Once upon a time, SEO meant front-loading keywords into your blog headlines and the first sentences on your landing pages and other evergreen content to ensure Google’s ‘spiders’ picked up on them and in theory, hoisted you up to the top of the first page of the search engine.
Luckily for most of us, Google realised this skewiff means of improving your ranking was not working, which is why SEO has evolved to look more holistically at a website and at evolving technologies to ensure the right businesses are put in front of potential customers, every time.
Business journal Forbes believes there are four major SEO trends emerging in 2019 and the first may surprise you, but then when you consider it for a moment, it makes a world of sense: voice search.
Gary VaynerchU.K., owner of VaynerMedia, has been encouraging businesses to think more ‘Siri’, more ‘Alexa’, more ‘Cortana’, when looking at how their products and services might be accessed. The way to harness the benefits of a voice search is to think in questions, as most voice searches result from queries. This is why it is beneficial to set out your website so it answers your potential customers’ questions rather than shoehorning in keywords without considering how somebody might use them when looking for your product or service.
User experience (UX) is something Google has always backed and now the search engine is prioritising websites that are responsive, easy to navigate and fast. Indeed, Forbes reveals that websites that take more than three seconds to load lose 40 per cent of their visitors just like that. Website readability is just as crucial as loading speed. If your website is easy to explore then your visitors are likely to achieve their objectives and ultimately return - but frustrated visitors who give up on a clunky interface are as bad as a poor TripAdviser review for your SEO.
HTTPS is a valuable thing, and users who don’t see those five little letters in the web address are less likely to click through, especially if the website offers payment options for goods and services. Google rewards safe and secure sites with good Google rankings and better visibility in search engine results. Your web designer will help you migrate from HTTP to HTTPS if you want to make your online business safer to use.
Finally, Forbes believes conversions are king, because even though Google rankings are good for attracting web traffic, conversions are your real, quantifiable business. Your website is your sales pitch, but thinking about brand-building horizontally rather than in silos will help you to close that deal. Building these links with bloggers and other platforms is an excellent way to get referral traffic, and build credibility, so maybe look at harnessing strategic partnerships or looking at AI technology to help you achieve results.
Your web designer and developer will be able to build you a strategy that uses the technology at your disposal to keep up with all these trends - even if you are a startup or SME looking to take your website to the next level.