It’s 2019, and SEO strategies have changed (for the better). Gone are the days of keyword stuffing and spammy link-building. These days, to earn valuable Search Engine Results Page (SERP) real estate, it’s all about striking a balance between optimizing for the search engine and optimizing for the user. Read on for 4 quick tips to set you in the right direction — your site on Page 1.
Put Keywords in the Backseat
Want to set yourself up for SEO failure? Treat all keywords the same. Beneath every keyword is search intent. Understanding and creating content for that intent is more important than any individual keyword. What do we mean?
Keywords can generally be organized into four different “buckets of intent:”
- Navigational: When users search for a brand name or a specific description of a brand. Example: Zappos website
- Informational: The user has a question, and needs an answer stat. Example: How to lace a shoe
- Investigational: The user has a query that straddles the line between informational and transactional. Example: Compare Doc Marten prices.
- Transactional: The user is seeking to purchase something, and uses buy-centric verbiage. Example: Buy red Doc Martens.
As a marketer, each example above is an opportunity to craft content to fulfill your users’ needs. How to lace a shoe? Great example of a “how to” article for your blog. Compare Doc Marten prices? Offer up a quick and easy table that compares top vendors online that sell boots. Buy red Doc Martens? That better lead to a well-optimized product page, because that’s a hot selling opportunity.
Takeaway: Give users what they ask for. If someone searching for “Buy Doc Martens” ends up on your FAQ page, they’re going to spend little time on your website, bounce quickly, and are unlikely to return.
Link Building is Dead! You Heard it Here First!
Does this email look familiar?
Hi [insert some name that may or may not be yours],
Saw your blog, and I have to say, it’s great. I really like the article about [insert an article here that’s not on the first page of your website so it looks like they did their research]. My company talks about very similar stuff, we have so much synergy! I think it would really benefit your readership if I wrote an article about [insert topic that’s only, and just barely, relevant]. I think it would also benefit your readership if, in this amazing article, I used the anchor text “BUY RED SHOES ONLINE” and linked back to my website.
I expect this sounds good to you. I’ll start the article now.
Again, awesome website!
Mr. I Sent This Same Email to 50 Websites
Don’t be that guy. Instead, focus on creating a wide variety of content that is so good that other websites feel the need to link to it. Write an article that’s twice as useful as the top-ranking article on Google. Create a video. Create an interactive infographic. Create a downloadable template. Create material that establishes you as the leader in your niche.
Takeaway: Don’t spam people for links. Create authoritative, leading content that other websites can’t help but link to.
Back to Basics: Is Your On-Page SEO Solid?
While the world of SEO is ever-changing, one core principle has remained: Make sure your on-page SEO is solid. What is on-page SEO? Moz offers a great description: “…the practice of optimizing individual web pages in order to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in search engines. On-page refers to both the content and HTML source code of a page that can be optimized, as opposed to off-page SEO which refers to links and other external signals.”
Let’s say you’re writing an informational blog article on channel marketing best practices. Take a look at the elements below, and choose the option that best answers the question: Does Google know what this webpage is actually about? More importantly, are users satisfied if they land on this page after using the search phrase, “channel marketing best practice guide”?
- Channel Marketing – Get a Demo | The Channel Guy
- Channel Marketing Best Practice Guide | The Channel Guy
- Channel Marketing Best Practices | The Channel Guy
- Channel Marketing Best Practice Guide
- Channel Marketing
- Channel Marketing – How to Win
- Learn channel marketing best practices.
- Need to improve your channel? Learn how today.
- In this guide, learn channel marketing best practices for 2019 that will set you apart from your competitors. Read today!
- Title Tag: 2. The full keywords are right in the title, and it’s very clear what the web page offers.
- URL: 1. Matches the title tag, and again offers clear insight into the topic of the page.
- H1: 1. Reinforces the title & URL slugs
- Meta Description: 3. Clearly tells the user what to expect, and ends with a proper call to action.
Takeaway: SEO is always changing, but its roots are in proper on-page optimization. Neglect it and it doesn’t matter what else you do — Google won’t reward you with targeted organic traffic.
Mobile-First Indexing is Here
In the past, Google’s web crawlers analyzed the desktop version of your website and populated the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) accordingly. In April 2015, Google officially began rewarding websites with a well-optimized mobile experience. In 2018, two important mobile landmarks occurred: There were officially more mobile searches than desktop searches, and Google released Mobile-First Indexing, which means that web crawlers would specifically look at your mobile website for ranking and indexing.
Don’t offer your users a rich mobile experience? Time-on-site will go down, bounce rate will go up and your SERP rankings will suffer.
Takeaway: Optimize for mobile. Don’t use technology on your website that most phones do not support (Flash), implement responsive design and make your mobile website as easy to use as possible.
Marketers, we want to hear from you. How has your SEO strategy shifted for 2019? What’s working? What’s not working? Leave a comment below!
Submitted by Jonathan Pack
Marketing Manager at Zift Solutions.