Consumers are increasingly turning to Google to get answers to their questions, trusting that they will get the right response. The trust consumers are placing in Google means that they are not only searching Google for answers to questions but also searching for information and new products. This presents businesses an opportunity to reach a much larger digital audience via Google. The catch however is that you need to rank high on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) to gain new consumers.
Leveraging a variety of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) tactics can help you rank higher on Google. It is important to use a range of tactics as SEO is an ever-evolving process. Google is continuously changing and updating its algorithms and ranking criteria. SEO can be unpredictable, which makes planning and strategy rather tricky. As a website owner, you need to be constantly updating your content as well as remaining aware of changes being rolled out. We have put together a list of the top 10 predictions for 2019 to help you ease your SEO planning requirements.
1. Storytelling Matters
Consumers are becoming conscious of the motivations behind their purchases and are considering brand identity when executing their purchasing power. Online consumers have access to more information than ever before when researching products and they want to buy into the entire brand, not just one specific product. To build your brand and loyalty your website needs to make your visitors part of the overarching story. With unprecedented access, consumers are looking to connect to stories now more than ever. You need to create a meaningful and authentic story that consumers are willing to buy into and stand by. Consider what your target audience is interested in and then create connection through engaging stories in all your SEO.
2. Content is key
This has been repeated for years and the trend remains, quality content is what you should be aiming for. To rank higher with google, especially in terms of organic search results, your approach to SEO needs to be content based.
Google has a vested interest in showing relevant and insightful results that its user want, so focus on the quality instead of the quantity of content you are putting out. With improvements in blockchain technology clickbait, fake news and misinformation is being reduced – this presents an opportunity for your business to really churn out useful content. Your content should serve your audience and provide them with information that is interesting and comprehensive. The more attention and care you show to your audience the better your relationship will be.
3. User experience
Again, Google is focused on its users and their experience of websites. They want to keep users happy and so websites that invest in their overall user experience (UX) will be rewarded. Investing into your user experience is one of the best SEO tactics to stay ahead of changing Google algorithms because it will always be a priority for Google. Conduct some research into how people are using your website and why. The goal should be to produce a website that is accessible and functional for your intended audience.
4. Voice search
Due to the introduction and increased adoption of tools like Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant and Microsoft’s Alexa there has been a rise on the use of voice search. This new form of searching mean that your SEO has to adapt.
Voice searches are comparatively very different from typed searches. Your SEO strategy should attempt to anticipate questions that people tend to ask and it is important to note that these questions are usually in long-form, conversational phrases. The voice search results are compiled from featured snippets, so you need to optimise for this. More about this further on in this article.
5. Mobile optimisation
With the increased computing power of mobile devices, and the sheer convenience of mobile browsing, people are primarily searching with their mobile devices. This is why Google made mobile-friendliness a ranking factor. This ranking factor came into affect in 20 but Google continues to boost this. You can take Google’s Mobile-Friendliness Test to see how your website is doing. Google also provides guidelines on how to develop a mobile-friendly site that you can view here.
When looking at mobile-friendliness you need to ensure that your content within accordions and tabs, as well as your drop-downs can be viewed and indexed on mobile. The next thing to focus on is how quickly the page loads while keeping in mind how much of the original, desktop content you are going to keep (remember that content length is also a ranking factor). Another consideration for your mobile site is adapting your mark-up and metadata to ensure better visibility and clickthrough rates in mobile search.
As mentioned previously, the SERP features snippets (a description or excerpt from the webpage) and people-also-ask results. These features are only bond to mature and take up even more screen space on the SERP. It is becoming increasingly important to optimise for this in order to gain maximum exposure. These snippets are also what Google pulls from when giving voice search results, so a good structured snippet will put you ahead of your competitors.
The best way to optimise your snippets is to address common questions and answers with plain, instructional language. Think about what your potential visitors will be searching for and draft your content accordingly.
7. Targeted questions
As machine learning transforms and the power behind algorithms increases there will be a greater focus on showing search results that cover a particular topic or a particular question. If your content is comprehensive and informative, this will be rewarded by Google. Again, contemplate what your users will be searching for and what their intention is to create your content.
2018 saw Amazon stock surpass that of Google’s and this could be a way for your business to optimise sales. Google is a site for discovery, Amazon is a place for shopping. If your business is dedicated to a skill or service, then focusing your attention on Google is still the way to go. However, if you have an e-commerce website or own a shop where your products are ordered and distributed, then consider moving or adding focus to Amazon.
9. Page speed
Users are connected at all times, and the digital landscape is becoming more fast-paced than ever before. Consumers expect fast load times. In fact, 47% of users don’t wait longer than two seconds for a page to load. So when it comes to your SEO it is important to know that Google factors in page loading and general site speed as a ranking factor.
You need to apply the same fast-paced mentality to the content you are producing. In other words, it should not take your visitors long to find what they are looking for when they come to your site. The longer it takes them to find the answer, the sooner they will leave your site to search for a more comprehensive result. Google will reward you for providing valuable content that’s easy to digest. Consider a clear formatting hierarchy for your content as Google will draw from this to provide instant answer boxes with SERPs.
10. Video content
Visual content is increasingly popular among consumers as it is easy to digest and captivating. Google has noted this visual trend and so video search and results are getting better and better. Google can now suggest products to users just by seeing it in a video. Google can automatically transcribe the content from videos and analyse it. To keep up with this trend, consider creating a short video to add to your website. It does not have to be anything overly complicated and fancy, rather keep it simple. Create a video that is aesthetically appealing to showcase your products or services.
The online landscape is ever-changing and growing, especially with advances in technology and Google’s drive to provide a better user experience. It’s important for your business to stay on top of SEO advances in the future to give you the competitive edge. Find out how to optimise your SEO strategy today!