SEO trends to watch in 2019
Last year, we highlighted seven key SEO trends we believed would grow in importance during the course of 2018. We look back at those predictions, review their relevance in the new year and flag emerging SEO trends for 2019.
1. Mobile-first approach
Mobile-first indexing has been touted by Google for some time, but its official roll-out was finally kicked off in March 2018. This is an ongoing gradual roll-out with site owners notified of the switch via their Search Console; so it’s important to ensure your site is verified with the platform. Some of the most important areas to review include:
- Ensuring the desktop and mobile version of your site match - include text and image content, links and structured data.
- Double checking your robots.txt file - ensure there is nothing differentiating between mobile and desktop.
- Avoiding any possible gateway or uncrawlable content such as flash or interstitials.
2. Voice Search
The trend towards voice continues to progress rapidly; by 2020 30% of all searches will take place without a screen according to Gartner. Mobile-friendly sites are a natural first-step in this process; providing a likely priority for voice search ranking. Consider:
- Schema markup - make sure your content is clearly labelled.
- Featured snippets - as highlighted in our post last year, these remain key to both voice and non-voice searches. Optimising content to stand a chance in this top spot will also stand you in good stead for potential voice search results.
- Conversational vs short-tail keywords; voice search is all about natural language. This means a move away from traditionally ‘stilted’ search terms towards a more conversational tone of voice across your content.
By 2020 30% of all searches will take place without a screen.
3. User Experience
SEO and UX are a natural combination - what is good for users is also good for crawlers. Combine this with the increasing reliance on mobile and voice platforms, and UX only continues to grow in ranking importance in 2019. Keeping site structure and navigation simple, ensuring pages load fast and content is easily accessible; particularly with the increased use of machine learning and Google’s RankBrain determining ranking.
4. Expanded SERPs
Long gone are the days of a simple search results page with ten blue links. There are now a wide variety of features included in SERPs, and these continue to expand as Google enhances its user journey. Updates include AMP stories that increase the interaction available for Google’s fast-loading mobile pages; updates to the recently launched Google Lens that crosses the barrier between device and world; and expansion of the already highly-advanced Knowledge graph with the addition of greater machine-learning, including a Topic Layer to categorise knowledge panels based on sub-categories and topics.
5. Alternative Platforms
Lastly, it would be remiss of us to consider 2019 without looking beyond the Google monopoly over search. Although it remains unquestionably the master in the category, the looming shadow of Amazon is no small matter. With its foray into voice search and Alexa; Amazon is rapidly entering Google’s traditional territory. According to a global Kenshoo study; 72% of consumers use the platform to purchase and 56% of those begin their search directly on Amazon rather than any other search engine. Although e-commerce is not necessarily a direct correlation for many finance brands, it is worth considering where your potential customers are spending their time and how you can potentially reach them there.
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