Here is the authoritative guide on 2019 SEO trends and 3 ingenious SEO hacks to elevate your digital marketing, earn more leads, and win more business.
2019 SEO Trends
One year has passed since we announced our top SEO strategies. Here are our top five SEO trends for 2019.
1. Authoritative Evergreen Content
Our number one SEO trend for 2018 was about developing pillar pages, or content hubs on your website, to establish your brand as a topical authority.
If you haven’t read our straightforward process for devising and developing that content, check it out now. 2019 is no different. How you write and architect your content is the number one SEO trend.
3 Super Simple Steps to Developing Authoritative Evergreen Content
Authoritative Evergreen Content is a pillar page or a piece of content that is relevant and useful year after year. Here are three simple steps to developing an authoritative piece of evergreen content.
1. Identify an evergreen search term
When researching keywords for your page, start with content and keywords you already own. This way you can start building your authoritative evergreen landing pages using content that you know works.
If you’re starting from scratch, research keywords that have a medium to high monthly search volume (anything over 200 is good) and a medium to low keyword difficulty ranking (less than 70).
The keyword difficulty is a ranking system used in SEMrush that tells us how difficult it is to get a piece of content to bump another listing from the top 10 results of Google’s search engine results page (SERP).
Brian Dean of Backlinko does a great job of this with his yearly “Definitive Guide to SEO.” Anytime you search keywords such as “SEO 2019,” “SEO trends,” etc. his annual guide is in the top 3. Every year Dean updates this one page to include the essential SEO initiatives on which agencies and businesses should focus. He expertly shares case studies, relevant links, informative videos, and embedded images. To date, people shared this page over 14,000 times. Imagine how many leads this all-star page earns!
2. Update your page once per year
Irrespective of industry, change happens every year. To maintain your evergreen content, update the following items to remain relevant and authoritative.
Page Title and Meta Description
Remove outdated, irrelevant strategies or links
Update content from last year that is still relevant
Write new content that happened since last year
Link out to new research published by authoritative sources
Link out to original articles and case studies your business published
Add new rich media (videos and embedded images work the best)
3. Update the Publication Date
Ok, so you’ve updated all your content. Before you hit publish, relaunch your content by updating the publication date. This way, Google’s crawler will know to re-crawl and re-index your webpage. This way your content will remain at the top of Google’s Search Engine Results Page year after year.
2. Search Journeys
If you’ve been on searching for things on your mobile phone recently (which I’m guessing 99% of people reading this article have done) then you may have noticed a new Google feature: Activity Cards.
Activity Cards appear at the top of your search window and shows your recent search history and websites you visited for a specific keyword. Activity Cards are designed to help you finish those “longer-running tasks” that require multiple queries and contemplation to complete.
The activity card feature in Google is one component of a much larger initiative: shifting from answering search queries to meeting the needs of “Search Journeys.”
Google acknowledges that some search queries are not 1-time searches, but instead are one part of a larger goal. To accommodate users, Google is using AI to recommend results based on where the user is in their journey. Google’s algorithm uses factors such as recent search queries, time on page, pages visited, and searcher intent.
5 Ways to Remain Relevant using Search Journeys
1. Map your User’s Journey
As is the case with any business, you need to know who your customers are, what their needs are, and the stages they go through when solving a problem that your product or business addresses.
There is no workaround for this step.
If you don’t know who your customer is or what they need, how will your content help them? If you need help with this crucial step, check out our free, step-by-step guide to writing buyer personas.
2. Create Great Content
Year after year great content gets consumed and shared. As you’ll read more in step 5, great content is the most critical asset your marketing team can invest in this year.
Let’s face it. You’re not always going to have the resources to push people to your website with digital ads or pay influencers to share your product. To remain relevant in Google’s revised world of Search Journeys your business needs to create great content for your customers regardless of where they are in the buyer’s journey.
3. Guide Users from Start to Finish
Google appreciates a well organized internal link structure. As you plan your pillar pages for 2019, write into your plan specifically how you will develop the user experience so that it guides your website visitors from their starting point through the finish line.
