A mere quarter century after the introduction of the internet, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has evolved from a basic idea operating slowly and simply on dial-up internet to an ever changing technical structure much of the world now takes for granted. SEO boasts infinite uses and a wealth of untapped potential; it can be used to connect people on opposite sides of the planet, to market both the big corporations and the mom-and-pop shop around the corner, to track users, to help marketers hone their craft–the possibilities are endless. In order to unleash this potential, it’s vital that your professional SEO standards rise above predictions and plans to produce real results.
In order to accurately predict 2019 SEO standards and beyond, we’ll first walk examine how past trends have emerged and formed over time.
Where SEO Started
Originally, providers based their ranking structure on sensible rules. A crazily complex set of rules, but rules nonetheless, which formed a foundation set in clearly-coded commands. The magic of SEO was born to “hack” those commands. Back then, (in ancient history, when Madonna and Michael Jackson were still opening acts), basic keyword hacks were considered cutting edge, and Google rankings weren’t anything to phone home about or compete for. Google even leveraged Matt Cutts, a SEO expert, to present to companies and web designers, teaching them how create digital sites and contents that would be most compatible to rankings.
Impact’s Eric Siu sees Cutt’s exit from Google as the end of transparency for the provider. Although their algorithms are updated multiple times a day, even the most brilliant minds in SEO can no longer easily break down the concepts. Siu breaks it down simply, saying that “some insiders at Google have even admitted they aren’t entirely sure what RankBrain is doing to generate results anymore, which means that SEO has become even more of an art than a science.” In fact, SEO has become such an enigma that digital agencies are increasingly devoting an entire imprint of services to helping businesses optimize their content and media for search.
If your content creators are operating under the impression that SEO strategies and tricks from past years will continue to bring in organic traffic, prepare to be sorely disappointed by your 2019 first quarter results. Standard keyword strategies just don’t cut it anymore, and digital marketing experts need to step up their 2019 SEO strategy game in order to avoid having content buried in the ever-deepening abyss of media.
Where SEO Is Going (And We Better Be, Too)
Mobile search inquiries are set to become even more prominent, especially given the rise of voice search and reliance on local SEO. In addition, Google’s transition to a mobile-first indexing (in March 2018) should provide plenty of incentive to have your web designer work some overtime. After ensuring that your site is well designed for a mobile layout and easily navigable from a small screen, your next focus should be reframing your SEO keyword strategy and services so that they’re compatible with mobile searches. With mobile phones on track to be the dominant device in 2019, catering your SEO services and keyword strategy to be mobile search friendly ensures visibility and above-the-fold ranking.
Ultimately, ranking comes down to organic search versus paid search. When typing in a Google query, the list of websites that pop up as search results is considered “organic results,” because those sites are ranked according to the quality of the content on each page (keywords, publication date, locality, etc.). Although widely considered the most valuable traffic source, organic traffic takes time to track, collect, and rank.
In contrast, paid search provides higher rankings to big companies who can afford to pay for them. Taking away the competition organic traffic rankings need, paid search is an attractive option for those who can’t (or don’t want) to take time to track their SEO, since they can just pay for the chance to immediately rank highly on Google. Although paid search has been the more popular option thanks to big businesses, we predict a rise in the desire for organic traffic–as this method of search has proven to be more cost-effective and accurate in the long run. On the other hand, if you’re willing to build a good foundation for your organic traffic and can wait to watch the data pile up, your organic traffic will increase.
Until recently, keyword SEO was the way to go as search engines have placed their primary focus on the quality of the content you produce, rather than the quantity of content, in order to filter the best results to searchers. Thanks to search providers’ constantly changing algorithms, the technical health of our websites and media has never been more important. Different from keyword focused SEO, technical SEO involves optimizing everything about your website that is not content. Although the ins and outs of technically optimizing your website are too complex to get into here, we recommend working with an expert to audit your content this way.
2019, Here We Come!
We hope these insights have made you feel more prepared for all the SEO changes coming in 2019. Check out our blog for more industry tips and tricks to audit your 2019 SEO strategy moving into the new year. Or, give us a call! The experts at Snap are eager to help make sure your website will be ready to start off the New Year with a bang.