It’s no big secret that SEO is difficult to master. The big search engines like Google are constantly tweaking algorithms to make it harder to beat the system. As a result, tactics that worked well today might very well flop tomorrow.
It’s a game that we all have to play and the stakes are high. Even dropping to the second spot in the search results cuts your potential clicks from 32.5% to 17.6%. Third place lands you around 11.4% of clicks. I’m sure you can see where all this is going.
It’s enough to make you want to throw your hands up and switch over to PPC advertising instead. But before you do that, just keep in mind that 94% of traffic comes from organic search results rather than paid search results.
Fortunately, you can stay ahead of potential changes by keeping a careful eye on the trends currently making waves. To assist with this, we’re going through SEO trends to focus on in 2019. That way, you can start making adjustments before you lose all your traffic.
It’s more important than ever before to build your email list. You can communicate with subscribers this way and can point traffic to new blog posts or send out marketing messages. A carefully targeted and laid out email can bring a lot of traffic through to your site.
To learn more about creating the perfect email, we recommend that you check out our post Email Design Guidelines for 2019.
If you need help building your list, our article How to Create Facebook Ad Campaigns That Grow Your Email List Like Crazy is a good place to start.
Website architecture is one of the most important SEO ranking factors. Ensure that your site is well-organized and using subdirectories that have crystal clear lines of text. That way, search engines are better able to understand what your site is all about.
Google has made a distinct push towards websites becoming secure. If your website doesn’t have a current SSL certificate, it’s automatically seen as less secure. In the past, this wasn’t such a big issue. Now, however, you can expect Google to penalize you when it comes to your SERP.
The importance of creating backlinks has changed a lot over the last decade or so. Initially, the more sites that you had linking to yours, the more credible your site appeared. Naturally, it didn’t take long for people to start taking advantage of this and an industry built around selling links sprung up.
As a result, search engines doubled down and started assessing the credibility of not only your site but also every site that linked up to yours. So if an authority site linked to yours, that was great. If a spammy site linked to yours, you’d get penalized.
Backlinks are still extremely important. According to an infographic crafted by SEO Tribunal, linking signals count for 29% in local SEO ranking. You just need to regularly check the quality of the sites linking to yours and work at building backlinks from authority sites.
Search engines analyze all the content on your site to learn what it is about. You can use this to your advantage by reinforcing your authority and showing expertise with each article that you post.
Say, for example, that you run a fashion clothing store. You could create an article that talks about the top 10 fashion trends for the current year. You could then build on that by creating a post on how to choose the right fashion trends for your shape, and so on.
The content you post should always tie in in some way to what your site is about.
There's been a lot said about decreasing importance of keywords, especially with people increasingly using voice search. When someone uses voice search, they are speaking the query in natural language. This means that the permutations for keywords have become a lot more difficult to predict.
That doesn’t mean that you should stop using them, though. What it does mean is that you need to use keywords and phrases that show your intent or that work within the context of a search.
Let’s return to our previous example — you were writing an article on the top 10 fashion trends.
You would use the phrase, “top 10 fashion trends” in the content at least once. Then you’d list examples of each trend and possibly even go on to explain why these trends are making it big.
Overall, the entire article should be geared towards creating the overall context that you want to rank for. (In this case, fashion trends.)
We’ve already spoken about the importance of site architecture. Site architecture is important for search engines, but it isn’t something that most readers will pick up on. That’s why it’s equally important to structure content well.
If Google has to choose between two sites with similar content, it’s going to pick the one with better-structured content. More importantly, your readers are bound to spend more time on your site if it looks well-organized. No one wants to have to work harder than they have to, so poorly-presented content will do you more harm than good.
That means ensuring that content is clearly divided into clear sub-sections with clear headings. It should be easy to scan. The headings and subheadings will help with that, but you also have to ensure that the sentences and paragraphs are short as well.
Think of it this way – if this post was simply lumped together in one big block of text, would you have read it? By using shorter paragraphs, adding images, and breaking up the text nicely, it becomes much more reader-friendly.
Make sure that your content is impeccably laid out. Each point should flow into the next logically. Use sub-headings so that people can see at a glance what information the post contains. Take things to the next level by breaking the text up further using bullet points.
Meta tags tell search engines what the site’s purpose and what roles it components have in relation to the purpose. Think of meta tags as simple descriptions. There are several that you’ll need to consider.
This is the title of the post and shows up in the post’s HTML. You can add your own title tags if you feel that the post’s title doesn’t match the content.
Under the title text in search engine results, a brief explanation of your site is shown. This snippet will be filled in from content on the site if you don’t fill it in by yourself. To avoid this, write a short meta description for each post. This can help to convince searchers to click through to your site, so make it good.
Search engines are working on becoming capable of identifying images and what’s contained in them. At this stage, though, they cannot read them. This means that you have to tell the search engines about the image and the information that it contains. Using alt text is the perfect way to do this.
If there is only one factor that you’re going to work on, this should be it. The time it takes your page to load has a direct influence on your ranking. Google prioritizes pages that load faster. That’s why it’s essential to consider all design factors that you’re going to add to your site.
Images, for example, help to make your site look good, but they can also increase the file size. You’ll need to double check the images and ensure that they’ve all been compressed or optimized.
Using fancy fonts, animations, and so on adds to the time it takes your site to load, so use them with care. If you want to add videos, be sure that they’re hosted off-site, rather than being loaded onto it.
Ideally, your site should take no longer than two or three seconds to load.
That wraps up the main trends to keep an eye on this year. We can’t guarantee that these items will help you hit the number one spot in terms of search engine ranking, but we can guarantee that they’ll give you a head start.
From there, it’s just a case of monitoring your results and watching the traffic start to come in a lot faster again.
Content marketing guru at Mailmunch. I’m passionate about writing content that resonates with people. Live simply, give generously, stay happy.