Search Engine Optimization in 2019: where should we start?
2018 was quite an eventful year for SEO. There were a number of algorithm updates, advancements in AI, changes in the SERPs, the implementation of GDPR, as well as an increased focus on the Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness (EAT) of content.
Search engines are increasingly becoming more intelligent. Google can now respond to queries directly on the results page, and there’s an ever-increasing number of voice-activated search queries. Now is the time to start evaluating the progress made in 2018, determine the key trends that will affect the SEO landscape in 2019, and recalibrate your SEO strategy to maximize your ROI.
So, what SEO tactics and strategies will work in 2019 and help you dominate the SERPs? That’s what this post is all about. Here are the key trends that will make a difference in 2019.
1 . Search/User Intent Optimization
When a user searches
Voice search is now cleaning up user intent in an expedited way, and this is likely to continue in 2019 and beyond. Instead of hastily typing truncated forms of search intent, the user can now state clearly what they are searching for, with voice search, in terms of information, products, or services.
For instance, let’s say you search for “best margarita recipes”. It’s likely that you wanted to know the exact ingredients, brands of liquor, and the measurements. But, you probably didn’t know or think that you needed certain information, such as is it best served over the rocks or frozen? Or which kinds of foods to pair it with.
The best way to approach user intent optimization is by thinking of yourself as the person performing the search. What kind of information are you looking for? What other helpful information don’t they know they need? What call to action would influence you to inquire more about the product or service?
2 . Voice searches might make up to 50% of searches
It’s also important to note that in 2019, voice search will be a key area of focus for SEO. In fact, voice search is projected to be the number one mode of online search.
Since voice search ideally has more keywords per search, you need to create content that matches what the user is actually trying to find. For instance, if you’re selling sneakers, you would optimize your site with the brands and color of sneakers you sell.
Don’t forget that mobile search is now dominating, and SEO in 2019 will continue to favor sites that a fast, responsive, and voice-search friendly. You, therefore, need to focus more on building your rankings by providing answers, and quality, relevant content to maintain high rankings.
3 . RankBrain will only grow more powerful
RankBrain is simply the AI machine learning algorithm for Google search. Its purpose is mainly understanding what is happening and make real-time changes to the search results, for optimum user experience.
A good example of RankBrain in action is how it can use the click-through rate of a website to change its rankings in the SERPs, and serve the searcher better. When a keyword is searched hundreds of times in a day and a result (say number five) is clicked more than the first four results, RankBrain might make the move to move result number 5 higher. It’s just common sense; giving people what they want.
RankBrain also evaluates key metrics such as the time on site, bounce rate, and even if the user is getting to a source of conversion. In 2019, RankBrain is expected to look closely at the e-commerce sites to see if the users from SERPs are going through checkout, placing an order and converting. This is a huge metric for Google to serve its customers better.
4 . Focus on improving your EAT scores
EAT is an acronym for Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness.
August of 2018 saw the release of the Google EAT update, which had the biggest rank movements since 2012. It mainly affected the healthcare industry, with
Through 2019, it will certainly be a trend to keep up with the new guidelines and make updates to websites to make sure they’re in line with what Google wants. The focus will be on authority, establishing the proper authority signals and then implementing them into websites.
5 . Video will only get bigger
Adding video to the relevant pages, content pages, and even product pages in your site can have a significant payoff. As mentioned earlier, RankBrain evaluates how long a user stays on a page, and adding a video can be a great way of keeping users on your site for longer.
And since Google owns YouTube, serving content on its platform appears to be the most preferred method. Still, video can drastically improve your conversion rate, and it’s recommended that you add a video to your main articles, landing pages, and the top-visited products.
In summary, the action items for 2019 include:
• Long-form, relevant, helpful, and amazing content
• Integrating video into your landing pages and key products
• Optimizing your site for voice search, paying attention to the kind of questions users might search in your niche
• Working to get your business or brand mentioned in the media. Use social media and press releases to get the word out.
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