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SEO & Content in 2019 and beyond – The Online Marketer’s Wishlist

With the year 2018 coming to a close, it’s time to recall the past, recap the highlights and look into the future. For this article, we have asked international industry experts to share their assessment of the latest digital marketing developments and reveal what’s on their personal wishlist for 2019. In addition, a lot of our experts took the opportunity to re-share their 2018 (or all-time) favorite content and give a shout-out to the thought leaders, content creators, SEO masters or colleagues of the year.

The Online Marketer’s Wishlist

❇️ To get drunk with John Mueller and for him to give me all the Google secrets. That would be cool. -Izzi Smith 
❇️ That Google doesn’t launch a new update during Christmas and new year! -Aleyda Solis  
❇️ Snow! A lot of snow! I hope my whole garden will be covered with snow and I will make a huge snowman. -Lukasz Zelezny    
❇️ A peaceful and happy time with my family. –Marcus Pentzek    
❇️ Top rankings –Rasmus Sørensen  
❇️ More clarity from Google. Some of their answers are so unspecific, almost misleading. I wish they gave better answers to our questions and I don’t think that they have to give away secrets to do so. – Kevin Indig    
❇️ Happiness:) – Jordan Koene   
❇️ To launch this affiliate site and test rankings for the big man (Santa Claus)! -Chris Giarratana    

The most exciting digital marketing developments

“In 2018 I saw an exciting shift in the increase of knowledge sharing in the industry: more studies, more intelligent theories, useful talks at conferences rather than sales pitches, and generally a better attitude. For me, this shift was fully nescessary: knowledge sharing is how we all get better, and for that, a safe environment is needed. This is definitely how the SEO community should be developing. More of this in 2019, please!” – Izzi Smith

“Google’s shift to a mobile first index.” – Aleyda Solis 




lukasz-zelezny-150-150 “Breaking (again) the code of featured snippets :)” – Lukasz Zelezny




“Schema markup and Content Experience.” – Rasmus Sørensen




“The trend that most excites me is voice search because its adoption has reached a critical point and companies are getting increasingly more creative in using it. However, it’s still not the traffic giant it could be. It might take us another 18-36 months to get there.” – Kevin Indig


  “New Google search console and Searchmetrics SEO Suite!” – Jordan Koene



“The focus on JavaScript and other technical aspects as they pertain to content delivery. This blends the worlds of abstract content creation and the definitive world of reporting/technical SEO.” – Chris Giarratana



Trends to be discussed

“The biggest one in 2019, I think, will be a more prominent shift to a conversational search journey, not only with voice search and Google actions, but also a visual aspect that will be brought with smart displays. Additionally, the importance of knowing how to optimize content reliant on JS, as well as Progressive Web Apps, will only gain in importance and become more critical.” –Aleyda Solis  

“Content combined with SEO will be more important than ever before. Manual outreach and building relationships IRL in 2019 will be more valuable, too.” – Chris Giarratana




“Intent marketing. Giving users what they are looking for.” –Rasmus Sørensen



“As every year, I advocate doing the basics better. But that’s often not an answer people want to hear or read. Thus, here’s something more practical: extend your written content to visual and audio. A podcast and video format is something every company should consider. SEO, and the content game, in general, has become increasingly competitive, even when you’re not starting out. It becomes more of a winner-takes-all game.  There are still many synergies with written content, like integration, cross-linking, and repurposing, that can lower the cost and increase the return.” – Kevin Indig

“1. More and more speed improvements to support better rankings and user results. 2. More mobile usability studies and data to improve search results.”- Jordan Koene



How to start your year right

“SEOs in 2019 should be adapting their search strategies in order to create websites that are not only optimized for search engines, but that properly resonate with users. The focus should be more on driving quality, meaningful site visits rather than just uplifting organic rankings for the sake of it. My advice: – Aim to understand and satisfy user intents with awesome, data-driven content – Improve your site strategies by killing weak pages and working with UX and CRO to deliver a better overall experience.  – Create a richer SERP appearance in order to not only improve CTR, but to improve the quality of traffic. i.e. winning the users that actually want to be on your website.  Search engine algorithms are chasing the users, and so should you!” – Izzi Smith

“To not lose sight of the big picture. In the latest months with so many Google’s updates, I’ve seen SEOs spending way too much time to trying to come up with specific answers, while risking missing the bigger picture, as well as bigger trends and factors that will ultimately have more influence on the outcome of their efforts.” – Aleyda Solis


lukasz-zelezny-150-150“Page-speed Page-speed and once again Page-speed.” – Lukasz Zelezny




