Let’s do something out of the norm. Let’s post a trends piece in May! I know it is crazy! But we are 5 months in 2019 and there are constant changes in the world of search marketing so we thought we would collate them here for ease. So, here we go
1. Importance of Quality Content
Yes, we are still talking about that August, 1st 2018 update. We are almost at the 1 year anniversary and we still have people asking what it is and why their website is diving in the rankings.
Google looks for relevant and high-quality content. When they released the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines (some great bedtime reading at 164 pages long!), they covered tips on optimising your site through quality content, but still websites are falling short in creating spammy content that is irrelevant to users.
So, when creating content for your website, be a blog, article or just creating a service page, keep in mind, you are what you E-A-T and let your expertise, authority and trust shine through!
For more information – click to read our previous blog on E-A-T here
2. Make Content Readable.
Whilst we are talking about content, it needs to be readable. Write for YOUR audience, not who you think your audience are. Answer the intent of the query. I mean it is great doing general topics but if you are not answering queries then what is the point.
You also want content that is to the point, long-winded, scrolling tomes put users off and they will leave the site. People want answers straight away not at the bottom of a spam-linked, affliated article that provides no real answer.
Also break up your text with images, sub-sections, lists and more – users do not want to read novels online (unless they read a kindle…)
3. Speed Matters
What do we want? Faster websites! When do we want it? In less than 3 seconds!
People are getting impatient (even more these days!). They are wanting websites to load faster, checkouts to happen sooner and answers to be answered yesterday! But unfortunately, the reality is that websites are not answering these customer needs.
But did you know that Google rewards websites that load quickly with a higher page quality rating! A simple speed testing using free online platforms can help you determine where your website is falling short (*Hint: multiple plugins are usually the issue*)
A few simple changes, such as lazyloading images, compressing images, utilising Google Tag Manager to have fewer tags in the header code. Also test – does something really need to be in the header? Tests have been done with analytics code or pixels being installed in the footer & they still work fine. Obviously, test what works for you and your website. There is no cut and paste solutions here!
4. Structured Data Matters
When the search engines got together to create Schema.org back in 2011, they were kind of, doing it for the users. How were users using the search engines and why? Schema is basically a form of microdata that provides another level of context to your website allowing users to find out more about your website in the SERPs before clicking through your site.
It helps search engines to differentiate between ambiguous terms in the SERPs. But remember to be mindful and intentional with metadata and tags that are added into the HTML – think like your customers
5. Make content mobile-friendly
In what seems an age ago, at the end of 2016, Google first said that they would start ranking websites mobile first and there was a mass scurry to make websites responsive before the update. This led to websites half being mobile friendly with their content being all over the place.
When you are creating images or blog posts or anything, make sure that you test what it looks like on mobile before you set it live. We have seen posts where the content does not render to the screen size and you have swipe right to continue reading it! (This is not Tinder, let’s try remaining professional)
6. Optimise your content for voice search
When using voice search, users tend to input more words than they would on a typed query, they also speak more conversationally than they type. Therefore your content needs to mirror this. How do you think your potential customers are searching for what you are producing? Are you creating pieces that can be easily found if you went ‘Hey, Google?’ or are we still producing for type?
7. Optimise Content for Enhanced UX
User Experience / User journey. How people are interacting with your website. This is important because high bounce rates are a bad sign which could mean one of two things – your UX is boring or bad or your content is irrelevant. Always test new pages and content and monitor where users are dropping off in their journey
Try optimise the site for the following:
- Create a faster, more enjoyable conversion process for leads
- Provide internal search capabilities that have relevant answers
- Integrate chatbots to improve UX and augment processes
- Implement easy-to-navigate email forms and purchasing processes – the fewer steps and questions – the better.
8. Follow the machine learning trend
Did you know that only 15% of search queries are new? 15%! Google’s RankBrain is used in that small percentage of queries that it has never ‘heard’ of. It therefore ‘learns’ the queries and tries to find the most appropriate and relevant answers.
Using this information, sites can adjust their content, to try think of new queries that people are asking for and try get in front of them at the right time.
Google is rebranding themselves as a Machine-learning first company – to try to make their products work better for you – which in turn makes using the web far more intuitive than it currently is.
9. Optimise for the 2019 search experience
There is no denying it, the digital world is saturated. Millions of brands, small businesses and influencers are vying for your attention and want their brand in front of you. However, customers are becoming savvy to advertising, product placement and various endorsements. They want to know what you can do for them.
That is why companies need to start optimising their content for 2019. Websites need to have meta descriptions and page titles that are intentionally and mindfully crafted, making them more visually appealing when listed on the SERPs. Try not be too sales-focused, instead try draw them in with emotion and relevant content. If they landed on your site, they are clearly searching for something that you have, but if they land on your site and the site is one giant sales push – they will leave.
Keep this in mind when creating your Schema as well, as your rich snippet needs to be visually appealing and also answer their query straight away.
10. Use Brand Identity to Improve Ranking
Last but no means least, your brand identity plays a part in how and where your site ranks. Get your designers involved to create a strong identity that will resonate with your potential clients.
The branding ties together the UX and the content to create a journey that is enjoyable to for clients as they navigate through your website.
This list is by no means exhaustive or set in stone, SEO is constantly changing, and these will always evolve.
If you are looking for more information on SEO, click to download our free SEO magazine here to see how content, UX and more come together to help your SEO