Digital marketing is very complex and always in constant flux. Small business owners want to find and reach their ideal customer and Google algorithm updates make that incredibly challenging. We’ve reached out to digital marketing experts and consultants who focus on professional web design to ask them what trends to expect in 2019 and how small business owners can navigate through algo updates.
Create Engaging Content
“One of the tactics that have been getting us great results for our clients is creating content that thoroughly covers a topic. To do this we create content that answers all of the available questions about a topic relevant to our client’s business,” says Mike Archer of Magnetic Strategy.
“We always use data to back up our content. You can get this data and plenty of questions from using resources like AnswerThePublic.com, KeywordTool.io, and general longtail keyword research. You can also get some great ideas from extracting the questions from the “People Also Ask” (Related Questions) box right in the serps.
Then combine them into a long-form piece of content with great usability. Works great.”
Ethan of novi.digital pick up where Mike leaves off. “We would recommend that digital marketers focus more on users and meeting their needs and expectations, rather than worrying about algorithmic updates to search engines. Produce good quality, useful content to meet the demands that users have. Aim to answer questions, provide unique insight and add value. Do not forget outreach, links back to your site should still play a vital role in your SEO strategy. Finally technical requirements need to be taken into account: Mobile First, Page Speed and standard technical requirements such as sitemaps, robots.txt, no Crawl Errors and Structured Data are still super important to having success.”
Chad at digitalskyrocket.com has a great strategy to help Google understand the purpose of each page. “We have rebuilt a number of local service provider websites for which Google showed the wrong page in certain SERPS (e.g. instead of showing the A/C Repair page in the SERPS for “ac repair,” Google shows the homepage). We tried everything—meticulous on-page SEO, internal linking & high-quality backlinking with relevant anchor text, etc.—, but nothing has more effectively gotten Google to rank the right pages than adding keyword-rich FAQs to those pages (e.g. adding FAQs to the A/C Repair page).”
Ray Cheselka of webFEAT Complete echoes sentiments around strong content. “In 2019 it has been all about fresh, searcher focused content, links, and quality site structure/hierarchy. If you’re creating quality content, getting links pointed to your site, and creating a user friendly website that strategically links internally and satisfies a searchers query—you’re setup for success.”
An effective strategy to create long form content is to consolidate existing content into a larger piece says Igor Kholkin of Avidon Marketing Group. “One of the most effective strategies in 2019 has been consolidating existing asset value. We’ve cleaned up thousands of pages of content this year for our clients, consolidating smaller/poorly performing pieces into large authoritative guides that rank well for hundreds of keywords. The long-form guides not only provide a better value to the reader, but it’s also far easier to pitch them for link building purposes.”
Spend Time Crafting Content
“More and more, I find myself recommending the same things that Google does,” says Zach Perlman of Web Genius Consulting. “Spend a little more time crafting high quality content and less on SEO tricks. Having quality content means you wont need to spend as much effort on things like begging for backlinks. And you wont lose any peace of mind stressing over risky SEO tricks.”
Evan Hoeflich of Evan Hoeflich Marketing talks about the importance of long-form style content. “To me the most effective SEO strategy in 2019 has been crafting comprehensive and long-form style content. This type of content really tends to rank well in Google since it generally covers a subject in its entirety and provides the reader with an immense amount of value. Try to weave in more detailed articles (of at least 1,000 words or more) into your overall content generation strategy moving forward. This can be an excellent way to gain more traction and exposure in the search results.”
Alen Kevorkian of Live Web Media extols the importance of brand-building for improving your search presence. Alen states “If you want to be king (basically No.1) on Googles radar, then you need to be telling a story about your brand, and have a reputation to back it.”
AI And Machine Learning
“One of the major drivers for digital marketing in the near-future will be access to AI and machine learning,” describes Brendan Hufford of Clique Studioes. “We’re already seeing it have a massive impact in the world of PPC bidding, and as were starting to see blogs completely written by AI (and undetectable by human readers) I expect to see it start to play into SEO as well.”
Zach Bradshaw at greensboroseopro.com has an insightful take on the impact of Yext’s partnership with Alexas. “We think Alexas partnership with Yext will cripple their ability to compete with Google Talk for local voice searches. Google factors in data from many directories and other online sources to avoid taking blame for users calling the wrong number or following directions to the wrong address. Though many of these directories are dying (like Acxioms my business manager), the multi-layered local search ecosystem developed out of necessity. Though it may excell for retail-centric queries, Amazons Alexa is destined to play second fiddle to “OK, Google” when it comes to local search.”
Keith Heavilin at yellowfindigital.com advises fellow industry professionals to pay attention to voice search and local SEO in 2019. “SEO strategies in 2019? SEO is ever-changing with new innovative techniques constantly being developed. The success of SEO mostly depends upon how well your website renders user experience while adhering to the algorithms run by search engines. Here are a couple of our top SEO strategies for 2019:”
1. Voice Search – By 2020, almost 50% of online searches will be conducted through voice. Creating content relevant to voice search is a top priority.
2. Local SEO – Great Local SEO strategy is more important than ever with 97% of consumers using the internet to find local businesses.
Define Your Target Market
“When I started my social media marketing consultancy in 2011, Instagram and Snapchat didnt even exist,” states Giselle Aguiar of AZ Social Media Wiz. “For me, “trends” come and go. Any business wanting to compete in today’s social world needs to first and foremost clearly define their target market(s) then research to see where and how to best reach them with the right content. If you don’t understand your target markets pain points and figure out how your product or service will alleviate them, you wont succeed. Once you’ve got that, then you can develop strategic and tactical plans with the details on which networks, what type of content (blogs, videos, podcasts or graphics) will best get their attention. Social Media + Content Marketing = Search Engine Optimization (SEO). They all work together. However, without understanding who you’re trying to reach, they wont work at all.”
Look Beyond Google
“The biggest trend is where companies go beyond Google,” says Sergios Charalambous of SoftwareCY. “While Google is the leading search engine, other platforms like Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter are becoming search engines as well. Think of a product like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri. Therefore, SEO specialists must incorporate these platforms in their strategy. Another trend we are seeing is about voice search. This has been popularized by the smart speaker devices.”
Ensure Your Website is ADA-Compliant
“ADA-compliant/website accessibility lawsuits increased 177% in 2018, with an even greater increase expected for 2019, says Roger Hicks of Electrum Branding. “To protect our clients from lawsuits, Electrum Branding has launched AvenueADA, a quick, cost-effective website accessibility solution that is powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI). In addition to reducing the risk of lawsuits, our clients can dramatically increase the number of users who can access and easily navigate their websites. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
Google Local Services
“If you’re handling digital marketing for clients who provide local services, the biggest trend to keep an eye on – if you aren’t already – is Google Local Services,” says Rachel Betterbid of Coalmarch. “These ads are displayed ahead of traditional PPC ads and are based on a users search – but unlike PPC, you aren’t paying per click; you’re paying per lead. As a local service-based business, its a great way to establish authority because if you go through the qualification steps, you get a badge that says “Google Guaranteed.” It’s also a great way to generate cost effective leads because the cost per leads are low and also static – they dont change and range anywhere from $30-$60 depending on the region/industry. Because these ads are the first thing that appear on a SERP, its a great way to capture as many local searches as possible without having to pay an arm and a leg for high CPCs. The only downfall? Much of Google Local Services appears to still be in beta for Google – so there’s a lot of kinks to the onboarding process.”
“My number 1 SEO tip is to look at competitors for a phrase you want to rank. Check their content, backlink profile and do better,” adds Jacek Wieczorek of Pulno.