Whether you are a large enterprise, small business, entrepreneur, or just starting a new website, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a continuous investment towards keeping your site top of mind for your clients, and search engines alike. Yet, in an increasingly competitive online market and countless rollouts each year, how do you know where to place your focus?
Fortunately, search engine rollouts are continuously working to reward accurate and comprehensive sites to filter them out from the sites serving less trustworthy information. More and more search engines are bringing the simplest and most reliable information it has available to its searchers. This is facilitated by artificial intelligence (AI) and big data that anticipate the needs and wants of searchers by learning their search tendencies.
Therefore, building your site with a simple and comprehensive structure is the way to go. To get the most from your organic search results in 2019, you need to facilitate the level of accessibility of your site to both users and search engines from before the search query to even after the conversion. There are many technical tools and more creative elements that function to achieve this, which will be discussed here.
Local SEO for Services and Products
Due to the rapid adoption of mobile search and voice search, increasingly searchers will specify a location in addition to their original query. If you are providing local services or selling products to a local market, a major focus should be to optimize for local SEO. This includes optimizing for user experience and reachability with your local clients on your site and third-party local platforms.
Given the recent increase in rollouts of local search features, local SEO may undergo a transformation in 2019, perhaps even further diversifying existing local ranking factors. Not to mention, there is a growing trend amongst consumers seeking local products and services. Knowing this, new local search rollout should be on your radar. Not only do local search features make it easier for clients to better see your business offerings at a glance, but new features also give them the option to transact with your business without even having to visit your site!
For example, in recent months there have been numerous updates by Google for local packs, including Google my Business (GMB) updates, suggesting that there are more to come. Some new local features include a “Schedule” or “Book” button to make an appointment directly on a local pack, without having to visit the website. Moreover, a new GMB feature in beta includes the option to list your products.
Similarly, for queries mentioning consumer goods, a “sold here” highlight is added to listing locations that offer the product on their site. Lastly, another useful rollout on Google Maps allows users of the app to follow local businesses to receive updates about GMB posts, events, and more. The “For You” feature will also recommend local businesses based on top-rated places, previous visits, and businesses followed.
These rollouts suggest that local SEO is going beyond ensuring that your site and other platforms are optimized for local keywords. The focus for local SEO in 2019 should include ensuring that users have instant visibility on your products and services across multiple convenient channels. Investments could also be made in keeping local platforms up to date and also sharing your site content with these platforms to make them more accessible. Additionally, more than ever, users should be given the option to transact with your business within one or two clicks.
Depending on your industry and client base demographics, searchers use a variety of search engines to find what they need. SEO includes the optimization of all search engines, which means it is not exclusive to Google. Notably, search engines like Amazon, Twitch, Bing, Yahoo, Youtube, and so on. Websites, products, and service offers can be optimized in order to help you achieve your digital marketing goals.
In the case of Amazon search, it is vital for e-commerce businesses to optimize their storefronts and products given that Amazon is now being used more frequently than Google for product searches. Note that each search engine has their own algorithms and will serve organic results in their own unique way. Nonetheless, conventional SEO best practices still apply. For more information on Amazon SEO, consult us here.
By optimizing for different search engines you are working towards improving your organic search performance, credibility, visibility, and your online competitive edge.
Topic Optimization (Not Keyword Optimization)
When it comes to content marketing, often the go-to method when creating content is doing some keyword research across short and long-tail words, and then sprinkling them across the web page. Given the direction SEO trends in 2019, this method is taking into consideration only one piece of the puzzle.
Google is now taking a more semantic approach to understanding content which goes far beyond keyword performance. For instance, with the help of AI, Google is learning synonyms for words and queries in a similar way the human brain does: by building topic maps, with a technique referred to as neural matching. This means that Google is increasingly going to serve results that are related to the topic of a query, thus not exclusively based on the keywords that are entered. This also helps to ensure that organic results are the most pertinent and up to date, as new content will be crawled and indexed to provide the best information on a topic.
Given Google’s approach to understanding content, it is vital that the content you create on your site is both concise, yet fresh and exhaustive on numerous topics. Search engines will serve results to queries and questions that provide an instant answer. On the other hand, knowing that Google is taking a more topic-based approach, your site needs to include quality content with comprehensive information on the given topic. Therefore, when creating content in 2019, a major focus should be to work on creating this balance between being an online expert on a topic and providing useful bits of instant information for search engines.
In order to highlight the most important components of your content, if you are not already doing so, adding schema to your site will help guide search engines to this information. Additionally, if you would like to apply this to existing content on your site, it is recommended to improve your content, instead of removing it.
How to Prepare for Future Search Engine Updates
The best way to prepare for new updates is to have knowledge of passed rollouts and ranking factors to give you a better idea of what to expect. More specifically, be aware of the rollouts that affected your industry directly. In doing so, you can get insights into how to optimize your site and also get your site up to date.
Another useful way to prepare for future search engines updates is to ensure your site is built with stronger SEO than the majority of other sites in your industry. That is, complete a competitive analysis with similar sites on a regular basis. If needed, improve your site in order to remain competitive. By completing the aforementioned you are being proactive in the case that an update occurs. You will be aware of your industry’s online landscape and most likely be in a better position to take any actions. Then, if need be, you will be better prepared to make adjustments.
How to Approach SEO in 2019
For best results moving into the new year, think about building your site like you are teaching your business to someone who is new to the industry. The site structure should communicate the purpose of the business at first glance. And, don’t forget these important points:
- Diversify your SEO investment on more than one search engine
- Use multiple external platforms to support your site to provide an intuitive user experience: i.e. easy appointment booking platforms, search engines with user-friendly displays, and notably social media platforms.
- Create content with a focus on specific topics rather than on specific keywords in a concise yet exhaustive manner, across your site. Include basic to advanced levels of information in a logical and easy to digest format.
In essence, think about SEO as your opportunity to continually reinvent and set the bar for your industry online. Aim to influence the way search engines and clients experience your business.
If you are seeking SEO services or an SEO strategy for improving your organic search results contact us for more information.
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