There is no such thing as mastering SEO. SEO is adaptive, responsive, and massive. It never stops. Google will always keep updating the algorithm and various tools we use to achieve search superiority. Black-hat marketers will try to cheat, the algorithm will update. New widgets and page-ranking AIs will be designed, the algorithm will update. And with every update, we adapt. As marketers, it’s something we are always prepared to do.
But SEO moves faster than audience trends. Every few months, a new tactic, tool, or diagnostic comes out. A new rule about link-networking or a new way to better reach pre-qualified leads through their own search results. And 2019 is no different. Standing on the precipice of the new year, we can already see new SEO tactics and trends developing. The audience still wants video, but now there are animated preview clips to strategize for. The audience still wants great content, but now we need to think more about dwell time.
Join us today as we delve into the top ten SEO trends to get a head start on in 2019.
1) Get Mobile Fast – Mobile-First Indexing is Happening Now
You’ve been hearing about mobile-first optimization for a while. But now Google is finally rolling it out. Google is in the process of re-assessing websites in batches and now they are being judged first on mobile performance, then PC browser performance. This is a big change for some websites and no big deal for others. It all depends on how well mobile-optimized you already are.
If you don’t have a great mobile version of your website, the time to update is now. Quickly before Google does the next re-assessment of your site and finds it lacking.
2) If You Sell Something – Jump On the Amazon Bandwagon
While we all know that Bing and even less mentionable competitors don’t hold a candle to Google’s search engine supremacy, Amazon is starting to give them a run for their money in the e-commerce sphere. Recent studies have over 50% of average consumers going to Amazon to shop before looking anywhere else. And over 50% again (though not necessarily the same people) will check prices on Amazon after finding something they want on another site.
So if you sell something, you should be on Amazon building a brand reputation and earning sales through the platform. But that’s not the only reason to pay attention to Amazon in 2019. Which brings us to the next point.
3) Voice Search – Smart Homes Are Getting Smarter
The Amazon Alexa smart home is dominating the smart home market with Amazon-originated smart gadgets and massive integration from independent smart device manufacturers. And with smart homes comes voice search. Along with a lot of other stuff you should be thinking right now about in-home convenience and automatic reordering.
Voice search is definitely getting hot as people switch from typing into their computers to talking to their echo dots. Start strategizing for how to make your websites, resources, and mobile apps voice-search accessible. And consider developing a smart home skill for Alexa. You’ll want that sooner rather than later.
4) Don’t Underestimate Data Protection – GDPR is a Trend
No doubt, you’ve heard at least a little of the hubbub about GDPR, the new UK user data protection regulations. These define how you can collect data about users, what you can use it for, and that each user has a right to ask for any data you collect about them. Along with new requirements for security protecting user data and breach reporting.
But don’t think that you’re safe just because you’re not a UK company. This applies to anyone who has UK users or customers. Which means either you cut your website off from the rest of the world or prepare to adapt to GDPR data security standards. Because it’s not going anywhere and all the signs point to greater government regulation of personal data in the future.
5) Partner Up – Micro-Influencers are On the Rise
Micro-Influencers are blogger, vloggers, and other normal people who have somehow built a large following of social media friends and fans. Most of them create independent content, but they also share their favorite products and services in an honest ongoing review. Micro-influencers are more trusted than celebrities and even one Twitter mention can massively increase your brand awareness reach. A clear promotion can show a visible boost in sales.
So go out there and find independent bloggers and social media e-celebs who would genuinely enjoy your product and want to share it with their followers. Partner up, cross-promote, and get micro-influenced.
6) Structured Content – Stealing the Featured Snippet Spot
Featured snippets are those quick-answers Google has started sharing when a search has a clear solution. Google looks for numbered or bulleted lists with a heading that relates to the search and apparently valid points listed underneath. It also likes data tables and clearly marked definitions. And if you get the featured snippet spot, your website content and link sits pretty above even the top page-ranking website in the results.
7) Unique Visuals – Take Advantage of Image Searches
Google has been drastically increasing their ability to search detailed images to help users locate their source or images like it. You may be wondering what image searches have to do with your website SEO. Here’s the thing: Most websites use stock photos. If a user searches for a stock photo, dozens of websites using the same free image will appear. But if you use unique and engaging visuals on your website and in your marketing content, then your images will stand out in image searches and be the only source for those images on the internet.
And when a user finds our image in a Google image search, remember that the link leads right back to your website.
8) Reputation Matters – Across All Platforms
In the past, brands have struggled to build their reputations on each individual platform. This both made it easier to ‘reset’ your reputation by abandoning a poor profile and that it was more difficult to build a new reputation on a new platform. But all that is changing. Google is implementing brand recognition to track more than just backlinks when judging the relevance of your website. But this also means it is concatenating your reputation from all brand mentions across the internet.
It’s also becoming easier to cross-reference reviews and testimonials from one platform to another, making your brand reputation more universal across the internet. So build a good one and work hard to maintain it.
9) Keyword Stuffing is Dead – Long Live LSI Keyword Groups
The need to tie the same keywords into your content over and over was making for choppy content. Savvy SEO marketers figured out how to vary the keywords to hit a large cluster of relevance and Google is backing us up by introducing the LSI keyword protocols. LSI stands for latent semantic indexing which basically means that it connects clusters of words that makes sense to go together in order to collect context.
For example, Google can now tell the difference between a page talking about eye glasses versus a page talking about drinking glasses because the words that tend to accompany these to different types of glasses are very different. One article would mention “eyes, vision, seeing, distance” while the other might mention “drinking, juice, table, breakfast”. This is how LSI keyword groups work. For marketers, this means a joyous focus on organic writing over obligatory keyword stuffing.
10) Stay a While – Tricks to Increase Dwell Time
Finally Googles AI RankBrain continues to level up and become better at ranking pages based on relevance and activity. One of the most important factors to RankBrain is dwell time: How long a user spends on your web page. This means that as brands compete more viciously for page rank, we will begin to see more tactics involving dwell time manipulation. Videos, gamification, and of course, long detailed articles that encourage you to read to the bottom.
Ready for 2019 SEO? There’s no way to be truly prepared for the next trend around the corner. But reading our tea leaves (and the direction of current trends) we can help you be in the best possible place to adapt and hone your SEO with each new algorithm update.