SEO, Search Engine Optimization, is a practice that is continually changing and shifting. Search engines– like the major ones; Google, Bing, Yahoo, ect.– utilize SEO in ranking websites. There are strategies that are important to know both within your own website and external to it
Getting in front of more customers by appearing higher in more searches requires certain alchemy of strategic tagging and linking, content, keywords, and even social media campaigns. SEO helps businesses take the mystery out of this strategy.
This article breaks down the SEO formula crucial for any business’ success in 2019:
- Using HTML Tags
- Proper Keyword Placement
- Making Powerful Content
- Optimizing Your Images
- Utilizing Social Media
- Predictions for 2019 in SEO
- Making Your SEO Strategies More Effective to Improve List Ranking This Year
As we use SEO in 2019, we should consider the lessons of what we learned through our experimentation, experience, and growth in 2018.
These are our top five strategies to incorporate into your SEO in 2019:
Using HTML Tags
How do Google meta tags impact SEO and your website?
Writing tags for your website is necessary if you want it to be placed on the first page of Google’s or another engine’s returned search results. Tags that search engines like Google use to identify your website are called meta tags.
The better you write your meta tags, the easier it is for Google to find your website. When a search is performed on Google, meta keywords begin auto-populating the search field as you type in your query, and after hitting the <enter> key results are returned as a listings page. Google’s display of the listings is entirely based on meta tags and meta keywords that web designers have written into their websites.
While there are many tags you’ll need to know about to be effective with SEO, three of the most popular and common are meta tags, title tags, and meta description.
Meta Keyword Tags
Search engines use meta keyword tags to better understand the content of your website. Meta keyword tag choice is not without its controversy. Many experts of SEO strategies believe that these keyword tags are, in fact, useless. There are even whitepapers claiming meta keyword tags are totally ignored by Google. There was a time when web developers overused meta keywords and packed their header with the tags in order to artificially inflate their rank in the search engine’s results. With further development, Google’s newer algorithms prevent this strategy from being beneficial.
This is called keyword stuffing by SEO experts. Wisely using meta keywords can help content writers focused on drafting the best content for their pages; in this sense, meta- keywords can act as a punch list or bullet points for focused and precise writing.
The most obvious element of the listings page that a Google search returns are the title tags. The listings page Google generates displays the title tags related to the terms you searched. The results shown are made up of the listings’ title descriptions, their domain names, and their meta descriptions.
Some guidelines for title tags are:
- Title tags that are too short, aren’t descriptive enough and don’t get as much traffic as a longer title.
- Keeping the title tag to a six or seven-word length.
- Be sure to use descriptive adjectives and correct grammar.
The meta description is below the title tag. This description is limited to around a 140-character length, and again, proper grammar and use of adjectives ensure more traffic to your website and web pages.
Meta descriptions that run long will most likely be truncated, which in practice is okay. But, by keeping the meta description down to that 140-character length, you’ve achieved the best impact visually. Keeping these points about title tags and meta descriptions in mind will generate more traffic to your website.
Two great websites to use as resources for writing the most effective SEO-driven title tags and meta descriptions are Moz and Yoast.
What are Good Habits to Improve Your SEO Ranking?
It’s important to develop good habits in using title tags and meta descriptions to continually improve your SEO ranking. It’s good practice to review and update your title tags and meta descriptions every 30 days. Doing so continually improves the chances that your website will appear on page one of Google or other search engines.
Google’s algorithms respond positively to your diligence. First and foremost, Google’s goal is to provide its customers with the clearest information it possibly can. If the content on your website is the best it possibly can be, then Google is better able to identify it because you’ve been continually reviewing and revising the meta descriptions and title tags. Google is programmed to react and respond to the actions of the searcher.
If searchers on Google are able to clearly identify the information in your title tags and meta descriptions, they are more likely to be led to your website
Proper Keyword Placement
Selecting SEO keywords for your content is the first step in website development. If you are already conducting business online, you are probably already using SEO to drive your business. If this is the case, at some time you probably developed a list of SEO keywords to use.
In order to push your listing ranking higher, success in SEO is hinged upon using and selecting the correct SEO keywords for your website’s content.
Exactly what are SEO keywords?
Every search conducted on Google utilizes keywords. Search terms and phrases that people use to find information, products, and services are called keywords.
Google attempts to return the most relevant websites in its listings to satisfy the search criteria. It does so by using an algorithmic web crawler that is geared to processing words and language to find website content that matches the search for the entered SEO keywords.
Are SEO keywords needed in my content?
Most definitely– there is no other method for Google to know if your website is the best one for the user if you haven’t clearly defined and used SEO keywords in your content.
Google and other search engines will not rank your website for something that is not expressly in your content.
