The search engine optimization game has become more competitive than ever before. Blasting low-quality links at your site and writing thin, keyword-stuffed content won’t take you anywhere anymore. The rules are changing every year, and so should your optimization strategy. What are the things to keep an eye on in 2019?
Battle for Clicks – Skyrocket that CTR!
Because the number of businesses ranking for the same keywords as you do keeps increasing, you need to do everything to win as many clicks as possible. One of the easiest ways of doing that is adding schema structure data – which will soon become an industry-standard. In fact, as you can see in the below image, it has already happened for some keywords – but it’s no surprise, as it helps both Google and your potential visitors understand what your site is about.
By using structured data together with well-optimized meta-tags, you can create irresistible invitation to your website that will bring you lots of clicks even if you don’t rank in the first position for your chosen search query. Keep in mind that it is believed that a high click-through rate is seen by Google as an indication of high relevancy – what can help you further boost your organic position.
Voice Search – Add Those Natural Long Tail Keywords
Voice search has been on the increase for the past few years. It is now believed half of all searches will be performed using voice by 2020. And yet, despite rising popularity and little time to adjust, still many businesses fail to use the technology to their advantage.
The key to benefiting from voice search is to understand the intent of your users, anticipate potential questions from your customers and use longtail keywords to help them find you. In the end, we are used to asking questions using full sentences – which means that you should be as natural and helpful in your content as possible. How to find those neat longtail keywords?
You don’t need anything else other than a typical keyword research. On top of working with the standard keyword tools, make sure to check Google Trends and try to think like your potential clients who could be on the go and in a hurry or sitting comfortably in their living room, talking to a smart speaker.
User Experience – Put Your Visitors First
if you have been neglecting user experience up until this moment, let us show you one statistic that should change your mind – it is estimated that a staggering 88% of online users are unlikely to return to a site after a bad user experience. It’s no surprise then that Google has started putting such a strong emphasis on UX when reviewing your site’s search engine optimization efforts.
Loading speed, clear call to actions, online chat, convenient menu and breadcrumbs, compelling graphics and easy to understand (and relevant!) content are the key elements to ensuring that your site visitors enjoy the time spent on your site, establish a relationship with your business, and buy your product or use your services.
What’s critical here is that when it comes to user experience and SEO, they no longer should be taken care of separately. In fact, UX has become an integral part of search engine optimization, especially if you consider the aforementioned user intent and voice search.
Considering how important is the user experience in today’s digital environment, Homam Alojail, our Agency Creative and Managing Director believes that soon user experience will be on a par with (or even overtake) price and product as the critical online brand differentiators. This is also why all of our branding and design services put such a high emphasis on user experience.
Image Search – Optimize Everything
Because search engine results are becoming more crowded than ever before, you need to look for every possible venue that could bring you extra organic traffic. Especially that, it’s no longer possible to use that many keywords on a single page if you want to avoid over-optimization penalty.
One of the best ways of sneaking in a few extra keywords and potentially generating organic visitors is a proper image optimization. That’s why it’s so important to use images on all of your pages – whether it’s a landing page or a blog post – as on top of helping your SEO efforts, they make your content more user-friendly.
The number of people that use Google image search is increasing, and yet it’s still a pretty untapped way of attracting new potential customers to your site. Naturally, don’t try to stuff too many keywords in the tags – make sure that your title, alt, and description tags are natural and properly describe the contents of the image.
Keep in mind that tags are just a part of how you should prepare your images before you put them on your website. Another important thing is their size. Luckily, tools such as TinyPNG can reduce their size in seconds, without affecting the quality.
Mobile – It’ll Remain a Priority
Even though desktop searches didn’t die out (in fact, considering that we still use laptops and desktops for work and entertainment, they aren’t going anywhere soon) the majority of searches is now performed using mobile devices. But the prevalence of mobile searches is not the only reason why you should double check if your mobile website is properly optimized.
People are so used to browsing the internet on their smartphones that today 85% of adults (read: potential customers) believe that the mobile site should be at least as good (or even better) than the desktop one. In fact, 52% of users admit that a bad mobile experience was the reason they were less likely to engage with the business.
It could be that these statistics were one of the reasons behind Google decision to start rolling out Mobile-First Indexing. The shift in algorithm means that Google now crawls your mobile website first, before deciding if it’s going to look at its desktop version. What’s even worse is that if they don’t like the former, they might not even visit the latter at all.
How to ensure that you won’t get affected? Naturally, its speed remains the number one thing your visitors will look at – but convenient menu, lack of mobile-responsiveness errors and the ability to perform the same operations as on desktop are just as important.
Machine Learning – Google Knows More than Ever Before
Thanks to machine learning and the ongoing development of artificial intelligence, Google is becoming more and more effective at answering difficult queries – even those that have never been asked before. This also helps the algorithm better understand the intent and expectations of its users – which means that even complex queries are providing much better results than they used to.
Luckily, you don’t have to worry about AI taking your site out of search engine results. As long as you always put your website visitors first – something that Google has been preaching for years now. This means that to make your site competitive in the ever-changing environment, you need to master more variables than ever before.
The good news is, by merging our UX experience with the SEO expertise of our team members, we know exactly what to do to design an SEO-friendly website both Google and your customers will love. Visit this page to learn more about it and reshape the online image of your brand.