7 Best SEO Practices in 2019
Each year brings new changes in the world of Search Engine Optimization as Google continually improves its algorithm for a stronger user experience. Here’s a few notable SEO items to plan for in 2019:
This one may be old news; however, it continues to move up on the list of must-haves for best SEO practices. If your website is not using an SSL and running under HTTPS, now is the time to switch. If you’ve already switched, keep in mind, it is important to be through in the process and ensure there is no remaining insecure or mixed content. There should also be a new HTTPS property set up in Google Search Console and correct HTTPS configuration in Google Analytics.
- Mobile First User Experience
Similar to above, mobile-friendliness has been a topic for several years. However, in 2018, Google switched to a mobile-first index. In other words, it is no longer about having a mobile-friendly or responsive website, it is about having a strong mobile user experience. In 2019, the mobile browsing experience should be put first and the desktop experience second. Test your website with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to see where your website stands.
If you have used any of Google’s page speed tools recently, you will notice fast-loading web pages are increasingly important. As more users are browsing the web on mobile devices and cellular networks, speed is of utmost importance. In July 2018, Google announced a ranking algorithm referred to as the “Speed Update,” meaning speed simply cannot be ignored.
- Voice Search
With the adoption of both mobile voice assistances (Siri, Alexa, etc.) and home assistant devices (Google Home, Amazon Echo, Apple Home, etc.), voice search cannot be ignored. For SEO, it is advised to follow Google’s voice search quality raters guidelines to correctly optimize your website for voice search and mobile voice assistants.
- Structured Data
As Google’s search results page continues to evolve and deliver more interactive results, it is increasingly important to follow and make use of applicable structured data markup to handfeed information to the search crawler. New structured data markup includes: speakable markup for voice search related queries, job posting schema, “how to” schema, FAQ schema, and more. View all available schemas here: full list of schema.org markup
- Amazon Optimization
If you’re in ecommerce, Amazon cannot be ignored. A recent study reported 56% of consumers visit Amazon first if they have shopping in mind. While your website is your bread and butter to optimize for SEO and create a positive brand experience, it’s important to consider the amount of business going to Amazon first in your industry. Oftentimes, the best scenario for SEO is when your website product AND an Amazon result with your product rank for a non-branded search term in your industry. In other words, the more “real estate” on the search results page, the better.
- Brand Authority
At Pubcon 2017, Gary Illyes mentioned that Google uses online brand mentions in its algorithm. What does this mean? Build a stronger brand presence online in a way that is natural. This includes: being active on social platforms, claiming and updating business listings, responding to reviews, creating engaging and shareable content, and more.
Moving into 2019, user experience continues to be a strong key for success in SEO. There are no shortcuts or “cheats” to ranking well online. SEO success continues to trend in a direction of employing strong development practices, following Google’s Webmaster guidelines, and considering the user experience overall.
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