Website content is any resource that adds to the user experience [UX], such as text, images, video, or anything else. A web page has several locations where SEO keywords can be placed. If your business is using an SEO service, they are probably reviewing and revising tags on the back-end of your website as needed; let’s focus on the actual body of text.
As with writing anything, it is best practice to focus on one specific topic for every webpage, article, blog, ect., and the focus should be on just a single SEO keyword. As you plan the structure of your website and what each webpage is about, be mindful of your SEO keywords.
Since Google SEO algorithms can tell who you are– and will flag your website for– “keyword stuffing”, it’s best to develop content about your topics at some length. This gives the appearance that an SEO keyword that’s repeated several times is more natural and that you are not trying to cheat the search algorithms.
What is a guideline for the amount of content?
Definitely, the more content that’s developed, the better
How do you build your knowledge about using SEO keywords? If you aren’t having someone developing and authoring your website’s content and absorbing the high costs, you are probably going to be writing it yourself. This does have the added advantage of personalizing your business.
And who knows your business better than you anyway? So if you are dedicating all of those hours writing the kind of content that drives the rank of your website, you are going to want the SEO to work correctly.
Even if your website is already built out with some content, you can always benefit from using SEO. If you are already satisfied with the pages that currently make up your website, you can always personalize your site by adding a blog and regularly post articles, which is great for current and future customers.
Google’s web crawler algorithms always favor fresh, recent, and relevant content over everything else, so blogs add this freshness to your website if they are rich with SEO keywords. And Google will crawl blogs the same way it crawls your web pages. Blogs are also a great way to get users to interact.
Not that hard, is it?
Now we’re actually ready to start developing content that is SEO keyword focused.
There is a certain amount of a learning curve with building skills that combine engaging content and SEO keywords. It will take a bit of practice to make articles natural sounding while using the keywords you’ve selected. But this skill can be what raises your business up above the crowd of other businesses.
Making Powerful Content
Creating a whole host of content demonstrates you and your business’ expertise in your field. Added value is that content is immensely important to SEO. Content that you develop for your website and distribute online assists in your website being recognized, assessed for relevance, and designated rank by search engines, so you’ll want this to be as high as possible.
So, topics related to the content you provide, information about your products and services, or your answers relating to their questions, all impact how potential customers find your business using a search engine.
We’ll look at six ways to use SEO in content.:
- Blog articles that are considered long-form (1500-2000 words)
- Blog articles that are considered short-form (300-500 words)
- Informational and interactive graphics, images, and GIFs
- Traditional written content on web pages
- Social media content
Continually creating new content reinforces your business’ online reputation, via the up-to-date website itself, listings, and social media profiles. Search engines will rank active and reputable websites that are optimized in SEO and mobile format much higher.
SEO blog articles that are at least 2,000 words in length are considered long-form and have been proven to one of the best ways to build engagement. Articles of this length give the search engines web crawler the chance to verify that your website is a good match for a user’s query. Blog articles of this length also display your expertise on the given subject to your audience. With a developed readership, not only does your online presence grow, but your business follows as well.
The advantage of having electronically published articles is that they can be continually edited or updated. If you published a long-form blog on your industry, and add a few customer resources later, such as a video or graphics, the update allows web crawlers to shift through your page again, thereby becoming a better match for queries. Posting well-written content, that has pertinent information, SEO keywords, and an interactive or multimedia resource is the best way to help your website rank with search engines.
Try to commit to posting new content weekly. Soon you’ll have a library full of resources that can be repurposed and redistributed. Include long-form and shorter articles added to the blogs on your website which contain your list of keywords and keyword phrases.
Videos and informative or interactive graphics give something for your visitors to engage with. Don’t forget this important piece.
While the quality of content is very important, one doesn’t have to be a professional copywriter to deliver the best articles and blogs. Engaging visitors to your website with something relevant to read, watch, or interact with on your site extends the amount of time they are on it, which in turn boosts your SEO.
As you sit down to write content, first consider your audience and what they would want to engage with or information they would need to know. Are there certain questions that you are continually asked about your business? Write about what you consider to be best practices, the features and benefits you offer that your competitors don’t, and always share your success stories.
Also, consider sharing your content on other platforms. Here are some examples:
- Social media platforms (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, etc.)
- Blog forums and platforms (Medium, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, Quora)
- Online distribution lists
Content is king, not only for branding but for SEO as well. The more content, the more engagement, which raises ranking on Google. When you create content, try to share it on every platform you can just be sure to link it back to your own website.
The goal of quality content in a sizable quantity is that potential customers are driven to your online business faster and they also recognize your expertise and your core competencies, and it will create that all-important brand awareness.
