Popular SEO Trends in 2019
There’s no doubt that the Internet has become the leading source where people search for products, services, and information. As the number of people online grew exponentially over the years, business owners are competing to capture attention and get ahead of the competition.
Nowadays, creating a website or blog post is not enough. To ensure a company’s search visibility and relevance, it’s essential to remain adaptable to the never-ending landscape of SEO.
This interesting world of search engine optimization is perpetually in motion—moving to a point where you need to constantly keep abreast with the latest trends. We understand that it’s almost the middle of the year but it’s never too late to go over some of the noteworthy SEO trends in 2019. Let us explore these trends and apply them to our SEO strategies.
6 Popular SEO Trends in 2019
Trend #1 Mobile-First Indexing
In 2018, 52.2% of global web traffic came from mobile phones. Mobile now accounts for half of the worldwide website pages served on the Internet. This doesn’t come as a surprise as it’s easier for people to use their mobile phones to perform a quick online search.
With mobile-first indexing, Google uses the mobile version of your web page when indexing and ranking. Since March 2018, Google started migrating sites for mobile-first indexing. Keep in mind, that a mobile-first index is not synonymous to mobile-only. The website will be indexed for both its desktop and mobile versions. Once the site has been migrated, Google will base the mobile version for ranking.
Will this mean that a website without a mobile version is penalized by Google? Short answer: No. However, your chances of ranking on the Search Engine Results Page are better if your site is optimized for mobile. If your site desktop version is the only version for your website and it loads fast, then you won’t have any problem. But, the problem is that desktop versions of web content don’t usually load well on smartphone processors and small screens.
If your website hasn’t migrated yet and you want to make the jump, then do it as soon as possible. Google has rolled the notification on migrating to mobile-first indexing through the Search Console page since last year. Doing so will increase the crawl rate from the Google smartphone crawlers.
On top of that Google will display the mobile version of web pages in the search and cached pages. To check whether your website is mobile-friendly, run it on Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test site. Take note of your website’s load times, responsiveness, etc.
Trend #2 Optimize for other search engines
According to Eli Schwartz, Director of Growth & SEO at SurveyMonkey, Google is not the only company with a virtual assistant that searches the web by voice. While search is not the core strength of Apple and Amazon, they are likely to penetrate through Google’s search authority as more and more people are using their devices over Google. He went on to add, “I think that 2019 will be the year that once again SEO will not just be about how to optimize for Google, but we will have to take into account these other “engines” as well.
In 2019, SEO is about being visible wherever the people are doing their search. Don’t just rest all your SEO strategies on a URL link. Diversify your traffic and engagement beyond the website. If your potential customer is looking for apps to answer a need, it makes sense to rank on top of the app stores. The same thing applies to users who are searching for videos or podcasts. It pays to be adaptable to the demands of the times. A strong SEO presence should help you rank well beyond your website.
Trend #3 Page Speed
These past few years, Google is focusing its attention on bringing superb user experience. The desktop web page load time has been one of the major ranking factors for quite some time. In July 2018, they announced that page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches.
In the past, when you scan a website on PageSpeed Insights, it was evaluated based on technical parameters. Now, a site is scored based on two different metrics – Optimization and Speed for both mobile and desktop.
The Optimization score is well within your control as you can remedy all the issues that hinder your website from loading quickly. The challenge lies in how the Speed score is generated. Data for this metric is taken from the Chrome User experience report, a user’s performance database. This report shows how your site loads for each visitor. In this case, it’s hard to gauge how fast the visitor’s device load your website. It will be impossible for the metric to reach local tests.
For rankings, Optimization score matters. The great thing about this is that site optimization is something you have control of. Here are some helpful recommendations to improve your PageSpeed Insights score and optimization tips from SEO PowerSuite.
Trend #4 Local Search
If your business relies on attracting customers within your locale, then optimizing for local search should be part of your SEO strategy. Small business owners should invest their time in local search optimization. In 2019 and beyond, local search targeting will be more precise, resulting in more targeted results. Improved hyperlocal targeting will create better funnels for targeted customers.
When a local business is close to a pre-qualified customer, the chances of closing the sale will be higher due to the proximity. In this case, you might want to consider optimizing your website for local search using Google’s “Near Me” tool. This tool helps searchers find stores that sell goods and services nearby. It’s available on Apple and Android smartphones. They simplify categories of nearby places simpler and make it easier for users to know more about the nearby place.
The reason why “Near Me” has exploded in popularity over the years is that people demand fast and precise information about specific places right away. So, this goes without saying that businesses should update their business name, address, phone number, and email address regularly as this will help you reach potential customers.
Trend # 5 Voice Search
While voice search is not quite there yet, it starts to clearly get some steam over the years. According to ComScore, 50% of overall searches will be voice searches in 2020. The number of people using voice-supported or audio-only devices such as Siri on iPhone, Amazon Alexa on Amazon Echo, and Google Assistant on Android devices in the years to come. As far as SEO is concerned, you can’t ignore the possibilities that your brand and products can get from this type of exposure.
The increase in voice search is one of the biggest changes of 2019 and may require more research and specialized SEO strategy altogether.
Trend # 6 Microformats/Schema
Microformats are small HTML patterns that communicate metadata, more information about your website. The more data a search engine knows about your website, the more accurate it can rank it. Search engines normally give you better ranking when you have an honest and complete description of your website.
As an example, many websites include some contact information such as addresses and phone numbers. It’s easier for people to see these contact information but how does a machine see it? Will a set of 10 digits mean it’s a phone number or a string of 5 digits a zip code?
By having a semantic markup on phone number and zip code, it’s easier for these data to be recognized for what it is and allow machines to process the information for reuse. Microformats use labels or tags. The use of these tags generally includes rich snippets, a feature you might have stumbled upon on Yoast, a popular SEO plugin for CMS like WordPress. Rich snippets allow information like title, URL, and description to shift into Google’s Search Engine Results Pages’ display. For example, if you want to display your hours of operation, you can opt to use microformats.
Microformat is not for everyone, although it doesn’t hurt to give it a try. However, if your business doesn’t have ratings, hours of operation or it doesn’t have a location where customers can visit, then microformats may not be suitable for your needs.
SEO Trends: Staying Relevant in 2019 and Beyond
The world of SEO is exciting as it is unnerving; more changes are likely to be happening right now as we speak. One thing constant in this ever-changing digital landscape we don’t really know for sure what the future holds. These SEO trends offer something similar in the years past—those who understand and willing to do what it takes to ride the wave of change, are the ones that will definitely rank on top.
For other great tips to rank better on search engines, check out this podcast where Full Scale founders, Matt DeCoursey and Matt Watson explained the exciting world of SEO to startup owners.
Listen to Episode 48 of the Startup Hustle Podcast – SEO for Dummies
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