As Google continues to refine its elaborate and mysterious search algorithm to deliver users the most relevant results, SEO scholars across the globe have geared up to take on the increasing number of SEO trends and strategies that are in store for us in the coming year.
For nearly 20 years now, the internet has become the primary place customers seek goods and services. With so many people online today, businesses are finding that to survive, they have to establish an online presence for themselves. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become more of a science as the Google algorithm becomes much smarter and tailored specifically to user experience.
If you own a website, then one of the first things you need to do is to ensure its visibility through the proper strategies. While the basics of SEO will remain relatively unchanged (create online brand visibility, drive targeted traffic to your website and boost sales), the best organic search strategies of 2019 must cater to Google’s increasing preference for websites that value speed, security, mobile-friendliness and usability.
5 SEO Trends To Follow in 2019
1. Voice Search Domination
Today’s potential customers are searching for answers with the use of Alexa, Google Home, Siri, Cortana and similar personal assistance apps and devices. Users typically conduct searches in the form of questions “where can I buy used books?” or “where is the nearest bowling alley?” Most people speak and type differently and voice search applications are making conversational queries more common. It is teaching users to ask questions rather than type a string of keywords.
It is believe that by 2020 (hard to believe that is only a year away!), half of all online traffic will be coming from spoken queries. With the skyrocketing popularity of voice search, we are getting farther removed from good old-fashioned typing search. The future will inevitably include teaching computers to understand our speech and optimizing your site for voice search is crucial in the coming year.
2. Quality Content Development
Content is king. People come to your site looking for something and high-quality content gives visitors a reason to stay on your site longer and interact with your site more thus, improving your SEO performance and possibly increasing sales.
High quality content is a great starting point in facilitating trust between you and a potential client. Provide content that speaks to your expertise and to what your business focuses on. Not only does this improve engagement, it boosts your SEO performance by ensuring you are truly answering a question.
Keep in mind that video is one of the most underutilized forms of content on most websites. While text is overall the most important when it comes to SEO, videos increase dwell time and reduce bounce rate. Also, videos are shareable, meaning that the potential for going viral and attaining backlinks to the original video are great.
And finally, images are an important piece of content. People like to see relevant and high quality images in the content they read. Choosing relevant images has been proven to increase the probability of it being both read and remembered later.
3. Protection of User Data
Thanks to news of website hacking and personal data theft in recent years, most Internet users are aware that their sensitive information is at risk every time they log onto the internet. If your website is not secured, then more than 8 out of 10 users said they would leave your website.
The more savvy users become, the more important it is for you to convert your website link to an https protocol and to get SSL certificates for increased web security.
4. Mobile-First Indexing
In 2018, Google rolled out their mobile-first index which ranks websites based on the quality of UX they provide on mobile devices. Google will ultimately begin with your content’s mobile version in deciding where that content is placed in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page). If a site has mobile and desktop versions, the index adds the mobile one; if no mobile version exists, the desktop version gets indexed the same as normal.
When Google began by indexing desktop content in the priority position, mobile search results were tediously slow. By beginning with mobile indexing as a priority, the issue of a poor loading is much less likely considering that desktop computers and laptops have bigger processing engines.
5. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI technology will soon impact most fields and SEO is no exception. Google RankBrain is a machine-learning AI system that helps refine search queries, which Google processes and acts as the third most important ranking signal. This improves the trustworthiness and relevance of organic search results.
Facebook also uses AI to interpret images, identify individuals and understand the context of visual content. For example, Facebook’s technology can detect what is happening in a picture like people playing sports, the presence of an animal, etc. Facebook also uses AI technology in its news feed algorithm to ensure that the news feed is tailored to user preference.
However, AI will likely have the biggest impact with content marketing and search queries. There are roughly 12,000 homonyms (words that are spelled the same or sound the same) in the English language. This can make it hard for humans, and much less robots, to understand how to interpret a sentence. For this reason, Google-designed search bots have difficulty crawling the internet and understanding a site’s context and relevance to a given search term. With the rise of mobile-first indexing and smartphone usage, search terms will become even shorter and more conversational, meaning bots will have an even harder task. This is where AI comes in.
The detailed information that AI can unearth will give SEOs more analytical data than ever before, allowing them to shape content and technical strategies into more efficient results.
Wrapping Up My Thoughts on 2019 SEO Trends
In 2019, SEO trends will dwell even more on enriching content experiences. Keyword relevance and backlinks are likely to remain foundational functions, so don’t think you can start ignoring the basics. However, local websites that can create amazing niche focused content will undoubtedly get two big thumbs up from Google’s SEO algorithm.
Consumers are now looking for solutions that are near to them, even in walking distance giving local businesses a chance to capture consumers who are looking for their solution when they are in the proximity of their business.
In the end, 2019 will offer one thing in common with years past and that is that those who work hard will be the ones who rise to the top.
About The Author: Kevin Watts
Kevin Watts is the founder of Raincross, a premier web design, development and digital marketing agency headquartered in Riverside, CA.
Kevin got his start in online marketing and website design by working for some of the most prominent names in online retail. He's most recognized for helping to start e-commerce retailer Organize.com in 1998, and spent 12 years running the company's e-commerce and online marketing operations. He has been recognized and has received several online retail, marketing and merchandising awards throughout his career.
Kevin grew up in Riverside, CA and graduated from the University of Wyoming. In his spare time, Kevin is an avid fly-fisherman, college football fan, and enjoys spending time with his son Matthew, daughter Kate and wife Lindsey.
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