Top SEO Best Practices in Recent History
Many experts believe that 2019 will be a great year for SEO but, what are the top SEO Best Practices in 2019? A few years ago it was not hard to figure out what these might be because Google was a bit more open via their spokesperson Matt Cutts. Since his departure in 2016, Google has not had a spokesperson to replace him. Therefore, it has been through SEO expert forums that we gain insights on new Google Page Rank Algorithm adjusts or updates that impact best practices. We have channeled into some of these forums and experts and came up with a fair extension and accurate list of the top best practices for 2019.
Top SEO Best Practices in 2019
We will cover the 11 top SEO Best Practices for 2019 as they impact three key factors in Google Page Rank; On-site, off-site and UX. On-site, meaning the technical aspects of a web page. This may include front end and back end of a webpage. Off-site meaning the elements that impact Page Rank of the website, which includes external links, domain trust, and domain authority.
In 2019, like in years past, one of the most discussed topics is optimization of the content on the website. This includes the back and front end of what the User, or web site visitor, see or can read on the page.
1.Optimize Root Website Files
Not the most glamours or talked about part of SEO but, making sure your website has a security certificate, a clean Robots.txt file and updated sitemaps are all essential elements to SEO in 2019. Especially important is to make sure your website can be indexed by the search engines. We still see clients who have us run an audit or a website crawl and key website pages are blocked or worse, an entire website is still blocked from Google’s indexing bots. Most of the time this occurs because whoever built the website, did not remove the index block in the Robots.txt file that some developers use while they work on clients’ websites and forget to turn to index back on!
2.Optimize & Refresh Metadata, Like 2019 Not 2012
The most basic of onsite optimizations that can be performed, especially on WordPress websites, is refreshing the metadata. A word of caution. since Google RankBrain often works in real time, adding or deleting keywords from a title tag or a meta description can be glorious or fatal if the proper keyword research is not conducted ahead of making the edits. Optimizing the metadata, although not as impactful as it was in 2012, it will still help lift or drop a page in rankings relatively quickly and almost single-handed.
3.Fully Optimize Images and Videos
Although the back end of the page usually focuses on metadata, a key element that may be neglected by SEO is the image or video on the page. Recently, SEO experts are seeing a trend for “preferences” for images and videos on the top 10 of Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Perhaps at some point this year or in the following year, more images and video results will be displayed on page one SERPs than text links. Therefore, since Google is gently migrating to more visual SERPs, it stands to reason to optimize all your website’s images and your YouTube videos.
4.Create Unique & Utilitarian Content with Topic Clusters
Anyone can write a blog and interject 3 keywords into it and optimize the headings and images right? No so fast. It takes a content marketing strategist to develop a topic cluster and then schedule the new content via a content calendar. This involves extensive keyword and competitor research to ensure no relevant keyword is left out. Topic clusters help organize the content and connect relevant pages or posts based on the content topic. This makes the content more unique and useful, especially if it’s a complex or competitive industry like automotive, medical, retail or legal.
5.Optimize Internal Links & Anchor Text
When one is linking content it is important to keep in mind what topics are most important to be linked and to which pages. If a post or page is about a topic that involves 3 subtopics, for example, you should have at least 3 links to 3 separate sub-topic pages. Each subtopic page would discuss in further detail that topic and reference the other two sub-topics while also mentioning the main topic of which the use started reading.
6.Back That Link Up
Gone are the days when you would pay $200 and get about 1,000 links to your website from a link farm. In 2019, you are responsible for what links are pointing to your website, not the other way around. Perform or have an expert like SEO Digital Partners perform a monthly Back Link Audit.
7.It’s Not Social If They Don’t Know You
Everyone loved Facebook until…2018… the point is not every Social Media channel is a must have, every year. Post on Social Media where your customers are, not where you are. Many times we feel we “know our customers,” when in fact we haven’t done any valid surveys or consumer research or at least tired Social Media channels that make sense for our industry. We had a client that once developed an almost religious following on a Social Media channel that was quite impressive. However, when a fellow agency employee tried this Social Media Channel with her client the impact was the opposite. The client received no returned after six months of Social promotions and the client still had to pay that former agency associate for their time. It’s not Social if they don’t know you.
8.Optimize and Manage Your NAPs
When your potential new local customers look for your business, where will they find you? Most searches are done on mobile devices and most local search is pulled from a Name Address Phone Number(s) feed. NAP is managed through a citations expert like SEO Digital Partners. Research your listings on all maps including Google Maps, Apple Maps, and others. The key is to make sure your business’s NAP is 100% consistent. Consistency is key to the local search that is done by most of us on a daily basis.
9.Know Your Reviews & Respond to Bad Reviews
When a customer is serious about making a purchase of a service or product they will ask for “opinions” from others and look online for reviews. This common search is what made Yelp so huge in previous years. Now, reviews are everywhere online and in 2019, reviews are inside apps. As a business, if you have an app check your app reviews. Sometimes customers may reference an app review for your business or one with a similar name and not contact you because of your reviews rating on an App. If you are able to contact customers after the sale and ask for a review. If you get a poor or bad review you should always ask the customer to call or email you to correct the issue. Never have the conversation as you work towards the resolution happen online in front of other customers, trust us on this one.
10.Provide a Fast Website Experience
In 2019 we are in a bigger hurry than ever before. We expect at least 5G WiFi connections and live streams without a glitch. This means EACH of your web pages, or at least the part of the page the user is viewing, has to be fully loaded in less than 2.5 seconds. If this does not occur 90.9% of the time then your web page may not have page 1 SERP status! In some competitive industries, including automotive, legal and medical industries, this technicality may not even qualify your page for ranking on page 2 of SERPs.
11.Provide an Any Device Friendly Experience
In 2017 and 2018 we saw mobile-friendly become a highly prioritized ranking element but, in 2019 we will see a more “any device-friendly prioritization. Meaning, that if a user is on a tablet in a horizontal view they will view your website as a desktop version but if they are on a tablet in a vertical view they will the mobile version of your website. When a user sees your website on an HD monitor in their living room Smart TV, then they will see an HD version. This is where a web developer can help by adjusting the code on your webpages to become any-device-friendly.
12.Optimize for Voice Search
With the increase in home and office virtual assistants purchased this past holiday season, if you or your marketing team are not optimizing for voice search, your business may see a slump in web traffic but also a drop in web sales. We predict 2019 will be the year that voice search will begin to separate page 1 SERPS from page 2 SERPs.
Although it has been a while since Google confirmed search algorithm updates, we believe to the best of our research and knowledge that these are the top 11 SEO Best Practices in 2019 to help your small business grow online. SEO Digital Partners is a small business digital marketing agency placing our 10+ years of experience from previously working with national and international companies, to work for your business. Mention this article when you contact us, to receive a free website audit. Make 2019 a milestone year for your business, call us now.