Also, Google hates to see webmasters resting. The search giant loves to keep them on their toes!
So, to remain visible, you need to update your SEO strategy as per the recent trends.
Here, given below is a definitive list of SEO trends that really matters in 2019.
1. Technical SEO is Going Nowhere
Each year, websites are becoming more complicated, making technical SEO a significant area of investment in 2019.
After all, you have to beat over 1.94 billion websites!
Key areas to focus are:
- Website speed: Google and users reward websites that load fast. Nobody likes to wait. You get less than 15 seconds to impress.
- PWAs: Website Design Companies need to evolve into Progressive Web Apps to continue its legacy in the future. Start taking PWAs seriously!
2. Google Search – No Longer the Last Word!
Google has dominated the online landscape for far too long. But, it time for marketers to think beyond Google.
SurveryMonkey’s director of growth and SEO, Eli Schwartz, thinks that Apple and Amazon has a bright chance of cutting into the search dominance of Google.
Google isn’t the only company with a smart assistant that allows users to search by voice, and while search isn’t their core competency Amazon and Apple likely will cut into Google’s search dominance as an increasing amount of users adopt their devices over Google’s.
According to Schwartz, it is time that webmasters turn to other “engines” when it comes to optimizing.
The CEO of MobileMoxie, Cindy Krum, pointed out that SEO is not only about showing up however and whenever users are searching. It has a lot to do with driving engagement and traffic.
In 2019, you cannot hope to just be on top with your website getting the first blue tick. You need to rank in app stores. Need to have videos and rank in places where people search for videos.
SERPs is not the only place where you need to focus your attention. You need to capitalize on featured snippets. Tie up with content aggregators.
Make sure your brand message reaches your targeted audience.
Optimize for devices, especially audio-only devices or home assistants.
Simply put, a multifaceted approach is what you need to stay above water. The goal is no longer just to drive traffic. You have to optimize the search experience, whether app-based or web-based. Find the best possible intersection of what your website is offering and what your users really need.
3. Understand User Intent and Your Target Audience
What does your audience prefer? Text, audio, images or video?
Know this and having an in-depth understanding is going to truly be important in 2019.
You have to understand what your audience is expecting to find when they search a phrase or a word and you need to give them what they want in the simplest possible way.
Before you know it, the tastes, interests and preferences of your audience can simply change.
So, even if the content on your website is written perfectly and optimized, if it is done for the wrong audience, your business will never grow.
CEO of Express Writers, Julia McCoy, said “Tomorrow’s high-ranking website is all about the audience.”
So, if your website takes an active interest in the journey of the audience and takes measures to enhance it, Google will reward you and visitors will be invested in you.
In order to adjust to this shift, you might have the change the way you are doing keyword research.
Founder of Measurable SEO, Chuck Price, said “When doing keyword research in 2019, its imperative that you check the SERPs to see if websites like yours are ranking for a targeted phrase. If the top SERPs are filled with directories or review sites and your site isn’t one of those, then move on to another phrase.”
Now is the time to stop matching the keyword phrases. You have to ensure that your content offers comprehensive answers to the questions that your audience is asking through search.
It is recommended that you take your content ahead by predicting and answering follow-up questions that your audience might have after they have got the answer to their initial question.
4. Structured Data – More the Merrier
Ryte’s co-founder and managing director, Marcus Tandler, recommends the use of more structured data where possible.
According to Tandler, the rising importance of structured data is a direct result of the AI becoming extremely vital for Google. Structured data is key if Google plans to move to an AI-first world from a mobile-first world.
It doesn’t matter how great your AI is. It needs to ‘crawl’ quickly or it is a wasted effort.
Tandler is not the only bigwig pushing structured data. Red Hat’s JP Sherman is of the opinion that webmasters should take a deep, hard look at structured data, active and passive search behaviors, schema, and how can behaviors be connected to that signal of intent that becomes a part of the larger effort of findability.
For 2019, the important trends that need to be understood, tested and implemented is the relationships between behaviors and topics that are supported by structured data.
