As we head into the second quarter of 2019, it’s a good time to take a look at SEO trends that we expect will gain traction as the year continues.
Voice search has been around for a while, but 2019 promises to cement its place as a powerhouse. An estimated 64 million Americans own a smart speaker today and some estimates believe 50% of all total searches will be voice searches by next year.
With the expected continued growth of voice search in 2019 comes an even greater need for voice search optimization. We know that people are more apt to search via keywords when using Google textually, but are increasingly eager to ask a question of Siri or Alexa. To capture these longer, more conversational searches, optimization needs to be done a little differently in 2019.
The days of mobile websites being considered merely “alternate” versions of the desktop have been numbered for a while now and in 2019, they’re officially over. In March 2018, Google began migrating sites that follow mobile-first indexing best practices instead of traditional desktop pages. This signified a fundamental change in how Google crawls, indexes and thinks about your site, which should mean a fundamental change on your part, too.
What does this mean in practice? For agencies like Performics, it means the desktop site is no longer prioritized like it was. Gone are the days of the desktop receiving fuller content, more backlinks and structured data markup. Instead, mobile content needs to be robust, including META data, text, images and videos, all of which should be crawlable. Keep these things in mind, in addition to ensuring that mobile page speed and load times are prioritized.
It’s a big change, but there’s no need to panic. A key point to remember is that this is mobile-first indexing, not mobile-only. Even in 2019, many sites that still have only desktop versions can still be included in Google’s indexing. Still, expect the lack of a mobile-friendly site to start having a negative impact on your site’s rankings.
You very likely became aware of GDPR (the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation) when it was implemented last year, but may not fully understand it or the implications for SEO. The new regulation dictates that users themselves (and not corporations) own the data created by their online interactions. Companies now have to turn over all personal data they have on a customer (at the customer’s request) or risk severe fines.
Though the law was enacted by the European Union, it applies to all companies in America and around the globe with European customers. This includes companies like Google, who changed their analytics so that all personal user data (like demographics and affinity data) expires after 26 months. If you have no European customers, this can be halted via Google Analytics. If you do, however, there may be many more actions you need to take ASAP to make sure the data being gathered through Google Analytics is GDPR-compliant.
Google has dominated the search engine market for so long that it’s difficult to imagine any real competitor emerging. But Amazon may well be that competitor. Sure, you’re unlikely to hop on Amazon to search for “Thai food near me” or “lyrics to Piano Man,” but when it comes to online shopping, there’s a better than even chance (56% according to one study) that you’ll search on Amazon first, rather than Google.
As Amazon becomes more ubiquitous, this number is likely to grow. So if your company sells something that customers can find on Amazon (which is just about anything these days), then 2019 needs to be about prioritizing optimization for Amazon just as much as Google.
Intent vs. Demographics
Making marketing decisions based on the demographics of potential customers is as old as marketing itself. Though always important to consider, demographics rarely paint a full picture. If you’re selling baby products, the knee-jerk may be to focus almost exclusively on households with young children. And yet, 40% of baby products are purchased by households without children, likely as gifts for birthdays or baby showers. Focus solely on the obvious demographics and you miss many potential purchasers.
More and more, SEO is refocusing on understanding user intent over demographics. By leveraging intent segmentations and utilizing long-tail keywords to create quality content that speaks to what a user actually wants, not what we assume they want.
The year is still young and these are just some of the 2019 SEO trends we’ve noticed thus far, so there’s likely to be plenty more as the year goes on. Keep an eye on the Performics blog and brush up on these top 5 affiliate marketing trends while you’re at it.
Christian Missonak is an Associate Copywriter at Performics