Beginner's Guide

2019 Update to SEO: How to Stay Present in the Digital World

By: Rachel Pompeani, Barnes Wendling CPAs

In 2018, we addressed the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in the digital world. As marketers, we constantly deal with change—often being dictated by Google. We have transformed from newspaper and magazine advertising to Google Ads and Pay-Per-Click (PPC). How can we possibly keep up?

In the article published last year, we shared powerful stats that prove Google dominates the digital world. In 2019, the momentum has yet to slow down. According to WordStream, 3.5 billion Google searches are made daily and in 2018 Google properties owned over 90% of all searches. So as marketers, how do we stay present in this busy digital world?

3 Simple SEO Techniques

The following are 3 simple SEO techniques for marketers at every level:

  1. Utilize SEO Title and Description Optimization – Learning how to write compelling versions of these can make a difference on click through rates. According to Moz, a title tag is an HTML element that specifies the title of a web page. They are displayed on search engine result pages (SERPs) as the clickable headline and are vital for SEO. Moz offers a powerful tool to assist you with creating a title tag and shows how they will appear in Google’s search results. Learn more about this tool here.
  1. URL Sculpting – Most people may not be aware, but there is an ideal character limit with URLs (the shorter the better). An average length to shoot for is 50-60 characters. According to Neil Patel, a top influencer on the web, URL length is listed as #46 in Google’s top 200 ranking factors, URL Path is listed as #47, and keyword in the URL is #51 so as you can see, it’s pretty important! Here is a helpful resource for SEO friendly URLs.
  1. Importance of Google Analytics – If you aren’t familiar with Google Analytics, it’s definitely time to do your research. This free tool on Google offers a lot of insight into your website traffic. Most of us are in a number-driven industry so this may be the most powerful yet simple technique on the list. Providing reports to your partners will increase their buy-in and understanding of your marketing efforts.

Common SEO Mistakes

For those who are new to the marketing world it is very easy to make simple mistakes, especially with SEO. Here are 5 common SEO mistakes and how to avoid them according to Yoast:

  1. Faster is Better - Your site speed is crucial to SEO. If you have a long load time, this most likely will directly affect your bounce rate. One way to prevent this is reducing the size of your images before they are posted on your website. If you have a WordPress site you can easily do this by downloading a plug in.
  2. Adjust your Keywords - Be realistic by using the appropriate keywords for your business. Try to avoid anything that is too broad. Be specific.
  3. Quality Content - It is important to make sure that every page on your website has quality content with at least 300 words. Remember, Google wants to display the best and most relevant content to their readers; therefore, if Google doesn’t see you as relevant or perceive you as an expert with your 100-word content, they won’t choose your site. Your text must also be easy to read for your visitor and not overly congested with keywords.
  4. Call-to-Actions (CTA) - Create a compelling CTA to reduce bounce rates on your site and increase leads. Examples of CTA include ‘sign up for our newsletter’, ‘download this whitepaper’, a buy button, or even ‘contact our experts today’.
  5. Think Mobile - The future is mobile; therefore Google looks at the mobile version of your site to decide the rank. Not sure if your site is mobile friendly? Check out Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.

A Look into the Future of SEO

As marketers, it’s always wise to be proactive and start planning for the future. With Google it’s not as easy as looking into a crystal ball though. How do you prepare when Google isn’t always so predictable?

When in doubt, it’s important to always focus on the basics. Ensure the content you are producing is high quality by focusing on a variety of subject matters. Always include internal and external links as well throughout the piece to provide the best reader experience.   

It is important to also do your research on Google updates. Take it upon yourself to stay up to date on the latest trends. Hubspot, a leader in inbound marketing, has an entire section on their website dedicated to knowledge and education filled with How-to’s, blog posts, and whitepapers. This is a powerful resource that will get your firm off to a great start.

Best of luck!