SEO has long been a critical part of most marketing strategies. But best practices are always shifting to keep pace with changes to Google’s search algorithm and ranking system, among other things. Take a look at these four SEO strategies to help you find ways to improve your SEO tactics and stay competitive in 2019.
1. Build a Foundation with Quality Content and Links
While there are plenty of intriguing new tactics to attract your attention, don’t forget to build a solid foundation for SEO with quality content and links.
Content marketing and link building are nothing new, but they remain critical ongoing strategies for any website. In fact, in 2016, one of Google’s Search Quality Senior Strategists named content and links their two most important ranking factors.
How Do You Create Quality Content?
Focus on making content your users actually want and can easily consume. When writing blog posts, for example, consider developing long-form posts that comprehensively cover the topic at hand. Make sure these posts are organized clearly into small, digestible pieces. And never sacrifice readability for the sake of your keywords—it’s not worth driving away your readers, which will ultimately hurt your ranking.
How Can You Get Quality Links?
This goes hand in hand with creating quality content. Once you have valuable content to offer, you can work to get it shared on other websites. Look for other creative ways to share your value with others and gain links along the way, such as guest blogging or guest appearing on podcasts.
2. Diversify with Videos, Images, or Data
Text is indispensable. From website copy to blogs, text likely forms the foundation of your content, and it’s important to continue creating valuable, optimized, text-based content.
But by 2019, you should also be diversifying with other high-performing content. Original videos, images, and data are all excellent forms of content to create and use for SEO.
Why Is Video Important for SEO?
HubSpot found that, on average, people report watching 1.5 hours of video content per day. In addition, over 70% of consumers prefer video about a product or service over text, and more than 80% would potentially share a video they found enjoyable.
Overwhelmingly, people want to watch videos, which makes them exactly the kind of quality content you should be creating. Not only can videos be used to add attractive content to your website, blog posts, and social media—they can also give you more opportunities appear in searches on both Google and YouTube.
How Can Images Help SEO?
While video is an excellent way to diversify your content marketing, it’s only worthwhile if you can invest in quality video production. Images, however, can be made faster, easier, and on a smaller budget—with many of the same great benefits as video.
Photos, graphics, and other images are engaging. If an article includes images, it receives 94% more views than articles without images. Infographics, meanwhile, have been shown to increase website traffic by 12%.
Images are powerful, and the demand for images from consumers means there is also a constant demand for quality images from other content producers. If you create quality, custom photography, graphics, or infographics that are easy to share, you can also capitalize on that demand to get your name out there and receive links back to your website.
How Can You Use Data to Create Content?
Just like quality imagery, relevant and trustworthy data is always in demand. Google rewards content that is accurate and authoritative, which is why blog posts and articles so frequently reference and link back to data on other websites. If you become one of those websites, you should receive an influx of backlinks.
3. Optimize for Amazon and YouTube
Google is the number one search engine in the world. Net Marketshare shows Google receiving over 70% of searches worldwide as of December 2018. Accordingly, it receives (and deserves) a large portion of our SEO efforts.
But there are other websites receiving a significant number of searches as well that are not to be ignored. While Amazon and YouTube are not strictly search engines, users are performing a great deal of searches there, and businesses should take advantage.
How Do You Optimize for Amazon Search?
If you sell products on Amazon, start investing in listing optimization in 2019 so your product listings will rank higher and sell better. This involves everything from including the right keywords to taking the right photos.
Start by updating your product listings with accurate information and high-quality photos that follow current best practices, so these listings will be optimized for users who reach them. Then work on your keyword strategy to bring even more users to these optimized listings.
How Do You Optimize for YouTube Search?
Video is an increasingly important part of marketing, and nearly any company that can afford it should be investing in making quality videos in 2019. A big part of nearly any video marketing strategy should be optimizing for YouTube.
As with Amazon listing optimization, video optimization involves learning about how to optimize for YouTube’s algorithm and users. Start by making sure your content appeals to viewers and encourages them to watch, like, comment, or subscribe. Adhere to any best practices for YouTube, such as optimal video length.
Once you’re producing relevant, quality content, increase your efforts to promote your videos and develop a keyword strategy to help even more users find and enjoy your content.
4. Make the Most of First Page Rankings
Ranking on the first page of Google is critical. Moz found that over 70% of clicks go to first page results, and Forbes reports the share of clicks may be as high as 92%. But your work doesn’t end there.
You need to maintain your ranking on the first page and try to get even closer to the top. In 2019, this means learning how RankBrain measures user activity on search results, trying to rank in Featured Snippets, and optimizing your content for voice search.
What Is RankBrain, and How Does it Work?
RankBrain is a machine learning system that is part of Google’s algorithm for ranking search results. It considers Dwell Time, or the length of time users remain on your page, and your click-through rate.
If more people click on your page in the search results and spend time on your page, then your ranking should improve. At the same time, if you get on the first page and users are not clicking on your page, or they leave your page shortly after clicking on it, then you can expect to see your ranking drop.
Make sure your page contains high-quality, relevant content that satisfies users’ searches and keeps them on the page. To improve your page, consider adding a useful video, or take a look at the pages ranking above you to see what they have that you don’t, as well as what they lack that you could provide.
How Can You Rank for Featured Snippets?
Featured Snippets are the boxes of information that sometimes appear in search results above the organic results. These Snippets can be formatted as paragraphs, lists, or tables.
The first step to appearing in a Featured Snippet is ranking on the first page for a search term that has a Featured Snippet. Then, add or adapt content on your page to make it more likely to appear as a Featured Snippet. Be sure to format it so it best fits the right Featured Snippet format—paragraph, list, or table—as well.
How Do You Optimize for Voice Search?
As more and more people search with voice devices, such as Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Siri, it becomes increasingly important to optimize for voice search.
While users have learned to adapt searches online for search engines, voice searches tend to be longer and more conversational, as if we’re asking an actual human a question. When targeting long-tail keywords, consider questions users are asking. Take advantage of these and other strategies to start optimizing your content for voice search.
Need Help with SEO in 2019?
If you’re ready to improve your SEO, contact the professionals at Online Optimism today.