Fun Fact: Google made 12 major SEO impacting changes to their algorithm in 2018. You can see all the changes Moz tracked if you’re curious.
In total, an average of 500-600 changes are made every year. Most are small with little to no impact to SEO. But this highlights one thing very clearly; Google cares about user experience.
I am going to share our top 5 big SEO tips for 2019. I will also share a few tips on what you can do today to get your website ranking. As a result, you can get your business ranking high and increase you onsite engagements.
#1 The Mobile Experience – Mobile First Indexing
So, you finally got your website up and running. Great Job! But the challenge has just begun. I read a study recently that showed 90% of business owners responded by saying their website was mobile friendly.
Unfortunately, this stat (while encouraging) is also misleading. Having a website that is accessible on a mobile device is not enough. You need to be fast. Just look at the bounce rates based on load times:
To add more importance to the mobile experience, 63% of all web traffic in 2018 was on a mobile device. And mobile use is only increasing!
To fully understand how your website performs online, we recommend using Think with Google and Google Page Speed. Think with Google measures your load times on a 3G and 4G internet connections. Amazingly, nearly 70% of cellular connections will occur on 3G or slower speeds through 2020.
Google Page Speed is free and gives you a great baseline on how your website is performing on mobile and desktop devices. It gives you a score of 1-100 with 100 being the best. The report does a great job at highlighting its results with opportunities shown.
#2 User-Experience Web Design
As mentioned earlier, user experience matters in SEO and for a good reason. 80% of users say they want a seamless experience on all devices. If your site loads to slow, bounce rate increases and your ranking suffers. I have seen clients try to increase their page load times by using fewer images.
Makes sense, right? Fewer images mean faster load times. Not only is this wrong, but it can also kill your business.
To increase engagement, you need a healthy balance of fast loading, high-quality images, AND great text. Just think of how you use the internet. What are your thoughts when you see a website that is mostly text and only a few low-quality images?
Finding the right balance can be a challenge. So take your time when planning out your web design. However, once done right your conversions and engagement will increase.
#3 Quality Content – Engage to Rank
Did you know that 84% of people expect brands to create educational and engaging content? To me, this says that if you are not providing real value, your business will suffer.
Content Marketing is, in fact, a small business’s best friend. That weekly blog you have been ignoring might be the one thing your business is missing. Producing tips, tricks, and insights have catapulted hundreds of startups into successful ventures.
But quality content is not just limited to weekly blogs or videos. Your entire web page also needs to be well-written and engaging.
When creating your website, you need to factor in these following items
- Proper Keyword/Key Phrase usage
- Readability of your website
- Sentence and paragraph structure
So why is all of this so important for SEO? It all comes back to user experience. Google crawls every webpage searching for the best content for their users. Matching keywords entered in the search bar with content on web pages. In combination with website bounce rates and load times, you can see how this impacts your search rankings.
But it all starts with quality content.
#4 Security – Does https matter?
Yes, https does matter. Even more so for new and small businesses.
In short, when your web address is https:// it means that the connection between the user and your website is encrypted. And thus, protecting the user’s privacy.
To convert your website to a secure connection, you will need to get SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates. The good news is, some web hosting services provide SSL certificates for free. For those that do not, it only costs about $27 per year.
Yes, you will see some well-known brands that have not converted. Keep in mind most are brand names that have been in business for decades. In truth, the majority of the web is converting.
So how important is having a secure website? A recent study found that 82% of users would leave a website that isn’t secure. Can your business risk that?
#5 Artificial Intelligence – Do black hat SEO still work?
No, I am not talking about the AI that wants to take over the world. But, we do need to understand that AI and online marketing have a bright future together.
Search algorithms are getting smarter. And this has led to exceptional improvements to our online experience. I need to trust that when I search for local dentists, I find those closest to me. So do you.
But how does this all relate to AI and SEO? AI has already helped search engines connect users with the correct content. It has been years since I have searched for “local libraries” and found local grocery stores as the top matches.
Next up is the elimination of the black hat SEO techniques that so many marketers employed for years. I will list for you later a number of these black hat techniques below. Although it sounds great, anyone promising first-page rankings in 30 days is using these black-hat techniques.
SEO takes time to impact ranking. The more competitive the industry, the more time it will take. With AI coming in, your content needs to be great but also address the searchers intent. In other words, if you want to rank your on-page SEO needs to be fully optimized.
To help you understand the basics of SEO, I have put together a list of Do’s and Don’ts. Follow these, in combination with our Top 5 Big SEO Tips and your page will rank naturally and organically.
The SEO Dos
- Build links through mentions in top ranking and relevant websites.
- Focus on keywords that matter, relate and aim to solve user problems.
- Add alt text and tags to backup visual content for search engines and users.
- Create helpful content that is educational, practical and entertaining.
- Make a responsive web design that is seamless and fast on all devices.
- Add meta tags and web page descriptions.
The SEO Don’ts
- Avoid black-hat methods considered unethical, illegal and deceiving such as:
- Keyword stuffing
- Intrusive advertising
- Linking farming
- Duplicate content
- Hidden links and text
- Never use PBN’s – Paid Blogging Networks
- Do not overuse graphics and animations that slow down your website.