Your brand’s step-by-step content journey will look different based on your inherent skills. For some, it will look like a pillar page with enumerated steps linked out to extensive articles detailing that specific step. For others, it will be a multi-video playlist on YouTube.
Whatever your channel, organize and sequence your content in such a way that your customers can find what they are looking for regardless of where they are in the buyer’s journey.
3. EAT: Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness
While we’re on the topic of organizing content that maps to the user journey, we should mention a recent update to Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines that could be relevant this year.
Google emphasized the acronym E-A-T which stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. What does this mean for brands?
Google cares about how expert, authoritative, and trustworthy your website content is. To determine this ranking factor, Google will review the content you’ve developed (e.g. are you a topical authority on the subject), what brands link to your website (to determine your authority and trust scores), and reputation of the creator of the content.
Although authorship isn’t a direct ranking factor, it allows Google to gauge the effectiveness of their search algorithm and gives us an inside look at what Google values.
Is your author an intern or a recognized authority in your industry?
It matters to Google.
4. Data Privacy
Ok, this section doesn’t sound sexy, but we promise you’re going to be glad you read it.
GDPR launched in Europe earlier in 2018 to bolster the rights of data subjects. Some features include the right to be forgotten, permission to be tracked, and requiring explicit consent to receive communications. And if you don’t follow these rules, you’re going to face harsher penalties.
If you work with international brands or in the state of California, California’s Consumer Privacy Act will be in effect January 2020, and it will disrupt every brand, agency, and tech company.
GDPR, or Global Data Protection Regulation, is just the tip of the privacy iceberg.
According to a recent study, “Predicts 2019: Marketing Seeks a New Equilibrium” Gartner predicts that brands that “put in place user-level control of marketing data will reduce customer churn by 40% and increase lifetime value by 25% in 2023. According to Gartner, reducing customer churn, or the number of customers who leave your service is a crucial initiative for marketing officers in 2019.
3 Privacy Tools and How to Market to "Adlergic" Youth
The new generation of digital consumers prefer not to be tracked and advertised to, and they have the resources to do it effectively.
Deloitte Global defines “adlergic” as someone who is “engaged in four or more multiple, simultaneous advertisement-blocking behaviors,” and they predicted that 10 percent of North Americans over age 18 will be in 2018.
Have you ever clicked on an interesting search result only to be blasted by pop-up forms, flashing HTML5 ads, and native advertisements? Yeah, us too. Adblockers block all of that nonsense so you can focus on the content.
2. Search Engines
Adblockers block ads, but the search engine you use to find information online is also tracking you and giving that information to advertisers so they can target and remarket products to you. Google’s primary business model is to collect and sell your information to advertisers.
Privacy-focused search engines are the next layer of defense. Search engines like DuckDuckGo block advertising trackers, keep your search history private, and never sells your data. This way you can search for information without distraction from ads or seeing ads from websites you recently visited. In fact, Google recently added DuckDuckGo as a default search engine option for Chrome browsers.
3. Privacy Browsers
The Brave browser is a privacy-centric browser, and it just passed 5.5 million monthly active users (MAUs) in 2018. Brave browser, like DuckDuckGo, blocks all ads, trackers, and 3rd-party cookies by default. It also steps up security by blocking device recognition software and giving users a Tor browser as it’s standard incognito windows which scrambles your IP addresses.
In the one week since one of our employees started testing the Brave browser, they blocked 388 trackers, 7,634 ads, and saved over 7 minutes of time from loading unnecessary pieces of code.
How to Market to Adlergic Adults
People care about their privacy, and the tech literate are taking back control. So how do we as marketers reach “adlergic” 18-34-year-olds?
We create great content.
Invest your time and energy creating engaging video content for YouTube, whitepapers worthy of publications in academic journals, investigative journalism worthy of a Pulitzer Prize, and ultimate guides worthy of an Awwward.
Great content is future proof. If you create it, they will come.
5. Technical SEO
No one wants to hear this, but technical SEO is as necessary as ever.