Optimizing Your Images
Increasingly, visuals are taking over the digital world, such that image optimization should be just as important as the text you compose. Hopefully, every page of your website has at least one image on it. These should be considered SEO assets, and always properly optimized.
A better user experience relies on image optimization, with faster page load times, and can improve your SEO in returned image search results and traditional listings. While there have been some great advancements in visual search technology, web crawlers are still unable to identify an image’s content, rather they rely on the text surrounding the image to estimate what the image depicts.
The Best Tips to Optimize Your Images for SEO in 2019:
Always use JPEG and PNG images.
JPEG file format images maintain quality better than any other format when compressed or resized. The JPEG is the photo type of choice in the digital realm and has a greater quality to file size ratio.
The PNG file type is best for images that have transparency, so they are often used for logos. While the image may appear small, there isn’t a trade-off with the resolution and quality.
Use an optimal file size without losing the quality.
The larger the image the longer it will take to load, which definitely hurts your user experience, but can also hurt your SEO. Resizing and compressing images can help reduce file size and circumvent this problem.
Your image measurements should not exceed what you actually need, that is to say, they should be no wider than your webpage. Proprietary plugins can make resizing easy. Other tools like Pixlr and PicMonkey exist, and Adobe Photoshop’s built-in Save for Web function is pretty powerful and efficient for doing images in batches.
Add descriptive captions whenever possible.
Add this to your SEO best practices. A caption is the text that appears below an image, describing what you see or attributing the picture to its source. The caption provides more context for the search engines to better estimate the image’s content. While a caption isn’t always required on a webpage, it’s best to use them when you can.
Images should be named for SEO.
Descriptive file names that contain keywords are crucial with SEO. Most likely, the images used will have file names like IMG_20190203 or something similar. In no way does this help search engines to better understand your particular image. If you sell cooking supplies, it’s best to name the image file and what it depicts, such as organic-refined-liquid-coconut-oil.jpg.
Use Alt text that is SEO-friendly.
When a browser can’t properly read an image file, it uses the text alternative, called alt tags. Alt tags describe the content of an image file. The Americans With Disabilities Act requires alt text and is used by individuals who are unable to view images themselves.
Utilizing Social Media
How does social media benefit SEO? SEO doesn’t fully realize results when it comes to social media. There is little to go on whether or not SEO and social media have an impact on Google rankings. At SMX Advanced in 2014 Google’s Matt Cutts said that while there was a correlation, there wasn’t necessarily causation.
If you look to Google for an answer, you will get arcane and enigmatic explanations better suited to wizards and alchemists.
You shouldn’t ignore the relationship, even if you don’t fully understand it. Matt Cutts made some very reliable comments, and you should leverage social media into your SEO strategy.
As you use social media in your 2019 SEO strategy:
Maximize value, minimize noise:
The topics you choose for your content should be trending. If you are generating content just to fill space on your site, then you are wasting your energy. If you aren’t committed to providing real value to your readers, why should they commit to being engaged with your blog?
Do your own research without assuming what your audience likes to read. Helpful tools like Buzzsumo and ahrefs assess trending topics, top ranking web pages about those topics, and social signals of the pages.
Sharing is caring; your content should reflect this:
Using the marketing tools mentioned, write about one of the five top trending topics, making it relevant to your business. Add some personal thoughts or insights, ask open-ended questions, make a prediction, anything that will engage your readers and make them want to join the conversation.
As you promote your content about trending topics on social media, investigate how and what others are sharing about the topic. What are the hashtags they are using? Who is being tagged? Are people opinionated or questioning?
Understanding the nuances of the language people use and the language you should use helps you to develop a strategy for that trending topic in particular.
Joining online conversations:
Don’t feel you have to create content from whole cloth; it’s highly probable that your industry has a handful of informative social platforms and online forums where valuable conversations are already taking place.
Find your audience online and investigate to find your chosen topics in conversations and discussions. Join in the exchange, offer insights and your expertise when commenting and addressing questions to become established in the forum.
Be bold, and post links back to your website and blog, but be sure to observe some business etiquette to ask yourself, “is this backlink relevant to the discussion?”
There’s a great article to read in Forbes that details on building and nurturing social media audiences with social listening strategies.
Be sure to monitor what’s called social signals: The measurements of web pages social media activity, as in shares, sentiment, engagement, impact, and reach. When a search engine weighs the value of articles, such signals may be taken into consideration.
For example, an article you have written that garners a large share of social media interaction shows Google:
- Your social media post has increased website traffic.
- The article has value to readers.
oogle recognizes that your content has value as a resource. Google ranks heavily the weight of relevancy and value-added content. While they have yet to admit the effect of social signals, when we acknowledge the evidence it becomes obvious that if it is not currently being used, it will be in the near future.
