How’s your SEO scorecard for 2019 looking? What SEO trends should you implement, or be in the process of implementing? If you haven’t yet started, or are leaving it to chance you should consider what trends, what actions, strategies and tactics will create improved search visibility for your business or client’s websites?
But then, we have to answer this question first: Why do we need to be updated on the SEO trends?
Well, here’s something many businesses still take for granted: Search engines constantly change!
Just recently, Google announced a core algorithm update, the “March 2019 Update”. SEO specialists and digital marketers had to check and see if this update has impacted their websites in a good or bad way.
In line with this, it is integral to search engines like Google to update their search engine algorithm to provide the most relevant, and accurate, data for the user and cater the best user experience possible.
As for digital marketers and SEOs, this can be challenging as what we may know now can be obsolete in the future. We always have to adapt. But for me, that’s where the fun in SEO comes, right?
And without further ado, let’s discuss what’s hot in SEO this year:
SEO Trends in 2019
1. Mobile OR Die
With Mobile First Indexing fully rolled out during 2018 and AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) being recommended for faster page load on mobiles, Google seems to have a “love affair” with mobile. Well, what’s not to love? Smartphones are now the predominant platform for search engines with almost 60% of searches coming from it.
We see how mobile has affected people’s daily lives. It’s our medium for everything, and many businesses have taken and should take advantage of it.
Let’s take a look at fintech companies for example. Incorporating technology with financial services, they are currently moving forward to implement the loaning process on mobile devices, avoiding the long queues and lengthy paperwork processes.
Brands like SoFi and RocketMortgage are on their way in building their mobile empire and with the rise of fintechs in SEA, we can see the future that awaits us.
People won’t stay on any website that’s not responsive to their mobile, which can equate to revenue loss.
And if you don’t want to be killed off by this mobile generation, you better change up!
If you’re unsure if your website is enabled for mobile, you can use different tools like Page Speed Insights and web.dev by Google. As for AMP, you can implement this either by direct coding or using plugins if you’re using a Content Management System like WordPress.
Additionally, we can maximise the functionality of Google Search Console with the tool that lets you check for issues regarding mobile page compatibility and AMP issues.
2. Fast Page Speeds
Do you leave websites that are slow to load? Click away. Gone. A lost potential customer.
No matter how visually pleasing our website is or how our content delivers exactly what the customers need, it’s still futile without fast page loading speeds. According to a study, 40% of people abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.
Desktop and Mobile Speed is a ranking factor in Google. So how can we improve Page Speed? Here are some things we can work on:
- Reduce the number of images and scale down the image size to the optimal. Most of the times, these are the common culprits that can affect website speed.
- Reduce the number of elements on the website. For example, if a carousel of images slows down our website and it doesn’t really helpful on your website, maybe removing it would be the best choice.
- Reduce the calls to the server like .css and .js calls. Basically this focus on the coding side of your website.
3. AI Dominates Digital
The beginning of search engines and the digital space’s future is now clear. The increasing number of artificial intelligence utilisation can now be seen along the horizon with Voice Search, Google’s RankBrain and the Chatbots.
“Siri, can you tell me…”
“Okay, Google which…”
If this sounds familiar to you, its because these can be considered as the BIGGEST trend not just on SEO but also on our daily lives in terms of technology: the rise of Voice Search. And if you think, that it only impacted the western world, think again.
In a study by Branding in Asia, research shows that 62% of smartphone users in the Asia Pacific are utilising voice search highlighting India (82%) and China (77%) as leaders of the said technology. One thing worth noting is what Joanna Catalano the CEO of iProspect Asia Pacific, the company who conducted the research, said:
“Brands who aren’t reacting to this burgeoning technology risk becoming invisible sooner than they think across key customer touch points. This piece of research explores the proliferation of voice technology across the region and key considerations for brands when crafting a voice strategy.”
We need to put ourselves in the shoes of voice search users.
That would be thinking about what queries people usually do. We should try focusing on longer search terms. Also, we can consider what questions people are asking and implement them in our SEO Strategy. The blog also pointed more suggestions in adapting to voice search
Remember, that longer search terms gain more value on Google Search.
For more information about the research check it here.
RankBrain is an important algorithm of Google that utilises the power of artificial intelligence. This system utilises machine learning technology in processing search results, trying to understand the intent of the searcher rather than exact match keywords. Simply said, the search engine is teaching itself to do something rather than being taught. For more understanding about what it is, check out Moz’s blog.
Now that search engines have a way to understand user intent, it’s time for SEOs to think outside the box. The best advice is to optimise the website based on user intent. Rather than smothering your website with keywords, why not optimise it in a way that consumers will actually benefit from? Try to deliver what you promised for. Remember that we SEOs optimise for users, not for search engines. User Intent Optimisation is the key.
Chatbots, on the other hand, is an AI that can provide a personal touch to consumers. This AI helps interpret consumers’ queries and can even help them in completing an order. They can also provide conversational responses base on historically-collected data.
Even though chatbots are in its early years, it has proven to have a massive impact on users and marketers. Almost 1.4 billion people a year are now interacting with chatbots and a recent study shows that 80% of businesses are already using or are planning to use chatbots.
Chatbots have proven to be innovative among businesses and there is more than one way chatbots can help businesses. Chatbots provide better customer service, straightforward service and emphasize your branding. Businesses that range from eCommerce, hospitality, fashion and a lot more and even big brands like Disney and H&M are into it. And these businesses who have been utilising Chatbots have been reaping big benefits from it.
4.The Power of Featured Snippets
The competition on SERP (Search Engine Results Page) is getting tougher and tougher. Right now, there are different ways on how you can show up on results and one of this is the so-called, featured snippets.
Featured Snippets (also called Answer Box) are an excerpt of a search result showing above the organic search results and below the AdWords block. This feature aims to provide direct and concise answers to queries and in return getting a stronger gain for referral traffic and brand exposure. Here’s an example of what a featured snippet would look like:
In a report by Goodsell, it shows that the CTR of a page has increased from 2% to 8% once it was placed in an answer box, with revenue from organic traffic increasing by 677%!
This 2019, we will still see a stronger trend on this feature and if we want to get ahead of our competitors on this SERP feature, we need to have a clear action plan.
If you want to rank on Featured Snippets, focus on how your content is constructed. You can format your contents on an FAQ-style (question and answer) sequence for example. Creating structured information like bulleted points, numerical/ordered list or tables of information can also help.
The competition for featured snippets is becoming fiercer and remember that featured snippets don’t rely on search positioning but rather on a well-structured content that Google can use.
So this year, be thorough in searching for what your niche wants to know and the points you can cover on their search. The more you meet these needs with your content, the better your ranking chances will be.
More SEO trends to talk about…
We’re only halfway through these SEO trends you should work on. There’s a lot more to highlight. Watch out for the second part of this blog on the days to come.
What are your thoughts about this SEO Trends? Have you started using some of these? How does it go? Let me know in the comment section below.