We have bounced into 2019 and now into February; the excesses of Christmas has faded to distant memories and we are all back into work-mode once again, ready to tackle the business challenges 2019 may bring. The early part of a new year brings exciting new opportunities as well as unique challenges — especially for online business owners and SEO professionals.
The world of SEO and online marketing is a dynamic one. Things happen at a rapid pace. That’s why SEO professionals have to keep an eye out on important SEO trends every year. Those who don’t may end up lagging behind, which can take months and even years to catch up with competitors.
In this blog post, we share 5 important SEO trends that may dominate the rest of 2019. It’d be a good idea to revisit your SEO strategy frequently throughout the year and tweak it in accordance with these trends.
1. User intent search
When we talk about search engine optimisation, many people instantly think about keywords. While keywords are extremely important, SEO is much more than just stuffing your web page with a bunch of high-volume keyword phrases.
As search engines are getting smarter and better, they are now focusing more on the ‘user intent’ behind searches instead of the specific keywords they use. This is why ‘user intent search’ has become such a big thing in the last couple of years.
Put simply, when someone searches for a particular keyword phrase, the search engine wants to give the searcher the best possible result (web page) that has the answer to the searcher’s problems. The important to note here is that the web page may not even have the keyword that the user searched for.
Here is an example:
The above image shows the Search Engine Results Page (or ‘SERP’ for short) for the keyword phrase “plan trip with infant.” The first result in the SERP does not have even the word “infant” in it.
Google understands that the web page has the answer the user is looking for, so it puts it on the top. The page may not have the exact keyword the user is searching for, but it has the solution to her problems.
In the next few years, this trend is only going to get stronger. Therefore, instead of stuffing keywords in a web page, focus on user intent.
2. Voice search
Voice search is becoming increasingly important every year.
According to comScore, 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020. With the rise of smart speakers and mobile voice assistants, voice search has become extremely important and common.
Your SEO strategy needs to accommodate this rising trend. Local businesses are likely to get affected by voice search the most.
Make sure that you are using long-tail keywords that are more conversational in nature to accommodate voice search traffic. Also, make your website mobile-friendly, so users — after voice search — can easily find and navigate it on any device.
3. Structured data markup
Structured data helps search engine crawlers better identify what your web page is about. It may help with higher search engine rankings and better organic CTR.
In 2019, as online competition becomes tougher, structured data markup will become more prominent.
Marcus Tandler, co-founder and MD of Ryte, says, “With AI becoming increasingly important for Google, structured data is becoming more important as well,” Tandler said. “If Google wants to move from a mobile-first to an AI-first world, structured data is key. No matter how good your AI is, if it takes too long to ‘crawl’ the required information, it will never be great. AI requires a fast processing of contents and their relations to each other.”
4. Create even better content
There is no substitute for high-quality content. In 2019, you will have to create even better and more high-quality content to compete in the SERPs successfully.
Content marketers are getting smarter. There is a lot of free info available on the web on creating high-quality content, and many content marketers are following that advice. As a result, we are seeing a higher level of competition on the web and in the SERPs.
Here is a simple advice for you:
- Identify the top 3-5 web pages that you want to compete with. Spot weaknesses in each web page and make sure that your web page doesn’t have any of those weaknesses. In addition, ensure that your web page offers more information than any of those 3-5 top web pages.
- Make sure the content you intend to write is actually searched – sounds obvious, but this often gets overlooked – research is key.
5. Take care of your brand reputation
Most content marketers believe that brand reputation will soon become a more important factor than what it is right now.
Online reviews are already playing an important role — especially in Google’s Knowledge Graph in the SERPs.
By taking care of your overall brand reputation, you give your website a better chance to stay on top of the SERPs. Moreover, apart from brand reputation, also take care of your website. It includes monitoring reviews, backlinks, spammy SEO techniques, website loading speed, and more.
The idea is to ensure that your website visitors have the best user experience.