This week, the 21 Handshake podcast is going to dive deep into upcoming SEO trends for our brand new year! We know – SEO isn’t always the most interesting topic to discuss in the marketing meeting, but it remains one of the most important parts of a marketing content strategy, and we’re discussing the top SEO tactics and changes that your brand should really be aware of! Here’s a quick top ten list you can use to follow along.
1. Mobile First Indexing
Mobile first indexing is a practice Google started not so long ago, which essentially means that Google is looking first at the mobile versions of your website when gathering SEO data and ultimately ranking your site in searches. We talk more about it here. If mobile isn’t already at the forefront of your SEO strategy, it needs to be!
2. Voice Search
Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Siri, Cortana…there are a lot of voice assistants these days, and a growing number of devices that use them (as many of us found out over the holidays). People are using these voice assistants to search for products, information and advice on the web: Some estimates say that half of online searches will be via voice search by 2020. It’s important to create properly tagged content with clear, concise answers to optimize for voice searches!
3. In-Depth Content
What does “in-depth” mean? Basically, it means expertise: It means providing a lot of sound data and really knowing what you are talking about. Less fluff, more information that people can use. If that means making content longer, good! Google looks at content length, source, word use, and other factors to judge just how authoritative content is. The more (and better) information you provide, the higher you will rank.
We’re seeing slow improvements in speed, but many companies still lag behind in this area, and it should be a high priority SEO goal – because Google is also using things like mobile page speed as a ranking factor. Ideally, pages should load within about 3 seconds on a standard mobile connection. The average is still around 15 seconds. Where do you fall?
What does security have to do with SEO in 2019? Some very interesting developments are connecting the two, especially when it comes to blockchain. Blockchain is the curated method of ascertaining and sealing information that’s used to protect the value of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. However, blockchain tactics can be used for many other things…including validating backlinks so you don’t have to worry about faulty links now or in the future. Keep an eye on this trend to see where it goes!
6. Brand as a Ranking Signal
Google’s algorithm is hard at work trying to understand just what a brand is like: Who around the Web is talking about your brand? What sort of things are they saying? Does it look like your brand resolves complaints quickly and effectively? Where and how does your brand advertise? Google is analyzing information like this to build a general idea of brand reputation that it can use for ranking, which means even more content is becoming important for SEO.
7. Amazon Search
Get your products on Amazon! There are many benefits to doing this, but the primary advantage is that buyers from all types of industries now instinctively go to Amazon to search for products and prices. It’s becoming a big source of organic searches and a common search tag on Google, too. An Amazon presence can really help with your traffic and SEO.
8. Featured Snippets
Featured snippets are those blocks of quotes or information Google offers at the top of SERPs. Make it an aim to get your content into a featured snippet! Fortunately, many of the same tactics used for voice assistant optimization can be used here: Provide authoritative and concise information at all times!
9. LSI Indexing
Latent semantic indexing or LSI is a new SEO trend that focuses on contextually related words. In other words, you also want phrases that explain what your primary keyword means. Talk about how it’s used, what problems it helps to solve, what industry you’re talking about, and other important signifiers. In other words, give Google lots of clues about what your keyword really means.
RankBrain is Google’s AI algorithm that helps decide SEO ranking. What exactly RankBrain focuses on is something of a mystery, but currently the best guesses say that it looks hard at dwell rate and click-through rates. Dwell rate is, of course, how long people spend on a web page, while click-through rates show how frequently people click on links. These are good areas to focus on for improvement!
On a final note, don’t get discouraged by Google’s constant shifts to the algorithm and other SEO changes that may impact your work negatively: The overall trajectory of SEO is pushing toward a better content experience for everyone! When in doubt, focus on expertise and authority in your content.
Do you already have specific SEO plans for your business? Let us know about them @21handshake on social media. If you loved this episode, please rate us 5 stars on iTunes or share with a friend.