite trends that you should not only be keeping an eye on but actively working on in order to ‘win’ at SEO in 2019 and get your website into the best possible position to do its job. Here is a look at some of the most important of them.
Last year, in August, Google unleashed one of their famous (notorious?) “broad core algorithm updates” and it quickly had quite an impact. Rand Fishkin of MOZ nicknamed it Google Medic, not because it seemed to impact healthcare sites more than others (which, despite what you might have read it really didn’t) but it certainly did seem to indicate that Google was worried about content quality again.
Many SEO experts are speculating that Google’s broad core algorithm update – whatever you want to call it – has something to do with a more advanced ability to evaluate how much websites are meeting the company’s E-A-T standards. Not to be confused with culinary expectations, this acronym stands for Expertise – Authoritativeness – Trustworthiness. After the August update, as Twitter was flooded with worried web owners wondering how this would impact their SEO, Google’s Search Liaison Danny Sullivan wrote: “Want to do better with a broad change? Have great content.” It’s as simple as that.
And it seems it really is. Good, engaging content that offers real value and can back up any assertions and advice it gives with verifiable expertise and facts. So in 2019, the focus of your content marketing efforts should be on producing the highest possible quality content you can, even if it means producing a little less of it (for example, one really great 1,000 word post every two weeks instead of three 350 word blogs a week)
Get Ready for Voice Search
Do you have an Amazon Echo or Google Home in your home or office? Do you use them – or Siri or Cortana on your phone? If you don’t you are rapidly becoming part of a minority as voice search has exploded over the last 12-18 months.
As more people use the spoken, rather than the typed, word to search for all kinds of information the way you optimize your website for voice search has to change too. As clever as they are AIs draw their information from search engine listings, just like you do.
But they are reacting to spoken queries, queries that make use of different language than written searches do.
One of the best ways to do this is to include LSI (long tailed) keywords that better reflect human speech. And many will be in the form of questions. Not sure how to do that? Sites like Quora can be very helpful as they reflect the way people ask questions about all kinds of topics and these answers can be a great resource for the kinds of LSI keywords you need to rank higher in voice search.
Optimize for Featured Snippets
In addition to optimizing for your own website, you must also optimize for the Google search experience in 2019. Answer boxes, recipes, the knowledge graph and carousels are taking bigger and bigger bites out of the rates of organic traffic that even the top web pages on page one of a Google search gain if they are not featured in one of these new ‘searcher friendly’ innovations.
Achieving these positions is not easy, it can be a complicated process that takes more than a little bit of work, especially as, as usual, Google have revealed very little about how they choose featured snippets and content for their mobile carousels. It’s certainly something we’ve been working on at Pearl Lemon for our clients over the last twelve months so if you are interested in getting your content into those ‘hot spots’ in 2019 feel free to give us a call.
A lot is talked about, written about and discussed about off site SEO and the use of keywords, rich media etc to create search engine and user friendly content. What is discussed far less often is ensuring that your website itself is friendly to those parties as well, and that, in 2019, means getting a little more technical than ever before.
A website that has a great technical SEO profile has worked on a lot of different things (which is why, we assume, Google rewards these sites in the SERPs) Not sure what’s going on with your site behind the scenes or where you should even start when trying to make things better, therefore giving your SEO efforts – and your website’s effectiveness – a huge boost? A technical SEO audit is the answer.
What should such an audit cover? In 2019 these factors and more:
A check for Google penalties (many site owners have never done this)
- A check on how a website’s pages are currently appearing in search
- A check of your permalink structure and how friendly your urls really are.
- A check of the security levels of your website
- Checking and optimizing robots txt files
- Checking content for SEO friendly elements like H1, H2 headings, images with alt text etc.
- Checking basic site navigation and for page errors and bad redirects
- Checking for broken links
- Checking for toxic backlinks from other sites
All sounds like a lot? It kind of is, but there are a lot of great tools aout there to help you – SEMRush and Ahrefs are just two of the resources we use and can recommend – and if you need help the technical SEO team here at Pearl Lemon are always willing to step in and take this rather large undertaking off your hands.
These are just a few of the trends we are seeing right now for SEO in 2019. As the year progresses there will certainly be many more. And while Google – and SEO – are unpredictable sometimes the one thing that is not is that the Pearl Lemon team will be on top of them all, so check back here frequently for the latest news, trends and tips all year long.