As 2019 kicks into gear, it’s time to consider what will change in the digital marketing ecosystem this year and how it will affect you.
So, if you are anxious to know what is in store for you with SEO in 2019, here are 13 trends to be aware of.
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1. AI – The buzzword taking the SEO landscape by storm
First in the list of interesting SEO trends that will emerge in 2019 is linked to the path-breaking concept called Artificial Intelligence (AI).
AI is expected to revolutionize the way in which internet users conduct online research using keywords. AI will dictate the future of SEO by providing a number of personalized experiences teamed with automation. Automation is expected to come in as an important element to save time in digital marketing, in addition to introducing the concept of Machine Learning.
Through Machine Learning, digital marketers can automate a number of everyday SEO tasks like reporting and data analysis. Thus Machine Learning will be able to improve the abilities of SEO so that it can yield efficient and quick responses to online searches.
Since AI, in the recent past, has been enjoying an all-pervading presence in the world of business, SEO experts are expected to step up their approaches to be in sync with the new format of searching and browsing the internet.
2. Voice Search to gain further patronage
Drifting away from typing keywords in the address bars of search engines, 2019 is expected to wake up to the popularity of voice search.
Voice search will soon become the order of the day, posing a major challenge to SEO experts. It is common for voice queries to be entirely different from the ones that are keyed into the search bars of browsers. It is for this reason SEO specialists are urged to come up with results based on the long-tail keyword queries recited by internet surfers as part of the voice search string.
Research suggests that by 2020, voice search will account for close to 50% of the total number of searches. In line with this data point, it will definitely surprise you when you are told that about 40% of adults are already using voice search over normal keyed-in searches. This trend calls for SEO’s to think and speak the language of their online audience to come up with matching voice search strings.
3. Visual Search offering an exciting way to find information
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When you hear of Voice Search, you should not be surprised if you hear something like Visual Search. Visual Search is the new-age concept to conduct a search through images and data gathered from a camera.
As this concept catches up, the day will come when users click a picture of an object on their phone and upload the image to the browser. They can then say that they want the article which is featured in the image and will order it online. This is expected to happen in 2019.
4. Search Intent and Code Optimization to strongly impact performance
Gone are the days when keywords used to be the most important elements for websites. Time is ripe for SEO to show up results based on the intention of the online audience. By 2019, the world of the internet will attach greater importance to the intentions of the user when compared to the keyed-in text in the search bar.
In view of this development, it becomes very important for SEO specialists to conduct extensive research to show important information to users. They should be able to display information that the audience themselves would not have asked for. Such a move can boost customer engagement while also improving search engine rankings.
Given that technology is already simplifying the way in which a search query is interpreted, SEO experts are expected to be in sync with this development. They are expected to be innovative so as to come up with web content that will not only serve the specific needs of users but also offer unsolicited product/service advice to users. This way, the future of SEO will revolve around optimizing the code with specific terms like ‘When’, ‘Where’, ‘Why’ and ‘How’ so as to provide matching results for what the audience is actually looking for.
5. HTTPs will remain important
The concern for web security has gained a lot of attention since Google started labeling non-HTTPS sites as ‘Not Secure’ from July 2018.
In 2019, the need for an SSL certificate (HTTPS) will remain the same for every website in order to enjoy credibility, high-level security as well as better rankings. Both now and in the future, Google will continue showing ‘Not Secure’ warnings for non-HTTPs sites, so more people are adopting it to gain the trust of their customers as well as to improve their rankings.
All those websites that want to improve their search engine rankings should, therefore, rely on at least a basic SSL certificate such as Comodo SSL as an effective and affordable means to secure the crucial data of online customers.
6. UX will call the shots
User Experience (UX) is expected to become a crucial element of SEO in 2019. With umpteen changes taking place in the domain of Google rankings, Google will start attaching higher rankings to links that deliver user-centric and personalized search results. That means that eCommerce stores will have to concentrate on delivering a higher level of user experience if they want to maintain their search position.
It is only through a superior user experience that visitors will patronize sites. It is for this reason that websites with a better user engagement factor will be preferred over the ones which are abandoned by visitors within seconds of viewing the home page.
7. AR and VR becoming commonplace
Google’s organic search algorithms will witness a significant change prompted by Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). These two modern technologies are all set to alter the manner in which links are built, leads are generated and how users engage with compelling content. With AR and VR gaining ground, it is up to content creators to tap into their potential.
With AR and VR catching up, it will not take long for Google to slightly alter its algorithm. The day is not far when Google will come up with an exclusive VR/AR search engine section just like the Google images that are currently being displayed.
8. Video content getting more prominent
Given the affinity of the online audience towards videos, it comes as a wise move to plug-in interesting and informative videos on your web pages. This common practice is expected to continue in 2019 as well. Statistics suggest that videos have the power to increase user engagement by a stunning 80% when compared to simple text or audio clips.
