Even though SEO has a huge ROI, the landscape and face of SEO changes rapidly these days and Google itself – Who make no money from SEO – are making it harder and harder to rank for organic keywords.
There are a number of reasons why it’s becoming more difficult, there will be a follow up article in a few weeks titled “How to dominate Google in 2019”, but first lets focus on why SEO is getting harder and we will answer the question “is SEO still worth it in 2019?”
#1 You don’t have time to keep up with the demands of SEO.
SEO takes time, especially if you are doing it yourself. There’s technical SEO, competitor analysis, backlink analysis, content creation, updating old content, link sourcing, building backlinks and content distribution…
And that’s just on your site!
Then there’s keeping up to speed with the latest SEO trends, keeping your SEO knowledge cutting edge and finding that little extra edge to stay at the top of Google ahead of your competitors.
Then there’s other things outside of your control such as Google Ads, Facebook ads, Google Places and all these other things that are distracting you from SEO and making you wonder if SEO is worthwhile at all!
#2 You don’t have the budget of your competitors.
Depending on your industry there may be some serious players with deep pockets who throw money at TV advertising, Brand advertising, PPC and hire the best SEO agencies.
This doesn’t have to be a huge downside, especially if you can find the time to keep up with SEO and make point #1 irrelevant for you.
You can still rank above competitors with deep pockets and bigger SEO budgets, SEO doesn’t have to cost that much, but it will require a bigger commitment of your time.
If your Technical SEO is top notch and something you constantly obsess over to improve upon then the other part of the puzzle where most competitors win is due to their quality of backlinks, if you have time then you can build your own high quality backlinks by following this guide.
#3 Google is making it harder to rank!
Take a look at the Google search results.
Previously the Google ads used to be down the right hand side and now they are the first thing you see on a desktop and then there’s the Google places map and then sometimes even a featured snippet box – Known as Ranking Zero – and then finally there’s the #1 position in Google.
Compared to previously, the #1 result on Google used to be top of the page with the first 5-6 results in clear view and now its hidden below the fold beneath 4 ads, a map and sometimes a featured snippet – And this is out of your control and down to Google wanting to make money from their Ads.
It’s even more difficult on a mobile – search for a keyword such as web design company in Birmingham, in Google, and just look at what dominates the screen – Google ads, the first google ad takes up the majority of space and screen on a mobile pushing the organic search results even further down the screen on a mobile device.
There is a debate about how many people actually click on the ads or just scroll down to the organic results, but that’s how Google makes it’s money and you can bet your bottom dollar Google will make the click thru rates on Google ads even more over the coming years.
#4 You don’t have the right tools.
Again, if you are doing SEO yourself and are really dedicating yourself to improving your SEO then you need the right tools to do it.
There are great tools out there such as Uber Suggest from Neil Patel which is completely free but for us, our team of SEO experts recommend AHREFS which we feel is one of the best SEO tools on the market.
It’s not cheap, over $100 a month, but it helps give you that edge over your competitors who wont even think of spending that a month on software.
With a great piece of software like that it makes keyword, competitor and backlink analysis a breeze, which saves time and gives you an advantage of your competitors.
Make life and SEO easier and invest in the right tools to give you the most accurate insight.
#5 Voice Search is on the rise.
Voice search is growing year on year thanks to the advances in technology such as Siri, Alexa and Google Home.
This makes ranking a lot harder and puts a focus on ranking zero in the Google featured snippet.
This means… Voice search gives only one result… And it may not be the one at the top of Google but the featured snippet that ranks zero.
The way people search using their voice is different.
When doing a search for Google you may just use a generic keyword such as web design birmingham where as with voice search a user may ask to find the best web design company in the birmingham area, or ask Alexa “who is the nearest web design agency to me?”
This all makes it very difficult to rank on voice and a whole new voice strategy needs developing.
#6 Google and users are getting smarter and expanding on their searches.
Some people still search for short tail keywords such as web development birmingham and get the results from that, but now users are getting more specific and using long tail searches.
Searches such as “The best rated web design companies in Birmingham” “top rated web design agency” are becoming he norm as users expand upon their searches.
Think about it, if someone jumps onto Google for a pair of new trainers they are just searching for “trainers”, they likely have a style, brand and colour in mind so their search becomes “size 10 Red Nike air max trainers” so the search is even more specific, highly targeted and losing out to top level keyword traffic.
This is also down to what google calls “intent” and “in market”.
Google has all the data, and with RankBrain becoming even more powerful it now knows the difference between someone researching a topic and someone who is in the market to buy a product/service today.
Searches are also becoming a lot more local, so things such as “Chinese restaurant near me” will show results based on the nearest Chinese to your location.
So, coming back to it… Is SEO still worth it in 2019?
In simple terms, Yes, SEO is a digital marketing strategy that is still worth doing in 2019.
You need SEO to maintain at least some presence online unless you are going to do Google PPC etc.
Searching habits are changing all the time and you at least need to be in with a shot of getting traffic to your website.
Remember how you search – Do you just open the first result on Google and stick with it, or do you open a few tabs of the top 5-6 results in Google and check them all out to some extent?
As of now, our SEO efforts bring in far more work and enquiries than our PPC efforts do, the fact is people don’t always click on ads and some are even blind to them and simply scroll past them and the map and click on the first 2-3 Google results, over time this may change, but for now and with ourselves as the evidence, although SEO is getting harder: SEO is still worth the effort.
Should you need with your SEO efforts the team at ALT Agency are just a call away and can help you get higher search engine rankings. Contact our team of SEO experts today on 0121 663 0202 or check out what our SEO Agency offers here.