Recently Google shared yet another ‘core update’ in the month of August. Although the websites that were affected by this update were not niche-specific, mostly the pages belonging to the health niche felt the heat. Due to this reason, this update became popular by the name of “MEDIC” update. A number of sites falling in the health category saw a hit in their rankings. The drug rehab agency helped a lot of drug rehab centers gain back their rankings.
A survey of 300 sites by Search Engine Roundtable indicated that about 41.5% of the health websites from categories medical, health, fitness lifestyle etc. were considerably impacted by this update.
You would be intrigued to know that just before this update happened in August 2018, Google updated its Quality Rater Guidelines in July 2018. Coincidence? I don’t think so!
With such ever-changing SEO atmosphere, what can you do to level up your game and gear up for SEO in 2019? Let us begin with some of the most tried and tested, quick SEO strategies that are going to save your website from many more unpredictable Google updates in the year 2019.
#1. Fortifying E-A-T for Improving SEO in 2019
We discussed how Google shared its Quality Rating guidelines in July 2018. An interesting thing to observe here was that although most of the guidelines in the document were the same, a special focus on three factors was highlighted. Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.
Google has identified defining the true purpose of the page as the main PQ (Page Quality) factor. It asks the websites to lay special emphasis on the kind of expertise which is needed for the page of a website to achieve its purpose completely. This applies both for the website as well as the author of the website.
Note that the main content you are creating for your website should be coming from experts in that field. For example, the content for a medical website should be produced by medically accredited professionals; news article content should be written by professional journalists; content related to hobbies such as singing, playing an instrument, photography or painting should be written by individuals having some level of expertise in that area.
The authority of the website as well as the author is gauged by the reviews and ratings that they have earned from external trusted sources. Having said that, reviews from fake websites have also been observed with scrutiny by Google. Along with the reviews, the content relevancy is also important. A quality website is the one where the theme of the website matches the main content. In terms of authoritativeness of the author, Google views if a page is a place where a community or some kind of forum discussion is taking place where the quality of the conversation is pointing out to the authority of the writer.
This means that the website should maintain transparency in terms of mentioning the ‘contact us’ section, terms and conditions, customer service details, ‘about us’ section etc. On websites containing transactional links, like e-commerce sites, the customers must feel secure while making payments or browsing through. SSL certification is something that will become very important in the coming years.
#2. Go for Featured Snippets for SEO in 2019
In the past few years, Google has completely refined the way of displaying search results. The number of featured snippets for user queries has risen in particular. Featured snippets have been created in a way that they occupy maximum space and attention in the SERPs.
Hence the featured snippets tend to get more clicks. In fact, a featured snippet study by Ahrefs revealed that snippets took away the maximum number of clicks when compared to the number one ranking page.
The key to creating a winning featured snippet is to understanding the intent behind each query and providing the most relevant results. Tweak your H2/H3 subheadings using intent-based keywords. Create fact-based content containing numbers, tables or lists. You can include information such as price, number of years, the time required etc. Defining basic processes seems to fit well with the featured snippets as there are a lot of rookies online looking for simple concepts.
#3. Expanding SEO in 2019 from Google to Other Horizons
In 2019 the presence on search will not be limited to Google only. When a user types in a query and enters, Google shows all the results that it thinks fit most accurately to the query. But what about the platforms that have Google-like search functionality? A research by Kenshoo showed that 56% of online shoppers search for a product on Amazon before any other websites.
The same research shows that 51% of customers come back to Amazon to compare items, prices or information, after having done the primary research on other websites. This means that your brand presence should be everywhere especially if you are an e-commerce business.
So, the year 2019 is all about making yourself visible on a plethora of platforms like Youtube, Amazon, Slideshare, Play store, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. So don’t forget to optimize your content in a way that it is visible on Google-like search functionalities as well.
#4. Using Content Clustering for SEO in 2019
Ranking has truly become an intent-based affair now. Although keywords are not entirely obsolete, Google algorithms have changed the way a keyword triggers a piece of content. A keyword will only be given weight if it is a part of an intent.
Topic clustering is a technique through which the content is pivoted on a bunch of topics instead of keywords. To use this strategy for SEO in 2019, you need to create one pillar post. Then you create many supporting posts that explain each subtopic of the pillar post. After this, do an extensive interlinking between the pillar post and the clusters. This interlinking signals Google that your content is semantically related to the page and this will increase the ranking of each cluster and the pillar post as well. Thus, content clustering will go big in 2019 for improving your SEO.
#5. Increasing the Use of Embedded Images for SEO in 2019
With 32% of marketers saying that visual images are the most important form of content for their business, there is no scope of doubting the efficacy of visual content whether it is this year or the years coming ahead. Usability expert Jakob Nielson shares that a user visiting a website, on an average, goes through just 28% of the written content. The lesson learned here is, why should marketers make the users read more when they can visually depict the same content and hook them for a longer time?
You have a variety of options to choose from while creating images. You can create infographics, facts, quotes, tables, graphs or maps. Creating images that can be embedded can solve two purposes at once. First, that the visual content will be appreciated by readers and they will spend more time on your content and secondly, these images can be used as a source for quality backlinks which can further improve your SEO in 2019. For instance, take this visual by Hubspot.
Anyone writing about employee programs can embed this visual as a supporting content and in turn, will provide a backlink to Hubspot in the process. A single high quality visual can thus earn you a lot of backlinks without making any efforts! You can use tools like Embed.ly that will help you generate an embeddable code that can be used to embed an image. Not only this, the tool allows you to track the number of people linking to your image or embedding it to their website.
#6. Adapt SEO in 2019 to Voice Search
Emerging formats like ‘Speakable’ and ‘Google Dialogflow’ have paved their way into the era of assistive search. Speed and accuracy of search results have become the biggest challenges today. Simply put, creating your content around questions will help you mould your content as per the voice search and hence, rank better. We just saw how featured snippets help in getting the top clicks on Google SERPs. Another benefit that featured snippets have is that they also show up for the voice search queries. In a research study of 1000 voice searches conducted by Moz, it was found that 71% of the snippets yielded voice answers. So if you optimize your content for featured snippets, there are high chances of the content being shown for voice searches.
Another way is to find out the questions that your buyers are asking. Now, find out the answers that will satisfy their queries most accurately. Now explicitly write content that includes the question and the answer. Your content will automatically match the user’s search query and you will rank higher in the SERPs.
Improving SEO is a continuous and ever-changing process. With advancing technologies like Machine Learning, AI, Blockchain etc. the search engine optimization strategies will need a more wholesome outlook. The introduction of Rankbrain has further enabled Google to make more sense of human queries and deliver laser targeted results.
On the other hand, technical SEO is complicated and complex to implement. It only requires tons and tons of patience before you start seeing results. New techniques to improve SEO by tackling index bloat and crawl waste can reap dividends if implemented the right way.
With the help of the above-mentioned strategies for SEO in 2019 for your industry, you will be able to create content that is human-friendly and is able to survive the future Google updates from negatively impacting your websites.
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