Important SEO Trends To Watch
Search engine optimization changes constantly, and businesses that want to stay ahead of the competition need to be aware of them. Keeping a pulse on these changes has been part of my job for the past 14 years in helping companies around the world rank at the top of search engines.
Now that 2018 has ended, finding out what trends will matter in 2019 can help businesses to plan their strategies for the year that lies ahead. Here are a few of them:
Statistica reports that in 2018, 52.2% of worldwide online traffic was generated through mobile phones.
Back in March 2018, Google began mobile-first indexing. In simple terms, this means that Google ranks websites based on the user experience for mobile devices. If a site has mobile and desktop versions, the mobile one is indexed. A website that isn’t mobile-friendly misses out on a huge amount of traffic.
One of the first steps people can take is to use Google’s mobile test site to see if your webpage is mobile-friendly or not. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile devices, it will tell you what steps you can take.
More and more people are using smart devices and smart assistants on devices like Alexa and Siri. What used to be science fiction is now a reality with computers that can understand human speech.
In 2019, voice search SEO will become increasingly important. Twenty percent of queries on Android devices and Google’s mobile app are via voice search. Businesses need to employ voice search SEO if they want to set themselves up for success in a voice-driven search world.
The good news is if you are already using SEO best practices, your site is in good shape for voice search. But there are some key things to keep in mind.
Voice searches have longer-tail keywords and use more conversational words than typed searches. For example, people may do a voice search for: “What is the closest Italian restaurant near me?” as opposed to “Italian restaurant near me.” Voice searches are also more likely to be a question phrase.
It’s important to learn how your audience speaks about your products and services. You can use a tool called Answer The Public to research how people are asking questions with voice search based on your keyword.
Long-tail keywords are also cheaper and have better click-through rates than shorter ones. You can use free or paid keyword research tools to get an idea of the most popular search terms and get more qualified traffic. To help increase high-quality traffic, you can create a FAQ page and dedicate blog posts to answer questions from readers.
Google wants to deliver the best user experience and deliver it fast. Since July 2018, mobile page speed has been a ranking factor for mobile. It recommended using the updated page speed report to make improvements. But it also emphasized that the intent of a search engine query was still a strong signal. So, a slower page can still rank high if it has relevant content that best answers a query.
Accelerated mobile pages (AMPs) offer the best user experience, loading about 30 times faster. Google, Twitter and some other companies rolled out this open source project, designed to make mobile pages super fast.
Content Relevance And User Intent
The URLs with the highest content relevance typically rank in the first couple of positions in Google search. Unless content meets user intent, it’s highly unlikely to rank in those positions. Google can evaluate the relevance of online content in real time.
Websites ranking on Google’s first page tend to have long-form content. The secret is not in the length but the quality and depth of the content. Engaging, in-depth content is likely to continue to dominate in 2019.
Blockchain And Artificial Intelligence (AI) For SEO Purposes
"Blockchain" has become a buzzword this year. While blockchain technology is famous in the cryptocurrency space, it has been helpful in many other industries as well, including tracking supply chains, medical testing, making the internet more secure and transforming the marketing automation space.
Blockchain fundamentally changes how data is tracked online because its technology uses a distributed ledger that is a transparent and secure record of transactions that cannot be changed. This shift gives people more control over their data and provides companies with new ways to use data. Webmasters are exploring ways of integrating blockchain into websites and potentially profiting from it. Blockchain could also possibly be used to validate backlinks.
It’s unclear what the exact effect of blockchain will be on SEO. However, with the experiments currently taking place, we’re likely to see some of the results in 2019.
A potential use case for blockchain in SEO is using the technology to ensure high-quality traffic to boost their SEO. As Jonathan Brown mentions in this article, marketers could set up advertising campaigns on the blockchain to drive traffic back to their landing pages but with the ability to guarantee the authenticity of SEO traffic. If blockchain was integrated into the ranking algorithm, it could possibly deal with those using black-hat SEO more efficiently.
Businesses are also seeking out ways to employ artificial intelligence. Google’s use of AI could bring about some interesting changes. AI is the foundation of everything Google does. They implement machine learning in Gmail, gathering news headlines, creating human-sounding robotic voices, and many other things.
While mobile search is increasing, videos are dominating, and we’re starting to use voice-driven search, we also need to keep an eye on security and the protection of user data. User experience is more important than ever, and we must continue to create relevant content to meet user intent.
Artificial intelligence and blockchain are other factors to consider in the new year, and it will be interesting to see what impact they could have on SEO in 2019. We may be able to look back at the same time next year and be astonished at the pace of change.