Biz Tips: Major SEO Trends to Watch Out in 2019

Biz Tips: Major SEO Trends to Watch Out in 2019

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Major SEO Trends to Watch Out in 2019

As we begin a new year, it is now time for the marketers to look back into the world of search in 2018 to see what strategies have worked and what needs improvement. Google changes every year and so does the SEO trends & techniques. Marketers and webmasters are constantly finding opportunities to outgrow the competition and grow their businesses.

2018 has seen some major changes in the search world and it has been exciting for most of the SEOers. The year started with an announcement of the ‘speed update’ which was quietly released in the month of June. In addition to the updates in the speed algorithm, Google also introduced Medic update for ‘YMYL’ sites. Along with the changes in the algorithms, Google also made changes within Search Console & Google My Business pages.
Based on the above changes, let’s look at some SEO strategies & techniques that will work in 2019 to dominate the SERP features.

  1. Optimize for Google’s Mobile First Index
  2. Voice is the new Search
  3. Optimize not just for SERP

Let’s take a deeper look at each of the trends and what the industry experts have to say about it.

1. Optimize for Google’s Mobile First Index

Towards the end of 2018 most webmasters started getting the alarming message ‘Mobile-first indexing enabled’, which means Google will crawl and index the mobile version of the site to rank your pages when a search is performed on mobile devices.

New to mobile first indexing? Here is what you need to know about Mobile First vs Mobile Responsive

How to optimize for Mobile First Index

High-Quality Content

Google announced the mobile first indexing and most webmasters were notified by messages in 2018. Since then, marketers are migrating their desktop version of the website to an optimized mobile version. When building the mobile version of the site, most marketers tend to shorten the content. But the fact is, mobile users need high-quality content as desktop users. Do not miss on the visual content like images, videos, and infographics. These elements should be accessible on mobile devices at the same time they should also be crawlable & indexable for search engine crawlers.

Usage of hidden or tabbed content is still uncertain as one of the studies mentioned that content hidden behind tabs & accordion remains devalued in the mobile-first index!

What do experts have to say

SEJ compiled the expert opinions on Mobile First Indexing, in which Adam Reimer, CEO Adam Reimer Marketing mentions ‘Although accordions may be on in some instances, this is going to force site owners into actually answering questions and providing solid text instead of branded fluff. The sites that do this should benefit, especially with answer boxes.’

Google Search Console Verification

If you have a separate mobile version for your website, make sure to add the property in Google Search Console and verify the property. This will help to get the live issues related to crawling & indexing the mobile site.

Setup Structured Data

Structured data or schema markup contributed to the SERP features in the last year. From recipes, reviews, jobs, site links to name a few, 2019 primarily seems to dominate more of these rich & useful snippets in order to add more to the search engine users. We will discuss the structured snippet in detail, further below.

What do experts have to say

Bill Hartzer, a local SEO expert “For the past several years I’ve always included geo coordinates whenever possible in schema markup. Most SEOs who do local SEO see this as standard data to include

Whereas Alexis Sanders “For B2B companies, I’d recommend prioritizing contact, product and organization information. Here are some support

2. Voice is the new Search

Why do marketers stress on Voice Search to be the next big thing in 2019?

Voice search is growing insanely. When looking at the facts for 2018, as mentioned by Brian in his SEO study on Voice search, 20% of all the searches are voice search. Most SEOs are now focused optimizing for voice search results. In addition to the voice search enabled devices, services like Siri, Ok Google & Echo, we see a rise in the number of voice command apps.

Every product based website can have a voice search which makes it easier for users to find a product on a command. The best example is the voice search of Pricekart.com. This price comparison website has integrated voice search making it lot accessible for the users to compare the prices.

How to optimize the website for Voice Search?

Content can be optimized for voice search if we understand the user intent and what results are rendered. Here are some easy wins to dominate the voice search in 2019:

Content needs to rank high in Search results

The study shows that the voice search answers are mostly fetched from the content pages ranking in the top 5 positions on Google. 40% of the Voice search answers come from Featured snippets. If you are already ranking for #0 position, you may only have to optimise your result to make it more precise.

For the sites that are ranking in the top 5, if you need to make it to the voice search result, you need to include questions that deliver spot-on answers.

What do experts have to say

According to Aleyda Solis “This will only gain more prominence and importance in 2019 — and the shift has already started,” Solis said. “While ‘voice’ might be an easier way to request answers in some scenarios, it certainly isn’t the ideal format to fulfil the intent in more complex answers (e.g., when comparing services or products).”

Faster loading websites

Experts say that most of the websites that rendered voice search results loaded in less than 4.6 seconds with an average TTFB to be less than 0.54 seconds. This clearly indicates that Google has always valued the websites that load faster & provides the best user experience, will always be in the good books of Google. Others watch out!

What experts have to say

According to Semrush study on ranking factors, they analysed 12 major ranking factors. As per the below image, the first 3 factors closely relate to website speed & UX

3. Optimize not just for SERP

As mentioned above, Google has made several drastic changes in the SERP features by not just sticking to the traditional flow of results. SERP features were introduced to provide the most relevant & useful information to address the user’s query quickly. For marketers, these SERP features are a scope to improve the traffic & CTR.

How to optimise for SERP features

Google introduced ‘Position Zero’ in an attempt to provide direct answers to the users in the form of:

Paragraph Answers: answers in the form of a paragraph
List Answers: answers in the form of lists or bullets or numbers
Tabular Answers: answers in the form of a table

While analysing the content on a webpage, marketers would look at the quality of the content, the flow of the content with appropriate header tags and appropriate usage of images. However, if you need to rank for the featured snippet or Position Zero, the content needs to include questions & precise answers that are specific to the question.

In addition to the Position Zero, Google also introduced a rich snippet which features reviews, site links, search boxes, Local pack, video snippets, knowledge panels, etc., to provide helpful information to the users. It is up to each business to showcase any relevant information that will add value to the existing result in order to drive traffic to the website and improve the CTR.

These are a few trends that will dominate the search world in 2019. Another aspect to equally focus on will be Bing. No doubt, Google is still the Big Search Giant!

Optimize for Bing

Bing has been equally active as Google. It has improved its crawling efficiency and also supports JSON-LD for schema markup. You probably might not ignore the Bing updates and how you can drive the traffic from Bing search to kick off 2019 stronger.

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