Search Engine Optimization is a highly dynamic field and ranking on the first page of Google requires not only keeping up but also getting ahead of the latest SEO trends.
Top SEO Trends in 2019
The year 2019 is shaping up to be a big year of advances in SEO and entire digital marketing, as search engines (with Google leading the park) continue getting smarter and more skilled at producing highly specific results that are tailored to user searches. Below, you will find the top 16 SEO trends to watch out for in 2019 to ensure your website is ranking high and getting found by your target audiences.
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Mobile Index First
With the continuous increase in the use of the mobile web, Google rolled out something they called mobile first indexing in March 2018.
Part of the statement by Google says: “To recap, our crawling, indexing, and ranking systems have typically used the desktop version of a page’s content, which may cause issues for mobile searchers when that version is vastly different from the mobile version. Mobile-first indexing means that we’ll use the mobile version of the page for indexing and ranking, to better help our – primarily mobile – users find what they’re looking for.”
With this announcement, Google indicated that mobile versions of web pages will get a higher ranking than their desktop versions. This move further stresses the fact that mobile responsiveness is key to getting a higher rank in Search Engine Result Pages (SERP).
We expect that this SEO trend will continue in 2019 and there’s no better time to optimize the mobile responsiveness of your website than now.
Content is Still King
I believe you have heard the phrase “Content is KING” once or multiple times. Content optimization has evolved in many ways since the early days of the internet. From keyword optimization to long articles; content optimization will continue to evolve through 2019 and beyond. Two things you like to keep your eyes on as far as content optimization is concerned in 2019 are:
- Very long content – keep your content long. I do recommend at least 800-word long content.
- Quality content – it is not enough to just write long articles but to also make sure that your articles are educative and of high quality.
Releasing fresh content while keeping the above in mind is a very strong rank signal for your web pages.
Local Search GEO-Targeting
Getting listed in local directories or even Google my business page has remained a major search engine ranking signal since it took off around 2003 – 2005. Local optimization is particularly important in that it provides a platform for local searches. Users can easily check for reviews, maps and other information such as opening/closing hours of business operations. For example, a local grocery store website should be optimized to indicate where the business operates. Small businesses should focus on local search optimization. Local Search and Geo-Targeting remain one of the SEO trends to keep an eye on in 2019.
Optimize for voice search
Voice optimization is still new in some ways but with 30% of web browsing expected to go screenless by 2020, optimizing for voice is a major and growing SEO trend as we move on in the year. Read Sherry Bonelli’s piece on how to optimize for voice search to learn how to go about voice search optimization.
Improve your website security
Since HTTPS became a ranking signal in August 2014, it has become a major ranking signal for Google SERPs and for other search engines. If you’re a Google Chrome, Mozilla, Safari, etc user, you must have noticed recently how a little message or a lock icon will pop up in the left-hand corner of the URL bar that either says Not Secure or Secure.
These messages are a result of a July 2018 Google security update, whose implementation means non-HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure) sites now load with that warning, plus now ranks low on Google SERP. The implication is that you need to add an SSL service to your domain if the only version you have is still the HTTP. There are a number of free SSL providers on the internet but I strongly recommend that you go for paid SSL providers.
Content Optimization Taken One Step Further – (Rank)Brain
RankBrain is a machine learning system that uses artificial intelligence to improve search results and interpret new queries. Essentially, the RankBrain system takes difficult or hard-to-understand queries and relates them to previous searches based on intent and end results.
RanKBrain was launched in 2015 and remains one of the SEO trends in 2019. Read Neil Patel’s article on how rankbrain works to learn more. The most important piece to go away with as far as RankBrain is concerned is that it helps Google better understand your content thereby taking content optimization far beyond keyword optimization but also comprehensibility of your content.
Use Latent Semantic Indexing in your content
Imagine you’re telling a friend about your favorite English Premier League football team “Chelsea FC”. It will seem off if you keep repeating Chelsea FC each time you are referring to your team. You are more likely to use phrases like “the blues”, “the London blues” interchangeably in your discussion.
