SEO tips to support 2019 online growth
What a year 2018 was! There were multiple updates last year which made SEO tips pre-2015 more or less obsolete. In this article, we will give you a brief overview of the main changes that occurred in 2018. There’s also a host of SEO tips to ensure that your digital growth continues throughout 2019 – well, until search engines change the goal posts again, of course.
Below is a table of the most significant SEO updates from 2018. Some have been confirmed and some haven’t. But, the common themes are around trust, intent and quality.
Summary of the Google updates in 2018
|March||Google confirmed big quality update|
|April||Google announces another core quality update (16 & 30)|
|May||April’s update keeping rolling out|
|June||An unconfirmed quality update, manual penalties for bad links.|
|July||Mobile speed update|
|August||Massive quality update focusing on E-A-T aka “Medic”|
|Sept||Significant quality update, possibly focusing on backlinks|
So, what does this all mean?
Here are our top SEO tips to ensure that your business can be ‘discovered’ via search engines.
Changing tact – discovery vs search
Like all technology, search engines are trying to provide the ‘searcher’ with the best answer to their query through AI. This means that it is no longer about how well optimised your website pages are to a particular keyword or phrase. It is based on the content within that optimised page and how well suited it is to the searcher’s ‘intent’.
This does not mean that keyword research is dead. It actually means finding those niche, long-tailed phrases that are highly relevant to your content is even more important.
Ask yourself honestly:
- Who are your customers?
- What point of the journey are they on that makes this content relevant?
- What information do they need from this content?
If there is one main SEO tip to take from this section, it is that writing for the sake of adding content and keywords to your website will not help you to be discovered in the future. Writing content with your customers in mind which matches both the search query and the searcher’s intent will serve you well.
This is not a new point to make. High quality, succinctly-written, well-presented and engaging content will win over anything else.
So, make a point of reviewing the content which you have online and remove anything which does not tick all of those boxes.
Then, update. Not only the content itself to make it relevant again but also the design and on-page SEO elements.
Reviewing backlinks is crucial. This is especially the case because asking for ‘toxic’ links to be removed can be a lengthy process. And, don’t even ask about the uphill struggle it can be to remove a penalisation.
The way forward is to review backlinks regularly, catch them quickly and deal with them immediately to keep your SEO performing as it should be.
Brand is king
It was a year or so ago that brands were going to dominate their own ‘search space’. This was so that businesses which tried to optimise their website to a particular brand, such as their closest competitor, were always going to come second, if that. This has been implemented further still with AI now in play. The theory makes sense. If I searched ‘Wagamama’, the chances are that I am looking to visit their site for information rather than someone else’s website which has optimised content to that brand’s name. So, the results will show not only their website but also the internal pages from their site which may have previously been ‘hidden’ without a more thorough search. It may also show other various touch points, such as their social feeds.
Unless you are an ecommerce site selling certain brands, trying to compete with brands themselves is going to be a fruitless task. The SEO tip here is to review your keywords, especially where brands are mentioned. See if you are ranking for them at all using Google’s search console or Bing’s webmaster tools. Then, change them if you are not top of that search term or getting clicks from it.
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