Search engines have come along way since they first appeared on the scene in the early 1990s. Since then, companies have realized that working their website up to the top of the search engine results page (SERP) is pretty darn profitable for their business.
Just in case you need a refresher; search engine optimization (for you acronym lovers out there – SEO) is a means by which whoever you hire improves your search engine rankings to reach a wider yet targeted audience. Staying on top and current in the SEO game is one of the foundational building blocks to almost any type of business.
Search engines like Google change their algorithms when sneaky individuals manipulate the system.
You’ve heard it somewhere before; “My site got hit with an Algorithm change.”
Let’s face it. It’s a scary thought – to imagine that after years of building your web presence, paying thousands of dollars, and then all-of-a-sudden “poof.” Just like 2008. But we aren’t here to talk about real estate. And you’re here because you don’t want that to happen.
In order to get and stay ahead in the SEO game, you need to know about the latest SEO trends. As well as understand that algorithm changes are good things.
The whole point of an algorithm change is to filter out the “ugly, non-mobile friendly, boring” websites. So without further ado, let’s dive into the market domination SEO trends in 2019.
1. Size Matters: Mobile-First Indexing
Mobile browsing first overtook desktop browsing in 2016. This means it’s not just the youngsters on their phones browsing and surfing the internet anymore. It’s most of your parents too. More search engine searches happen on mobile devices than ever before. But, what contributes to this rise in mobile use?
Other than it being convenient, think about this from the perspective of the searcher. When someone clicks on a search result on their mobile device, they expect to land upon precisely what they’re looking for, quickly.
Over the past decade, optimizing web experiences for mobile devices has been pushed heavily.
So, now that we’ve seen almost everyone optimizing for mobile, we automatically believe that we can find what we’re looking for on our devices with ease.
What does this mean for you? If it isn’t already yet, your website needs to be compatible with a mobile screen.
Google and other search engines have already begun using mobile-first indexing in the ranking algorithm.
Your website has to be mobile-friendly to rank well with the search engines. And mobile-friendly does not mean you optimized for a just a cell phone. It means you optimized for all device sizes.
If you aren’t sure your website is compatible with the most popular devices (see the list here), then it’s time you look into it.
If someone lands on your site and it looks all funky, you can bet they aren’t returning.
On top of permanently hurting your brand image and losing a potential customer, your bounce rate goes up.
Search engines take note of that, and your site is no longer seen as a relevant result for the search term the user typed in to find you. Say hello to page two.
2. Don’t Be Boring: Going Beyond Google
When you think of search engines, your first thought is probably Google. In fact, unless you’re involved in SEO and digital marketing, you probably just say Google.
People search for information across many different platforms.
The people who think they are so important that every corporation, the government, and their friends are always spying on them, you know, conspiracy theorists use duckduckgo. Because, God forbid anyone knows you search for cat memes to share with your friends.
Then there’s Microsoft that forcefully shoves Bing in your face if you own one of their computers.
Hell, I remember a time just a few years ago when Bing would pay me to search on Bing. I literally couldn’t stand it though.
You read that correctly, they literally couldn’t pay me enough to use it. My friend who told me about the whole program and got me on-board seemed to grow more miserable by the day.
Whichever way you look at it, your target audience isn’t only on Google. And they’re maybe still on Facebook?
Anyways, Get active in all corners of the internet if you wish for your business to thrive.
This means you need to be found on Quora, Alignable, and whatever popular platforms which come next.
Especially since people are fleeing Facebook like the plague (and getting paid to do so). If you see an opportunity to slap your logo onto a new platform online, you need to jump on it. Your business and your SEO practices need to be able to keep up.
3. Whoah: Creating Incredibly Awesome Content
This is one aspect of SEO which may never go out of style. The content of your website needs to be free of grammatical and spelling errors.
Beyond that, your content needs to be searchable and #relatable. This means you use focus keywords across your website to help gain traffic. Your content needs to relate to what your target customers are searching. It needs to answer their questions.
It needs to inform them.
It needs to address their pain points.
It needs to entertain them.
It needs to grow your brand and get people talking about it.
Beyond that, you need to maintain an element of humanness in your content.
You can’t generate a random amalgamation of words from a software (be patient, AI is only maybe a few years away).
And you can’t write essays as you did in college (sorry professors, but you’re the only people who like reading that boring stuff).
You need to have humans write content for humans. This will help you and your brand maintain trust and transparency with your target audience.
Even as technology seems to take over our own lives, each of us still craves that sacred connection.
Do everything right with content, and watch as you earn top organic rankings, and sometimes, you may even earn featured snippets. Check out this research by Authority Hacker on the way Google ranks content in 2019 to better understand what search engines are looking for in your content.
4. Say What?: Prepare for Voice Search
Companies like Google, Apple, and Amazon, have been pushing virtual assistants for quite some time.
Apple first released Siri in 2010.
Amazon’s own version of a personal assistant was first widely available in 2015. Since then, Amazon has pushed to make its virtual assistant more compatible with everyday life and appliances.
What does this mean for SEO and your business? The way people search for information may begin to lean toward voice search.
Businesses and SEO agencies need to start thinking about voice-optimized content. People don’t always speak the way they type.
Additionally, people may begin to want voice results back to them. While this may sound simple enough, it isn’t quite so.
Some information may be too difficult to convey this way, such as product comparisons.
There’s still a good long
Oh, and here’s another client of ours we optimized for voice search:
Backlinking is considered one of the most important aspects of SEO to build trustworthiness in the eyes of search engines. Backlinking is the practice of using inbound and outbound links within your web content.
High-quality links to and from your site improve your trustworthiness in the eyes of the reader and the search engine.
Some experts think search engine algorithms may become more sophisticated in the way they look for backlinks. They may no longer look for hyperlinks but linkless mentions.
This means a simple mention of a brand or website will be considered a backlink, even if no hyperlink is present.
This form of linkless backlinking may become vital to up-and-coming SEO best practices.
As far as we can tell, Bing was the first search engine to consider linkless mentions seriously. Google was quick to follow.
6. You’ve Been Lied To: Slow and Steady Doesn’t Win the Race
There was a time in the history of the internet when it took what felt like ages for a page to load. After waiting to dial-up a connection. After waiting 5 minutes for your computer to boot-up.
Today, users expect web pages to load in a matter of seconds. If a page takes just a split second too long to load, the user is more likely to abandon the action.
Therefore; page speed has an impact on both user experience and search engine crawling. If your website loads quickly, the search engine spider can crawl more pages in less time.
If your website doesn’t load in faster than two seconds, do what’s necessary to change that. It may cost money, but a whole hell of a lot less than the money you’re losing to your competition who does load in under 2 seconds.
This would be good news for your competitors’ search engine rankings. But, don’t let it happen.
Google and other search engines out there are starting to give lots more love to websites with fast page load speeds.
They even came out with the Accelerated Mobile Project to help push this agenda.
So, needless to say, this is quickly becoming a crucial ranking factor in reaching the top of the SERP.
So, take extra care of that load time your website has.
Just Keep Swimming: SEO Trends To Keep Up With
SEO is an ever-changing field. It seems as though search engine algorithms change all the time.
Every day I see SEO agencies and software companies detect ranking changes and publishing them online. It’s a highly competitive game. But that’s what makes it all so fun.
If you have a business, it’ll pay to pay someone to be up-to-date on the latest SEO trends. The above list outlines only a few of the trends we see actively dominating the year so far.
However, change is inevitable and unpredictable. So, stay tuned in the coming months for more updates.
Or, take advantage of the latest knowledge in SEO and get your business to the top so you can focus on actually running your business. Check out our SEO services.
President, Direction Inc.