2019 is the year that Quality overtook Quantity as the premier deciding factor for achieving SEO success.

By Marsha Kelly

For years Google has been perfecting their search results algorithm to better deliver a top-value user experience for their customers, i.e. internet searchers. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning technology have allowed Google’s “Rankbrain” to dramatically improve its ability to pinpoint user intention and deliver fine-tuned search results.

This means that your business, whether small town retailer or professional service provider, must focus on the exact needs of your target customers. Delivering value to your customers via great content and product offerings is an absolute necessity. This is the ultimate goal of the search engine updates – to better serve people’s needs.

Admittedly, the following SEO and technical terms may be new you. Yet, it is wise for all business owners to be informed about these important internet trends. By understanding the trends, businesspeople can better hire and manage SEO agencies and IT professionals.

The days of spamming search engines with sub-par content and tricking the algorithm into believing your web pages/or content is worthwhile and should be highly-ranked are long gone.

Now, top ranking content must offer genuine substance. This information is useful and highly-relevant, which is why it is important for businesses to become familiar with the newest and best practices for SEO in 2019. As entrepreneurial expert Tim Ferriss says, “Make sure your post focused on just one idea. If you dilute your post with multiple topics, it won’t have the same impact.”

Here are the top 7 SEO trends that you need to know. By implementing these trends you can capitalize on the benefits they provide your website traffic, generate leads, and boost sales.

1–Featured Snippets Doubled – Google has expanded its snippet search results for some keyword phrases with two or more listings above the organic results. While this pushes the organic listings further down the page, it offers your website twice the opportunity to appear in these highly coveted, top traffic generating spots. Google has done this in an effort to help searchers find what they seek on the search engine results page quickly.  Here are some tips to get your website listed in the featured snippet.

2–Voice Search – In 2019, the majority, (76%) of smart speaker users (74 million in the US, which is 26% of internet subscribers), used voice searches daily. Of this 76%, searching for local businesses was the primary usage. This promising voice search data is a giant leap of opportunity for local companies. Gearing this to your business’ advantage can allow yourself and other local businesses to jump ahead of big national firms. Optimizing your website for voice search will catapult your company to the front of the line for these high-intent and super high-converting searches.

3–Mobile First Index – The use of mobile devices is becoming the majority of site traffic. In  2018, 52.2% of users were accessing websites (and search engines) primarily online. In response to this growing trend, Google announced that it will create one index for all search results with priority to the mobile-user experience. For business owners, this means that your mobile responsiveness, load speed, and user experience are all essential factors that contribute to your overall SEO Search Engine Optimization campaigns.

4–Longer to Rank – SEO experts have confirmed via case studies that it now takes about six months for most SEO optimization tactics to improve site rankings. Industry professionals at Ahrefs determined that the average #1 ranked site was over 900 days old. Don’t panic. This is good news for conscientious business owners who will start improving their SEO today and continue for the long term. Do not abandon your program if you don’t see results instantly. Be patient. These longer wait times will weed out the short cut taking businesses, who will quickly abandon their website-ranking projects. The purpose of these tactics is to provide reliable information. Therefore, by surviving the new SEO trials by fire, you are proving your worth to search engines and to your customers.

5–Freshness Factor – Multiple industry studies reveal that content freshness ( via the recent publish date) is a significant factor in achieving good rankings. Search engines regard newer information as more accurate and thus, and will give more value to their searchers. Polish please That helps these sites rank that higher. To improve your site freshness, on a monthly basis, review your top pages and check for accuracy. Update this information by adding additional information and news (300+ words) then, republish.

6–Word Count Counts – Ranking preferences are being given to sites with greater word counts. This confirms that a higher word count is an indicator of quality for Google. While a higher word count is great, don’t forget that it is the quality of the words that also make a difference. The best way to make this work for your business is to increase your business’ blogging. Adding blogs to your website will aid your SEO by increasing the word count of your website on a regular basis. As a result, this will maximize your site’s freshness and boost your site authority. For fresh blogging ideas and to find out what your readers want to know, use Google to search and find the Questions (People also ask) associated with your target keywords. Write blog posts answering these questions in depth, using your expertise and experience in the field.

7–Verified Expert Authors – In August 2018 Google rolled out a major algorithm update that negatively affected many health and finance sites. This update was consequently dubbed the “Your Money or Your Life YMYL  Update” because it took into account the verified expertise of the site’s authors. Sites written by unverifiable authors took the biggest hits. To recover and avoid these penalties, make sure your site is well set up for EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness). Your content must be written by an expert who is trusted in the field and has published on industry-respected sites. Moreover, accreditations, citations, and published papers of these individuals must also be listed in directories.  What does this mean? It means that businesspeople should ensure that every accolade they or their business has is posted to every site, social network, and the directories it is affiliated with. Qualifying information, for Google to consider you a verified expert source, can also include trade associations, chamber memberships, industry trade show exhibits, awards, certificates, licenses, and diplomas.

When it comes to marketing your business, throughout all aspects, it is important to do it right and do it consistently. This includes keeping up with SEO practices. After all, YOUR readers want the value YOU have to offer them. Google has become the world’s largest internet search engine because of the company’s #1 priority: user experience. By making your business’ user experience of your website the best it can be, you will be rewarded with high search engine rankings and returning customers.

Marsha Kelly sold her first business for more than a million dollars. She has shared hard-won experiences as a successful serial entrepreneur on her Best4Businesses blog, where she also regularly posts business tips, ideas, and suggestions, as well as product reviews, for business readers. As a serial entrepreneur who has done “time” in corporate America, Marsha has learned what products and services really work well in business today. You can learn from her experiences to build your business.

SEO stock photo by Panchenko Vladimir/Shutterstock