2018 was the year in which Google introduced dramatic changes to how it ranks sites. For example, Google used AI for approximately 30% of search queries. The page with the most links does not always rank at the top anymore. Here are the five SEO factors that I believe will be important for 2019.
1. Become Familiar with Structured Data 2. Avoid Structured Data Mistakes 3. Consider Podcasts for Your Marketing Agenda 4. Improve Content Focus 5. Improve Image SEO
1. Become Familiar with Structured Data
Structured data is intimidating. But it’s actually easy to become familiar with how it works. The easiest way to become familiar with it is to copy and paste and start working with it.
I wrote a step by step tutorial for helping those new to structured data. It shows how the online manual for structured data is set up. Then it walks you through creating and testing your own structured data code.
2. Avoid Structured Data Mistakes
Sites have been receiving penalties for incorrect implementation of structured data. It’s possible to make an honest mistake and receive a penalty for it.
The five most common structured data mistakes to avoid:
1. Using inappropriate structured data
2. Structured data doesn’t match on-page content
3. Violates Google’s Guidelines for a specific data type
4. Violates Google’s Structured Data General Guidelines
5. Shortcuts and taking liberties (aka manipulative behavior)
3. Consider Podcasts for Your Marketing Strategy
Podcasts are an increasingly popular way to consume content. You should consider investigating if potential customers are listening to podcasts related to your niche. And if they are then it may make sense to create a strategy to reach those listeners.
A strategy could range from sponsorships, appearing on the podcast, and by promoting specific content that may be of interest. Podcasts are content that is consumed in a digital format. Marketing with podcasting can be considered an extension of content marketing.
4. Focused Content
This is perhaps the most important part of Internet marketing for 2019. Unfocused content is one of the biggest mistakes I’ve been seeing all year for sites that have lost ranking.
In an article I wrote about how to create better content I suggested this:
“Web pages rank because websites link to those pages. Websites link to those pages because those pages solved a problem, because it scratches an itch.
Nobody ever linked to a web page because of its keyword relevance.”
5. Improve Your Image SEO
Images are more than something to make your page pretty. Images are important for SEO. Treat them the same as you treat your title and heading elements because they all work together to help the page rank better. Images can also boost your ranking power by showing up in enhanced listings.
Image SEO Best Practices
Use images that tell a story
Readers achieve deeper understanding of concepts with symbols or images that illustrate your point. If the article is about adopting a pet, show cute kittens at an actual animal shelter.
If the article is about the failure of a company or a process, perhaps consider an image of a ship about to hit a rock or a car with the tires falling off.
Communicating an idea or a point quickly with an image can help readers understand what your article is about, which will help them decide to read it.
Illustrate Step by Step Instructions
Readers and consumers love step by step instructions. Screenshots and illustrations are super helpful and Google tends to use these kinds of images in enhanced listings. A single image that illustrates how to do something can be ranking gold.
Using images that can be measured in megabytes may slow down sales and rankings. Heavy images will contribute to higher bandwidth demands on your server, which can cause extra charges from your web host. Heavy images can contribute to slowing down the server when a crush of site visitors reach your site at the same time.
Bonus: Keep Up to Date
In addition to these tips for improving your SEO, you may wish to focus on security as well. Keeping the software that underlies the website updated is important. Use difficult to guess passwords. Consider undertaking an audit of all third party add-ons and plugins to make sure they are regularly updated and well written by a company that can be trusted.
E-commerce has gone mainstream and the lines between digital and offline channels are blurring. Consumers browse online, use their mobile devices to price check in store, and purchase through whichever channel happens to be available at the time.
Retail brands continue to mature digitally, using technology and the wealth of data available to more effectively connect and engage with connected consumers.
Use Digital to Pull Shoppers into Stores:
Digital is a great way for local retailers and retail giants a like to encourage store visits. A study by Google revealed that 3 in 4 shoppers who find local information in search results are more likely to visit stores.
The types of information shoppers would find most helpful in search results include:.
Improve the In-Store Experience with Digital Strategies
Google research shows that 42% of in-store shoppers search for information online using their smartphones.
The top two places shoppers head to search include search engines (64%) and the retailer’s website or app (46%).
This presents an opportunity for retailers to enhance the in-store experience by ensuring sites and ads are mobile-friendly, and that search results are fully optimized.
But what’s the best way to increase followers and engagement online?
1. Be Active With Your Facebook Presence
That means that when you’re on Facebook it’s not something you can work on every couple of weeks.
You have to commit to your Facebook marketing strategy by consistently posting new content to your company’s Facebook page like photos and videos, with links back to your website. Post offers and special deals… news about product launches… do live streams using Facebook Live… and more.
2. Reach Your Best Customers with Facebook Ads
One of the metrics that too many companies on Facebook strive for is more “likes” and “followers.” Yes, those are important numbers. But what you should really be focusing on is reaching your best customers. By that, I mean those more likely to buy and even buy repeatedly.
3. Engage Your Audience
Your Facebook marketing strategy definitely should not be set it and forget it. This is social media. You have to engage with your audience.
You’re trying to build a community. And the more active you are, the more engaged people will be with your brand. And that means more leads and sales.
Post at the Best Time on Facebook
Facebook is still one of the most difficult social networks to use for organic content. Again, algorithms make it a challenge for businesses trying to find optimal posting times.
Type of Ads:
Different ad formats can be used across Facebook platforms. The types of formats that are available to you depend on your selected advertising objective.
It’s important to select an advertising objective that aligns with your business goals. After you select your advertising objective, you can choose the right format for your ad.
