In 2018 and years before that, the SEO trends of 2019 are geared toward providing the users the experience – the UX – they deserved.
What SEO strategies and tactics will matter this year to dominate the results pages (SERPs)? Below are the answers.
In the Philippines, brands are still skeptic to jump into the SEO bandwagon despite having heard and observed how competitors are outranking them on Google.
That’s it. SEO is important for the sustainability of your business especially now wherein the digital platform is where competition happens. If you want to capture a bigger market share, doing SEO is one of the choices and the most important business decision you will make.
SEO trends of 2019
Trend #1 – Audience and search intent
Today, Google processes more than 1.3 billion searches in a month. What does this wealth of data tell business owners? An SEO answer: Understanding the target audience and their intentions are highly possible.
This will be crucial in 2019 if you, as a brand, wants users to buy your products and avail your services. Enhance the user journey, and reap the rewards afterward.
Google’s latest technologies put semantic index on the SEO professionals’ radar, matching the search query as accurate and relevant as possible.
Strategizing around keyword use is paramount. This should inform and match the firm’s content strategies. It also means consulting Google anywhere possible. This 2019, it would pay to plug the targeted keywords on Google.
Through Google suggest feature, you’d know whether the keywords on your list are the actual queries people use when searching for something. Google’s suggestions are based on actual searches.
Speaking of content, the goal is making sure it comprehensively answers the questions that your target audience is asking whether it’d be a blog post, video or infographic. It means including follow-up questions that the users themselves may have not considered or thought about when typing in their initial query.
Trend #2 – Digital channel relevance
With user intent in mind, all other digital channels that work like search engines, Facebook and YouTube, most importantly, would be crucial this 2019. We are not just talking about optimizing websites, but also Facebook pages and YouTube channels, for example. If you have a mobile app, it means optimizing it for optimal iTunes or Google Store performance.
Hence, the trend is lenient on covering visibility on all brand-relevant channels. If you offer photography services, you might as well be on Instagram and optimize the page for the nature and purpose of your business using targeted keywords.
Now, ask yourself: which devices your target audience are using when accessing the Internet, particularly, your website? Optimizing for devices is still important this year as it would be in the years to come. If you are selling products online, optimized the store for mobile devices, for instance.
It requires choosing and focusing on the most relevant digital platforms where you can quickly meet the needs of your target users. That’s how businesses should optimize the search experience.
Trend #3 – Structured data markup
One technology that continually shapes Google’s rollout of SEO-based algorithms is AI (artificial intelligence). AI-first indexing is on the horizon (although this may take place 2 to 3 years from now), passing through the mobile-first initiative.
Structured data is one way to address this ever-changing search engine behavior to build and sustain contextual relationships between the digital channel and its users. It would be useless to place great content on slow websites, right? On the contrary, it would make sense to put those pieces of content on a highly-findable website.
Structured data and schema align with both active and passive user behaviors. Structured markup is just one, though. Other equally important markers are information architecture, tags, and metadata. With this, the crawlers, bots or spiders would understand the topical structure supporting these requirements.
Trend #4 – Voice search
With the increasing use of voice assistants, voice search is increasingly becoming important. Nonetheless, not all companies are particular in creating their voice optimization strategy because the users have yet to pick that up. At this point, voice queries are limited to devices with such feature.
This forms part of the user’s conversational search journey wherein they look for answers to their questions, problems or concerns. Not necessarily results.
When answers are crucial, voice search optimization is the way to go this 2019. This is especially true for multilingual sites. When fulfilling intent, on the other hand, this may not necessarily be the answer.
Trend #5 – Machine learning
Machine learning, on the other hand, has already been changing search since early 2018. RankBrain is instrumental to this.
Thus, it drives to look into the question from the intent perspective and not necessarily answers. SEO today is more like answering both the questions and the why’s and how’s behind those questions. Give users the answers they want, first, and tell them how they can make more sense of those answers.
