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Does Your Content Marketing Strategy Still Fit?

Forget everything you thought you knew about SEO. This year the rules are changing and the most prominent change experts believe you will see are:

  • Voice Search,
  • Snippets,
  • Topic Clusters, and
  • Linkless Mentions

Voice Search is Rising

ContentWorks explains voice search as “essentially a speech recognition technology available on smartphones and other portable devices. Instead of typing, users can speak their queries, and digital assistants provide us with the answers.”

Google Home and Amazon Echo are driving voice search. Users are engaging with content is unique ways as smart homes get smarter.

Ensuring your content is optimized for the multiple ways your target market searches is critical.

To optimize content for users’ embrace of voice search, think how the material sounds out loud. Does it get to the point? Is it conversational? Is it easy to read? These are the crucial questions you need to ask if you want your content found through voice search.

But don’t overlook snippets.

Snippets Have Never Been as Impactful As Now

The relevant snippets are those bits of text which appear at the beginning of specific search results which quickly answer a user’s question.

When a voice search is done, often the result comes from the featured snipped.

Over 30% of searches return a snippet and will only become more popular as Google advances.

Snippets may eat up a company’s search traffic. Why would users scroll through the search results and click to a website if they can get the info they need immediately through a featured snippet.

Optimizing content to show up in the snippets will be a priority in 2019. Based on search queries, Google will display different bits. Marketers should think of how bites of their content will sound.

Topic Clusters Take the Place of Keywords

Why are ‘Topic Clusters’ so important?

Writing in “Topic Clusters and Pillar Content: A New Strategy to Dominate Search”, Degroat comberleypoints out: “Machines aren’t the ones filling out your forms on your website. Machines aren’t the ones sharing your content on social media. Machines aren’t your customers, humans are.”

Besides snippets, Google is also learning how to address questions about broad, relevant topics — not merely specific keywords.

Marketers need to prioritize relevant, informative content which answers questions and concerns succinctly — not keyword-stuffed content which attracts clicks first and then, maybe, takes care of providing useful, reliable information.

Users aren’t searching for a couple of keywords. They want their questions answered and are trusting search engines to speak to the reason behind their search.

Content which can answer questions on a topic does much better than simple call-and-response content focused on targeting keywords.

Already significant, the topic cluster model is positioned to become even more in demand in 2019.

Linkless Mentions Get Weight

Google still relies on backlinks when determining the quality of a site and how trustworthy the website is.

For years, earning a feature story, or a press mention, in a reputable publication, was ideal. But if the puff piece didn’t include a link to your site, it was a hollow victory.

Now that Google is improving at assessing the value, quality and relevance of a page’s content, things are changing. Google is getting better at knowing when businesses are mentioned in reputable places — even without a link.

This doesn’t make backlinks less valuable, but it is a reminder that content quality and relevance are essential.

The only way to grow in the Internet marketplace in 2019 is to go into the whole thing with a long-term vision.

Long-Term Vision

One of the most significant SEO trends for the new year isn’t, well, new. But it does bear repeating.

Optimizing content for search is a long-term process. It takes time to execute a strategy and even more time to see the results of that strategy.

The days of jumping on trending keywords and sucking up one-off traffic are gone.

In 2019, smart marketers will focus on generating steady streams of quality content, so their brand is positioned as a trustworthy expert.

When thinking about quality content, also develop long-term goals and strategies?

The Takeaway

Short-term tactics still have their place. But smart marketers are developing long-term mindsets.

Successful marketers are looking past steady online presence to drive traffic and interest.

While the Internet gets more crowded, the key to success is not about winning the battle of keywords, but to create forward-thinking content.