Sherman has been able to give signals to the search engines to understand better the supportive and topical content structure by using tags, informational architecture, metadata and structured data. Jamie Alberico of Arrow Electronics chimes in the same sentiment.
So, here’s to a year of more structured data!
5. Featured Snippets and Other SERP Features are All the Rage
2019 is dedicated to the overall search experience. So, not only optimize your website for a high ranking position, but also to appear on the featured snippets.
Featured snippets is position zero, but here, zero has a higher value than one. Knowledge graphs, answer boxes, carousels and so on, are expected to take a real big bite out of organic traffic.
Of course, you want clicks. Right? Everybody does.
But, this year, massive online exposure seems to take the cake away.
Focus on featured snippets, making use of other SERP features to always be in front of the eyes of your audience. This will fetch you brownie points!
6. Linkless mentions – the Future of Link Building is Here
In 2017, linkless mentions were touted as the future of link building.
Today, the future is here.
Search engines have used links as a trust signal for several years. But, times are changing and you need to update your SEO strategy to stay on top.
Linkless backlinks or brand mentions have become an off-page signal that carries the equal wait as links. Search engines can associate mentions with brands and can easily make use of them to assess the authority of a website.
When it comes to ranking, Bing has already been using unlinked mentions. And industry insiders think that Google is also following suit.
So, guess it’s time for you to revamp your link building tactics.
7. Move on HTTP, HTTPS is the Go-to Protocol
Do you still have an HTTP website? Not going to work in your favor!
All the dip in search rankings, high bounce rates and low to no visitors is because your website is not safe. You have to change the protocol of your website to HTTPS.
HTTP websites are simply marked unsafe and actively dropped in search results. The words ‘not secure’ are actually displayed on the website when a user visits. Its horrible!
Don’t want the same fate? Time to change now!
If you are wondering what HTTPS offers, it offers protection.
Yes, the most important thing that Internet users seek. HTTPS protocol is completely safe for visitors and protects the information that users pass on to the website, especially private data like, an address, payment information and so on.
8. Voice Search – Important Than Ever Before
Typing is great, but it is clearly orthodox and it is 2019!
It may not be the “year” of voice search, but it is the year that it will truly shine and by 2020, voice searches will be 50% of all online searches.
39 million Americans own a smart speaker and in India, voice assistants like, Alexa, Google Assistant, Samsung’s Bixby, Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana are accomplishing a variety of tasks including playing a song, hailing a cab, sending a message or calling a friend. The country is seeing 72% adoption rate and 97% satisfaction.
In the SEO world, voice search is one of the biggest changes. It is something completely different and requires an entirely different optimization technique. You can read all about voice search marketing here.
Act fast, before you hear ‘OK Google’ every few seconds and you do not have a voice search tactic in place!
9. Use of Chatbots
Reeling under a high bounce rate? Chatbots can truly help you with that.
AI-powered chatbots are capable of answering trivial, simple questions. By using them, you can operate your business 24/7 while optimizing the time of your staff.
First, you get the amazing advantage of speed with which a chatbot responds. Your customers get the information that they looking for within seconds.
Second, you can use chatbots as a working assistant in the department of aggregation and search of content Users get to obtain information seamlessly.
Third, the use of chatbots mean that you are at the beck and call of your audience, which results in better user experience and satisfaction.
So, doesn’t matter if you are in a different time zone, you are constantly available for your customers. This helps to reduce the bounce rate.
10. Link Building is Not Dead
Whoever said link building is dead, is gravely wrong. Or you could say it has risen from its ashes like a phoenix.
Well, link building continues to be extremely important ranking factor for Google and other search engines. In fact, Google core algorithm is basically based on links.
When it comes to getting backlinks, the emphasis is definitely on quality rather than quantity.
For developing a killer link building strategy, consider the following:
- Content: Well-crafted, engaging and relevant content is required. Ensure the topics on the website match with the website’s content. Backlinks from semantic websites are highly preferred by search engines.
- The audience and traffic: Website traffic and the presence of a specific type of audience show the search engines that the website is not dead and it has got some interesting things to be read.
- Authority: You must always fetch backlinks from a trustworthy source. Only then will your link be efficient and successful.
