Don’t Believe Everything You Read!
With a new year ahead of us, countless business owners are reassessing their digital marketing strategies. We all want to have the best year possible, after all, so taking stock of current practices and how new trends might affect them is a great way to begin.
The only problem is: the majority of digital marketing predictions for 2019 you find online are shallow, trite, or inaccurate.
At Antarsia Marketing, our content marketing experts are always on the lookout for the latest trends in the digital marketing field that accurately reflect the current industry mileu. We also know how those trends will directly affect business owners like you.
In that vein, here are some of our top SEO and content marketing predictions for 2019 so you and your business can be ready for whatever lies ahead:
1. Yes, Voice Search Is Growing — But Does It Really Matter?
Let’s go ahead and get this one out of the way: One of the top predictions you’ll see all over the internet is that voice search will continue to grow. In fact, 50% of all searches are predicted to be voice searches by 2020.
While voice commands on phones are common, many commands are used to complete tasks like placing phone calls or texts — not exactly something you can optimize your site for.
What everyone’s really clamoring about are devices like Google Home and Amazon Echo, which are commonly used to search the web via voice commands. In fact, nearly 36 million Americans use these devices at least once a month.
It’s true: you can optimize your site to be the top result on voice searches. But is it worth the effort?
In reality, the majority of voice searches are to complete a task, like playing music on the speaker, or searching for common knowledge, like how many ounces are in a pound. Generally, smart speakers don’t give sources for these common knowledge answers. However, when the answer requires a more specific answer, such as the best food for your dog, a reference will often be given (such as, “According to The Dog Digest…”).
But even if the question requires a sourced answer, Google will almost always take the information from the featured snippet found on text searches. So worrying about or optimizing specifically for voice search really doesn’t matter.
Instead, focus on providing the best answers possible on your site for questions related to your business/industry, and optimize for featured snippets. If you can write good content, you just may win the voice search lottery and turn a voice command into a genuine lead. And if not ...well, at least you can convert people browsing the normal way!
2. Content Will Continue to Dominate Digital Marketing
If you’ve followed search engine optimization trends, including the evolution of Google’s algorithms, there’s one pattern that should stick out to you: Google continues to demand higher quality content. Why? Because Google wants you to stop making websites for their robots. Instead, they want you to create websites for your visitors.
That seems obvious, but many website owners are still stuck on the idea that they need to worry more about the search engine than people. They may still be in the habit of keyword stuffing, submitting guest blogs indiscriminately, or writing thin, irrelevant content for the sole purpose of simply having content.
And man, is that content BORING.
Instead, Google more readily rewards sites that are helpful to visitors. What does this mean? Have good content that people want to consume. If you provide useful information, whether it’s a thought piece about the future of your industry or a thorough but succinct how-to, Google will be more inclined to move your site up in its rankings.
3. Content Diversity Will Become More Important Than Ever
What kind of content do you prefer? For some, the written word is the best option. For others, videos are easiest. And yet for others, quick infographics provide all the information they need.
Your content marketing strategy should seek to incorporate all of these content categories — and more. The more variety you can combine into your content, the better off you’ll be.
That’s not to say you need a video, infographic, quiz, listicle, diagram, and checklist on every blog you write. But if you can present your information in different ways, you’re much more likely to gain a bigger audience. And with increased traffic comes a climb in Google rankings (usually).
This is because, when a lot of people come to your site — and don’t leave immediately — Google takes this as a signal that you have a higher quality site. Therefore, Google’s algorithms move you up in rankings. After all, their central goal is to promote high quality sites over lower quality ones, giving their search users a better experience.
4. Audiences Get Algorithm Fatigue
Do you enjoy the content that shows up on your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram without fail? How about the suggestions on services like YouTube or Netflix? Can you honestly say that a majority of this content is something you appreciate discovering? Or that you would have missed out if you had never seen it?
All of these rhetorical questions anticipate that your answer is “no,” but even if you answered “yes,” the fact is that the public is increasingly critical programmed algorithms that power your content suggestions and newsfeeds.
YouTube, for instance, has been under fire for its suggested videos often containing conspiracy theories and ranting manifestos by controversial regressive pundits. Similarly, many people have become unhappy with sites like Facebook populating their newsfeeds with the same two dozen friends and meme pages.
The culprit behind this dissatisfaction? The algorithms themselves, as well as the publishers that try to game the system. While these algorithms have always been less than perfect, the fact is that big tech companies rely on them for more responsibilities than ever. And, at the same time, the algorithms are making decisions for more content than ever.
As marketers and business owners, you may be encouraged to play along with algorithms to get the results you want. And, indeed, certain publishers with unscrupulous practices still manage to reap millions in revenue from the views their algorithm-rigging earns them.
But audiences aren’t fans of this crap! In fact, algorithmically determined content and suggestions have gotten so bad that there’s entire articles on how to take control away from them.
Accordingly, business owners who want to be genuinely well-liked — and seen as ethical — will avoid using tactics that curry algorithms’ favor. Instead, they should prioritize creating quality content that people actually want to consume — not something they just get tricked into clicking.
Not being aware of the growing discontent towards algorithms could steer your content strategy in the wrong direction, so make sure that your criteria for success includes content quality and not just the number of views. Otherwise, audiences might feel mislead, labeling you “part of the problem.”
5. More Local Businesses Will Fight to "Make the List"
Speaking of algorithms, more people than ever depend on search engine algorithms when trying to discover local businesses.
Fortunately, as we mentioned above, Google actually does a good job overall with its search algorithms. They tend to serve up search engine results that are relevant, interesting, and value-packed. Knowing this, many SEO and content strategies now incorporate lists of local hot spots or noteworthy services. Similarly, many locally focused publishers want to inform their reader of the creme de la creme of certain businesses and experiences in their area. Articles like these tend to get traffic from curious locals and out-of-towners.
All of this is to say: lists of local businesses are getting more popular! Whether it’s coming from a town newspaper giving someone a “Best of…” accolade or a local law office trying to blog about the best brunch spot in town, small businesses across the country are getting visibility boosts thanks to this type of content.
Writing many of these lists ourselves, we at Antarsia Marketing have a little insider information for how they get written. The process is no great mystery: we just Google it!
When trying to pick out entrants for a list, we look up the best reviewed businesses in a particular area or category. Then, we try to select the ones that are the most unique or the best example of that type of business. Any business we mention in a list gets a backlink citation from a trusted publisher and the opportunity to grow their traffic.
If your business wants to make “the list” of noteworthy local businesses to improve your own SEO, you’ll need to do a few things:
Be discoverable online through directories like Google My Business and sites like Yelp
Cultivate consistent positive reviews
Be unique and have a strong enough brand flavor to make your business worth mentioning
If being discovered and mentioned through an arbitrary process seems like too much guesswork, you can always aim to satisfy criteria for “Best Of…” awards being handed out in your area. Even if you never win such an award, you’ll start to have the public eye in mind when working on your branding strategy.
Putting These 2019 Digital Marketing Predictions Into Action
Just like the world keeps spinning around the sun, new trends in digital marketing come and go. For some business owners, keeping up with all this change can be overwhelming.
Fortunately, you don’t have to deal with it all on your own. You can enlist the help of expert content marketing companies who make it their full-time job to know which strategies work.
So, if you want to grow in 2019 and use all the best practices that make you a glowing example of an interesting business online, don’t be afraid to ask for help! You can reach out to Antarsia right now for a free site analysis or a free blog, no strings attached.
No matter what, though, we wish you the best of luck in 2019 and beyond. Here’s to another 12 months of awesome opportunities!