Digital marketing trends are constantly evolving, with SEO being the most complex and challenging strategy. The challenge of SEO is in its ever-changing rules which makes it difficult for online businesses to keep track. We offer a list of SEO trends 2019 to help you stay on top of the game.
Why is SEO so Challenging?
SEO rules are constantly changing as search engines seek to improve the search results quality. The fact that Google’s algorithm has 200 ranking factors makes SEO a truly complex science.
One of the most important ranking factors is Google’s RankBrain, an AI program introduced in 2016. RankBrain ranks search results by analyzing user behavior on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). This machine learning system evaluates your content based on the number of link clicks and the time visitors spend on the page.
The rising importance of RankBrain marks a crucial change in digital marketing trends – as opposed to before, when keywords and link building were the alfa and omega of SEO, now the focus is on creating high-quality content that attracts users.
Having in mind that SEO plays a crucial role in driving people to your site/content, following Google’s rules is a must. So, if you don’t want to see your web traffic decrease, you need to keep up with the trends that will dominate the world of digital marketing this year.
SEO Trends 2019 to Watch for
#1 Voice Search
One of the biggest SEO trends 2019 is going to be voice search. Even though voice search is still at a very early stage, just looking at the statistics is enough to convince you to start optimizing for it right now. According to Katherine Watier, a digital marketing expert, there are more than 1 billion voice searches monthly. And this number is constantly growing –it is estimated that by 2020, half of all searches will be voice searches.
This type of search is on the rise because it suits people’s busy lives – 28% of the users consider voice search a more accurate way of searching. In addition, 43% of them also consider it to be faster.
If you decide to optimize your site for voice search, start by optimizing keywords as conversational phrases. Voice searchers (including assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri) use conversational language.
They also recommend only organic search results, so focus on creating high-quality, well-formatted, and well-written content. If human users love reading your content, Google will eventually award you with higher organic rankings
#2 Video search
“Social video generates 1200% more shares than text and image combined.”- smallbiztrends
Thanks to social media and smartphones, combined with fast internet speeds, video content is growing in popularity at a very fast pace. According to Cisco, by 2021, 80% of all web traffic will be video.
In the last few years, people tend do their searches on YouTube more frequently, which makes YouTube a search engine that SEO experts can’t disregard.
To take advantage of this trend, consider creating and optimizing video content for YouTube. If you’re wondering what types of videos to start with, here are the three most effective ones – customer testimonials, video tutorials, and demonstration videos. If your videos are successful, you can expect your traffic to increase by more than 40%!
#3 The Mobile-First Index
When it comes to SEO trends 2019, this one is not so much a trend, but an actual change in how Google is now ranking websites. With 3 in 4 mobile device owners turning to mobile search to find what they want, and 52.2% of all worldwide online traffic being generated via smartphones, mobile is obviously a very important part of people’s lives. As a result, Google has introduced the Mobile-first index, which launched last year.
This means that your site’s mobile version will be considered a primary version from now on. Google crawlers will analyze it before they move on to the desktop version. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile, you can expect a drop in your rankings!
The first thing you should do is check if your site is mobile friendly. For this purpose you can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool.
Next, ensure that your site has a fast loading speed on mobile. According to Google, more than half of the visitors to websites via mobile will leave if the site needs more than 3 second to load. Check how fast your site works on mobile with Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
#4 Changes in SERP
Google’s SERPs (search engine results pages) are changing rapidly which greatly affects SEO trends 2019. Do you remember what they looked like before? Just a simple list of blue links. Now, SERPs are much more refined and packed with features such as structured snippets, custom widgets, and knowledge panels.
In addition, search engines (Google, Yahoo, and Bing) have personalized the search results. Personalized results don’t take into consideration only the ranking factors, but they also consider the user, his search history, and location. The goal is to focus on UX; search engines want their users to be able to find what they need quickly and easily and deliver the information in the form of search rankings.
What does this mean from an SEO perspective? Is this bad news? Not necessarily. Now there is a number of different ways to increase your website traffic, without ‘fighting’ to rank on Google’s first page at all costs. The focus is on providing users with the info they are looking for, which means less keyword stuffing and more quality, comprehensive content.
#5 Influencer marketing vs. conventional link building
As a part of the general tendency of SEO trends 2019 to focus on human users rather than rankings, SEO experts are slowly beginning to abandon conventional strategies like link building and switch focus to more traditional marketing models.
Influencer marketing is somewhere halfway; it is a model that successfully combines conventional SEO tactics and online media management.
Last year was big for influencer marketing. We all witnessed the boom of Instagram stories, which are one of the digital marketing trends that continues to rise. The number of micro-influencers was constantly growing and big brands saw the advantages of building long-term relationships with them.
Influencer marketing allows businesses to drive organic traffic by creating content focused on user experiences. But besides enhancing website authority and value, this type of marketing is a great way to produce links as well. Influencer content has shown similar level of engagement as social media campaigns. Moreover, it has proven to be very effective in generating high CTRs and click-to-order rates. In other words, by increasing your social media & website engagement, influencer marketing can result in high-quality links quite fast, thus helping your website rank higher.
#6 Social media as search engines
When we discussed video content above, we mentioned that people often do their searches directly on YouTube instead on search engines. However, this is not true only for the video-sharing social network, but for all social media platforms.
This means that, if you want to stay ahead of your competition, your content needs to be optimized for both search engines and social media. For instance, Instagram is focused on videos and images, but to further optimize them, you also need to use hashtags in your captions. If you’re optimizing your content for Facebook, use conversational language so as to sound less spammy and fit better with your fans’ newsfeeds.
#7 Quality over quantity
Not so long ago, SEO experts claimed that longer pieces of content are more effective when it comes to better rankings. The bare minimum was 600 words but an ideal piece of content was expected to have at least 1,000 words. In addition, your content needed to be published on a regular basis.
New digital marketing trends show a tendency to change this. In 2019, brands should focus on quality rather than quantity. It doesn’t matter how long your content is but whether it keeps your users satisfied.
The best strategy is to combine longer pieces of content with rich media (images, graphics, and video), but also find a way to promote it across social media.
#8 Goodbye fake news
Google has been criticized for not being able to filter out fake news since 2010. Since then, the biggest search engine has been trying to solve this critical issue by releasing updates such as Google Panda, which targeted spammy and low-quality content. In addition, they have banned publishers that spread fake news.
As part of its broad strategy to prevent fake news from search results for good, Google is set to make trustworthiness and accuracy important ranking factors. Instead of the number of inbound links, your website’s rank will depend on whether you serve truthful facts or not. So, from now on, besides taking care for your content to be well-written, make sure to support it with credible sources.
SEO Trends 2019 Summarized
If we were to summarize the SEO trends 2019, it is safe to say that the focus is shifting from rankings to conversions. In other words, human users are becoming increasingly important, which puts an emphasis on organic search strategies.
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