What better way to spend the post-Christmas period than reading up on the trends for the new year. What will happen to SEO 2019? What trends will there be? Which strategy should I use?
Before we look into the crystal ball for SEO Trends 2019, you should have another look at our article from last year, for SEO trends in 2018. What did we predict back then? In fact, most of the trends for 2018 appear this year as well - these are of course trends that don’t just pop up for one year, they will remain important trends for the years to come.
So here are our Top 7 SEO trends for 2019:
Google is getting better at processing structured data and capturing content on websites. Even data that is not markup can now be processed perfectly by Google. Featured snippets or the Google Answer Boxes are examples - in these cases, website content is processed graphically so that users can be provided with the best possible answer to a search query.
In 2019, Google will push the processing of website data even further. The search engine will increasingly make use of structured data. In 2018, Google experimented frequently with content for featured snippets. These tests show that Google really does present the most relevant content that users have picked up as featured snippets.
There is no guarantee that Google will display your content as a featured snippet in the SERPs. But you can make your content more relevant with a clear text structure, paragraphs, and unique content. It is also recommended, for example, to answer specific questions for the topic in your paragraphs. Google uses this approach: "When we recognize that a query asks a question, we programmatically detect pages that answer the user's question, and display a top result as a featured snippet in the search results."(Source)
Structured data that provide rating stars in the snippets are already standard in many online shops. If you want to make your website fit for structured data in 2019, you can find our XXL-Guide for JSON-LD here.
Google launched its Mobile First Index in 2018. In 2019, the search engine will focus even more on mobile devices. In recent years, from "Mobilegeddon" to the Mobile-First-Index, Google has worked to raise awareness of mobile among SEOs and webmasters. The data also proves the search experts from Mountain View right. After all, more search queries are now conducted via mobile devices than via desktop. The trend is rising.
Mobile should always be your focus with website optimizations. You should optimize your webshop or your website mainly for mobile devices. Most important are high page speed, good usability and easy-to-consume content. But what does easy to use content mean exactly? Your texts should be as short and structured as possible. The contrast should also be high enough to make your content readable on smaller displays. Always remember that mobile users spend little time on a website and they only give a mobile page three seconds to load until they leave.
Don't know where to start yet? You can find all the important tips on how to make your website better for smartphones and tablets in our free mobile e-book.
With the increasing use of digital helpers such as Amazon's Alexa, Google Home or Apple's Siri, the need of web users to search the internet just using voice commands will also increase. This will also bring about a lasting change in the search behaviour of users. According to a Google survey, young people in particular are using voice search, and for example, 55 percent of young people between the ages of 13 and 18 speak to their smartphones every day. Comscore predicts that by 2020 around 50 percent of all search queries will be made by voice. This development of course goes hand in hand with the increasing use of the internet on mobile devices, and the consistent distribution of digital helpers. No-one wants to type out long questions on smartphones. Voice Search offers the optimal solution here. Digital helpers like Alexa, Google Home or Siri don’t require a keyboard at all.
The annual reviews of Google trends also show that users are now asking Google specific questions. Since 2016, Google has also listed W questions in its reviews. This is not surprising in connection with voice search. For example, no one searches for "restaurant New York Manhattan" using their smartphone's voice search, but will ask "Ok, Google. Where is the best restaurant in Manhattan?
Voice Search will increasingly present webmasters in 2019 with the challenge of answering specific questions for users. The importance of Google's concrete answers to user questions is demonstrated by an article in the Google Webmaster Central Blog from December 3, 2018. Since then, rich snippets have also been displayed for question-answer pages in SERPs.
For Google to be able to quickly provide an adequate answer to a search query via voice search, your data must be available in a structured form. It is also important that you try to provide concrete answers to specific questions with your content. Using a W-question tool or use Google Suggest to check which questions users ask about your products or content can help you optimize your content. It's more important than ever that your content offers real added value and delivers a concrete solution to a user's need.
You can already start to deal with the corresponding markup for voice search. On schema.org the speakable markup for "spoken" has already been published. It is still "pending" (December 2018). Nevertheless it is worthwhile to have a close look at the markup.
2019 will finally see the end of texts written exclusively for search engines. Content optimization in particular is increasingly about the "Keepable Experience". The user should take something from your site that they will remember for a long time.