1) Carousel Ads
Goals: Clicks to Website, Brand Awareness
Interactive and visually appealing, Carousel Ads are perfect for the multiple products you want to promote or an array of services you need to build awareness of.
They’re also mobile friendly, and they can be placed right within the newsfeed, making their click-through-rates better than most.
2) Lead Ads
Goal: Lead Generation
Facebook Lead Ads were designed to make the mobile signup process easier by automatically populating contact information that people have provided to Facebook including email addresses.
Lead Ads allow Facebook users to sign up for things like newsletters, price estimates, follow-up calls and business information, which can be extremely valuable to retailers looking to expand and improve their customer interaction.
3) Canvas Ads
Goal: Clicks to Website, Website Conversions, Brand Awareness
This is as interactive as it gets in the Facebook advertising world, allowing customers to get up close and personal with your images and products by tilting, swiping, zooming and more—all with just their fingertips.
Fast (Canvas loads quickly, as much as 10 times faster than the standard mobile web), seamless and available only on mobile, it’s a great way to engage customers and get them excited about what you have to offer.
4) Dynamic Ads
Goal: Website Conversions
These are some of Facebook’s most powerful advertising methods for spurring sales. Based on your own website data, Dynamic Ads offer a form of remarketing, letting you reach users based on past actions they completed on your website or within your store.
You can target users based on the content they viewed on your site, items they added to their shopping cart, products they purchased and more.
It does require installing the Facebook Pixel on your site—but we’ve got a pretty good guide for getting that done. It’s not as complicated as it sounds.
5) Video Ads
Goal: Video Views, Brand Awareness
Advertising via video is extremely popular in today’s mobile world. Great for selling, building awareness or just simply entertaining and engaging a customer, video ads are some of the most powerful tools in a modern marketer’s arsenal.
In the fact that Facebook videos get more than 8 billion views every single day.
Facebook’s videos are particularly powerful, offering retargeting capabilities that help you hone in on customized audiences.
6) Domain Ads
Goals: Clicks to Site, Website Conversions, Testing Creative
Ideal for attracting leads and driving traffic to your brand’s website, Domain Ads are some of Facebook’s most-used ad types. The ads can point to your homepage, an optimized landing page or even a specific product, purchase area or opt-in form.
Domain Ads are cheap, but they’re not very customizable.
7) Collection Ads
Goal: Clicks to Website, Website Conversions
Facebook collection ads, people who tap on your collection ad to browse or learn more will be seamlessly taken to a fast-loading visual post-click experience powered by Instant Experience – all without leaving Facebook or Instagram.
Users can click any image to see more detail or purchase the product through the advertiser’s site or app.
Much like the rest of the internet, YouTube has established numerous steps to optimize the user experience on mobile. When it comes to mobile-friendliness, the YouTube mobile app is truly a handy and reliable app that allows you to watch videos on the go, while offering full functionality that allows you to record and stream live.
With more users going mobile, this also means that some processes and details must also be updated to keep up with the times. This means removing some seldom-used features and elements to streamline the process, while also testing out possible changes that might impact revenue and user experience.
For YouTube, the newest set of updates aim to remove credits and annotations in editing, while testing out back-to-back ads that play before a video starts. Here are our thoughts, how it works, and how these can affect the user experience.
Video credits in YouTube allow users to be able to tag users and channels that they have collaborated with when creating a video. This ensures that users and channels would be credited and recognized properly and allow users to discover different related channels. Despite its benefits, it has become a feature that has been used less and less, which leads to YouTube removing the feature altogether.
While the feature to tag users and channels has been removed, adding credits can still be done when writing the description of your video, which is a practice done by more users recently. This has become more common on different videos and looks to be the more practical approach that will be the standard. This smoothens the editing process, while still giving users the ability to give credit to their fellow users.
Along with removing credits, YouTube will also remove video annotations by January 2019. Annotations have been no longer in use since 2017, but videos that contain them are still present. This update would remove them entirely, especially when watching videos. Annotations do not appear when viewed on mobile, which is why the feature was no longer in use. With better calls to action that are more visually appealing, this feature has become outdated. If you have a video that still contains annotations, it is best to wait for the update before adding necessary changes to create a better experience.
Ads have become a regular part of YouTube ever since the playing of ads before a video has been somewhat a standard practice. This not only helps various channels generate income, but also helps users discover different things such as brands, viral campaigns, and new products and websites. While ads may have affected the user experience for better or for worse, it is a necessary feature that helps bring in more revenue to the platform.
With this in mind, YouTube will begin to test out back-to-back advertisements that play before a video starts. This means an average of 2-5 minutes before watching a video. While this will allow more revenue and brand exposure, this might be a controversial feature, as a lot of users still adjusting to watching ads before videos. Since this is still at the testing phase, there might be a chance for this to change or to not happen at all. With this in mind, it is best to respond to official surveys, and leave reviews to ensure that YouTube would be able to bring impactful changes to the user experience.
YouTube SEO Impact
With these new updates, users would have to adjust accordingly when giving credit and optimizing their YouTube SEO experience. This means that along with making sure the description makes it searchable and informative, fellow users must be properly credited. As for the ads, this is something that might impact the viewer count. However, just as long you deliver quality content that is searchable, you will not have any issues with getting traffic into your videos.
YouTube has seen numerous changes over the years, and these updates are there to optimize a few details to optimize the user experience. With these set of updates, expect YouTube to continue making the viewing experience much better on any platform.
If you have questions and inquiries about YouTube or SEO in general, leave a comment below and let’s talk.