Search engine algorithms are ever changing; therefore it means that every business with a website needs to stay updated on the latest SEO trends. However, in actual fact, companies are often slow to adopt significant SEO changes, and many business owners are being left behind because they haven’t updated their websites in years.
As one first enter the world of SEO, one may feel intimidated at the sheer volume of things to learn and implement. SEO isn’t just about building search engine-friendly websites; it is also about making sure your site is created for better user experience as well. Therefore, architecting an effective website can be an arduous task, and it is an ongoing process.
Today, SEO is being joined by voice, video and image searches as well as artificial intelligence. With all these elements affecting SEO, it is crucial that your SEO efforts evolve with emerging trends and changes in user behaviors to maximize your search opportunities. Here is a list of 9 SEO trends that will help any business stay competitive in 2019.
#1 User intent
Behind every search, there is an intention. Users are looking for something in particular when they’re searching on the web. It may be the answers to their problems, information about the services they are looking for or sources for the product they want. If you want to boost your online presence and be discoverable by users on the web, you need to optimize your content for user intent. It will also mean that you have to build your website according to what your users expect to see when they type in a particular keyword on search. This strategy will also help you in terms of improving the relevancy of your website and thus driving better user experience. It is also in line with Google’s algorithm of displaying pages in search results that are most relevant to what the users are looking for.
#2 Optimize for voice search
As reported by PWC, 71% of respondents prefer to use their voice assistant to search for something than physically typing out their queries.
Google also claims that half of all searches will be conducted using voice search by 2020. This trend will mean that 2019 will be the year that businesses have to shift their focus and invest in making their website searchable by voice search. As users are increasingly using voice search to gain information, optimizing your website makes sense. It will also enable potentially interested customers to find and purchase your products or services.
By implementing emerging SEO trends, you can stay ahead of the competition and have the first mover advantage. With the Hummingbird update in 2013, the concepts of typed and spoken search changed a lot. The updated algorithm used natural language processing and was built to consider the users’ intent and the context of the query. Since then, search questions structured in sentences have returned more relevant answers.
With the increasing usage of voice search, users typically ask a long question as they would normally speak. Hence, the Hummingbird update by Google gave a massive push to voice search optimization.
#3 Look beyond Google search
Over-dependency on a single platform or channel can lead to instability and puts your business at risk. Although Google still takes up the majority of search traffic with 91% of the search engine market share in the whole world, it is not the only platform that users search on. (http://gs.statcounter.com/search-engine-market-share#yearly-2018-2019-bar)
In fact, you should cover all the opportunities into your marketing efforts and compete for the remaining desktop search volume from Bing, Baidu, Yahoo, etc., and make sure you maximize your overall traffic.
After all, these numbers are in totally is still worth the effort because they constitute millions and millions of searches online.
#4 Using brand as a ranking factor
Brand mentions, sentiments, brand reputation, and context will matter more than ever before in 2019 as Google has always given brands preferential treatment. In most cases, more prominent brands get better rankings with fewer links, while smaller brands need to earn twice as many links but never get resurface.
Getting backlinks is a strong ranking signal for Google as well as the mentions of your brand name online. You can work with influencers or publishers who are ready to talk about you, thus driving your link-building strategy. You may also look at your competitors to reverse-engineer their strategies and implement SEO efforts holistically to grow your brand mentions for heightened awareness.
#5 Mobile-first indexing
With mobile covering majority of online search, businesses will need to strive for higher ranking on mobile first index. In a nutshell, mobile-first indexing will mean that Google uses the mobile version of your website for indexing and ranking. Since March 2018, Google started the process of migrating websites to mobile-first index and Search Console has also notified all users about this change.
However, you should bear in mind that a mobile-first index does not mean “mobile-only.” There’s still a single index with both mobile and desktop versions.
#6 Target featured snippets
Winning “Position 0” is often considered one of the most significant and most promising SEO achievements. Featured snippets help in bringing your content all the way to the top, driving significant organic traffic and conversions, functioning as a great way to increase brand awareness.
By winning featured snippet, your organic ranking will still remain on the SERP; therefore your page will be displayed twice on Page 1 of search results. Answer boxes, knowledge graphs, carousels, and rich snippets will take up a significant chunk of organic traffic in 2019.
#7 Create quality content with LSI keywords
LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords are words that are commonly associated with each other within a single topic and are semantically related to each other.
Here is an LSI Keyword example – Let’s say your article topic is “startup.” Typically, you would find multiple related keywords like “lean,” “tech,” “investor” and “growth”. As you write naturally about a particular topic that you have researched for, a certain number of common keyword phrases will be found for that specific topic. These phrases are known as LSI keywords, and search engines expect to find them in every article on that topic.
Their purpose is also to help search engines better understand the content by adding context and connecting the copy to the target keyword.
#8 Pay attention to technical SEO
#9 Page speed matters
Google has always reminded businesses that a fast website helps you to rank better. Even as Google launched the “Speed Update” making site speed a ranking factor for mobile searches. Although Google highlighted that it would only affect the slowest websites and that fast websites getting faster won’t get a boost, they are surely looking at site speed across the board.
The Speed Update, which enables page speed in mobile search ranking?, is now rolling out for all users!— Google Webmasters (@googlewmc) July 9, 2018
More details on Webmaster Central ? https://t.co/fF40GJZik0
Your goal should be to be the fastest website in your niche. Be faster than your competitors because having a site that takes ages to load won’t do you any good either. People tend to hit that back button in a split second, and never to return for good.
By offering a fast website, you are not only working on improving your conversion rate, but you’re also building trust and brand loyalty for your business.