Every year brings a lot of considerations and forecasts in many industries. SEO specialists are also considering what will be the guiding theme in SEO activities. And although these are often recurring factors for years, every 12 months brings something new. How will it be this time? Is SEO going to be a revolution in 2019, or is it going to evolve in a direction that has long been chosen? Let us consider what we can expect from 2019 in terms of SEO.
1. Voice Search
It is estimated that 50% of all Google searches by 2020 will be done by voice.
Of these 50%, 30% will actually be queries entered via voice support devices (e.g. Google Home, which is not yet available in Poland).
Questions entered using the voice method are usually longer than those entered by the keyboard. Therefore, in their SEO activities, it is worth focusing on targeting keywords with a length of 7 to even 9 words – these are different phrases, which people use in everyday conversations. Many of these voice-introduced queries are actually questions.
The questions themselves can be divided according to what they look like from the point of view of the sales channel (here on the example of questions that lead to the purchase of a product):
– what – such questions consumers ask at the initial stage of the sales funnel when they are looking for general information.
– How – customers ask such questions when they are ready to find out more details.
– When – here we are closer to sales, because potential customers are analyzing the options already available.
– Where – when someone asks this type of question, they are ready to make a purchase and may want to find out about the availability of the product.
2. Brand as a signal ranking
Gary Illyes, who works as Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, pointed out in one of the interviews that Google includes online brand mentions in its algorithms. There are two ways in which a brand can be used as a signal ranking.
First, through all mentions of a brand, search engines gain essential information about it. By further analyzing all the places in which the brand was mentioned, Google begins to understand its importance in the industry even better.
Secondly, every component has a meaning here: reputation, trust, advertising, complaint resolution, etc. By taking this context into account, Google learns how to distinguish between good and weak brands. Official guidelines from Google clearly confirm that reputation is important for positioning. Following this path, what sentiment (i.e. positive or negative characterisation) accompanies the given brand mentions will influence the positioning of a website linked to it.
3. Emphasis on mobile. Invariably for years
To put it simply, mobile-first indexing means that Google uses the mobile version of your website to index it and generate a ranking. Since March 2018, Google has started the process of migrating websites to mobile-first index. Probably Search Console has already informed you about it.
Remember, however, that mobile-first index does not mean putting pressure only on mobile. All the confusion with mobile-first means that after the migration Google will use the mobile version of the website for its ranking.
As the mobile version will be extremely important when positioning the entire website, there is no need to wait to make it mobile friendly. Therefore, it is worth optimizing its loading speed so as not to expose oneself to unnecessarily high bounce rate.
4.Optimization for the user’s intentions
In the world of marketing, it is increasingly important to analyze the intentions of Internet users who type in specific keywords. SEO should not boil down to rigid targeting only a group of popular keywords generating organic traffic. When someone enters a given keyword, they do it because they have a reason to do so. Maybe they want to find out, seek advice or buy something. Your website should be the best possible answer to this need.
For example, if you position yourself on keywords whose intention is not to buy, you will get traffic, but you will not generate sales. You should refer to phrases behind which there is already a desire to spend money.
The previous trend, i.e. voice search, plays an important role here. Voice Search determines the user’s intention even more, as it introduces a natural and spontaneous question, which clearly communicates his or her need.
In order to take this trend into account, it is best to put oneself in the customer’s place:
– What would you be looking for if you wanted to buy the product you are offering?
– What kind of article would you like to read in order to be able to make a better purchasing decision?
– What call to action would stimulate you to buy the most?
– What values would appeal most to you?
5. Content aimed at increasing users’ knowledge and awareness, not the sale of services and products
Content Marketing. A strategy so popular that there is probably no president in Poland who wouldn’t listen to at least a few presentations about this branch of marketing activities. What’s interesting – we can still meet with different approaches to CM – and what does it really mean for SEO and how can it influence positions?
It seems that effective Content Marketing in the context of SEO requires two elements – stop tracking excel with sales results and share with people answers and knowledge about REAL problems in the most attractive way possible.
How can this work in practice? Watching company blogs, knowledge bases or special thematic services created by brands, we can often meet too frequent and pushy call to action, or adding information directly related to the commercial service and product. It happens that the published content is only an excuse for extensive brand exposure. This seems to be the wrong approach. First of all, it is necessary to provide real value for the user. Develop content that will sufficiently exhaust the subject and touch the side threads, contain dedicated graphics or even video, and perhaps bring some new insights into the described issue.
Analyzing the search results we can see that such materials most often occupy the first ten results. Although a large part of these materials was created by brands, they could easily exist as separate publications on independent websites. In fact, the appearance of the material on the brand domain is often enough to provoke the user to get to know the company. It is not worth exaggerating here.
The need for high substantive content, time-consuming materials mean that many companies, apart from marketing departments, will create something like internal editorial offices. This is already happening, but the direction in which the world of marketing and SEO is moving will accelerate these changes.
And why does this affect SEO? The key to understanding all the changes made by Google’s algorithm improvement teams is to follow the needs of users. Google has an unimaginably large amount of data on the behavior of Internet users and owners of Android phones. Investigates CTRs in search results, time spent on websites, processes information related to the formats of queries and the type of content provided on the pages.
It is not Google that determines the direction of changes in the search engine. It is billions of users (and not even links) that decide how the importance of SEO ranking factors will be distributed in the future.
And if we understand this, we will rely on users experience, we will win the Internet.