Have you set your SEO goals or resolutions for 2019 yet? With 36% of UK business leaders still said to be unsure about their digital marketing strategy for the year, it’s a good bet that your SEO resolutions may still be a work in progress. Our own SEO team has a few suggestions for you to set your optimisation investment off in the right direction for the year ahead…
- Create content optimised for featured snippets
The featured snippets space at the top of the search results page on Google is often referred to as position zero. The very fact that it appears above the number one ranked organic site makes this real estate incredibly valuable and it’s certainly something that should be part of your strategy. This means creating content that provides concise definitions and answers. Featured snippets commonly begin with “how to….”, “what is….” and “how does…”. In addition to sitting above position one in standard search, featured snippets are also closely linked to voice search.
- Improve voice search optimisation
Although research at the start of the month found that voice search use had dropped in 2018, Google named it as one of its 10 digital marketing trends for 2019. It’s wise therefore to ensure that you don’t neglect voice search – better yet, make it an active part of your strategy with clear and measureable goals to move your voice optimisation forward. With smart speaker sales projected to double this year, this is potentially a high traffic source.
- Take page load times down to the wire
Now the mobile index is powering over half of searches, page load times have taken on even greater significance. Make it an SEO goal to take your mobile page load times down to the wire – techniques such as using AMP for content can help and there are lots of free tools and Google tips to make your pages as lean and fast loading as they possibly can be. The benefits here are not focused solely on SEO – consumers expect pages to load quickly and if they don’t, they are very likely to leave and go in search of competitor that can meet their expectations.
- Build good quality links
Links are still closely tied to strong SEO performance but, they’re harder than ever before to acquire. For this reason, your link building efforts need to be consistent and focused on good quality sites, in relevant niches with related anchor text.
- Focus on longer form, good quality content
If you’re guilty of rattling out content just because you know you should, make 2019 the year you focus on slowing down and commit to adding value. Perform a content audit and identify older pieces which need to be improved or brought up to date and then, outline unique, good quality pieces that allow your expertise to shine through. Make high quality and value-add content your goal, focusing on detailed and in-depth pieces that are useful, informative and unique.
- Be proactive about reputation management
Towards the end of last year we shared that online reviews are more important than ever when it comes to leading consumers on the path to purchase but, it also emerged that shoppers increasingly review your own responses to online reviews too, rather than focusing purely on what a previous customer has to say about you. Local SEO ranking studies continuously tie online review volume with local search visibility too but it is an area that many businesses are guilty of leaving to its own devices.
Good reputation management goals include instigating new systems to encourage shoppers to leave reviews, aiming to reply to all reviews both good and bad the same working day and being mindful of generating reviews on a range of key platforms including Google My Business.
- Be active on Google My Business
It’s amongst the most important of local SEO ranking signals but again, a very under-utilised resource. Google My Business isn’t hard to get to grips with, is free to set up and gives you lots of useful tools including performance insights. If you haven’t yet claimed your listing or haven’t fully completed your profile, including image uploads and category selection, do that first. Thereafter, stick to a regular schedule of updates and use all of the tools it puts at your disposal such as Posts, promotions and reviews.