This approach can be extended to include Robert Seeger's idea, a sought-after branding expert. He also spoke of the 3H concept at SEOKomm 2018. It means that content, even for difficult topics, should always embody brain, heart and posture. In this sense, the "Keepable Experience" consists of texts that address both the intellect and the emotions of the user. At the same time, perfect content expresses an attitude of the company. This can be shared or not shared. In any case, a target group will find exactly the content they were looking for.
Try to create the best content on the web for your topic. This content should give your target audience exactly the added value they are looking for. The aim is to respond perfectly to the user's intention. Are your users looking for information, do they want to buy something?
Since the introduction of RankBrain in 2015, Google has been officially expanding its competencies in the field of artificial intelligence. It has been known for some time that Google works with AI, but it was only with the decisive article on October 26, 2015 on bloomberg.com that Google publicly confirmed that the RankBrain algorithm exists and that the search engine uses AI to generate search results. Since then, Google has used this artificial intelligence and machine learning to answer some of its daily search queries. Around 15 percent of the daily entries in the Google search bar have never been entered in this way before. RankBrain takes on the task of answering these queries in a meaningful way.
But RankBrain is only one part of the artificial intelligence that Google uses. Google has now set up its own website that describes the principles Google follows in developing artificial intelligence. The company subsumes in just one sentence what Google intends to do with Artificial Intelligence:
"Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." (Source)
It therefore makes sense that Google will be even better at providing users with the best content for their search queries in 2019. If Google's Artificial Intelligence can now communicate with strangers, RankBrain will enable it to analyze your content very accurately. A simple sequence of identified keywords including filler words then has no more potential to achieve top rankings.
You should concentrate on excellent content and a technically perfectly functioning website for an optimal user experience. Invest the time you spent searching for Google bugs in the quality of content and technology. Your users won't love your site because you have achieved top rankings with dubious methods at short notice, but because you deliver real added value on a fast page. In 2017, Gary Illyes said in the Search Engine Journal that it is easy to optimize for RankBrain. Content should be natural. His tip summarized: Let others read your web texts. If they think they sound natural, it's good for RankBrain too.
Backlinks are always a hot topic of discussion among SEOs. Originally they were an important link between websites on the WWW. They still are today, but search engines have seen backlinks more and more critically because they were increasingly abused and artificially set by SEOs.
In 2019, backlinks will continue to be important, but one thing is paramount: every link must deliver high-quality traffic. A link from a website that ranks far behind in the SERPs should therefore not be considered as a valuable backlink.
In a nutshell: For your website, relevant backlinks are the links that bring you traffic. To get such links you don't have to be a magician. If your content is of the highest quality and your website is technically perfect, backlinks with traffic should come automatically.
Make sure that your backlinks meet the E-A-T guidelines. According to these guidelines, Google's Quality Raters also evaluate a website (Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, Section 3.2). The linking site should have the necessary expertise on the subject of the site to which it links. In addition, the linking site should be an "authority" on the subject. This may mean that the linking URL itself has often been linked by relevant sites that comply with the EAT guidelines. A linking page provides trust if, for example, it has good reviews or the author has a serious profile. Links to your website should therefore only come from websites that comply with these guidelines.
Progressive Web Apps have not often been on the agenda of SEOs until now. But 2019 would be a good opportunity to check if your website can be realized as a PWA. The advantages of PWAs are manifold. They offer the "best of both worlds" for both websites and apps. Progressive web apps work offline, can send push notifications, and can be installed like a native app on the smartphone's home screen. They can use the entire screen. PWAs can be indexed by search engines and work on all devices. The usability is supported by the fact that PWAs do not have to be downloaded and do not require any updates.
Progressive Web Apps therefore meet all the requirements for a website that is important in 2019: They are fast, mobile focused and offer the opportunity for your website to become a real "Keepable Experience" on the screen of smartphones as an app bookmark.
Analyze your website and see if it would be worth implementing it as a PWA. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the topic. Aleyda Solis has written a very extensive and inspiring article about Progressive Web Apps, which we recommend here.
In our opinion, the big trends that will continue to occupy the SEO world in 2019 are mobile, voice search and AI. These are challenging enough to make this year an exciting SEO year. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below! Is there anything we've missed?
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Published on 01/03/2019 by Olivia Willson.
After studying at King’s College London, Olivia moved to Munich, where she joined the Ryte team till 2021. She was previously in charge of product marketing and CRO, and also helped out with SEO and content marketing. When she's not working, you can usually find her outside, either running around a track, or hiking up a mountain.
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