The one constant in the world of SEO is change. As with every other year before – 2019 brought with it new issues and new concerns for search engine marketers. As times change, so do the tactics required to reach the widest possible audience. With that in mind we have a few of the tactics you ought to be focusing on this year:

Optimize for Voice Search

More and more users are turning to voice search to answer their questions. These searches also come with the expectation that the answers would be read back to the user. With that in mind, it is important to optimize for these voice search – which means changing how you think of keywords.

Text searchers tend to focus on two or three key words and filter through the results. Those using voice search are more likely to use questions and phrases. For example – somebody wanting to know who shot Kennedy might do a text search for “Kennedy assassination” or “JFK’s assassin.” A voice searcher will probably ask “Who shot JFK?”

A shift to optimizing for key phrases is more important these days than keywords alone.

User Experience Optimization

This is something that professional web designers and SEOs should have been doing for at least a decade. However, any casual user of the internet knows that user experience is something that many websites still have difficulty catching up with. Optimal button placement, knowing how to capture reader attention, and understanding how a person interacts with a website is critical to not just design but SEO.

Poorly designed websites tend to have higher bounce rates. Whether that poor design is a confusing layout, poorly formatted text, or long load times people will move to an easier to understand website. High bounce rates are strongly correlated with poor rankings. While this relationship has still not been fully confirmed, other factors confirmed to be a ranking signal do correlate with low bounce rates (like relevancy). Even if you don’t believe bounce rate to be a direct ranking signal, high bounce may indicate problems with things that are signals.

Organizing Content

Proper use of headings, subheadings, and how information is presented is an essential component to keeping people on your page and interested. Most of you probably skimmed through this article before reading to see if it has information you want before you dove into it. Clear headings presenting the topic is a good way to keep users engaged with your content.

Poor organization, on the other hand, drives users away. Maintaining a steady, professional flow is essential for readability, and keeping the user happy is more important than ever in 2019.

Backlinks Backlinks Backlinks!

This one was saved for last because it’s the one that SEOs have understood for years and are probably sick of being reminded about: backlinks. Links remain the most powerful ranking signal you can have and remain critical. Trying to rank without backlinks is difficult. Just resist the temptation to fall back on spamming guest blogs on low quality websites – that will do more harm than good. Produce high-quality content, reach out, and get it published. Or get other websites to produce content linking to your own site. Either way – provide genuine value to go with this backlinks.