Same way LSI works. Using different variations of your keyword in your content is one of the SEO trends in 2019.
AMP: Page Speed Boost
Mobile Optimization is the standard for creating new websites today. With Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), Google shows you how to make your mobile page even faster. AMPs are already an important SERPs ranking signal and I expect it to continue to gain more momentum in 2019.
Artificial intelligence RACE
AI technology has massive potential. We have seen a number of digital agencies deploy AI as part of their analytics tools. For examples Companies like Lotlinx uses AI in analyzing user demographics to improve on campaign ROI for its clients. I believe that the AI age for SEO just started and I expect this technology to gain more use in 2019.
Microformats/SCHEMAS are small HTML patterns that signal information about a website. The more information a search engine knows about the site, the more accurately it can rank it. Search engines will typically award you with a better ranking if you can give an honest description of what your website is about.
That said, SCHEMAS are not for all websites. I only recommend schemas for business websites because they have ratings, hours of operation, location, product pricing, etc.
Beyond good UI, Google does believe that the speed of your website goes a long way in determining the overall user experience of your website and has user experience becomes an important ranking signal, your website speed is also key in determining if your website will make it to the first page of SERPs for relevant keywords.
As you continue to explore optimization techniques and strategies for 2019, you want to take website speed into consideration. I believe this would continue to gain steam in 2019.
First, to be clear, Amazon is not a search engine but studies have shown that more than 52% of consumers visit Amazon first if they have shopping need while more than 50% search Amazon after finding something on another website. These statistics show us that Amazon’s becoming Google of e-commerce. It means that if you sell something and you’re not on Amazon, you are missing out on all those 56% of potential customers.
Structured data becomes more important
Structure data is one of the top SEO trends to evolve in the last few years, Google is accessing more and more data material. Today, Google is also able to create its own meaningful meta-descriptions from existing content.
In addition, the search engine giant uses structured data to create rich snippets. Since the available space has become smaller due to a change in the arrangement of the advertisements, you should make sure to create eye-catching snippets.
Links remain important
Link building remains a major ranking factor in 2019 regardless of what anyone says. The only thing is that it continues to evolve just like every other SEO trends in 2019. For example, In 2018, Gary Illyes from Google said at a conference that “the good old PageRank is still an important ranking signal for Google internally. And link power, or authority, is achieved via backlinks.”
In fact, the so-called “linkless backlinks” may play an even bigger role in 2019. This consideration is based on the fact that Google can also consider mentions of websites or brands on other websites, although no direct link refers to the target page.
A stronger focus on image search
Google significantly upgraded its image search in 2017. Many websites even had to struggle with traffic losses because users no longer have to leave Google to view images and can click their way through them like in a picture gallery. By improving image search Google has certainly responded to an SEO trend.
Visual Search Mobile Optimization
Visual Search Mobile (VSM) has seen a lot of changes since Google launched Google Lens in October 2017. VSM enables users to search for anything from their mobile phones simply by snapping a picture and this app will tell you what it is.
Instead of typing queries into a search engine, you can directly search through images to find similar images, price comparisons, local shopping results, etc. You can also take a picture of a movie poster and Google Lens will show you movie information, trailers, showtimes, and local theaters.
Conclusion: Your checklist for 2019
Though SEO trends for 2019 might seem too cumbersome with a lot of things to note and keep up with, however, below is a summary of things to add to your checklist when optimizing your web pages.
- Add markups to your website so Google can use structured data for rich snippets and you can increase your CTR in SERPs.
- Create a technically perfect site that is absolutely mobile optimized and can easily be crawled and indexed by search engines.
- Try to make your website as fast as possible.
- Concentrate on optimizing your content for mobile devices.
- Don’t think primarily of backlinks when publishing content on other websites.
- Always try to satisfy the user’s need at the best of all top-ranked websites on a search term or topic.
Think I missed out on a thing or two / like to tell me what your thoughts are regarding my article? Please leave a comment for me so we can learn together.