SEO is constantly evolving. It is a highly-competitive space that is only becoming more complicated to navigate with each upgrade of the search algorithm. Search engines are continuously adapting to improve user experience, which has effectively eradicated old school SEO that focused on what the Google-bots needed to see on the backend of a website. Newer search bots determine a website’s value by how closely the content matches what the backend says. They measure human interaction with the site.
As an SEO Expert, if you want to stay on top of your game in the face of changes, you need must know how to adapt. Here are 7 trends to watch in 2019 if you want to stay relevant in the SEO game.
When you consider that more than 60% of searches occur on a mobile device, making sure that your website is indexed as mobile friendly is critical to making sure your site is ready to handle mobile traffic. A mobile optimized website is one that is easy to use on smaller screens. Ideally, this means you will not have pop-ups or flash on your site and that you would make sure to have the appropriate structured data to define your site.
Backlinking is still important, but the key here is to focus on quality over quantity. Sure you can build 10k worthless backlinks in a day and feel like you made some progress, but in reality you’ve just told Google that your site isn’t valuable. If you want to win the Google popularity contest that is SEO, make sure that you are creating valuable links to high quality, reliable websites.
Voice Search Optimization:
If you thought figuring out the variations in how people write was difficult, just wait – you haven’t seen anything yet. Mobile phones and smart home devices allow users to make verbal searches. This means that when optimizing your site, you will need to consider how people naturally speak. Your site, your search terms, your content will need to follow a more natural, conversational tone to better serve the audience.
Speed is Still King:
One thing that has remained constant over the years is that your website loading time could be enough to make or break your site. If anything has changed within this is how fast your website needs to load. Consumer attention spans have decreased considerably, now ranging between 3 and 5 seconds. If your website takes more than 3 seconds to load, chances are you’ve just lost a potential customer. Even if you have the perfect content that will drive sales through the roof – if it doesn’t load fast enough, you will rank lower.
Fake “Guest Posts” are Dead:
One way you could have gotten links in ages past was through guest posting. You write an article for their site, they write one for you and it didn’t really matter if your article was even relevant to the user. However, this practice died when Google announced they would penalize the practice. Now, if the article doesn’t fit the website theme and doesn’t help the user, there is no need for it. and more websites were using articles in order to lure traffic to their website.
Google isn’t the Only One:
I’m not saying people are ditching Google as their preferred search engine. Instead, it is more of a reminder that there are others that are becoming more popular like Amazon, Yelp, and other less used search tools. It may seem like a lot of effort to rank high on a search engine that doesn’t have a big following, but it is quite the opposite. Ranking high in these secondary search engines can help improve your overall search appearance and at the end of the day, does it really matter how people found your site? I don’t think so.
The biggest take-away here is that because Google is making searches more personal, SEO and Content Marketers should work to keep their content as closely aligned to what their customers want to see as possible.