When it comes to SEO, marketers always need to be on their toes. Trends change rapidly and it’s important to keep up so search engine rankings don’t fall. So what do some of the industry’s leading experts expect to see this year regarding SEO? Let’s take a look.
Links Continue to Matter
One major aspect of SEO is links — whether it’s internal links, backlinking, or acquiring links from other sites, links continue to be a key part of successful SEO.
According to Korey Kashmer of Kashmer Interactive, building a better quality link graph is going to be a major focus of 2019. Kashmer explains, “What is the link graph? Its the concept of looking at the portfolio of inbound links to your website and making sure that landscape is diverse yet relevant and valuable. Inbound links have been the way of SEO for years and conversation around link quality has also been around for years… It’s clear that Google continues to push harder on more relational and relevant link building tactics.”
And Matt O’Grady from Harmonia Media echoes similar sentiments about backlinking.
“The power of a strong backlinking program should never be underestimated. These links are important in determining the popularity (or importance) of your website with Google. Not embracing a backlinking strategy is like leaving free money on the table.
When all is said and done, to rev up your SEO game, you must know two things: what’s in your toolbox and, perhaps more importantly, what do you do with those tools? Being honest with yourself about which tools you know how to use properly so your time and effort yields maximum ROI.
Being honest with yourself assumes, by the way, that you know , and can admit, what you don’t know. If you can’t fully attend to your SEO strategy, partner with a professional digital marketing team that can, and will — at a price you can’t afford not to engage.”
And Matt Brooks from SEOteric agrees that links are becoming increasingly important, along with ranking factors like structured data and site structure. Brooks talks about a study the company recently conducted saying, “we found that compared to all other single factors, the one thing that most strongly correlated to increasing rankings was how many factors you were able to influence in a positive way. Technical SEO is becoming more important, as is the need for content that better answers the search query. I think as SEO continues to evolve, you’ll continue to see an increase in things like schema and structured data implementation, internal linking, page and site structure, and link acquisition continue to move the needle. Structured data will continue to increase in importance as Google shows more and more SERPs features.”
Seeing More Personalized and Longer Content
Providing audiences with strong content is something all businesses should strive for. And Stoney deGeyter from The Karcher Group thinks content needs to focus more on what the audience really wants, saying, “Content will be developed for increasingly smaller segments of an audience base, focused even more on specific needs, goals, and desires. There will be a greater push to ensure that landing pages align more closely with visitor goals and interests in order to not waste an ounce of traffic.”
Along with creating content for audience needs, Chris Everett of Captivate Search Marketing says content needs to meet the search expectations of consumers. “SEO always requires a multi-layered approach for success. In 2019, SEOs should continue to focus on users and helping to serve up content that aligns with the expectations of their search intent. You can also bank on the increased importance of technical SEO factors such as structured data, site speed, and AMP,” Everett explains.
And Pat Ahern from Junto Digital says content needs to be longer for users to really get the information they’re looking for. Ahern clarifies, “The most effective SEO strategies in 2019 will find their foundation in long-form, highly-actionable blog content, mixed with adherence to Google’s increased focus on EAT (expert, authority, and trust). The average first-page results on Google is 1,890 words, according to a 2016 study. In July 2018, Google heavily emphasized the importance of EAT in its Search Quality Guidelines report. All of this points in the direction that Google favors long-form content over shorter content, and is pushing content from reputable sources to the top of search engines.”
Luke Van Der Veer of digiflymarketing.com is also beating the long-form content drum. “The most effective strategy so far in 2019 has been combining pages that target similar keywords into a single “power page.” This turns a bunch of short, lower quality pages into one substantial page that’s long enough to allow all your target keyword variations to be added in naturally. Add a few strong backlinks to the power page and it can potentially rank for hundreds of keywords.”
But content doesn’t just have to be on websites and blogs — Michael Michalski from Drift2 Solutions encourages creators to explore a variety of platforms. As stated by Michalski, “SEO in 2019 is more than just ranking first on SERPs. Optimize wherever your audience is; whether a video, podcast, app or web page, the goal in 2019 is to show up where people are searching. Find out where your audience is searching, create valuable content on those platforms, and continually optimize. Ultimately, SEO will be about the entire search experience and providing an optimized search experience through web, app, voice, or whatever technology becomes used for search.”
Go Back to the Basics
In an increasingly complex digital world, it can be all too easy to get caught up in complicated SEO strategies. But sometimes, going back to the basics can be enough.
Johnny Digges from Symmetric says you can’t be successful without having mastered the basics first. “SEO trends can be great but you have to get the basics correct first. Keyword research and onsite optimization must be the foundation of any SEO strategy,” Digges explains.
And Jenny Green of Fisher Green Creative says something as simple as having a human touch to marketing efforts can make a major difference. Green says, “As search engines become more and more sophisticated, it will be critical for brands to add a human touch to their marketing efforts. An authentic and personal approach will help businesses stand out to their actual human customers, but will also pass the test of the advancing AI search algorithms.”
Something as simple as being mindful of the relationship and conversations companies are having with their audience is crucial. Julia Eudy from Golden Services Group explains, “Paying closer attention to the digital conversation you are having with your audience is key in determining how and where to improve your online marketing strategy. In my personal experience, the data sets the stage for the story; but its how well you truly listen to what your audience is saying, or not saying, by their actions is where data psychology can really impact performance results.”
Daniel Gallegly of Attractional Marketing urges SEO’s to not overlook strategy and tactics as being one of the most important parts of any successful SEO campaign. “One of the biggest trends we are seeing in regards to Digital Marketing is how much confusion that business owners are experiencing in trying to decide which type of digital marketing strategy is best for their specific business. There are so many digital options to choose from they feel overwhelmed.”
Exploring New Platforms and Technology
With audiences branching out to different platforms for information, it’s important for marketers to ensure they’re providing information on various platforms. Taylor Watters of Watts Media says videos and connected TV are becoming increasingly popular, saying “Connected TV is the future of television. This year, roughly 70% of U.S. internet users will consume subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) content every month. There are no doubts the data is saying Gen Xers and Baby Boomers are listening to the Millennial recommendations to cut cable and adopt subscription video services; this is driving over-the-top (OTT) entertainment adoption and programmatic advertising capabilities.”
And Roger Sievers from Sievers Creative claims that more and more companies are focusing most of their marketing in the digital realms, explaining, “We’re seeing more and more small businesses making the jump from traditional marketing to digital. Not just tip-towing in anymore, but in many cases allocating the majority of their marketing budget to digital, and it’s working out very well for them.”
Exploring new technologies, like automation options, can be helpful regarding managing marketing campaigns as well. According to Mark Subel from Two Wheels Marketing, “The biggest trend we see as practitioners in PPC and Paid Social is the continued move towards more automation in campaign management – from bidding to ad creation to overall optimization. Each platform (Google, Bing, Facebook) continues to come out with features to automate campaign management and optimizations.”
As you can see, there are a lot of exciting SEO trends and tactics being seen across a variety of platforms. Which SEO trend do you think you’ll try this year?