Many digital marketers see trouble ahead, especially when it comes to gaining traction with search results. What do you see when you search online?  

A recent Clutch survey found that only 44% of online businesses used SEO as part of their marketing budget in 2018. Nearly twice as many (81%) used social media marketing, and 69% used email marketing.  What does this mean for you?

Throughout this year, you’ll see a number of important new developments that you can use to your advantage. Search Engine Optimization will continue to be an asset to the relatively small number of businesses who use it.

Important Stats To Know When Speaking To Your Clients About SEO

Ahrefs found that 91% of content never gets traffic from Google essentially due to the lack of SEO value.   Additionally, posting content on your favorite social platform no longer means your content will show up in search results.  Promoting a professional, SEO-managed product can ensure that your small business clients are being seen online.

However, with fewer small businesses using SEO you automatically get more benefit out of every dollar you spend on it.

When discussing SEO with your clients, it may help to tell them there are fewer players in the field for small business owners providing SEO-friendly content, and this means less competition. By betting against the crowd, you’re taking advantage of a special situation.

There are many new trends coming into play that will make SEO even more important going forward. For example, there’s a strong movement towards more voice search. Some experts predict as much as 30% of searches will be voice-based in 2019. The rise of video-friendly voice AI over the 2018 holiday season alone is telling on what the world can expect this year. The number of voice searches is predicted to grow to half of all searches by 2020. 

With products like Alexa, 2018 holiday sales increased as much as 5% from voice-activated ordering alone.  However, voice commands aren’t just for home automation and e-commerce.  Products like Google Home continue to rise in popularity, and Google Home results come directly from Google’s Knowledge Graph information – an important element of advanced SEO. 

Be sure your small business client sites are properly using advanced SEO features and proper markups to get the most out of the growing voice search trend.

Social media marketing becomes less significant to driving traffic and more significant to customer service as technology leans toward asking Siri or Alexa where to buy a French press. Artificial Intelligence (AI) will find results that are relevant, and not merely popular. The strategic use of SEO can make your clients’ sites and content more relevant.

The Wave of New Technology Hitting the Digital Marketing Environment

You don’t need to be psychic to know that a lot of change is coming. For example, more users are searching with their phones, and this upward trend is going to continue. In 2017 Google announced new indexing that would favor pages designed for mobile. Becoming mobile-friendly is not hard to achieve, and should be a no-brainer for your clients.

Fortunately, responsive design is already a best practice in SEO. Any comprehensive SEO strategy will have mobile-friendly content built in. You just need to make sure your small business clients understand this.

Another big development is the growing importance of fast-loading pages. Google’s Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP) concept has already been adopted by big players like the Washington Post. Fast-loading pages are going to gain more visibility in 2019.

Again, this is something that is already addressed by most SEO services. Your clients should be made aware of the importance of loading speed, and you should make sure they know that this is part of the SEO package.

The Amazon Search Engine Challenge

There’s one big trend that no retailer likes to talk about. Amazon is arguably replacing Google as the go-to search engine for e-commerce. If your small business clients have an e-commerce element to their site, you’ll want to discuss e-commerce SEO with them.

E-commerce SEO has two important implications:

  1. E-commerce sites absolutely need to have the best SEO possible. Every product must have unique, searchable copy and databases must be set up properly for internal search. Anyone who doesn’t use Amazon to search for a product will probably still see an Amazon page near the top of their search results. Ensure your clients that you’re working to put them up there, too.
  2. There’s some good news – Amazon pages are standardized. You probably have the flexibility to be way more creative than Amazon. This added freedom could impact search and keep your clients’ sites competitive.

The Importance of a Tech-Savvy Team to Master the Internet in 2019

All of the challenges we’ve discussed so far are about processes that happen under the hood of your marketing vehicle. Even when your clients have outstanding content, they still need you to help manage all the new developments in technology.

SEO has evolved into more than keywords and link-building. Most of the necessary adaptations to the latest technology are already built into good SEO practices. It’s important to emphasize this when talking about SEO with your clients.

There’s a lot you can do to prepare your clients for 2019 and beyond. In fact, you’re probably doing much of it already.

Your clients need to understand that SEO is essential in the new environment of voice search, AI, mobile, and all the other factors coming into play.

The Biggest Overlooked Opportunity in SEO?

If there’s a recurring theme I want to stress, it’s that SEO already offers solutions to many new challenges. If anything, these new developments are opening up new niches. You can help your small business clients take back some market share.

New Google technology such as our Website Analysis product can measure user engagement. If interested, we also provide this tool to our partners and resellers to use for their own lead generations.  Get in touch with us via chat or a free consultation form to find out how you can utilize the free website analysis tool for your own business, just click here.

SEO and quality content are inseparable. Good content will still be critical in 2019.  But technology aside, there’s one more good reason to use SEO – traffic.  

Traffic is just the first step in digital marketing. Small businesses get most of their sales, referrals, and repeat business from the audiences built over time. Content is one of the keys to earning this long-term loyalty.

The best practices for SEO ultimately lead to higher quality content. Subject matter that’s worth being shared and linked is a big part of this. Everything that creates a positive user experience is also at the core of SEO.

If done right, SEO could be a game-changer for many small businesses in 2019. It’s the hidden opportunity that most marketers have overlooked.