With so much in favor of video content when compared to text content, 2019 will see search engine algorithms crawl audio-visual (AV) content directly avoiding the crawling of exclusive text content surrounding the video.
9. Blockchain to be teamed with SEO
Blockchain and SEO seem to be two completely different strategies. If you are wondering about the commonalities between these two, you need to read this section further. For all you know, blockchain is about transacting in cryptocurrencies, also called digital coins. On face value, the blockchain concept simply involves buying and selling of digital coins. However, this concept has a background story to it.
Blockchain does not involve any sort of regulatory sanctions from authoritative 3rd parties like banks and financial institutions. The transfer of cryptocurrency happens through a secured network consisting of bits of information called blocks. However, this transfer can be successful only after completing the validation process of both the buyer and the seller. Once the validation is complete, the digital money can be transferred from the real seller to a genuine buyer.
If you have to link blockchain to SEO, you should imagine the transactions of digital coins as Google Docs. A blockchain can be set to record any type of information just as in a Google Docs spreadsheet. Once this information is recorded, it is made fool-proof for the general public to access it without any hassles.
Coming to the world of the internet, you have the intermediaries called Search Engines that transmit data from various websites to users. With blockchain, the absence of middlemen who can tamper the stored information does not exist. This paves the way for genuine and safe transactions, demonstrating an advanced level of transparency that can be enjoyed exclusively by real users. Such a move can build trust amongst internet users, weeding out false users. It is in this way that blockchain is expected to play an important role in SEO to counter the occurrences of online fraud.
10. Mobile-First Index to dictate the health of your website
With more and more users relying on smartphones to browse the internet, it becomes necessary to cater to the browsing needs of this ever-expanding pool of customers and users. This sets the stage for the next important SEO trend of 2019 which comes in the form of Mobile-First Indexing.
For all those who are wondering what this index is all about, it is nothing but a measure of how well your blog or website is optimized so that a superior mobile version is delivered. Google is expected to measure the optimization of your blog/site on mobiles. It will check the extent to which your web content meets the mobile display standards.
That means that this year all blogs and sites will be ranked by Google based on the Mobile-First Index. Additionally, Google will attach numbers to important factors like formatting, the speed with which your site loads on mobile and the width of the mobile content. Based on the results, Google will come up with a health report for your mobile-driven online content.
11. Web content still reigns as the undisputable king
The commonly-used maxim in the field of digital marketing is ‘Content is King’. Given that the success of an eCommerce business relies majorly on the quality of web content, only those eCommerce sites that show up compelling and informative content will be in a strong position.
When one says that ‘Content is King’, it is not about pasting lengthy blog posts on your web pages. It is all about showing up relevant and factual information that primarily satisfies the intent of the user. Content also deals with hyperlinking your online information with external links that further explain a particular topic so that more and more visitors visit your site.
The same scenario is expected to continue in 2019 as far as web content is concerned. Now, the utmost importance will be given to the reputation of the content creator. Google, in 2019 is expected to check not only the online reputation of content creators but also the status of the website in general.
Ranking authors will soon become the order of the day by which Google aims to penalize sites which propagate fake news in public. Google can also take corrective action against sites with sub-standard content.
12. E-A-T to strengthen its impact on SEO
The concept of E-A-T (Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness) is expected to make its strong presence felt in SEO by 2019. These 3 elements are looked upon as the crucial elements to a quality website and the characteristics of a content creator.
Expertise is a measure of the knowledge and experience of the content creator in churning out quality content. Authority signifies whether the content creator has identified his/her niche and whether he/she is operating as a subject-matter expert in the chosen field. Trustworthiness is a trait that speaks for itself. Under this head, content creators are expected to show up only accurate and trustworthy information to users.
This means all websites should demonstrate these 3 essential factors related to online content. Notwithstanding the fact that churning out web content is an art by itself, websites which meet the E-A-T specification will perform better when compared to those that do not satisfy these criteria.
13. The human element from social media will play a part
Modern-day websites are expected to attach greater importance on the human element linked to searching. As an extension to this paradigm shift, Google is expected to give social media a top priority.
No longer will search engines be the be-all and end-all of your internet search. By 2019, the time will be right for experimental and humanly-aligned web content to find its place on various social media platforms. And once this happens, Google will start indexing all such social channels, in addition to ranking them on search engines. Such a development will definitely impact SEO in a big way.
The above-described 13 SEO trends that will catch up in 2019 demand one important thing from SEO specialists. And that is to have a well-planned SEO strategy so as to be in line with these upcoming trends. Such a strategy will enable SEO specialists to provide better search results to users. Hence, to make the most of these upcoming developments, SEOs in 2019 should be on their toes.
Guest author: James Shaw is a digital marketing expert. He is in the field of SEO since 2012. In his spare time, he likes to write SEO-based content that helps users know what is going on in the field of SEO and boost their website presence in search engines.