The digital marketing industry is always in flux.

New strategies emerge, old strategies fizzle out, and revolutionary ideas are never in short supply. Though 2018 boasted its own innovations, 2019 promises to be more exciting than ever; from the focus on artificial intelligence to the development of more personalized consumer experiences, the next 12 months are sure to be a wild ride. But don’t take my word for it — let’s hear what a few SEO experts have to say.

Make It Personal

First things first, consumers are demanding a more personal encounter with the businesses they frequent. With so many startups and small companies vying for consumer attention, they need to expend more effort on the personal touch.

“Personalization is taking over,” said Isaiah Bollinger of Trellis. “With social media, email, CRM’s, and more technology than ever, companies need to get ahead of the curve and start segmenting their marketing to specific niches of people or even at an individual level. If you are not doing abandoned cart, personalized product recommendations, segmented emails, and targeted social campaigns for specific demographics you will fall very behind in the marketing world. Even creating the ability to customize or personalize products can be the difference between having a strong competitive advantage and no advantage versus the behemoths like Amazon and Walmart.”

Taking back your share of the market from such giants is no easy feat, but some believe that artificial intelligence is the answer.

Machine Learning To The Max

Human beings are pushing the limits on what is possible every single day. Technology has made leaps and bounds in recent years, allowing many businesses to incorporate advanced AI developments into their marketing strategies. Kevin Williams of SurgeStream believes these developments offer an opportunity to create a more personalized customer experience.

“I think a blend of enhanced marketing automation with sophisticated personalization from Artificial Intelligence can have a major impact for digital marketing in 2019,” Williams said.

“Marketing automation continues to make a great impact on digital marketing and the more you can personalize and fine tune your messaging to different user personas can have a huge impact. I see utilizing AI as a smart way of figuring out that puzzle.”

Williams is not alone in his belief. Dave Davies of Beanstalk Internet Marketing is pushing for a more extreme version of AI implementation: forgo the tried and true methods to focus solely on machine learning.

“I would suggest that abandoning ‘tactics’ is the strategy that will dominate in 2019 or rather, the people that embrace their abandonment will be those that dominate,” Davies declared. “What I see coming is a world of machine learning and probability calculation. Of vast personalization but not just a SERP tailored to me as we see commonly but a SERP build on the understanding of other searchers who behave like me and adjusted based on their preferences when my own intent may be unknown … The site that fulfills the intents of the largest population (not necessarily the largest number of individual possible intents but those that apply to the largest number of searchers) will win.”

An Opposing Perspective

Not everyone agrees on the importance of AI use and machine learning in the coming year. According to Gyi Tsakalakis of ATTORNEYSYNC, the spotlight will shine on a ‘getting back to basics’ mentality.

“I anticipated a continued trend toward improving fundamentals,” Tsakalakis said. “While many are distracted by the shininess of AI, machine learning, and automation, some are shifting more focus to fundamental marketing principles. I expect renewed attention on creative, messaging, copy, conversion, and accountability. It won’t happen this year, but winter is coming for ‘influencer marketing.’”

SearchLab Chicago’s Mark Bealin supports this claim and warns people not to abandon the building blocks of SEO.

“Much of the discussions I have are about the August 1st ‘Medic Update’ and the impact of machine learning (AI) on SEO,” Bealin stated. “Pay close attention to user experience metrics like dwell time and you’ll be better positioned to succeed in 2019. However, betting against generating link building seems super seems silly to me. I think it’s a good time to get back to fundamentals. Get links, create great content and invest time in improving user experience.”

Produce Content Like You Mean It

Quality, relevant content is one of those building blocks — one of the biggest and most important, in fact.

“Content will continue to be everything,” said Andy Beohar of Seven Atoms. “Thought-provoking, engaging content will continue to drive traffic and conversions.”

He’s not wrong. As Chuck Price of Measurable SEO explains, understanding the top ranking factors — of which content weighs heavily — is key to SEO success.

“Google may use 200+ ranking factors, but some carry more weight than others,” Price said. “If you invest your time and focus on just Eight, you can be HIGHLY successful in 2019. The top 8 essential website factors to focus on in 2019 include: Technical SEO Website Speed User Intent Mobile-First Content Marketing Schema User Experience Link Building Loads of information and disinformation is served up daily and can lead to analysis paralysis, where nothing gets done. Just focus on these eight essentials and you are certain to have success in 2019 and beyond.”

Juan Carlos Samper of WeAreContent phrases it succinctly:

“A digital marketing strategy without a content marketing strategy is incomplete and brands should start thinking as media if they want to have their own audiences.”

Voice Search Voracity

Regardless of which side you stand on — technological or fundamental — one fact rings true: consumers are depending more and more on voice search features. Localweb’s Doron Milner gives us the numbers.

“As voice search becomes more and more popular in 2019, it will be essential to ensure you are optimised for voice search, especially if you are a local business. 58% of local searches last year were voice searches.”

By utilizing SEO strategies to cater to this dependence, businesses stand a better chance of beating out the competition.

“Voice search is becoming more popular, keep your websites speed fast and continue optimizing for speed,” Don Niam of DigiDezine explains. “Great original content added on a regular basis. Add titles descriptions, keywords, images and image dimensions for every blog post category and tag. Search engines can only find websites that are SEO rich with content and all the onsite SEO ingredients.”

Final Words

“In 2019 it’s all about EAT-ing. No, not what you think! According to Google’s Search Quality Guidelines, they recommend practicing the EAT methodology, aka Expertise, Authoritativeness & Trustworthiness in anything you or your brand does online. Think about how Google perceives you online. Are you watching what you EAT?”