For fetching backlinks, you can also become active on social media and get links in the form of comments and likes.
Link building can also get slimy and sneaky. Make sure to only implement white hat strategies like:
- Guest blogging
- Product reviews and customer testimonials
- The skyscraper technique
- Use of engaging and well-designed infographics
11. Disavowing Links Work Wonders
Has your traffic dropped since the beginning of New Year? Disavowing links is a great strategy to tackle the fall.
As aforementioned, you need high-quality links, not a lot of links. If you have backlinks from inferior sources, you can disavow links. Know all about disavowing links here.
It is recommended that you disavow a set of links at one time and submit them approximately a week apart. This way you will have enough time to see the impact and make better decisions when it comes to the next set.
Disavowing links, if done correctly, will get your website right back on top even after significant traffic loss.
12. Can’t Ignore LSI Keywords
As you must already know, Google has been updating its algorithms to put emphasis on high-quality content.
Keyword stuffing is a thing of the past.
Yes, you still have to conduct a keyword research before writing a content, but along with it, it is important that you use LSI or Latent Semantic Indexing keywords, as well.
What is LSI keywords, you ask?
These are basically words that relevant to the topic you are writing on. LSI Graph is a LSI keyword generator tool that you can consider using.
Now, this is not the biggest trends in SEO, but it is something. After all, well-crafted content is an important ranking factor. But, avoid stuffing both keywords and LSI keywords into your copy. Just integrate them as naturally as possible.
13. Are You Placing Ads on Your Website? Now is the Time to Consider!
Google is placing a lot of importance on a website’s reputation in 2019. Unless you place ads on quality websites, you will find yourself deep inside a hole.
The trend says – run ads oh high-end websites, earn a great brand reputation
Go through past Google algorithms and see for yourself how Google is encouraging brands to be an important part of other top-notch quality websites. To prove that your website is worth it, you need to exchange links.
14. Brand Reputation – Cannot Ignore It Any Longer!
For business owners, reputation is the end-all and be-all.
It’s not a popularity thing. Google really cares about how your brand perceived by others. This perception has a tangible impact on the way the search giant displays your page or not at all.
Backlinking is a great way to demonstrate the reliability of your brand.
Backlinking is basically a process when external websites link to your brand. This is like Google’s way of saying that people are ‘rooting’ or ‘voting’ for your website. The more links that you get, the more legit you appear to Google.
Think about it. Why would other business websites want to link to you unless you are trustworthy and legit? – The same logic works for Google.
Additionally, you have to beef up your website’s SEO strategies and make people not just visit your website, but also hang around for a while.
Direct website visitors is a top ranking factor and the more visitors, the higher you can jump on the SERPs.
Maintaining an active presence across the social media platforms is also a fabulous way to make your brand name the buzz of the town.
15. Boost Website Security
Do you use Google Chrome? If so, you must have noticed a lock icon or a message that pops up on the URL bar frantically warning you about going ahead with a particular website.
It says “Not secure” and makes the users feel that they have done a grave mistake.
You can also think of it as Google’s way of warning you to turn back as the website is definitely not the one that can be trusted.
Wondering why you are seeing this messages?
This is because of Google’s July 2018 security update. As per the update, non-HTTPS websites load with such a warning and such websites rank really low in Google’s ranking preferences.
Overall, this update is great news for users. HTTP websites leave the data of users vulnerable to be manipulated or accessed by outsiders. You can thank Google for looking out for you.
Also, GDPR or General Data Protection Regulation came into full effect in 2018 May and that is another reason why brands need to ramp up their data privacy measures.
Don’t expect a HTTPS takeover, but the overall trend is towards increased Internet security.
Adopting this trend will show your users that you care!
16. Remember Google’sRankbrain? This is Finally the Year it Shines!
Since 2015, Google’s self-learning algorithm Rankbrain has been online. But, it has not got enough attention.
Finally, in 2019, it is expected to dominate as recently the search giant declared it as the third critical ranking factor with links and content taking the 1st and 2nd position in no particular order.
