4 SEO Expert Tips That Really Matter in 2019
While every aspect of SEO is important in some way or another, it’s always a good idea to focus your strategy on the SEO expert tips that provide the best return on investment.
This does not mean you should ignore the importance of backlinks, meta tags or keyword density and other foundational SEO practices. This is merely to highlight the fact that SEO is an evolving discipline and you will likely need to adjust to stay ahead of the curve.
In this article, we focus on four major SEO expert tips that you might not be doing right now.
Understand that these are not “quick wins.”
However, once you leverage these 4 SEO expert tips strategies, you will see that they provide a solid foundation for any marketing strategy in 2019 and beyond.
In this article we will cover the following four SEO trends you should absolutely account for this year:
People Also Asked search results
We will tell you what each SEO strategy is, how it works, how it affects your search results and how to adjust your SEO strategy to best capitalize on these trends.
1. Keyword Universe
In spite of what you might be thinking, keyword universe is an actual content strategy and not just a fancy name coined by marketers.
More specifically, a keyword universe strategy should be focused on creating multiple pieces of content around a series of related topics (and keywords!) and then inter-linking this content.
Some marketers like to explain this keyword universe as the total number of keywords being used to generate traffic for your website around one specific theme, service or solution you provide to your customers.
As for the size of this “universe”, some websites track hundreds or even thousands of keywords but only a small percentage of these keywords will generate 90% of the traffic.
Why should you do this? It’s all about establishing authority and demonstrating value in order for Google to see you as the expert in a particular domain.
Let’s use an example of a company that employs keyword universe.
Digital Authority Partners (DAP) provides consulting services to healthcare technology executives for various areas such as web design, digital strategy and artificial intelligence.
In order to establish authority on these topics, the DAP team created a series of articles on topics of interest for healthcare executives. These in-depth articles focus on how technology is reshaping the healthcare industry, the benefits of adopting healthtech, use cases for specific tech innovations and more. What’s more, all of these articles are linked and cover every aspect of developing and marketing software solutions in healthcare.
Why is Digital Authority Partners a good example of keyword universe?
Here’s a list of some of the articles in the series:
5 Tips for Healthcare Website Design Initiatives in 2019
The State of Digital Transformation in Healthcare in 2019
Artificial Intelligence & the Pharma Industry: What’s Next
9 Cardiovascular Health Technologies Doctors Should Know in 2019
Alexa in Healthcare: 17 Real Use Cases You Should Know About
Blockchain in Healthcare: An Executive’s Guide for 2019
Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare: 27 Companies Leveraging AI to Improve Health Outcomes
Big Data in Healthcare: All You Need to Know
9 Healthcare Marketing Trends for 2019
Step-by-step actionable healthcare marketing plan for 1st quarter of 2019
Each article is 4,000 words or more, links to every other article in the series, and covers a distinct, but inter-related topic tied to the process of building, launching and marketing a healthcare technology product.
More importantly, each article in the series now ranks in Google Search results for a specific search term. For example, they are in the top 5 search results for certain keywords: ‘healthcare marketing’, ‘healthcare marketing plan’, ‘artificial intelligence pharma’ healthcare app development’, ‘healthcare website design’.
Even more impressively, the keyword universe above ranks, collectively, for over 1,100 inter-related search terms driving just a bit over 10,000 elements of organic traffic to the Digital Authority Partners website.
Ultimately, the primary objective of a keyword universe is to deliver exactly what this specific example did. Create an amazing content calendar, target a very specific niche, publish great content and inter-link all relevant articles on one domain to show Google you are an expert in a specific topic.
Let’s discuss internal linking in more detail.
Internal linking mostly serves to help visitors navigate your website.
In addition, your chosen anchor text and the location of this internal link is taken into account by search engines.
As you may know, search engines are mostly concerned with identifying relevant and valuable internal links that will improve the user experience. In return for creating this structure within the website, internal links will also improve your search rankings.
