We’re nearly two months into the year and as Google continues to make updates to their algorithm SEOs are planning new strategies. So, we’ve pulled together our observations and predictions so far to help you to get ahead this year.

Is content still king?

It’s been several years since most SEOs dropped a lot of their old spammy methods and started focusing on content. Even at the simplest level, content gives your page relevance to search queries, but Google is looking for more than simple content and will reward unique, well researched and original content more than others.

They consistently reiterate this after every core update and provide a link, giving you information about Google updates and how to rank – https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2019/08/core-updates.html

Follow their guides, focus on creating great content for users and you’ll be on your way to better organic results.

Fight your CTR drops

If you’ve been seeing drops in clicks year on year despite maintaining strong rankings, you’re likely suffering from a drop in click through rates (CTRs) due to the blending of ads vs organic results and the number of additional features being introduced to SERPS.

So, how do you minimise the impact of this on your traffic? Two words….BE EVERYWHERE.

No longer is it as simple as focusing on your standard results, you need to target all areas of the SERP, to ensure you are competing on all fronts.

How can you prevent CTR drops?

  • Create content to target “People Also Ask” queries
  • Optimise your images
  • If you have stores, focus on local
  • If there is a featured snippet, target it
  • Target Google Ads coverage on your key search terms

Optimise your images

Industries such as fashion and jewellery have been seeing increases in traffic via image search as users change the way in which they search and consume content.

Google is also pushing their image function in an effort to compete with Pinterest and Instagram, by improving the way you search images and making it easier to purchase directly from their SERPs.

So, make sure you’re in pole position to take advantage of these features, by optimising your images.

How should you optimise your images for SEO?

  • Ensure you’re filling out your alt tags with a relevant description of the image
  • Include keywords in image file names
  • Consider utilising title tags
  • Compress images and serve at the correct size

Clicks and mortar – Local SEO is key

Are you lucky enough to have one or more stores as well as a website? Then use it!

Having a bricks and mortar store may increase your overheads versus online only companies, but it also gives you a huge advantage when competing for local rankings, with personalisation of results becoming more influential.

How can you optimise for local search?

  • Create a Google My Business profile and keep it up to date
  • Ensure you have a dedicated local landing page per store with the details matching your GMB
  • Don’t forget other local directories such as Bing Places, Yell.com, Yelp and Apple Maps
  • Encourage reviews on each store
  • Build links into your local pages

Keep your strategy flexible

The biggest mistake a lot of people make when creating an SEO strategy is using a one size fits all approach, which generally leads to poor results.

Every industry is different and has different competitors and different search intent, using a strategy that works for a jewellery brand, will not work for a medical professional, so you need to be prepared to test, tweak and review what the top 3 competitors are doing that you are not.

How to develop an SEO strategy:

  • Choose your target keywords
  • Work out what your competitors are doing
  • Create a plan
  • Monitor changes closely
  • Prepare to be adapt with a backup plans
  • When you find something that works, do more of it
  • When something doesn’t work, stop, but it might work on a different site/search term

No matter what your SEO strategy is, don’t expect it to work overnight, SEO takes time and patience and is hard work. Don’t give up at the first hurdle, keep testing and tweaking and you’ll eventually get there, but if you do need a hand, feel free to give us a call.