Over the course of the last 20 years SEO has been continually evolving and updating as the big search companies like Google and Yahoo (well ok, mainly Google) utilise ever more complex algorithms to determine who ranks where in the all important search rankings.
Of course things have come a long way since the days of simply spamming your keywords into every line of copy, and shady practices like purchasing a bunch of low quality backlinks from dubious link farms are now more likely to incur a penalty rather than a reward search wise, but what SEO methods do pay dividends in 2019?
Today’s blog will take a whirlwind tour around some of the key elements of SEO that you need to be addressing in order to stay fresh and relevant at the top of the SERPs.
Content and Link Building
As I touched upon earlier, attempting to lure people into your site by whacking keywords into your meta data and plastering them all over your copy isn’t going to cut the digital mustard anymore, the search engine algorithms are advanced enough now to connect high bounce rates to low quality content and will penalise you accordingly. To rank highly in 2019 you need to provide exceptional content that really connects with your audience and provides them with a reason to stay and interact with your website.
As a consequence of creating quality content that your users are interested in, it becomes more likely to get noticed and shared either on other websites or on social media. This in turn will boost your perceived expertise, authority and trustworthiness with RankBrain and the Google algorithm. We know that Google consider quality backlinks from reputable sources as a major factor in determining your search rank placing, so the pressing need to write tightly focused, quality content that speaks directly to your audience and helps them resolve whatever problem they are querying online becomes even more crucial.
In years gone by SEO was purely about optimising for your own website, but a modern SEO strategy requires you to optimise your content and copy for the 2019 Google search experience.
You will probably have noticed that organic results are increasingly marginalised on the first page of most search results. Between PPC ads, answer boxes and knowledge graphs, real estate on the first results page is becoming scarce. It is now incumbent upon SEO practitioners to optimise their copy to appear in featured snippets and answer boxes in order to increase visibility on the SERPs and grow organic traffic.
Now that the smartphone is the internet browsing device of choice over desktops, laptops and tablets, it stands to reason that you would want to either have a separate mobile version of your site fully optimised for load times and screen size, or at least have a responsive site designed to shrink content down to mobile size.
From an SEO perspective, Google announced that they have introduced mobile optimisation as a ranking factor and last year introduced the ‘Mobile First Index’ meaning that where possible, they will use the mobile version of the site content in order to determine how it should rank on search engine results pages.
The Future of SEO
The continual evolution of SEO can make it seem difficult to keep up with, and what worked in the past either wont work today, or at least wont work as well as it did before. To further complicate matters this growth shows no sign of halting with many interested parties noting the ever increasing popularity of devices like Amazon echo and the google home hub and anticipating voice search to be the next evolutionary (perhaps revolutionary?) step in SEO .
Fundamentally though SEO should be as much of a cornerstone of your digital marketing strategy in 2019 and beyond as it was 20 years ago, you will just have to work a little bit smarter and harder to see the dividends of your labour.