Does Your SEO Strategy Need to Change in 2019?
Many agency owners wonder privately if their current set of SEO strategies are up-to-date with the latest thinking. Look no farther than the menagerie of major algorithm updates that come out, such as Penguin, Pigeon, Panda, Hummingbird, and the 2019 core updates, and you’ll understand why agency owners are often paralyzed by the sheer volume of changes happening in the SEO industry. Add to that the roughly 300 or so unnamed updates Google introduces each year to further ramp up the uncertainty of agency SEO specialists. In this article, we will list three importance strategies to implement in the face of all these changes.
The good news is that these strategies should work in the face of both past and future updates. These strategies should work because they take into account Google’s fundamental reason for all of their updates, which is to provide extremely relevant search results for users of their search engine.
Understanding Searcher Intent Is Fundamental to Your Agency’s Success
To say that Google makes understanding user intent a priority is an understatement. Google understands that they need to provide the best search results for their users or they will simply go elsewhere to seek answers. Although Bing and Yahoo do not currently pose a serious threat to Google’s dominance, any slip-up could change that calculus. The rise of Amazon and Facebook pose more serious near-term threats to Google as both Facebook and Amazon have deep knowledge of their users and incredible ecosystems for users of their platforms.
Because Google’s algorithm changes are squarely focused on the user, we highly recommend that you align your mission with Google’s to get the best results for clients. To do that, let’s start where Google starts: with search. Searchers typically initiate search through keyboard searches and voice search.
If you are like most agency owners, you’ve been optimizing your clients’ websites for keyboard search your entire career. Your clients rely on you to find keywords that have buying intent and are relevant to their business. If you are a newer agency owner, we recommend that you use one of the following or all of the following tools to conduct keyword research: AdWords, Keyword Planner, SEMRush, and ahrefs.com.
For many agency owners, voice search is still relatively new. To optimize for voice search products such as Siri, Google Home, and Alexa devices, it makes sense to create resources for the kinds of questions voice searchers ask. A website FAQ is a great resource to answer simple questions voice search users typically ask such as, “Is there a bagel shop near me?” or “What bagel shops are open right now?” More complex questions are best answered in a blog post or your customers’ products and services pages.
In addition to writing blog posts to address simple voice search questions, it is imperative to speak directly to your clients’ ideal customer. To do this, we advise you to spend some time with your customer, understanding their ideal client. Your customer should have little problem telling you what questions their customers ask them every day on the phone, what their greatest fears are, their hopes, their dreams, and how they help their customers.
With this information in hand, you can now create an editorial calendar that addresses ideal customers’ most important problems.
Ideal Customers Like Detailed Content
To help your customers stand out from the tens of thousands of blog posts written every day, it is imperative that you write blog posts your clients’ customers will genuinely want to read and that Google will want to show. Taking time to read a blog is a big investment for most people. It had better be good and provide the exact information for which they’re looking. To accomplish this goal, follow the formula below.
Write an extremely detailed blog post for your customer that provides tremendous detail, including step-by-step instructions that tell the user exactly how to solve a difficult problem. Sprinkle in the keyword phrases you identified above to help your detailed blog post show up for more searches. Be sure to add in images, screenshots, and other useful information that allows users to follow your explicit instructions.
Optimize Your Content for Machine Learning
Many agency owners have little understanding of the increased importance RankBrain plays in improving search relevancy. While it is not important to understand the inner workings of RankBrain, it is important to understand that RankBrain uses artificial intelligence to further improve search results for users of Google’s search engine just like algorithm updates do. Integrate the following three items into your digital marketing campaigns to help RankBrain find your customers’ content.
- Link-building: This is the toughest one for most agency owners because they simply do not have relationships with enough relevant websites to move the needle for their clients. If this is the case for your agency, we highly recommend you find white label companies who you feel has a large inventory of high-quality backlinks that you can rely on over the long haul.
- World-class content: This can often be a big challenge with clients with small budgets. If transitioning from a 500-word blog post to a 2000-word blog post is needed for the detailed content mentioned above, we recommend that you write blog posts piece by piece. We believe that having one 2000-word blog post that takes four months to complete is better than having four smaller posts that Google completely ignores.
- Keyword research: When conducting keyword research, focus on medium-tail keywords as they convert at higher levels and are not as competitive as shorter keyword phrases. A medium-tail keyword is typically three to four words in length, which gives RankBrain a little bit more to go on in terms of understanding the nature of the search query.
Now that you are armed with three important tips to improve SEO for your clients, it is time to implement them. This may entail changing your clients’ deliverables, which will undoubtedly require that you meet with them to review the proposed changes. They are likely used to the content you produced for them previously and might view any change to the deliverables with some suspicion as they may believe they are receiving less than they were previously.
Proper positioning will minimize any chances of this happening. Help them understand that the changes you’re proposing are to help their campaign results in the face of a dynamic search landscape. If your clients are like most of their clients, they simply want to get more leads and sales for their business and will be happy to make the changes you’re suggesting.
Adam Stetzer holds a Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and has published on the topics of Internet marketing, absenteeism, employee and customer satisfaction, productivity and safety, and culture.
He has founded several technology firms, and is currently CEO at HubShout, a white label SEO reseller firm. In his 25 year career he has worked with companies such as General Electric, Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola, Verizon, AT&T, Ford, LendingTree, American Express and ChevronTexaco. Adam has advised over 1,000 small business owners and blogs frequently.
If you are like many agency