As 2018 draws to a close, it’s time to look ahead to the next twelve months and consider the trends (both new and continuing) that are likely to dominate search engine optimisation for marketers and businesses.
In order to retain a high position on Google for the search terms that matter the most to your business, you need to think about your SEO strategy in advance. And that makes this blog post one of the most important you’ll read before you crack open that first bottle of champagne.
1. Voice search
Think about how often you search for something or ask a piece of technology to do something using only your voice. It’s probably more than you realise.
The rise of voice search is having a considerable effect on the way SEO is carried out. Typing a request (“best gyms in Northampton”) is very different to speaking it (“where is the best gym in Northampton?”), and therefore the keyword strategy for your website will need to take into account the increasing domination of voice search.
2. The mobile-first index
Google’s mobile-first index has been in operation since early 2018, but it takes time for such a seismic change to propagate.
Essentially, the mobile-first index will rank webpages based on their ability to scale down to smaller screens; it’s the mobile version of the website that will be held in much higher regard by the search giant.
By next year, this new algorithm will have completely taken hold, making mobile-unfriendliness something for which there’s simply no excuse.
3. Page speed
Google is now starting to evaluate webpages based not just on how well they’re optimised, but also their speed.
By using Chrome’s User Experience report, Google is able to generate a ‘speed score’, which is based on real world performance. And, although it’s still early days, Google’s desire to test this new metric so heavily means it’s clearly in their plans for page ranking.
4. Brand awareness
Google has publicly stated that it uses brand mentions within its search algorithm. This means that the more your brand is mentioned on other websites and social media, the more it’s likely to have a positive effect on your Google search rankings.
Google does this by identifying the constituent elements of your brand and then explores backlinks to it and the perceived reputation via online reviews and mentions elsewhere.
Put simply, the more your band is mentioned positively and on trusted sources, the more Google will realise it’s an authority.
5. Quality content
Remember the days when websites would simply be stuffed with keywords in order to attract Google’s attention? They’re long gone, thank god.
Quality content has long been one of the most important elements of any SEO strategy, but next year it’ll be even more important, due to the sheer amount of content that is being produced these days.
Content is for users, not search engines, and Google values that fact greatly. It’s why you need to produce the best written work you can and complement it with engaging imagery and video.
You can’t do this alone. Ranking highly and consistently on Google is a skill that most business owners and marketing departments have little time for, but with the help of an expert and a focus on the above SEO trends for 2019, you’ll make waves on the most important search engine of them all.