How to Create & Manage Your Keyword Universe
In this section, we will briefly summarize the process of establishing and executing a keyword universe for your website.
1. Research with Google Keyword Tool
As you may know, the Google Keyword Tool is a free and powerful tool that gathers data related to keywords you might want to target. The platform also provides similar keywords that can sometimes have less SEO and SEM competition. This makes the process far easier when it comes to rankings (for an in-depth article on SEO vs SEM read this article).
2. Pay Attention to Google Analytics
Google Analytics can quickly help you identify the best keywords for generating traffic as well as the keywords that should be replaced because they are not helping your business.
As a general rule, it is often a good idea to set a minimum number in terms of the monthly traffic each keyword needs to generate and then remove any keywords that fall short of delivering the expected results.
3. Create a Spreadsheet for Your Keyword Universe
After choosing the best keywords for your universe, you should create a spreadsheet for this data. Ideally, you will then sort this data using certain parameters and ensure that the document is always easy to access.
4. Decide Primary and Secondary Keywords
At this point, you should be able to categorize a list of keywords. Most importantly, you should be able to create a list of primary and secondary keywords that are chosen based on the amount of traffic they generate. In case you are wondering, primary keywords are the most valuable; secondary keywords are less effective, but still useful when it comes to gaining traction.
5. Designate Keywords to Pages
Keyword universes are best used in a combination of article pages (your blog posts) and landing pages (where you want people to go to get in touch with you). Each page should focus on one main keyword. You need to make sure each landing page and each article you create has one unique primary keyword assigned to it.
6. Create SEO Campaigns Around Select Keywords
Your rankings will not improve without putting time and effort (or money) into SEO. In other words, you don’t simply create content for a keyword universe and then hope it will rank. You should secure backlinks, make sure each page is coded properly from a technical SEO point of view (more details here) and continue optimizing your content to amplify your brand and content assets.
7. Track Your Competitors
Believe it or not, tracking your competition is a good way to spot new opportunities. You can use Google Keyword Tool for this process, but you might also want to consider some powerful software such as Ahrefs, SEM Rush and MOZ.
In short - keyword universes are amazing. They’re amazing for ranking in Google search results, building your brand and getting more sales online.
Now onto the next big factor affecting SEO in 2019.
SEO expert tip #2: Keyword Search Intent
In simple terms, Google algorithms pay close attention to what a user is seeking online and tries to provide the most relevant possible search results for each independent search query.
What does this mean for your overall SEO strategy?
It means that Google is determined to provide the most useful resource to users and SEO experts should be making every effort to provide relevant content that answers a very specific query. In other words, you should only try to rank in Google search results for keywords to which your content is 100% applicable.
Accounting for Search Intent in your SEO strategy simply means creating pages that answer specific questions. That being said, the process is slightly more intricate and requires that content be heavily optimized, especially in terms of titles, tags and descriptions.
How to Manage User Keyword Search Intent
There are three different types of keyword intent: navigational, transactional, and informational. More than 80% of search queries are informational in nature.
Here’s a quick explanation of each type, how each type works and how you should use them.
a) Optimizing for Navigational Search Intent
Navigational Search Intent refers to a search query used when users are looking for something specific. Example: If you look up “new york times”, you want to go to the New York Times website. If you look up Rush Hospital, you’re looking for specific information about this institution.
Optimizing for navigational intent means you have a landing page for a specific search query. Each page should be optimized so that users instantly know how to navigate and process the information. For this reason, you can focus on keywords tied to a specific navigational intent by improving titles, subheadings and descriptions on each page.
Example, if someone looks up “Rush Hospital Cardiology,” it’s clear a user is looking for the Department of Cardiology at Rush. That means the Rush website should have a specific page dedicated to this department.
b) Optimizing for Informational Search Intent
Informational search intent is the most common type of search query. It includes such broad questions as “What is artificial intelligence?” or “what is machine learning?”. You can optimize for search intent by inserting these questions into the content.