Now, here’s the thing about Rankbrain. It is not like the other ranking signals of Google. It does not directly influence or affect the search engine rankings.
What it actually does is assist Google in processing the search queries, as well as, sort them so that they perfectly fit the intent of the search query.
Rankbrain takes into account user experience. If UX signals are strong, Rankbrain tries and places the websites higher in the SERPs.
Rankbrain is the reason the Google understands which result is the best fit for a query.
Moreover, it is also powerful enough to on finding its own best match search results by tweaking the search algorithm. In order to see what brings the ideal result, Rankbrain tweaks the importance of content length, backlinks, content freshness and other such ranking factors.
Here’s how you can optimize for Rankbrain and stay ahead:
- Give your readers what they are looking for so that they do leave your site after immediately landing on it
- Enhance your CTR (click-through rate)
- Boost the dwelling time and reduce bounce rate
You can click here for a more definitive guide to optimizing for Rankbrain.
17. Enhance Your CTR
With the dominance of Rankbrain, one of the best ways to survive competition is through improving your organic click-through rate of article headlines and title tags.
A better CTR means more people are clicking on your website in the SERPs.
As Rankbrain is sorting out the search results on the basis of UX, a higher CTR is going to make Rankbrain replace a website with a top ranking position with your website.
Some tips to help you increase your CTR:
- Make use of brackets to draw attention and lay emphasis
- Use number for the title of your list articles, especially odd numbers as they get more clicks compared to even numbers
- You can even try emotional hooks and give assurance to your audience that your content is the answer to their problems
- Make use of power words in the headlines to drive CTR
- Use short, but descriptive URLs
18. Google’s Mobile-first Index – Optimize or Lose!
The trend of Google’s mobile-first index started from late 2018 when the search giant officially started rolling it out.
Essentially, mobile-first index means that Google is going to index the version of website or content that is mobile-friendly. And will also rank websites based on the mobile version.
In 2019, you do not have an option anymore. Your website simply have to be mobile-ready.
- Mobile-first index is an important ranking factor
- 55% of all search traffic comes from mobile devices
So, if you ignored the transition before, you cannot anymore. With only a desktop-ready website, you are not just losing out on a high ranking search engine position, but also failing to connect with the majority of audience who are surfing on mobile devices.
Helpful tips to optimize your website for mobile-first index:
- Have the same content on the desktop, as well as, mobile versions of your website
- Google says that they are cool with hamburger menus and accordions, but research reveals otherwise. So, find out what exactly works for you.
- Check the speed of your mobile version. Page speed is a vital ranking factor and your audience do not have the patience to wait for more than 3 seconds for a page to load.
- Make use of responsive website templates or themes
19. Content ‘Continues’ to Be King
This is an old trend, but one that still works and is expected to work beyond 2019.
High-quality content is very important and possibly the most crucial ranking factor.
The quality of content does not simply refer to crafting well-researched posts. Your content must be:
- Topically relevant
- Factually correct
- Generously link to external articles on the relevant topic
- Satisfy the intent of the query
- Be engaging
Some guidelines that you have to follow when writing content are:
- The content should have a purpose of being present on a page. The purpose can be giving information, selling, expressing one’s feelings and so on.
- You need to have the EAT (expertise, authority and trust) on the subject that you are dealing with.
- The title should not be the click bait type and must have enough amount of solid content.
Want some tips to get you started on writing content? Take a look.
- You must create content that is evergreen and most importantly, unique
- Create well-researched and in-depth resources with medium or long-tail keywords
- Avoid keyword stuffing and use LSI keywords
- Build an authoritative brand reputation by guest posting, starting a YouTube channel, appearing on Podcasts and even considering a Wikipedia page. You may even build your brand on social media so that people are interesting in reading what you have to say.
20. Amazon Search
No, don’t be surprised. Amazon is no Google and neither is it a universal search engine.
This is an algo, which is quite similar to Google’s, but it is used for internal searches within the pages of Amazon.
Wondering what the fuss is about then?
As per a study, approximately 56% of customers visit Amazon first when they have shopping in mind and 51% check with Amazon after they have found something elsewhere.
