If you take a look at the New Year’s resolutions you made for 2019, they’ll likely contain some financial ones, ones where you plan to have a more profitable year. And, if you are a business owner or work in marketing, consider adding this resolution to your list: “I’m ditching SEO gimmicks for good.”
When SEO was new, companies could toss up a piece of content that included word-for-word keywords and reap the benefits. As Google’s algorithm evolved and competitors began their own SEO efforts, companies then needed to tweak strategies, but they could still hire someone to churn out some pretty cheap, keyword-laden content to score SEO wins. They could still post guest-written content without reviewing it for quality; they could use (and be rewarded for) gimmicks.
The fact is it’s no longer possible in 2019—not by a long shot. Here are four things you may need to do differently in 2019 and beyond (if you aren’t doing them already!).
Vet guest posters carefully
To consistently post new content on a website, plenty of companies allow guest posts to be written—and you can still do that. Google has updated its search quality rating guidelines, though, and one noticeable change is that raters (real human beings who review websites for Google) should be looking beyond just the reputation of the website and also reviewing the reputation of the content creators.
So, who are these guest posters on your site? How are you vetting them? What else are they publishing online? Is it content you’d be proud of?
Also, build up your own content creation reputation by publishing your own guest posts—making sure they’re posted on reputable sites.
Recognize how content is a new kind of king
Content has been king online for quite some time now, but the rules to reign are evolving. So, it’s important to make your existing content work even harder in 2019 and beyond.
How? Consider shifting from posting a few shorter posts to creating in-depth long-form posts that provide relevant information to your target audience. Enhance it with images, videos, FAQs, checklists, and more. Also, enhance your services and location pages in the same way, adding informative FAQs, checklists that help people make choices, and testimonials from your best customers.
Finally, don’t forget to optimize for voice search queries.
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Expand your perception of online reviews
Online reviews are crucial for local SEO; that hasn’t changed. But, the standards of what’s needed are higher than ever before.
A couple of years ago, you might have worked to ensure you had a steady supply of Google Reviews being posted—steady, not a flood of them that might trigger a red flag in Google’s algorithm—and then you could check that item off your list.
In 2019, it’s not just about Google Reviews anymore. And it’s not just about Google Reviews and Yelp anymore, either. It’s important to have real diversity in review sites. And, here’s where the “toss the gimmicks out for good” part really comes in. We believe that, going forward, you will need consistently good reviews—and, to make that happen, you need good products, good service, and good people.
These are issues that go far beyond what any digital marketing agency can solve for a company, unless the company is willing to analyze what needs to be improved, and then make those improvements.
Optimize for branded terms (if your brand recognition is good)
When Google sees a branded search query that includes your company’s name, or a search for a branded product or service of yours, the algorithm recognizes that the searcher is aware of you and is clearly searching for something only you can provide.
So, if you have a brand that people can gravitate to, optimize for your brand name. If your brand isn’t one that people are naturally gravitating to, then you’ll need to work on that this year. As we mentioned in the section about online reviews, this means you will need good products, good services, and good people—something for which no gimmicky fix exists.
You can find more about our 2019 SEO predictions here.
Conclusion: This is a good thing
As you read through this list, it’s clear that ranking well in Google in 2019 and beyond will take more work than it did in the early days when you could insert a keyword here, ask your buddy to write a Google review, and so forth.
But, that’s a good thing. This means that quality companies will receive more of the lion’s share of rewards, while companies out to scam people and make a quick buck will discover that some of their tactics just aren’t working anymore.
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