Google changes its algorithms throughout the year. Although most are minor, with five to six hundred changes a year, the equations are consistently changing. Along with the annual changes and the arrival and ever-increasing use of voice search, Digital Marketing SEO companies have to keep up with trend changes, or they can easily start losing the game. Here are the top 10 developments for 2019.
1 – Target Featured Snippets
Google Ads advertising has begun to take up most of the prime space on Google’s results pages and competition is strong. An array of other image and text advertising, Google news, shopping etc are also pushing organic search results further and further down the page. Featured Snippets pushes organic results further down. These snippets are basically “simplified answers” to the search question and they offer a window of opportunity for small business websites to get seen and rank above major websites. Without doubt, in 2019 small businesses should be using this opportunity as the competition will be fiercer than ever.
2 – Realise the Importance of Structured Data
Google can create meta descriptions from the content of a webpage as well as structured data such as star ratings, event data and opening hours. Google only uses inner page content for rich snippets. They are worth targeting in your SEO strategies because research indicates a rich snippet can improve click-through rates by around thirty percent. Google’s Markup Helper is a useful tool to make that happen.
3 – On Page Optimisation
In 2019 Google is putting more emphasis on user experience when assessing the rank of your website. On page optimisation includes improving the page speed, removing obsolete and outdated code functions (such as flash for example) and (probably the most important of all), ensuring your website functions well on mobile devices. You don’t need to overthink this – we recently removed a couple of unnecessary large images that didn’t really add to the user experience on our client’s site. This simple change improved page loading times and caused the site to jump up a couple of places for its focus keyword.
4 – AMP Pages
AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. Google already includes your website’s compatibility and page loading times on mobile devices to assess your rank. With the number of mobile searches going up every year, in 2019, AMP will be more important than ever. Learn more about Google’s AMP pages here.
5 – Content is Still King
The content of your pages is the only way Google can assess how relevant that page is to a specific search. Google’s algorithms have become more sophisticated than ever. They can better assess continuity, syntax, and textual relevance. The days of keyword-stuffed, badly written content are long gone.
6 – Voice Search
Voice search is on the rise, particularly among teenagers. Google reports say as high as one in five searches are made using voice and voice input devices. To cater for this trend targeting long tail keyword phrases in 2019 is a must.
7 – The Mobile First Index from Google
Google introduced the Mobile First Index in 2018, clearly showing they are placing more and more emphasis on mobile searches – Not really a surprise when you think of how much we use the internet on our mobiles every day. The Mobile First Index refers to how Google shows preference to pages that are mobile friendly. In 2019 it is essential to ensure your website is optimised for mobile devices.
8 – Link Power
You might be hearing a lot of talks lately that backlinking is dead. Gary Illyes is a webmaster trends analyst for Google and says link power (backlinks) continues to be an important factor regarding where Google ranks your page. However, today Google’s algorithms can even pick up on references to a website without a link, and this seems to be the easiest and best approach in 2019 to ‘backlinking’.
9 – Image Searches
Since 2017 Google has upped the ante on Image searches simply because more people are searching for them. In 2019 you should be thinking more about the quality and relevance of your website’s images more than ever.
10 – Google’s Rankbrain
RankBrain was introduced into Google Algorithms in 2015. This means artificial intelligence is being used to answer search questions – If a phrase is not understood, Rankbrain fills in the gap by making a “knowledgeable” guess. Rankbrain is currently used to answer around fifteen per cent of daily search questions. With every answer, it is getting smarter and understanding us better. By following its lead, you can use this logic to target keywords and make the most of that 15%.