SEO is constantly in flux. The ever-rolling Google updates force businesses the world over to routinely change their tactics in an attempt to keep up and stay relevant; in this Internet-based age, relevance is the key to success. Let’s take a look at what some of the industry experts have to say about SEO in 2019, and where they predict the future will take us.
One thing cannot be disputed: people across the globe are relying on their smartphones more and more. Mobile use surpassed desktop use in 2016, and it is only becoming more popular.
“For many niches, we need to individually test and discover which aspects of SEO Google is looking to reward,” says Jon Blomquist of QuistBuilder. “In most cases, we are finding that the current trend is toward optimizing for the mobile index, faster overall loading time, and building website authority through links and outreach.”
Slavica Grgic of Udonis knows just how important mobile relevancy is — and how it will only continue to grow thanks to the introduction of 5G networks and new technology.
“Mobile advertising in the USA has existed for 11 years, and it is already bigger than television. Changes in mobile advertising are driven by infrastructure development, better networks, and 5G. Forget about modeled data. User-level approach to tracking will enable app & game companies to track everything precisely, get a better understanding of their data, and acquire higher quality users.”
As Riaan Miles of IT Design warns, there are risks involved with ignoring this vital sector.
“If you are not delivering a great user experience across every screen size when engaging your audience you will lose footing in search over the next couple of months. Perfect Website Mobile Responsiveness or become irrelevant.”
“Mobile” encompasses a wide variety of components, each of which businesses should be prepared to tackle if they want to be fully optimized. One of those components, as Donald Kim of Optimized Webmedia succinctly points out, is voice search.
“Voice search in SEO is growing in popularity — and at a very rapid pace!”
Jody Ordioni of Brandemix feels the same way about videos. Combined with social media, the market presents quite the opportunity for growth.
“It has been predicted that by 2021, 13% of total internet traffic will consist of live videos. As major social media platforms are now supporting live video streaming, it is expected to be worth more than $40 billion by the end of 2019. Facebook, Instagram and Spotify could be the major drivers of business for you.”
As we all know, artificial intelligence goes hand-in-hand with voice search features. Kevin Rowe of Purelinq believes that Google’s investment in AI will make context more relevant than ever.
“With Google’s recent investment and advances in AI, it is better able to handle natural language processing, thus better at understanding the reader’s intent. Google will further be able to understand content as if it was an actual human and it will more than likely use this understanding as a ranking factor. Thus: be on the lookout for contextual links.”
Beyond The Basics
In the days of old, links and keywords were enough; now, a multi-pronged attack is required.
“Fooling Google with irrelevant links on just a few keywords will not workout for people trying to spam the internet,” says Deepak Sachdeva of Dilvr. “If you are too much into the link building game, you need to think about the wider aspects.”
Jennifer Hoffman of Plum Marketing Services expands on this concept by pointing out just how much there is to sift through on the results page.
“It’s not enough anymore to rank in the top one to three spots organically. Googles search results page are now cluttered with ads, maps, knowledge graph box, featured snippets, and ‘people also ask’ sections. The most important thing for any marketer to remember is that a digital marketing plan must be multi-faceted.”
This means going above and beyond the basic “500 pages of 400 word blogs,” as Sean Butler of SearchButlers puts it. Instead, businesses should focus on “[reworking] that content into a few categories, [reducing] page count, [rebuilding] content into long form multimedia streams, and [implementing] correct schema” across their sites.
Focus On Intent
Relevancy has everything to do with intent. As more and more businesses are getting involved in SEO, Google has shifted its focus to whether or not users are reaching the information they need; less important are the links and keywords placed within the content.
“Google has always aimed to give users the best result,” says Adam Steele of Loganix. “Today the better we (SEO/webmasters) are at matching user intent (keyword searched, and the search purpose) with our website and content, the better we rank. You might call it and user-first, or user-centric algo.”
You may be working under the constraints of Google’s algorithms, but your target audience is still human.
“Trends come and go, algorithms change, and technology outpaces us all. But there’s one thing that remains constant: we’re human, and we like to FEEL human,” says Rachael Herman of YourImprint. “On top of making sure a website is fast, lean, responsive, and user-friendly, every SEO strategy we develop has a content strategy that focuses on the end user. By developing (or helping to develop) a digital sales funnel built and led by content, our clients are better able to follow the journey of their users and customers.”
As Adam Beal of Digitally Distinguished points out, that means you need to understand who your audience is and what they’re interested in on a fundamental basis.
“Does your audience prefer text? Images? Video? Audio? If you’re a photographer, your audience needs high quality images. If you’re customer is looking for a new roof, you need text and images. If you’re a sound engineer, text and audio is the key. Understanding what someone is expecting to find when they search a word or phrase is huge. If you are not targeting the right audience, it won’t grow your business.”
If you can perfect the balance between your target demographic and Google’s constantly changing algorithms, you’ll find success in SEO.