Trend #6 – Featured snippets
SERPs has several features that you should have already taken advantage of many years ago. If you haven’t, it is not enough that you optimize your website, but also the search experience. This is more so because these features such as knowledge graph, carousels, answer boxes, and featured snippets are taking a great deal of screen real estate.
Think of it this way: with every Google feature, one result is taken away on the top 10 results. SEO, therefore, is about visibility as well as exposure and clicks.
Trend #7 – Mobile-first index
As predicted, 2019 will be the year of the mobile-first index. Google will begin scrutinizing the mobile version of the website. That is, if your website is not available on mobile, it has a slim chance of appearing on mobile index and ranking on such.
Indexing content is different on mobile in the sense that Google is able to remove weak links. When Google indexes content, slow loading websites have the tendency to drag down mobile search results. Mobile indexing allows for only optimal mobile versions of the website to be included in the mobile results page.
Trend #8 – Brand as a ranking signal
Intense competition is driving company owners to protect and sustain the brand, digitally and physically. Creating a friendly environment for the users is paramount. Otherwise, the reputation will be ruined.
Brand is as important as other ranking signals. It means that being genuine in the conduct of the business, fostering a creating culture with the users in mind.
Trend #9 – SEO-driven yet thought-provoking content
Creating exceptional content is on Google’s mandate. 2018 updates are more keen on the overall content quality, checking the depth and breadth of site content. With this, websites with comprehensive content will be rewarded this year onwards.
The content marketing strategy shall revolve around publishing articles and blog posts that are worthy of acquiring links if you want to see your website on top of Google results pages.
Creating content that engages the users while solving their problems is the key. On your content, you must use the language that your users connect with and guide them on what must be done next. Content maps and experience maps are your best ally.
Speakable content is on beta, according to Google. The speakable schema is a property that can identify parts of an article or blog post that are best suited for audio playback. Text-to-speech (TTS) is the tool to use and can be easily set on your device. This too may shape how content will be published from 2019 and the years to come.
Trend #10 – On-page SEO
A website is your company’s digital hub, representing your brand’s tangibles (products, services, and people) and intangibles (core values). If a user wants to know more about one of your products, the go-to source is your website. Unfortunately, that’s only good for a branded search.
If the user searches for a generic keyword, your only chance of appearing on Google’s results pages is on-page SEO. Backlinks are important, but ongoing on-page SEO initiatives are equally crucial. Metadata and tags are the two broad concepts to understand if you want your website to consistently rank on Google.
Nevertheless, it is not always about these on-page factors. On-page optimization also applies to internal site search, shorter conversion process, customer support, and locations navigation.
Trend #11 – Technical SEO
The technical side of optimization must not be ignored as well because of its increasing importance. Case in point is speed. Previously a ranking signal, speed fought its way up to becoming a ranking signal.
This should be self-explanatory, but to put things in context, if there are two websites with all other things being equal, Google will rank the website that loads in 3 seconds or less first than the site that takes more than 5 seconds to load. The mere 2-second difference could mean thousands of lost profits on your part. So, this 2019, make sure that your site loads really fast especially on mobile devices.
Trend #12 – Local search
Attracting local customers is critical for local businesses. These businesses must focus on local SEO.
Local search targetting is all about precision this 2019 for more targeted results. Hyperlocal targeting aims to improve the sales funnel especially to those who are buy-ready consumers.
Proximity matters. Targetting down these people would also mean embracing mobile search.
Trend #13 – E-A-T (expertise, authority, and trustworthiness)
E-A-T influences the search engine’s search quality rating guidelines. No wonder the SEO experts that we are both familiar with and their websites are on top of Google. It means that quality is contextual too; well at least from the eyes of the tech giant. For example, users would think that the content is authoritative if it is written by Neil Patel or Rand Fishkin.
Their reputation is undeniable, SEO-wise. Hence, you need to factor in reputation on your content distribution and promotion. In short, if you can bank on your expertise when writing authoritative content, you may increase you and your brand’s trustworthiness. Aim to be the go-to source for specific content.
If you need an agency to push your SEO efforts, contact us. We’ve been doing SEO since 2002!