Going by the figures, Amazon is becoming Google e-commerce.
What does this mean for you?
It means that if you are selling something and you are not on Amazon, you are missing out on 56% of potential customers.
So, if you are a seller of music, books, electronics and so on, you have to include optimization for Amazon as a part of your SEO strategy.
Tips for optimization:
- Carry out keyword research and better yet, make use of Amazon itself. For instance, Rank Trackerhas Amazon Autocomplete keyword research tool.
- Make the title and description of the items user-friendly and efficient
- Use high-quality pictures
- Pay attention to backend keywords or meta tags.
- Track the reviews of customers and address the complaints
21. Videos is an Important Strategy
78% of people are viewing videos online every week and 55% are watching every day. With this, the volume of video content found online and the viewership are growing exponentially.
Cisco reports that by 2020, 80% of all consumer Internet traffic will be made up of online videos.
The numbers are really high to ignore!
If you are still not pushing video marketing, you are actually losing out on a lot of traffic and simply leaving your money on the table.
You might want to seriously think of using videos this year to stand ahead of your competitors.
If you are already creating videos, you might want to focus more on quality, as well as, optimization.
Because more and more videos are being uploaded every single day. Viewers have a lot of option on their hands. The only way to beat competition is by publishing high-quality videos and also optimizing them so that they appear quickly in search results.
22. Greater Emphasis on Image Search
Google’s image search went through an upgradation in 2017.
Because of that, a lot of websites reported declines in traffic as users did not have to leave the search engine in order to see the image.
The image search on Google was made similar to a photo gallery.
This happened because Google was basically responding to a trend and enhanced its image search to make it easier for the Internet users.
Since the number of users searching for images are increasing, you need to optimize your images properly. You are going to get better results if your images are stronger than the ones posted by your competitors.
When it comes to images, it is much like in 2018.
You need to think of your website as a harmonious potpourri of image, video and text materials. You need to tailor them to offer more value and make sure to thoroughly address a subject.
23. AI and Blockchain for SEO Purposes
This year, “Blockchain” has become a buzzword.
Not only is blockchain technology famous in the cryptocurrency domain, but it has also been quite helpful in other industries including medical testing, tracking supply chains, transforming the marketing automation space and making the Internet more secure.
Fundamentally, blockchain transforms how data is tracked online. This is because its technology makes use of a distributed ledger.
Blockchain’s ledger is a secure and transparent record of transactions that can never be changed.
Thanks to this shift, you have more control over your data and companies are able to implement brand new ways to make use of data.
Webmasters are trying to explore ways of how they can integrate blockchain into websites and profit from it.
Blockchain can also be used to validate backlinks.
Even though it is not exactly clear what will blockchain’s effect be on SEO, there are experiments that are going on and you are likely going to see some results in 2019.
For starters, a potential use of blockchain in SEO is making use of the technology in order to ensure quality traffic to boost the SEO efforts.
You can even set up campaigns on the blockchain in order to drive traffic back to your landing pages, along with the guarantee that the traffic is going to be authentic.
In fact, if blockchain will be integrated with the ranking algorithm, it will become easier to deal with those who use black hat SEO strategies extremely well.
AI or Artificial Intelligence is another technology that businesses are trying to find out ways to implement.
The use of AI by Google can really bring some major and interesting changes. After all, Artificial Intelligence is the foundation of everything that Google goes.
Google employs machine learning in gathering news headlines, Gmail, creating human-sounding robotic voices and so on. In fact, its AI-powered Alexa is the hot topic and has the potential of changing the field of SEO in terms of voice search.
While videos are dominating, mobile search is increasing and search is becoming more voice-driven, you need to keep an eye out for the protection and security of user data.
UX or user experience is important than ever before. Search intent requires more emphasis than the keyword itself. AI making its mark in 2019 and transforming the industry as a whole.
The world of SEO is changing and it is high time that you buck up and come onboard. By the time its 2020, you will probably be astonished at the pace of change.
Do you have any other SEO trends to add? Wish to share how the start of 2019 has been for you? Kindly feel free to start a discussion in the comments below.