In conclusion, the way consumers find businesses and the way businesses connect with customers is being revolutionized by SEO
Businesses need to become more than services or products, they have to become sources of information if they want to top Google’s lists, and become thought leaders in their market segment, and to exceed the core competencies of their competitors.
We welcome your questions about SEO and will help you find the answers you need to help you formulate your marketing plan for 2019.
Predictions for 2019 in SEO
Since Google’s algorithm changes with the course of the online marketplace, SEO is difficult to predict. What you may think of as being the top tier issue of concern one month, may become a fourth tier problem the next. This change can cause big problems with your website’s rankings.
Planning a strategy becomes very challenging if you don’t know where SEO is headed. Luckily, it can be done. Experts share the following SEO predictions for 2019.
Be Focused on Speed
SEO will be ruled by speed in 2019 and that doesn’t mean site speed alone. Due to recent advancements in technology, people can connect everywhere they go. People’s lifestyles have accelerated too, whether they are in transit or in place.
Your site will simply be ignored if the content isn’t accessible immediately. Aside from site speed, the content needs to also offer value and be relevant to readers. There is a challenge in the way you present it. The content the user is looking for needs to be provided in the shortest time possible.
Content accessed via organic searches or internal links needs to be obtained immediately, otherwise, users will bounce from your site to another that offers them the speed of access they require.
Users will bounce from a page if it takes more than two seconds to load. Once they are on a page, they look for the content with the same fast-paced mentality. In addition to knowing what users want to learn from your posts, try to understand how they access the information.
Understanding Mobile-First Index
You may have been notified about mobile-first index. As of 2018, websites have begun to be transferred to mobile-first index by Google. This means that your pages are indexed and rank based on their mobile version by Google.
This index isn’t only restricted to mobile, however. One index evaluates both desktop and mobile versions. Google will use the mobile versions to rank once the website has been migrated.
Since the primary factor for ranking is the mobile version, don’t wait to make your website mobile enabled. You’ll need to crawl the mobile version of your website with a mobile bot to ensure that the loading speed is fast enough.
How to Match a User’s Intent in Their Search.
Most of us have clicked on a URL in search listings and found that the content did not apply to our needs. SEO no longer focuses on backlinks and keyword density. This year, SEO focuses on the optimization of content that matches users search intent. In the future, SEO is bound to become more dynamic and attractive as search engines evolve.
When users land on a page that contains unwanted information that’s not what they searched for, they bounce off the page– this is an issue that Google has had to deal with these past few years. Google will introduce many new features to its search engine to enhance its user experience. These new features help users to find the information they’ve searched for in the shortest time possible.
Now, having your page listed on the first page of the returned search results isn’t enough. The new Google features, like featured snippets and knowledge panel, will need to be featured by your website. Your website, in essence, will have to be ever-present.
The relevancy of your content will become more important. Google currently has its best understanding of an individual user’s search intent. This is why search results also list image packs and video carousels.
If you want a higher ranking on specific search engine queries, Google those specific keywords to find out what form of content is listed in the top spot of the results page. If a video is returned, you probably want to develop more video resources.
Making Your SEO Strategies More Effective to Improve List Ranking This Year
Like growing your business, growing your ranking takes serious time and effort. Some SEO strategies are very simple and provide reasonable returns. Below are some of the best SEO strategies for the year.
Most internet traffic will be spent on video consumption, most predictions say making a video is the easiest and most important way to optimize your content. Embed it in your landing page and see how conversion rates increase and bounce rates go down. Google ranks your page higher as your bounce rate falls.
Content Must Be High-Quality
Creating high-quality content is the most effective SEO strategy. At a minimum, your website should have a blog and videos. Videos were explained above, but the blog is equally important.
By being really informed, you set yourself up as an expert in your field, and your ranking should improve in kind. Be sure to post news, trends, and anything that relates to your audience. Find your niche, and link your blog and other pieces of work to it.
Keep Track of Your Site
Tracking can help you discover problems with your site. Find the pages with high bounce rates and improve them first. Some of the best tools to check your site’s traffic and problems with pages are Google’s Search Console and Google Analytics. Installation is easy, but requires server access.
Secure socket layers [SSL] have been a factor in ranking websites since 2014. SSL is extremely important where the security of e-commerce is concerned. People want security on the internet when sharing confidential information, as cybercrime is on the rise.
Creating Your Listing
Map listing is another great SEO technique for 2019. It will add value to your website. Get your site listed on Google by utilizing Google MyBusiness.
Google MyBusiness will link back to your site to make your business more visible on the internet. Be sure to provide all necessary information when creating your listing. Add some quality pictures of your location, team, products, etcetera, to build a loyal customer base.
Are you ready to have us assist you in building your marketing plan and SEO strategy for 2019? We are here and ready to help!