Google and its competitors are constantly changing and evolving to offer the best search experience possible to their users. SEOs then follow suit, trying to keep up with the changes and adapt their strategies to these new realities. And this is how trends in the industry are formed. Knowing what these trends are is essential to not only keep you from falling behind, but to know how to use practices that could actually set you back. Let’s look at some of the biggest trends we can expect to see in the world of SEO in 2019 and what you can do to get ahead of the curve.
Mobile First Indexing
We already know that Google is heavily investing in mobile search and that sites that offer a mobile friendly experience have been favored by their recent algorithm changes. And we can expect Google to continue moving towards the same direction in the future.
Google recently announced that they will be migrating sites to their mobile first index. This means that your mobile page will be used for indexing first. However, this doesn’t mean both versions of your pages will be indexed, this just means that your mobile page will have priority. Therefore, you should make your site responsive now if you haven’t already done so, if you want to have the best mobile version possible before your site migrates to the new mobile first index. Google also advised against using both responsive and m-dot on the same page since it could end up confusing their bots.
If you want to know how your mobile pages are perceived by search engines, you could use a tool like WebSite Auditor to crawl them yourself using the mobile bot. You’ll also be able to check things like page loading times and user experience using the tool’s mobile performance function.
More Emphasis on Page Speed
Speaking of performance, we can expect Google to put even more importance on page speed in 2019. Google has made it clear with its recent updates that they are committed to providing the best user experience to their users, and you can expect them to use performance metrics even more in 2019.
While page performance was already a ranking factor for desktop sites, mobile page performance will now also play a central role when ranking sites.
Previously, a site’s page speed was only assessed using a certain set of technical parameters. Now, two criteria will be used to assess your site’s performance – optimization and a new speed metric. The data used for the speed metric is pooled from real Chrome users who have agreed to have their browser activity monitored and reported back. Since it’s almost impossible to know how well your site will load on any given device, there’s not much you can do to directly change this metric. However, you can do everything in your power to enhance your site’s optimization score by removing or fixing any features, files, coding or anything that might affect your site’s ability to load faster.
Amazon Search Dominance
According to a recent study, over 56% of people asked said that they visited Amazon first before conducting any searches when they were thinking of buying anything. 51% said that they went back to Amazon after seeing any product they were interested in online. This shows that Amazon is slowly but surely becoming the world’s biggest e-commerce search engine.
This also means that anybody who is not already on Amazon is missing out on a huge chunk of potential customers. So, if you’re selling music, electronic, books, etc., Amazon optimization should be part of your SEO strategy in 2019.
Brand Mentioning as a Ranking Tool
Greg Myles, webmaster trend analyst at Google, recently stated that Google is now using brand mentions as a tool for their rankings. This means that how many times your brand is mentioned and in which context will now have a direct influence on how well it ranks with their search engine.
First of all, unlinked brand mentions show that you’re an actual entity. But by running a deep analysis on where these mentions are made, they’ll be able to see how much of an authority your brand is within its field.
Both context and sentiment around the brand will be used as a ranking factor as well, and Google also made it clear that it wants to reward companies with good reputations. That means that things like advertising, trust, complaint solving, etc., will play a major role in how well your site is ranked. So, businesses not only have to work harder to get their name out there, they also need to make sure that they maintain a solid reputation.
Try to get backlinks, but in an organic way. Links that are built too fast are rarely legitimate. Try to go for link-less links instead. Mention your brand in a natural way whenever you can. And make sure that you address any gripes people may have with your brand. Try to engage with your satisfied customers as much as you can as well.
If you want to track where and who is mentioning your brand, you can use a tool like Awario that will give you a complete rundown of link-less mentions about your brand across the web.
Influencers could also help you spread the good word about your brand and increase brand mentions naturally. Contact influencers who you feel would appreciate your brand and products and those who are already talking about you. And make sure that you look at what others are doing in your niche as well. Analyze their brand mentions too and see what they’re doing to raise awareness so you can replicate some of their strategies.
2019 should be a marking year for SEO, especially with mobile becoming the number one medium for search, and Google’s increasing efforts to constantly improve user experience. This ultimately means that you, as a website owner, will have to adapt to these new changes and move in the same direction.