Year after year, the field of SEO gets more sophisticated, driving companies to employ a combination of proven strategies and new techniques just to get in front of SERPs.
Developments in the search optimization industry such as semantic search, artificial Intelligence, and visual search have significantly changed the way people discover and access content online. At the same time, the rise of personal assistants as well as the implementation of new data protection laws have presented new challenges which SEO must continue to overcome in 2019.
But the list does not stop there. Check out this infographic to learn more about the top SEO trends you should keep an eye on to stay competitive in the digital marketing arena in 2019 and beyond.
1. Optimizing for Voice Search
With the advances in voice recognition technology and the proliferation of personal assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Apple Siri in the market, it is without a doubt that voice search is fast becoming the new norm. According to statistics, 50% of all searches will be voice searches by the year 2020, which is why it is now more imperative than ever for all business to optimize their websites for voice search in 2019.
If you aren’t convinced yet, below are other statistics which proves that voice search is the new trend driving the SEO in 2019:
- 58% of consumers have used voice search to find local business information within the last year.
- 46% of voice search users look for a local business daily.
- 27% visit the website of a local business after conducting a voice search.
- 76% of smart home speaker users conduct local searches at least once a week—with 53% performing daily searches.
2. Mobile-First Indexing
In March 2018, Google started migrating sites that follow the best practices for mobile-first indexing. For the uninitiated, mobile-first indexing simply means that Google’s bots will use the mobile version of the website first for indexing and ranking in the SERPs.
Google’s preference for mobile-friendly websites isn’t far from over and will continue in 2019. In fact, in July 2018, Google released the Speed Update which makes page speed a ranking factor for mobile searches.
This update changes the way Google measures the page speed of both the desktop and mobile version of a website as there are now separate tabs for Speed and Optimization in PageSpeed Insights tool. The Speed score is now being calculated using the data from Chrome User Experience report, which reflects how the site loads for each visitor. The Optimization score, on the other hand, is being calculated based on the technical factors of the website.
According to an experiment conducted by MarketingProfs, the correlation between the page’s Optimization Score and its mobile ranking is strong, which implies that the overall technical structure of a website matters more when optimizing for mobile search.
While the Speed score does not show to be affecting the page’s position in mobile search results, we can expect that Google will use it to rate websites as fast or slow. If your website isn’t ready for this shift yet, then make sure to check out Google’s nine recommendations for improving optimization score.
3. Linkless Mentions
Backlinks have been a critical part of SEO since Google created PageRank in 1996. However, with the ever-changing SEO landscape, and link-less mentions may soon just become an off-page signal of equal weight.
According to MarketingProfs, search engines are now intelligent enough to calculate a site’s authority by associating mentions and brands with their sites. In 2017, Gary Illyes, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, has also stated that Google uses online brand mentions in its search algorithm.
Search Engine Land explains how Google use online brand mentions as a ranking signal. First, it analyzes all the properties mentioning it to get a better picture of the brand’s authority in a particular field. Second, it takes into account the context of the mention: reputation, trust, advertising, complaint-solving etc.
These all underscores that linkless brand mentions can soon become an official ranking factor. If you want to leverage this growing trend in 2019, start by tracking all online mentions about your brand and start growing your mentions by conducting outreach initiatives with relevant websites.
4. Latent Semantic Indexing
Google processes billions of searches every day, most of which were extremely complex for their search engine algorithm to decode and understand. That is why in 2015, they released the RankBrain, which uses machine learning to understand the context of the content it crawls, thus providing results that are more relevant to the searcher’s user intent.
With user intent becoming more critical and with RankBrain coming into its 4th year of operations, we can expect that Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) will become an issue of importance for all SEO professionals. CrazyEgg describes LSI as “an algorithm that helps search engines understand the content on a web page and accurately compares and matches it with the searcher’s intent.”
In order to take advantage of LSI in 2019, you must optimize the content on your website by using the appropriate word and phrase correlations that a searcher would naturally use in real-world conversations. Adapting to this shift is extremely imperative as this is just one of the advancements Google is making to make their search feature to think, talk, and ask questions just like us.
5. Secure Socket Layer
With the release of Chrome 68 in July 2018, Google has made it clear that non-secure websites are not worth ranking and therefore has given these site’s visitor with an extreme warning before they proceed the visit.
As data hacking become more frequent and common, such action from Google is well-received, however, if you haven’t migrated your website to HTTPS yet, this is another issue that must be resolved if your goal is to survive in search optimization arena in the years to come.
6. GDPR Impact on SEO
The recently implemented General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has caused ruckus across many industries, and the SEO is no exception. This is because this EU regulation requires companies to implement all necessary systems and process to ensure that all their EU customer’s data are protected and secured.
These are the trends that will drive strategy and make the difference between winning and losing in the SEO arena in 2019 and beyond. Consider all these trends as you make your SEO strategy for 2019 and you will surely be able to improve your chances of ranking on the 1st page of SERPs in years forward.
Jomer B. Gregorio is a well-rounded expert when it comes digital marketing. Jomer is also known as a semantic SEO evangelist and practitioner. Check out our Digital Marketing Services today and let us help you in achieving positive and profitable results for your business.