SEO is unpredictable! Before one can fully understand and implement a strategy that aligns with Google’s algorithm, the algorithm changes. The trajectory that SEO takes is seldom understood in entirety, which makes planning and strategizing a tough task. Nevertheless, it is this love-hate relationship between marketers and SEO that makes for an intellectually challenging battle.
Brands that thrive in this competitive business environment, are the ones that embrace the latest SEO developments and trends. What’s in store for SEO Specialists, Marketers and Businesses in the coming year? Here’s our take on the predictions that are likely to dominate SEO in 2019.
1. Mobile Optimization and AMPs:
We undoubtedly live in a mobile-first world. With a larger percentage of searches being done from mobile phones, SEO will need to be mobile-driven as opposed to desktop-driven. Google launching its mobile-first indexing update in March 2018 is an indication that mobile user experience is now the priority. This will continue into 2019, implying that it would do good for businesses to have the mobile versions of their sites optimized for page speed, mobile-friendly design and worthwhile content.
With Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) already being an integral part of Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), it will be interesting to note the momentum that it gains in 2019.
2. Artificial Intelligence:
Artificial intelligence (AI) has been hyped enough, but not without reason. AI has made huge strides in 2018. Through 2019, AI promises to provide detailed insights into web analytics, content comprehension and user behaviour that would significantly matter for search engine rankings.
We can also expect to see more personalized SERPs, that take into consideration user profiles (location, gender, age, interests, search history and the likes).
Google is using AI to mimic human engagement on sites and those displaying powerful metrics of usability would be favoured. SEO strategies in 2019 will, therefore, need to consider factors like the quality and length of content, page structure and loading time, URL optimization, etc.
Video has been on every ‘Trends’ and ‘Predictions’ list for quite a few years now! We had to include it in this year’s list as well since there’s no sign of it slowing down.
Reports suggest that videos will comprise 80% of all online content consumed. Businesses that haven’t roped video into their SEO and content marketing strategies are losing out on a goldmine of organic traffic. Watch-hours of YouTube videos run into billions, implying a tremendous opportunity for brands to engage with customers.
Google is likely to take a brand’s video presence into account, bestowing better search engine rankings upon those businesses that effectively deliver content in the formats that internet users prefer consuming them. Time to get started with the videos if you haven’t already!
4. Voice Search Optimization:
The increasing market-share of voice assistants like Siri, Alexa and Cortana can’t be ignored. They can answer questions in just as much time as it would take to acquire information by typing questions on phones and desktops. The world is progressing in favour of voice functionality. Creating content that caters to voice search will be imperative and will involve structured data aside from conversational long tail keywords.
What does this mean for SEO? A crazy lot! While not many businesses are focusing on this change, those who jump at it and account for it in their SEO strategies in 2019, will certainly have the competitive edge.
5. Context in Content:
Content is King and will always remain so. No amount of SEO can work magic for a business if its content is sub-par. Times have changed, and now instead of only measuring content, Google also focuses on context, to show users the best results. The best result isn’t a piece of keyword-stuffed content but one that covers an entire topic in-depth. Unique, meaningful and useful content has always reaped its rewards despite the noise and this should be one of the main focus points in a brand’s SEO strategy.
6. Google Featured Snippets:
Featured snippets are the widgets that pop up above position 1 on a Google Search. They aim to answer a query by pulling information from websites without users having to click on the page. Featured snippets satisfy the need for simple answers to a question and will continue to play an important role in 2019. As is obvious, brands will fiercely compete to grab the coveted position 0 and for this, their SEO strategy in 2019 will have to incorporate clear and well-structured content.
7. Beyond Search Engines:
Search can’t be restricted only to Google, Bing and Yahoo anymore. Every portal that offers the ability to search is an opportunity and needs to be capitalized on, be it YouTube, SlideShare, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Amazon even.
Amazon is fast becoming the Google of e-commerce. A study mentions that 56% of consumers visit Amazon first if they have shopping in mind, implying that sellers not Amazon-optimized are missing out on 56% of potential customers.
Social Media is also already playing a huge role in SEO. Content is continuously being created and shared on social platforms, and many users utilize these as search engines as well.
Come 2019, social media platforms will become better indexed leaving brands with no choice but to include Social Media Optimization in their SEO Strategies for 2019.
These predictions apart, personalization will continue to increase with a primary focus on user experience. Local search geo-targeting and structured data optimization are other buzzwords that businesses need to keep in mind while planning their SEO strategy for 2019.
SEO is evolving at a pace like never before. These calculated predictions for 2019 could be tossed over by Google’s ever-changing algorithms and updates and only time will tell how these predictions will play out. However, developing a strategy that will keep your business ahead of the curve is what you should focus on. We can help you there. Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how.