Top four search, digital marketing trends for 2019

Google never sits still. Have you noticed? Here are four trends that we think you as a smart business owner should be aware of as you plan your marketing efforts in 2019.

Voice search

Voice search is the latest major trend to change the search environment online. New research shows that 46 percent of adults is using digital assistants, and sales of units like Alexa and Google Home are getting stronger. This means that people are looking for information about local businesses now without picking up their phones. Getting found by voice search requires a slightly different approach than the usual search engine optimization.

What you can do:

• Think about what your customers need to know and how they would phrase that vocally.

• Use longer and more conversational keyword phrases in your website text.

• Target those questions by naming them and providing excellent information on them, all the while writing in a natural voice.

Google My Business is getting more important.

Local search has become a huge part of the search environment. Using voice search and virtual assistants, people are often turning to Google for advice about local businesses and service providers. This has meant that Google My Business, Google’s directory for local businesses, has become ever more important.

What you can do:

• Make sure you have claimed your GMB listing and that it is verified with Google.

• Be sure all information is accurate and the name, address and phone number are consistent with other instances on your website and on online directory listings.

• Add enticing photos and videos.

• Include a description of your business that makes you stand out from the crowd. Include keywords when possible.

• Solicit reviews. Internet users depend on reviews to make decisions about where to do business more than half the time.

• Add posts and/or questions and answers to give users more information about your business.

Mobile-First Indexing is here.

Nowadays, the majority (60 percent) of Google searches happen on mobile. To reflect this reality, Google now indexes mobile versions of your page FIRST. If you don’t have a mobile version that is optimized, then you get dinged in search results. Don’t worry; Google will still index your desktop version. It just looks for mobile first and prioritizes mobile-optimized sites.

What you can do:

• Be sure that your site is optimized for mobile: this means that it is formatted, responsive, and fast on mobile devices.

• Use Accelerated Mobile Pages to optimize mobile experience.

Featured snippets and “Position 0.”

Featured snippets are results from Google that try to directly answer the question in the search results. They are “snapshots” of the answer to the query and it’s Google’s implicit hope that people don’t have to click through to a website to get a savvy answer. It’s their way of keeping people with THEM.

Featured snippets are often the first thing to show up on the search results pages, appearing before the list of websites. That’s why they get the name “Position 0.” Position 0 is a coveted position because it enjoys a very high click through rate. Google is delivering featured snippets on more search queries than ever, and this is going to continue.

What you can do:

• In order to get a featured snippet, you need good keyword research to gain insight about long-tail keyword phrases and common questions.

• Structure your site with questions and brief paragraphs for popular queries, so it is easy for Google to locate snippets. An FAQ page might be perfect for this.

With these four digital marketing trends in mind you can take steps to win in local search in 2019, bringing more customers to your door. As always, get in touch with us if you need help keeping up with Google.

Laurie Macomber is owner of Fort Collins-based Blue Skies Marketing. Reach her at 970-689-3000.

Google never sits still. Have you noticed? Here are four trends that we think you as a smart business owner should be aware of as you plan your marketing efforts in 2019.

Voice search

Voice search is the latest major trend to change the search environment online. New research shows that 46 percent of adults is using digital assistants, and sales of units like Alexa and Google Home are getting stronger. This means that people are looking for information about local businesses now without picking up their phones. Getting found by voice search requires a slightly different approach than the usual search engine optimization.

What you can do:

• Think about what your customers need to know and how they would phrase that vocally.

• Use longer and more conversational keyword phrases in your website text.

• Target those questions by naming them and providing excellent information on them, all the while writing in a natural voice.

Google My Business is getting more important.

Local search has become a huge part of the search environment. Using voice search and virtual assistants, people are often turning to Google for advice about local businesses and service providers. This has meant that Google My Business, Google’s directory for local businesses, has become ever more important.

What you can do:

• Make sure you have claimed your GMB listing and that it is verified with Google.