First, Google has transitioned over 50% of its search results to the mobile version of websites. If your website isn’t responsive, work with a website design agency, or get used to your organic rankings continuing to drop.
Second, page performance continues to help brands edge out their competition with user engagement signals like click-thru rate remaining as one of the most important metrics search engines use to measure quality.
If it’s been awhile since your last technical SEO audit, consult with an SEO agency to dive deep into your website to figure out areas that can be improved.
Are dead ”zombie” pages being indexed?
Are there 404s, or broken links on your website?
Is your internal link structure organized correctly?
Can your page speed performance be improved?
Want to get started? Take our free SEO Assessment. If you’d like to work with us on any of the aforementioned initiatives, send us a message.
Want more? Check out our top five SEO tips from 2018 and 2017 below.
5 SEO TRENDS FROM 2018
1. Topic Authority vs. Keyword Authority
In the past, websites focused on ranking for specific keywords in the hopes their page would rise to the top of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) for queries containing their keyword. Businesses would write exhaustive articles targeting one specific keyword. With Penguin 4.0 Google started using Latent Semantic Indexing to organize their index. Your goal should be to become a topical authority on topics related to your business.
2. User Engagement Signals
Google’s RankBrain algorithm update takes more than just keywords into consideration when ranking websites. One of their most important additions to the algorithm is user engagement signals. Signals like dwell time, bounce rate, and conversion rate help Google identify pages that are more likely to help users complete the goal behind their query.
3. Click Through Rate (CTR)
Organic Click-Thru-Rate is one of the most important SEO ranking factors. If people consistently choose other search results over yours you’ll start losing organic traffic and rank.
4. Mobile First Indexing
In 2017 it was announced that Google will be rolling out mobile-first indexing. According to Google mobile-first indexing means, “we'll use the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking, to better help our – primarily mobile – users find what they're looking for.” With over 50% of Google searches happening on smartphones, Google’s goal is to provide their customers with the best possible search experience.
5. Voice Search
With the proliferation of voice search enabled devices like Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Google Home, optimizing content for voice search has become an increasingly important component of businesses marketing strategies.
5 SEO Trends FROM 2017
1. Accelerated Mobile Pages by Google
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) deliver mobile content to users at exceptionally fast speeds. Specialized HTML code can load mobile pages around four times faster than pages without it. While Google maintains that AMP websites aren't given priority in search engine results pages, the faster, smoother user experience they deliver results in more clicks,
2. Penguin 4.0
Google's new Penguin 4.0 algorithm now identifies spammy and low-quality websites in real time. This means webmasters no longer need to wait months for Google to recognize improvements made to content and usability.Penguin 4.0 examines every page on a website, which means the need for informative, well crafted content has never been greater. Check out an example of on of our high-quality websites for reference.
3. Video is King
The influence of video in SEO will continue growing during 2017. Facebook has already stated its intention to make video the predominant content type by 2020. And the likes of Vine, Periscope, Snapchat and Instagram are all improving their video functionality this year. The use of video content in search marketing is set to grow considerably in 2017. If the rumors are to be believed, Google will be getting in on the act too. The search engine behemoth is reportedly trialing video ads in its results pages. Recently a few of our clients prioritized video story-telling s as a means to attract visitors as well as express their brand in a compelling way.
4. Voice Search
There have been some major advances in voice recognition technology in recent months, so expect to see the use of voice search gain some serious momentum this year. The ability to search for information hands-free and on the move is making life simpler for millions of consumers. Voice recognition software is becoming more intuitive all the time, so marketing professionals will be taking it very seriously in 2017.
5. Structured Data
Structured data is formatted in a way that can be universally understood by all the major search engines and Internet directories. The easier it is for the likes of Google, Microsoft and Yahoo to crawl a website, the higher up in search results that site is likely to be. Schema, for instance, was developed through a collaboration between all of the major search engines. Expect to see structured data being rolled out in a massive way by search marketers in 2017.
We love thinking about how content development and SEO strategy combine to help businesses grow. Connect with us if you need help developing your branded content, or improving the brand experience for your customers.