As with everything in digital marketing, SEO trends are always evolving.
Search engines are getting smarter, new technologies are introducing new search methods (like voice search), and user behaviors are changing in how they seek information online.
In terms of SEO, there is only on thing you can count on: It requires ongoing education to stay on top of your game.
Let's explore SEO trends you can't afford to overlook this year.
SEO Trends You Don't Want to Miss in 2019
This is your year to kick your SEO game up a notch. When you see how each of the following SEO trends impact your business, you're going to be well-equipped to start climbing the rankings on SERPs.
1. Mobile Search Is Important. Like, Really Important.
This is not surprising when you consider some of the most staggering mobile marketing stats:
- By 2019, 80 percent of internet access will be on mobile phones.
- Mobile marketing can boost time for B2B purchases by 20 percent.
- 80 percent of smartphone users are more likely to purchase from companies with mobile sites or apps that help them answer questions.
Google is evolving with all these changes in mobile user behavior. In March 2018, they started migrating sites to mobile-first index. They released details about their process:
To recap, our crawling, indexing, and ranking systems have typically used the desktop version of a page's content, which may cause issues for mobile searchers when that version is vastly different from the mobile version. Mobile-first indexing means that we'll use the mobile version of the page for indexing and ranking, to better help our – primarily mobile – users find what they're looking for.
Don't worry. Google still uses a single index with both mobile and desktop versions. But you still need to deliver an awesome mobile user experience.
Some basic mobile SEO housekeeping you can focus on is tracking your mobile page load speeds, conducting audits on mobile performance, and crawling your pages with a mobile bot.
2. Sure, Content Is King. But Only If It's Awesome.
Google is continuing to punish sites that add an excess number of spammy links as well as low-quality content.
Content comes down to relevance. If you're not providing answers and solutions that align with your audience's questions, you're not going to climb the rankings.
In 2017, Google released their Fred update to penalize sites that put out low value content. The goal was to reduce page rankings for sites that create content with monetization in mind, which may translate to low-quality content that is not relevant or helpful for users.
They still focus on rewarding high quality content. In mid-2018, they updated the Quality Rater Guidelines, where they rate a page as low quality if one or more of the factors applies:
- The quality of the main content is low.
- The ads distract from the main content.
- The title is exaggerated.
- The creator of the page has an inadequate level of expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (EAT).
- The website or creator has a negative reputation based on research.
In content marketing and SEO, there are no shortcuts to sustainable success. It takes time to see real results, so always put quality over quantity as you execute your content strategy.
3. Local SEO Will Affect You. Yes, Even You.
With the growth of mobile search, local SEO is naturally becoming increasingly important. Mobile device users, whether at home or on the go, use this technology to perform queries related to local information, such as store addresses, hours, and more.
Research compiled by HubSpot found some stats that indicate the importance local SEO still plays in your overall strategy:
- Local searches lead half of mobile users to visit stores within one day.
- Nearly three in four (72 percent) consumers who did a local search visited a store within five miles.
- 30 percent of mobile searches are related to a location.
Simply put, when your audience is searching for a solution near their location, you want to outrank your competitors. This is where Google My Business plays a big part.
Basically, you want to get verified through Google's tool to prove to both the algorithm and the searcher that you are real. Once you verify, you need to optimize your online presence with Google My Business in mind.
You can achieve a lot through this too. You can share posts to promote new offers and updates, encourage customers to leave Google reviews, and stay engaged by responding to reviews. Also, you can keep your business profile updated with new photos and a link to your website.
Aside from that, you want to ensure your website is up to date and relevant to your local market. Add location pages and a Google Map to your site, create content that is tailored to your region, and ensure consistency by providing accurate NAP information (name, address, and phone number).
Fortunately, you don't have to do a ton of legwork for managing your local SEO. Tools like Moz Local make managing your online presence a breeze.
4. Shoot For the Stars (And the Snippets).
Ah, the featured snippet boxes. This is the SEO Holy Grail. Imagine being your buyer persona; you're so fed up with a pain point. You finally start searching for solutions to this issue, and then, boom – you spot content that perfectly addresses your problem. This content is ranked above all the listings below, with a big box around it.
Imagine if that content comes from you. Not only will your traffic rise, but you will also become an authority in your industry.
This small difference in rankings yields huge results. In fact, the average traffic share of the top ranking resource is 32.5 percent. What's more surprising, the first position on desktop earned a 30 percent click-through rate (CTR).
As you can see, earning the snippet placement should be a top priority for you. To improve your chances of being featured in a snippet box, format your pages to create scannable content, like using bullet points.
Also, use logical subheadings to structure the content well and set expectations for each part of the post. This makes it easier for search engines to read your page and determine whether it is relevant to user questions.
SEO trends will continually emerge. As you stay in the know, make sure you're going beyond just learning the trends.
You've done your research. Now, make the most of this knowledge. Take action on these SEO trends right now.