Google has made informational search intent a core component of their own algorithmic updates over the last year. As we covered in a previous article, Google released a global update in October 2018 about their new search feature called “People Also Asked” search results container. If you type in virtually any topic, Google now shows a list of similar questions other users searched.
We will discuss PAA in more detail in our next section!
Many SEO experts have now started creating relevant and targeted content specifically for informational search intent. You should too! Not to mention the fact that the extent to which you create content that really applies to informational search intent is one of the primary SEO expert tips that you should follow because it will impact how quickly your articles will take to rank in organic search results.
c) Optimizing for Transactional Search Intent
When people search for the “best” or “cheapest” product online, they show that they have a potential intent to make a purchase.
If you keep the focus of your content on the outcome of buying a product or service, you are already optimizing for transactional search intent.
In this case, you do not necessarily need any supporting information because the user simply wants specific data that could help in choosing a vendor with whom to work.
Google the term ‘web analytics services.’
What you will see in the search results is a list of agencies offering web analytics as a service.
Virtually every result you click on will be a landing page focused exclusively on one simple goal: convincing a user to get in touch with the respective agency about their analytics solutions.
d) Measuring and Improving Keyword Search Intent
As with any other part of SEO strategy, you will need to measure, evaluate and improve results. Google Analytics and Google Search Console are especially useful for this process. Both tools assist the user to combine keyword research with search intent and create valuable content based on the results.
To summarize: Google is increasingly focused on keyword search intent. If you can optimize content using the above guidelines, this will certainly increase the authority and visibility of your website.
SEO expert tip #3: People Also Asked (PAA)
“People Also Asked” (PAA) is a relatively new feature on Google search that aggregates questions related to the search query. Accordion boxes of similar questions appear below the initial search term and users can click on these boxes to see relevant answers in snippet form.
For example, if you type “What is healthcare marketing?” into the search engine, you should see that Google highlights the answer to this question in chrome. Below this answer, you will also see several more questions in boxes such as “why is healthcare marketing important?” and “what does marketing mean in healthcare?”.
At this point, you might be asking “What is a PAA strategy”?
What is a PAA Strategy?
People Also Asked is now one of the most comprehensive features in Google Search Results and an excellent resource for market research. As such, you can create a marketing strategy around PAA alone and use this method to gain some impressive traction in terms of SEO.
Believe it or not, you can optimize existing content to answer PAA questions. In other words, you can look at PAA questions tied to content for which you are already ranking and add new content that answers specific additional questions other users are employing when searching online.
Additionally, SEO experts should use PAA as a keyword research tool. PAA results represent one of the best possible tools for the long-tail keywords that should be the focus of your strategy. Better yet, this technique comes directly from Google so you know it is accurate and actionable!
In many ways, PAA is like a secret weapon you can add to your existing strategy.
How to Create a PAA Strategy That Will Actually Work
A. Choose the Primary Keyword for Your Article
You can start your search on PAA by experimenting with various search terms. As a rule, there are four main types of searches that you might want to consider – product, recommendations, niche keywords and “how to” articles.
In the following example, we will use a laptop as the subject of our search:
Product – You can type the actual product description into Google, but try to avoid using specific models. For example, type “lightweight laptop” instead of “lightweight HP laptop”.
Recommendation – You can now search for keywords based on various categories such as “best laptop”, “cheap laptop” or “ultralight laptop”.
Niche – You can narrow this search further by searching for a niche such as “laptop for gaming” or “laptop for film editing”.
“How to” - While this is a much broader category, you can often find great keywords by using relevant phrases when searching. Example: “How to choose a lightweight laptop”.
Just keep in mind, PAA search results change over time, you should make every effort to adjust accordingly or create more content to answer new questions. A good rule of thumb is to check PAA search results every month to see what new additional questions Google is suggesting for any primary keyword.
B. Create an Outline for the Article
With the most relevant questions and keywords in mind, you can start developing content that will specifically answer these questions.
Although you might think this is somewhat contrived at first, just remember that these answers are highly practical and helpful; which is precisely what Google wants.
