Big Changes for Small Business Websites in 2019

Recently I gave three talks at two Chambers of Commerce and the OfficeXpats coworking space covering important new topics for business owners to be aware for 2019.

I chose the topics based on the following criteria:

  1. Opportunity for high risk

  2. Opportunity for high growth

  3. Timely

  4. Related to digital marketing

  5. Still fairly unknown

Based on those criteria I came up with five topics and six 'runner-ups'.

The first has to do with big changes at Google since there is so much opportunity for small business if they get these changes right... and large companies/incumbents potentially have a lot to lose if they don't...


#1 - Google and Bing Search Results

Situation Summary

Google and Bing are rewarding quality content on websites - and punishing "Black Hat" SEO practices.

Dark Clouds 

·      Sites that used to rank on page 1 may drop to lower pages or be banned

 ·      Spend a lot of time or invest in quality writers who can research and produce article-length blog posts that people read to the end, interact with, bookmark, share and ideally, conclude their search with 

·      Shift your focus and budget away from old-style techniques like link-building to instead hiring staff and firms who are compensated on long-term business results

The Silver Lining 

·      Sites that were on page 30 could jump all the way to page 1 - if they play their cards right

·      If you have a marketing expert, they should be talking to you about these changes, with terms like 'long-form content', ‘dwell time’, ‘author authority’, ‘user intent’, 'mobile responsiveness' and 'user experience'

·      These are the new (and very good) drivers as compared to lots of pages with lots of keywords. Basically quality over quantity, matching 'User Intent'. Get it right, people and search engines will love you

·      So if you get your site structure, design and content right, you could not only get a lot of new free marketing to your site, it will be a better experience and you will convert more of that traffic into customers.


·      Create a powerful “How-To” guide and put on your website

·      Review how you measure marketing success and how you get there

·      Make sure your current SEO strategy is not putting you at risk

·      Redesign your website or at least your main pages for a fantastic user experience - especially on mobile devices

·      Migrate your site to a faster server and optimize your site’s code