It’s quite common for companies to launch a new website, and then consider that as job done. In reality, the work is only just beginning. Even a brand new website will quickly fall from
Because Google and Bing don’t publicise the intricacies of their ranking algorithms, much of what follows is educated guesswork. However, a number of SEO changes took effect last year, and further revisions will occur throughout 2019. These are some of the SEO changes every website administrator or marketing manager needs to be aware of…
Audience retention is crucial…
Last year, Google rolled out a revision to its algorithm that monitors how long people spend on the websites they click through to. Lengthy stays imply quality content, boosting future rankings. Expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness are more important than ever, though click-through rates still remain an important ranking factor. Web content should ideally be tailored to stop people from leaving the site, using internal links and exit pop-ups.
…so don’t mislead people
The flipside of this involves accurate site advertising and meta descriptions – those 25-word summaries of a page’s content. Don’t entice people to visit your site by misleading them or over-promising; clickbait articles are notorious for not delivering the content their headlines suggest. The average dwell time among the first page of Google results is just over three minutes, but flimsy pretexts won’t stand up to scrutiny for that long.
Focus on longer articles
This is a controversial topic since the search engines are seeking authoritative content while audience attention spans dwindle. In-depth features now outrank shorter blog-style articles, and pages with around 2,000 words of content seem to rank highest. However, few people have the time to read through reams of copy. Break up lengthy text with sub-headings and lists, add key takeaways highlighted in bold, and include links to other articles on the same site.
Prioritise the mobile experience
This isn’t a new refrain in articles about SEO changes, but search engines are now indexing websites based on mobile versions rather than desktop interfaces. Autoplaying video content and Shorthand homepage presentations will create a sluggish and unwelcoming experience for mobile audiences. M.dot websites are completely out of favour now, while small link buttons should be avoided at all costs. Faster-loading pages will usually rank more highly too.
Publish questions – and then answer them
Virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa are changing how consumers use search engines, and websites with exact search strings are benefiting. When someone asks “what’s the weather going to be tomorrow”, a weather site whose forecasts appear below that phrase will outperform a site that simply provides Met Office charts and a written summary. Adapting web content for spoken-word queries is likely to be one of the key SEO changes for 2019.