SEO and search in general is becoming increasingly competitive so we have outlined a few 2019 SEO trends that you should pay attention to. Most of the trends are not new and we cover them in great detail in other articles. However, we wanted to make sure we funnel the important ones to the top. Google continues to optimize its algorithm to better evaluate content quality and deliver best ever search experience. Mobile devices have become even more prevalent, generating nearly 60% of all traffic today. Voice search is taking over the internet and homes and is expected to reach half of all searches by 2020.
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As a result, SEO trends in 2019 are all about staying on top of Google’s latest updates, keeping up with technology and putting more efforts into creating outstanding content.
Top 6 trends you need to know and adapt to in 2019
1. Mobile First
Within the last two years, Google has been increasingly concentrating on mobile. This is hardly a surprise since the number of mobile users has increased significantly and exceeds the number of desktop users in terms of web searches. In March 2018 Google announced they were rolling out their mobile-first indexing. In short, mobile-first indexing means Google has separated their index. They now have a mobile index and a desktop index instead of mixing them together in one index. The result is when some one searches on a mobile device then Google will only serve websites that are mobile friendly. If you don’t have a mobile version of your website, it’s time to create one. Otherwise, your pages won’t display properly for users on mobile devices and Google will rank mobile friendly websites above yours.
2. Voice Search Is Gaining More Power
As voice recognition technology improves and virtual assistants as well as smart speakers become more adoptable by users, voice search is fast becoming a new norm. According to Google, 55% of teens and 41% of adults use voice search more than once a day. A study from NPR and Edison Research determined that 1 in 6 Americans now own a smart speaker. It’s easy to predict that these numbers will continue to scale as technology and demand evolve. To be atop the waves, optimize your content for voice search.
3. Capturing Featured Snippets Spot Is Vital
To help people get immediate answers to the questions they are searching for, Google relies heavily on featured snippets. A featured snippet is a search response, shown right under the paid ads, but above the #1 ranked spot. The snippet pulls the most relevant content from the source page to give users the results they need without them having to navigate away from the Google results page.
Featured snippets typically include:
- An image;
- Source page title;
- Source page URL
Because they appear directly below the user’s query and give answers that are quick and easy to read, featured snippets along with answer boxes and the knowledge graph eat up a considerable share of your organic traffic. It’s fair to say that ranking on the first page of Google is not enough anymore. If you want to retain and increase your organic traffic, you’re going to have to capture the desirable featured snippet spot.
4. Structured Data Is a Must
As we already know, organic search is getting more competitive, with Google forever adding new boxes to SERP, leaving fewer opportunities for your own content to stand out. If you want your site to be visible within search features, use structured data whenever possible. Structured data helps Google understand your content better and increases your chances of to appear in featured snippets. Structuring your data with schema.org not only gives you search benefits. It also improves your click-through rate, drives more traffic and yields voice search opportunities. Structured data use in on the rise. A few years ago, it was more limited, but now you can find it for just about anything, including books, authors, products and small businesses, to name a few — with much more to come.
5. Exceptional Content Is the Core of SEO Strategy
Content in the right context is still king. This is especially true in 2019 where the fight for consumer attention is fierce. If you’re creating content just for the sake of having content, that won’t be good enough anymore.
Again, Google is your main competitor in search and its impact is growing. Big G has been launching new updates and widgets that absorb your organic search traffic. First ten websites that rank for your target keywords swallow another considerable portion of your potential organic users, leaving even less chances for your business to grow.
If you want to dominate the organic search, you need to have much better content than Google and the TOP 10 ranking websites have to offer. It has to be relevant, unique and extraordinary, so that people would want to see it and share it. It is not an option any more. If you don’t do this your competitors will, and you will soon be obsolete.
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Also, long-form and in-depth content performs better. Numerous studies prove that websites providing exceptional depth in valuable content coverage have higher rankings in comparison to sites that were weaker in their content depth. According to blog platform Medium, the ideal blog post takes seven minutes to read and is around 1,600 words long.
As for the content format, a study by Altimeter Group found that video, in particular short term (less than two minutes), was the best engaging content in 2018 across every industry and every geography. This means that investing in creating video content is a solid bet for SEO strategy in 2019.
6. Get Prepared for Non-URL Internet
For regular users, URLs are web addresses that direct browsers to the right place on the right web servers. To SEO experts, Uniform Resource Locators are informative signals that help search engines understand the content and purpose of a web page. Creating SEO-friendly URLs is a simple way to enhance SEO efforts. If set up correctly, they can improve your organic search visibility and website ranking.
In September 2018, following Chrome’s 10th birthday, Google announced they want to fundamentally rethink the URL or, as Chrome’s engineering manager Adrienne Porter Felt put it: “how URLs should be displayed”.
The massive change has a high-minded goal – to strengthen security of the web. According to Google, URLs have become long and complex or being masked by link shorteners and redirect software. The resulting confusion led to increased cyber crimes, aimed to take advantage of users that don’t really know what’s going on with the pages they’re visiting. Wired.com covered this in great details here.
However, Google didn’t provide any examples of URL alternatives they are considering. “I don’t know what this will look like, because it’s an active discussion in the team right now,” said Parisa Tabriz, director of engineering at Chrome.
While Big G is working on developing whatever URL options, SEO professionals have some time to get ready for the worst-case scenario – URLs removal. Which means reinforcement of all SEO tactics that help search engines better understand the content and purpose of a web page. Make sure your meta titles, descriptions and on-page copies are optimized, your website structure is well-defined, page speed is optimized, while semantic markup and breadcrumb menus are in place.
2019 is expected to be the year of intensifying competition with Google, mobile user experience, voice search and valuable content production in the form of short videos and long-form written content. It will be an exciting and challenging year. Just stay current on SEO trends and make sure you adapt to them in a timely manner.