Seems like you can’t leave your computer to see how dinner’s coming along without Google pushing out a new algorithm. Just this year, for example, we had 2 big core updates. Before that, we had Pirate, Pigeon, Panda, and Hummingbird among a long list of others. That makes it hard for even the most seasoned of SEO pro’s—and for newbies, it’s like running through a minefield.
Above all, site developers need to know what’s new, and what’s going to impact how their companies appear in search results. To simplify matters (if only a little), here are 3 of the biggest SEO trends for 2019:
1. THE RAPID RISE OF VOICE SEARCH
“OK, Google.” You hear it more and more these days. The preeminence of voice search is rapidly changing the way people get information from the search engine, and that means site developers need to change the way they respond.
As Forbes notes, “The number of people who use voice assistants is actually growing year by year, at a very rapid rate; for example, 35.6 million Americans use a voice-activated device at least once a month, and one in six Americans now own smart speakers. While it’s true that the world of search engines and SEO is constantly changing and evolving, the increase in voice search usage is one of the biggest changes yet. That’s because it’s something completely different and it requires a completely different optimization strategy.”
What does this mean for your SEO strategy? Well, to begin, it means delivering content that conforms to the more natural language queries typical of voice search. And it means providing more concise responses—the average voice search response is delivered in just 29 words.
2. MOBILE-FIRST INDEXING: SPEED COUNTS
It’s only been a year since Google announced that 60% of all searches were now on mobile devices—and quickly followed that announcement by rolling out its mobile-first algorithm—but it’s already having an impact on search results. For one thing, sites that aren’t fully responsive will soon feel the sting, moving closer to the back of the pack (if they haven’t already). For another, it means that load time is more important than ever.
Said differently, Google is clearly convinced that speed is among the most important factor in mobile searches and mobile user experience. Add to that nugget the fact that (according to Big Commerce) a delay of just one second in page load time cuts conversions by 7% and page views by 11% (do the math: for a store that makes $50,000 a day, that’s about $1 million in lost sales per year), and it’s clear site developers will be doing everything possible to speed up mobile site load times.
3. BLOCKCHAIN TECH MEETS SEO
When you hear “blockchain,” you probably think Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general—but understanding blockchain technology is also increasingly important for SEO. That’s because Blockchain can verify that users are who they say they are in online transactions with 100% accuracy.
Augmenting their sites with a ramped-up ability to record the identities of site visitors—or spot which visitors have added value to key content—is something that’s grabbing the attention of search engines and site developers alike. It’s one of the reasons, for example, Microsoft among other industry giants is already working with blockchain identity systems (like Blockstack Labs and ConsenSys) to enhance its apps and services.
Admittedly, search engine optimization is not for the faint of heart. It can be both confusing and frustrating, even for those relatively well versed in its nuances—and the stakes couldn’t be higher. If you don’t have the in-house talent to keep pace with the rapid change and need for immediate response inherent in the SEO universe, your best bet is to partner with SEO experts who can give you the advice and guidance you need to stay at the front of the pack.