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Content is still king in SEO for 2019, but user-experience is queen. It’s becoming increasingly true that a website optimized for search engines is also a website optimized for people.

There’s plenty of SEO trends to focus on in 2019 from increased focus on providing a great mobile user experience to voice search to implementing schema markup correctly on your website to increasing ‘no-click’ results.

For the purposes of this post, we’re going to focus on specifically those things that 1) most people will be able to implement on their own, and 2) mostly apply to photographers, creatives, and the wedding industry.

Something that hasn’t changed: Creating quality content is still the most important factor when trying to rank for a search.

Improve User Experience

Expect Google and other search engines to rely on user experience metrics like time-on-page, bounce rate, and page load speed to help determine what kind of experience you’re delivering website visitors.

How can you improve these metrics?

Start by making sure the pages on your website load quickly—ideally within 3 seconds.

There’s generally a clear connection between the time it takes your website to load and the amount of people who ‘bounce’ (leave immediately or without taking additional action) from your website.

Beyond that, revisit the copy and call-to-actions on problematic pages of your website to ensure that your copy is cohesive with the action you’d like people to take.

Action Plan and Tips:

Open up Google Analytics and review your best and worst performing pages based on key metrics like time-on-page, bounce rate, and conversion rate. Remember conversions could be anything from clicking a button to subscribing to a newsletter to inquiring.

We recommend…

  • Conduct a content audit using Google Analytics and assess your best/worst performing content.
  • Use page speed tests like Web Page Test and Google’s PageSpeed Insights to identify pages that load slowly and what can be done to speed them up.
  • Pay attention to elements on a web page that could hurt the user experience like too many or too few CTAs and fonts that are too small or hard to read.

Want better visibility on the search results pages and more quality inquiries? Check out the Inquiry System Course.

Increase Search Visibility by Optimizing Images

You might be thinking to yourself, “Davey, really? Images? That sounds so 2012. Don’t you mean video!?

No, I really mean ‘images.’

You may have heard that YouTube is the second largest search engine—but do you know what has even more search volume? Google Images.

As Rand Fishkin, the founder of Moz and more recently Spark Toro, puts it in a recent blog post, YouTube is “… a paltry third place behind Google’s second juggernaut in search—images.”

And let’s not forget about Pinterest, which has the potential to drive lots of traffic. Adding optimized alt-text and file names to the images on your website will also help them look more appealing on Pinterest.

Action Plan and Tips:

Spend some time optimizing the images on your website so they look great, don’t slow down your website, and also help you get found in search.

We recommend…

  • Size images on your website appropriately
  • Optimize file names and alt-text
  • Verify your website with your Pinterest account

Increase Search Visibility with Video

Video consumption will continue to grow in 2019.

Not only are more social platforms focusing on videos (I know I spend more and more time on Insta-Stories and less time in the feed), but it’s now pretty darn easy for the average person to produce a quality video.

While Google Images might have more search volume than YouTube, YouTube still has more search volume than any of the other major players out there.

Using YouTube, in particular, might help get you to the top of the SERPs. You’ve probably seen YouTube videos show up towards the top of many SERPs in some format.

Additionally, you can embed videos from YouTube into your blog posts to help increase the amount of time someone spends on a page.

Action Plan and Tips:

Consider whether some of your content could be more effectively delivered via video. If so, start a YouTube channel to potentially increase search visibility and referral traffic.

We recommend:

  • Listen to this Brands that Book interview with YouTube Strategist Trena Little.
  • Consider whether any existing evergreen content could be transformed into a YouTube video.
  • Embed videos in relevant blog posts to potentially increase the time someone spends on a page.

Build Brand Awareness and Trust

Trust is more important than ever in the era of ‘fake news,’ especially as web platforms come under increasing scrutiny over what they allow to be published, the content that gets visibility, and privacy concerns.

Google and other search engines are more likely to rank trustworthy brands even if they have less backlinks or lower quality content because, well, they’re trustworthy.

The truth is that smaller brands have to work twice as hard for search visibility. The good news is that there are practical things a small brand can do to indicate it’s not some shady internet company.

Action Plan and Tips:

Focus on building positive brand signals such as getting reviews on your Google My Business listing or other reputable niche platforms (like WeddingWire or the Knot).

We recommend…

  • Creating a verified Google My Business listing, and investing time into keeping it updated and getting reviews.
  • Verify your social media platforms when applicable (this can be done on Pinterest).
  • Make sure your business information such as your name, address, phone number, and website (also referred to as ‘NAP’) are consistent across the internet.

Optimize for Mobile First

Honestly I hesitated including all things mobile in the post because this is something that really should have been taken care of back in 2017.

But here we are in the beginning of 2019, and many people haven’t taken the time to make sure their website is mobile friendly.

For years now we’ve known that mobile traffic outpaces desktop traffic. Expect this to continue to be the case in 2019 as mobile devices like phones and tablets continue to improve.

We really do live in a mobile first world now, too.

Google recently issued an update stating that they use “mobile first indexing” for over half of the pages shown in search results.

In other words, Google is primarily using your mobile website to index content and figure out rankings.

Action Plan and Tips:

Use Google’s Mobile Friendly Test to ensure the pages of your website are mobile friendly. If they’re not, consider whether this is a change you can make yourself, or whether you need to invest in a new, mobile friendly website design.

Remember to…

  • Remove or optimize elements that might make pages load too slowly on mobile devices such as background videos.
  • Format the navigation on mobile so it’s optimized for touch (dropdown menus are notoriously difficult for mobile users).
  • Make sure font size and color make text easy to read on smaller mobile devices like phones.

Going forward, and a note about what we left out…

It’s becoming increasingly true that a website optimized for search engines is also a website optimized for people. It’s worth putting aside some time to tackle some of the optimizations above.

And fortunately getting set-up an easy-to-update, mobile friendly, beautiful website is easy these days.

We did, however, leave out a few trends that we expect will show up in 2019, specifically an increase in ‘no-click searches’ and vocal search. While these are important trends to be aware of, we felt like they were not as actionable or relevant as what we included above.

What do you expect to see in 2019?

 

SEO for Creative Businesses in 2019 | Davey & Krista

SEO Trends for Creatives in 2019 Content is king, but User Experience is Queen

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