SEO is a fast paced & dynamic process, which requires you to be well informed & well versed with the latest trends. Because if you are not, it might become frustrating & overwhelming. SEO has become more complex as we move forward because of the algorithmic changes & technological advancements that Google undergoes.
We will not be telling you some lame predictions about “SEO in 2019” but we will be focusing on strategies that you can implement now & see results.
1. Google’s RankBrain & UX Signals
In 2018, Google announced that RankBrain is their 3rd most important ranking factor. Now the question is what is Rankbrain & how to optimize for it? RankBrain helps Google sort out its search results. It carefully analyzes the user interaction with a search result & then conveys its observations to Google to improve result on that particular search query.
For example, if I you searched for Skincare routine & you get the following results. Result No. 3 gains your attention & you click on it. You like the article as it provides all the information you were searching.
RankBrain takes a note of this & will give a boost to its rankings. Similarly, it will note that search result no.1 & 2 are not getting clicks & Google will boot it from its top position.
Now, supposedly we clicked on a particular result but found that it was not worth reading. Google will definitely take a notice of this & boot it from its position.
Concluding, RankBrain focuses on 2 things.
- The time a user spends on a particular webpage.
- The number of clicks a webpage receives.
This brings in our other strategy which involves focusing on CTR.
2. Simple Hacks to improve the Click-Through-Rate
We all know that headlines which are emotional & relatable get the most Click throughs. But the question is how to formulate such headlines. Well, the best & proven way to write a headline that turns heads is this title template which has been devised by studying the most engaging articles on the internet.
Now after headlines, your description tags need equal attention & love. Yes, you need to use “Power Words” to make your description enticing.
URLs are often overlooked though play an important role in creating that first impression which brings a user to your website. Descriptive URLs which clearly reflect the content of a page gather 25% more clicks than generic URLs according to Microsoft. Therefore, it is important to structure your URL’s effectively.
3. Optimize for Voice Search
The use of smart phones & smart assistants like Alexa & Siri are quite popular. Latest study shows that 20% of the queries on Android are via voice search. This clearly reflects the growing importance of optimizing your business for voice search.
Good news is that if you are employing SEO best practices, it will work for voice search too. One important factor while optimizing for voice search is to focus on Long tail keywords & conversational words rather than typed words.
It is important you know how your audience speaks about your products & services. Long tail keywords are cheaper & tend to have better click through rates.
You can create a FAQ page with all the possible questions, your customer may/does ask. It will help you in voice searches & drive massive traffic to your website.
4. Featured Snippet
According to SEMrush, 11.3% of all search results now have a Featured Snippet. And they steal a lot of clicks too. Now the question is how to get your content ranked for this lucrative spot.
The 1st step is to find keywords that you rank for on the 1st page. The reason being that if you don’t rank on the 1st page, the opportunity to get featured is not available.
The next step is to find out which keywords that you rank for have a featured snippet. You don’t need to manually do the searches. Ahrefs Organic Keyword Report helps you do this swiftly.
The final step is to create Snippet Bait. Now this is the 40-60 word content block that is designed specifically to rank your content in the Featured Snippet spot.
Featured Snippets have 3 types of content. Paragraph, list & table.
Hubspot takes it to another level by creating actual snippet boxes in its content which immediately get picked up by Google.
Featured Snippets are an ideal way to rank your content on the top of Google. Don’t miss out on this wonderful opportunity.
5. Optimize for Google’s Mobile first Indexing
We have already mentioned that mobile use is prevalent & most of the searches that take place are via mobile. Therefore, Google considers the mobile version of the website as the True version.
In order to optimize your website for Google’s mobile first index, you need to ensure that the content is consistent across the desktop & the mobile. Some people tend to disable certain features in their mobile version for easy loading of the page. But it is not the correct way. Instead of removing features, we need to make the design attributes responsive. This means that the banner will have the ability to resize as per the device it is being viewed.
Now In order to test if your website is mobile friendly or not, there are many free tools available. Google Mobile Friendly Test gives you a very comprehensive review of the possible errors & how to rectify them.
You can also check out the Mobile Usability Report at Google’s Search Console. It evidently displays pages which are not mobile friendly & how to rectify them.
6. Evergreen In-depth Content
Earlier this year BuzzSumo analyzed 100 million articles.
What did they find?
First, the bad news:
- The average blog post gets a grand total of FOUR total social media shares
- Facebook traffic is down 50% since 2015
- 70% of all online content gets ZERO backlinks
- Pageviews are down across the board
Now for the good news:
Certain TYPES of content are killing it right now.
As BuzzSumo founder Steve Rayon concluded from his research:
“The majority of content gets zero backlinks but authoritative research and reference content continues to gain links. In particular, authoritative evergreen content consistently gains shares and links over time.”
This indicates that long form content needs to be evergreen & authoritative. Writing articles on a topic that resonate with you receive engagement immediately. Secondly provide as much detail as possible with references & examples as it proves that you know your stuff.
It’s even better if you can quote your own experiences & examples. People love to read & engage with content that displays the story of a human being & not an encyclopedia. Therefore, it is important that you understand your audience & write for them & not TO THEM.
LSI keywords is also another important tool that helps your content in ranking. These keywords or phrases strongly associate with your page’s topic & provide Google hints about the context of the article.
For example let’s say you published an article on Digital Marketing. LSI keywords would be terms like:
- Digital Marketing strategy
- Digital Marketing company
- Digital Marketing services
- Digital Marketing projects
Now how to find the most appropriate set of LSI keywords. Google’s Keyword Planner is an excellent resource a sit not only tells you relevant keywords but also their volume. This will give you a clear insight on choosing the best possible keywords.
There is also another nifty little tool called LSI Graph. It allows you to generate a list of LSI keywords that you can add in your content & optimize it easily.
7. Video Content
Consumption of video content has increased savagely over the past few years. Below statistics show this more clearly.
Despite the fact that there are more videos out there than ever, HubSpot states that 43% of people want to see MORE video content.
If video isn’t part of your digital marketing plans this year, you’re missing out. Here’s how to take advantage of video’s SEO benefits this year.
Harness the power of YouTube and get insane reach for your video content. Since Google owns YouTube. It prefers showing YouTube results often. In fact, sometimes Google even displays massive video snippets, if they match the keyword in the search query.
Now one important aspect is to embed these videos in your long form content. This would increase the dwell time of your content considerably. More dwell time means rank boosting. Higher rank means higher traffic.
Concluding in order to stay on the 1st page in 2019, you need to focus on voice search optimization, comprehensive & authoritative long form content, video content etc. Not only this, but you need to make your website mobile friendly too. If you want to conquer Google’s Rankbrain, you need to increase your CTR & focus on ways to get users to spend time on your website. Apart from this, add featured snippet content which provides value & information to people. All in all, if you ensure the implementation of the above strategies, nobody can stop you gaining the No. 1 position in 2019.