Create PAA questions - Come up with five to ten PAA questions and several variations on each one.
Select Main Question – Choose the most relevant and reasonably easy question for which to rank.
Create in-depth Content – Try to create a piece of content that answers the question with more depth than anywhere else online.
Include subsections – Finally, make sure to include subsections that answer this PAA question and use multiple keywords wherever possible.
C. Promote Your Content
Many content creators and inexperienced marketers make the mistake of publishing content and moving on to the next piece. However, promotion is often just as important as creation for visibility online.
You can maximize the impact of your content by sharing it on social media or by discussing the article at an upcoming sales meeting.
However, the latest Google update has shown a clear preference for question and answer websites such as Quora, which is a great place to drop a link while providing some useful advice.
Alternatively, you might notify other website owners about your valuable resource and politely suggest that they might link to this content in one of their articles on a similar topic.
SEO expert tip #4: Voice Search
Voice search queries are more important than ever. According to PriceWaterhouseCoopers study, 64% of adults aged 24 to 49 use voice search at least once a day.
According to recent studies, voice searches are expected to account for at least 50% of ALL search queries by 2020.
Let’s look into the factors that have an impact on Voice Search and any Voice Search SEO strategies in which you might be inclined to invest.
1. Voice Search is More Conversational
Google updates have used semantics as a guide for refining the user search experience; voice technology is another step in that same direction.
This means voice search relies on Natural Language Processing (NLP) to recognize voice interests and behaviors.
However, voice search and text search are very different.
When most people use a mobile device for searching, the query is conversational.
Searching by text often consists of shorter phrases because there is simply less effort involved.
For this reason, it is important to think about how your audience actually speaks about a product or business in order to optimize your content for voice search.
You can use smart tools for this process such as “Answer the Public“ which generates questions based on whatever keyword you enter.
With this in mind, you can obtain a reasonable idea of the customer mindset and thus interpret user intent based on the type of questions that might be asked.
2. Voice Search is Often Local
Voice search is most often used for finding local information such as restaurants, hospitals or services in the area.
For instance, when adding meta tags or creating content, you should try to include phrases such as “near me” or “closest” that users might type into Google to find services in the locality.
3. Voice Search Results Should Be Immediate
Users want immediate results for local searches.
For this reason, they are unlikely to visit your website or dig deeper. This means that your content should include clear, concise information for voice search.
You can optimize for voice search by updating any business listings with contact details or office hours. Five-star reviews are also likely to speed up the decision-making process.
What else can you do to optimize for voice search?
Google My Business (GMB)
Claim your listing on Google My Business and ensure the details on this listing are fully up to date.
If you have an area code or address included, this will tell Google that the business is local. Meanwhile, a short piece about the business can help point users in the right direction.
Schema Markup (Structured Data)
Structure data is essentially metadata that can be input into the source code of your website. While this data does not affect the search rankings, it can help Google organize and better understand your content.
As already mentioned, voice search mostly takes place on mobile devices, which means that a mobile-friendly design is mandatory. Most websites are already responsive but you should still use a free mobile-test tool and check to make sure.
Create Blog posts Using Voice Search Keywords
If you create articles that answer questions, this inevitably helps with SEO. However, you also need to write more controversial blog posts that contain keywords that appear to be most popular on voice search.
It should go without saying that nobody can predict the future of voice search, but we do know the industry is moving quickly and adjusting SEO strategies in line with these changes is needed to stay relevant.
Final Thoughts on SEO expert tips
There are literally hundreds of SEO expert tips to consider for the best practices in 2019, but the four elements explained here are some of the most influential for any SEO strategy.
In many ways, this is both good and bad in the sense that good marketers will know how to excel, while poor marketers will fall behind.
In this article, we covered 4 SEO strategies which are becoming absolutely critical to any content strategy in 2019. From keyword universes, to search intent, PAA and Voice Search, the future of SEO is bright. So capitalize on these trends in order to make the most of SEO this year.