“Diversification and still focus.  Do not put all your money on just one single horse in the race. Even if the favorite is trained as well as possible, gets the best food and medication, the best jockey sitting on its back, it might be possible that an unexpected disturbance causes this horse to stumble and fall – and you are going from set position 1 to 100. This is also true for your marketing. You might have been the absolute winner on Google in the recent years. You might have installed the best SEO team and the best SEO software (Searchmetrics of course) on the open market. Then Google only needs to turn a tiny aspect in their algorithms and the search results are as good as before – but with an all-new top 10 ranking – simply because there are many more excellent websites out there than just the 10 your were a part of. Looking out for other places you can draw customers from is essential if you don’t want to lose everything if Google decides to just change a little. But still you need to focus. Do not use the watering-can technique to serve all possible kinds of people. They are not all your target audience. And even if they are … they are not in every single of their life situations. You need to focus on the right people at the right times – the user intent that really makes them read your content, sign up for this newsletter or buy that product.” – Marcus Pentzek

“Create content which users want. Intent baby, intent.” – Rasmus Sørensen




“Don’t be afraid to test different tactics. It’s easy to get stuck in the same approach, but the best part of marketing in how quickly we can test, refine, and reiterate!” – Chris Giarratana



“Figure out how to do the boring, hard stuff at twice the pace. The secret to success in online marketing, SEO, growth – anything – is doing the basics well and stuff that doesn’t scale. Doing the things that are easy to scale is merely a requirement, but setting yourself apart means doing things that are hard and boring.  Some of those things are:  – forming personal relationships  – creating content that stands out  – doing a lot of direct and indirect research.” – Kevin Indig

“Stop focusing on the future and invest in the present. A lot of work needs to be done on website and managing content. Implement these plans to generate results.” – Jordan Koene


2018 #MustRead Content

? The Izzi & Nils Show! – Izzi Smith    
? This massive piece of Cyrus about the SEO success factors.  – Aleyda Solis    
? Rasmus Sørensen 
? Oh man, it’s just too hard to decide. I consume a lot of content to curate it for my newsletter, Tech Bound, so it’s very hard to decide. I like everything by Brian Balfour, Cassey Winters, Shane Parrish, Ben Thompson, Scott Galloway, Kara Swisher, Paul Graham, Jordan Peterson, Seth Godin, Tim Urban, Malcolm Gladwell,… – Kevin Indig    
“The case against Google”, New York Times  – Jordan Koene   
? Searchmetrics has one of the most baller blogs on marketing (I know it is obvious b/c I contribute 😉 ) but seriously good stuff. Also, did you know Searchmetrics has a podcast? I usually don’t like podcasts, but “Voices of Search” is a legit cast. – Chris Giarratana

The online marketers who made our year

?Pip Klöckner: for being one of the smartest, future-focused SEO minds. Izzi Smith

? Alex Alexakis: Alex was a big influence in helping me grow in SEO. He’s a knowledgeable dude who a unique blend of design, UX, and technical SEO experience. – Chris Giarratana

? Aleyda Solis: an inspirational, brilliant and generous SEO who is a genuinely lovely human. She is awesome. – Izzi Smith

? Dawn Anderson for all these interesting conversations we have during conferences.  David Bain for everything! – Lukasz Zelezny

? Malte Landwehr: for his awesome expertise and because he’s always contributing super interesting data. – Izzi Smith

?Fernando Maciá, for being the most prolific Search and Digital marketing author in the Spanish speaking industry, his discipline to write and share through his books is impressive. – Aleyda Solis

? Nils Kattau: for being fabulous. Thorsten Becker: a truly badass boss and excellent drinking buddy. – Izzi Smith

?For pushing me:  Paul Shapiro,  Jim Christian,  Arsen Rabinovich,  Igal Stolpner,  Olga Adrienko,  Si Quan Ong,  Micah Fischer-Kirstner, Chris von Wilpert  and many, many more (sorry for everyone I forgot :-/) – Kevin Indig

? TRDF: You know who you are <3 – Izzi Smith

? Barry Adams, for speaking clearly about what can be perceived polemic topics and being some of the technical SEOs sharing more with the community. – Aleyda Solis

?  @therealpmac awesome penalty and raters guideline expert.  @aleyda – well you know why – Rasmus Sørensen

?Dawn Anderson, for sharing about otherwise overlooked research related topics in search. – Aleyda Solis

? Judith Lewis, for always supporting women in our industry as well as being a fellow remoter that requires lots of discipline and hard work to be able to do it successfully. – Aleyda Solis

?Gianluca Fiorelli, for being one of the most friendly people in our sector, always I friend I can rely on. Additionally, for never allowing himself to miss the big picture, speaking about visual search when many were mostly thinking about voice. – Aleyda Solis

? Ayasha Giarratana. One of the top 10 SEM marketers in the South-East region. Knowledgeable on how to combine User Intent with technology to drive conversions and make companies some serious bank (and look good doing it). – Chris Giarratana

What were your highlights in 2018, which content pieces do you miss in our list and who made your (working-) day? Leave a comment and let your fellow marketers know!