Search engine optimization, as always, should play a key role in your Digital Marketing plan for 2019. SEO is in and not going out of style.
In the early days of digital marketing, your business lived and died by SEO. Search engine optimization, whether keyword stuffing or grinding away with a blog, allows you to siphon traffic from Google and other search engines. And, in those early days, Google was the internet. As the years went on, though, the landscape of the internet changed drastically. Social media came along and quickly replaced Google as the internet’s front page, and Google wisened up to black hat tactics. Last year, many outlets declared SEO dead. In July of 2018, a survey found that only 44% of businesses were spending money on SEO — ranking it below email and banner ad spend.
I don’t believe this is the case, though. Done correctly, SEO can be absolutely crucial to your digital marketing plan in 2019. Google still earns a ridiculous amount of traffic, and any website that has pulled traffic away has its own search engine. SEO is just as important as ever, even if it’s had to change with the times.
Misconceptions About SEO in 2019
These are some of the major reasons people avoid SEO:
- believe that it’s not effective anymore, not worth your time or marketing budget.
- have tried it and it didn’t work
- not think it’ll work for your business
- believe that it’s a shady tactic. We’ll get to that later.
SEO does one thing really well, better than anything else, and that thing is long-tail organic traffic. SEO can get you from 0 to 100 visitors with little to no cost. Social media can’t do that. Email can do that, but not at scale. SEO brings in new, innately interested people. Your business deserves to appear when people are looking for things that are related to it — they’re looking for it! And, if your business solves a problem, there will be people searching for it. One business I work for generated several million visitors a month from SEO alone, with almost no spend focused on it.
The downside is that SEO isn’t immediate. It’ll take about a month from the time your site goes live for Google to begin logging your content, and even then you won’t jump directly to the front page. SEO can take a year to pay off, and you have to be willing to put effort in for that long. If you’ve tried SEO in the past, I’d be willing to bet that this is why you had a bad experience. Your execution was either poor or focused on the short term.
Finally, if you don’t think SEO will work for your business, remember this: SEO is marketing on Google. And people are Googling your business, and everything related to it. They’re Googling everything that isn’t related to it, too. Google is everywhere. That makes Google the best way to be anywhere.
What People Get Wrong with SEO in 2019
People in 2019 are internet smart. Not all of them, but an overwhelming majority. And the internet itself is getting smarter and smarter every year. Smart internet users and a smart internet have at least one thing in common: they can smell SEO. And it smells putrid to them.
Why? Because SEO was so black hat for so long. Many people still remember the days of ridiculously over the top keyword stuffing. They remember scams being the number one result. Even those who are too young for it are likely to bounce off of an SEO heavy website. Because no one is looking for landing pages anymore – they’re looking for content.
Trust is the key to creating sales on your website. Obvious, overbearing SEO develops distrust. It drives people away. Keywords need to be natural, and so do backlinks. There are no easy hacks anymore. To make SEO work, you’re going to need to produce great content.
How to Effectively Use SEO in 2019
In 2019, SEO can be a very important part of your marketing strategy – and it can be almost invisible. If you are using marketing strategies that involve a website that isn’t Gmail, SEO will be there. Doing it right means looking through everything you do through an SEO lens. Ask yourself: is this discoverable? How can people find it?
A fair amount of that will come from simply making sure relevant keywords are included somewhere, in some way, on your website. If your business sells candles, you should be using the word “candle” in your content. Content is key here. When people are testing a website to see if they can trust it, they will go to a blog before continuing with the product page. You needn’t overload your copy with keywords, as it’s not likely to be how you get discovered.
Even if you aren’t producing written content, SEO is necessary. Podcasts need to be optimized to be found within iTunes. YouTube videos need work to be easily discoverable, as YouTube logs videos based on their closed captioning for their search engine. Even local businesses that do 0 online business need SEO. Not much, but still. Google will check your businesses website and what your customers are saying to find .
In 2019, the best SEO is almost incidental. That’s why it’s so crucial, though. SEO can be easily ignored, but – if you accept that the devil is in the details – you can generate enormous amounts of traffic. Google is absolutely everywhere, and it’ll take your business with you if you’ll go. SEO can’t singlehandedly power your digital marketing, but no channel really can. Whatever your digital marketing plan for this year is, you can almost certainly increase its effectiveness by working on how and how much SEO you’re doing.