Every new year in SEO’s life doesn’t start with a bad hangover. It starts with an awareness of the inevitable changes. Should we wait for the significant shifts in digital marketing and SEO in 2019? There’s a good chance we should. Furthermore, some trends that made a lot of noise last year will only get stronger over the next 12 months.
I. New Trends
1. Optimize Content for Featured Snippet
According to SEMrush Sensor, 11% of all search results contain blocks with short answers, the so-called Featured Snippets. Usually, they look like a list, table, small step-by-step guide, or just a piece of text with or without a picture.
Featured snippets are placed above top organic results and search ads, so they often take away a lot of organic traffic from websites with the highest positions in SERP. It means that you need to add an optimization for featured snippets to your list of prior SEO tasks for 2019.
How to Get into Featured Snippets
1. Collect a list of top search queries for your website
- Open Google Analytics and go to ‘Acquisition’ → ‘Search Console’ → ‘Queries’.
- Sort a list of keywords in descending order (from highest to lowest positions). There is a reason why you need specifically the top — only pages with high positions have a chance to get into featured snippets.
- Copy all keywords your website ranks for in top 10.
2. Analyze SERP of your top keywords and figure out which one still doesn’t have a featured snippet
- Put all keywords from GA to ‘SE Scraper’ window in Netpeak Checker.
- Select geolocation for Google in the main settings menu.
- Set number of results — 1. If there is a featured snippet in SERP, it will be enough to analyze only one top organic result.
- Launch analysis.
- Go to ‘Featured Snippet’ and take a look if there a ‘zero’ position in search results. You will understand if this search keyword is already ‘taken.’
- If you want to analyze tens or hundreds of keywords, use ‘Filter’ function. Using it, you’ll see only keywords with or without featured snippets.
3. Optimize content for keywords without featured snippets
- Create a block of content specifically for featured snippet spot.
It must be 40–60 words long.
- Format your content for a featured snippet.
All answers that have a form of a table or a list contain information that was structured with H2-H3 headings, numbered or bulleted lists and table markdown.
- Don’t forget about Schema.org structured data.
For example, most of the direct answers for culinary queries contain ‘Recipe’ schema.
2. Create Content for Voice Search Answers
Over the past three years, all experts and professional media speak with one voice that the future of SEO is closely connected to voice search. Not so long ago such allegations seemed groundless for many people and described rather distant and blurry future. However, dynamics of home voice assistant market and latest researches show that the future isn’t so distant.
According to BrightLocal, more than 50% of users have been using voice search for local queries over the last 12 months.
How to Optimize Your Content for Voice Search
- Get to the top.
In most cases, Google takes content from top 3 results to use for voice search answers.
- Structure your content.
Follow recommendations for Featured Snippets described above. Google likes well-structured content.
- Don’t forget about Google My Business.
About half of all voice searches are localized. It means that you must be present at local business listings that Google shows above organic search results or on the right of them (on a desktop version).
- Include a question in your content.
It will work better if you put an exact question before your answer.
3. Pay Special Attention to the Structured Data
No matter how well-designed your website is in terms of usability, user-friendliness of a website in search results is still important now. And it depends on schema.org. This kind of structured data specifies how many steps your user should take to reach the desired result.
Special structured data items contain information about the company, contact details, prices and navigation elements (breadcrumbs). They will form the page snippet. When ignoring them, you lose a chance to connect with a ‘lazy’ user who will choose someone more thoughtful.
4. Make Videos to Rank High on Youtube and Google’s Video Search
As it turns out recently, Google is not just paying attention to links from the video descriptions. It can also recognize and index links exactly from videos. But it’s not the only reason why you should include Youtube into your SEO strategy. According to WordStream, about one-third of all time being online users spend on watching videos. Thus, video can become a tool for a constant lead-generation along with branded podcasts and company’s blog.
II. 2018 Trends That Are Still Valid in 2019
5. Implement a PWA Technology
Google first introduced PWA (Progressive Web Apps) in 2015, but the technology started making the rounds only in 2016. PWA is an app that’s working in your smartphone’s browser. It closes the gap between ‘usual’ websites and native mobile apps.
PWA has a few significant advantages such as:
- responsiveness, typical for mobile apps
- adaptability that helps PWA websites work perfectly on any device
- possibility to add chosen PWA to the home screen
- high loading speed resulting from a full or partial caching
- more significant functional capabilities compared to the responsive websites
- offline functions
- push notifications
In 2019 PWA have a strong chance to move towards a new stage and become widespread at least for one reason: this technology provides great UX. And every year, search engines draw more attention to user-friendliness.
There is no guarantee that PWA websites will rank higher than any others, but we highly recommend to think about using this technology in the nearest future. Now PWA is used by Pinterest, AliExpress, Lancome, Forbes, and many others.
6. Improve Technical Optimization
Despite the importance of backlinks, in 2019 you have to be more attentive to the technical side of SEO. First of all, we recommend you to:
- make website’s load time and work faster
- be careful with JS
- set the secure connection (HTTPS)
- reduce the number of redirects
- minimize the number of active plugins (especially if you use WordPress CMS)
- build a logical structure and internal linking
All aspects we mentioned above affect website ranking and UX. As we told before, UX will become much more critical over time.
7. Use LSI Instead of Old School SEO Texts
Using traditional SEO-oriented texts has already become an outdated and dangerous SEO-technique. 2019 will be a perfect year to forget about keywords spamming and counting ratio of keywords to words. The LSI texts are an ideal alternative for them.
Specialists first mentioned them after the release of Google’s Panda algorithm in 2011. Since then, the general level of content quality significantly increased, but a lot of SEOs still work with text in the old-fashioned way ignoring Google’s requirements and users’ expectations.
Let’s go over the main differences between LSI and SEO-oriented texts:
- SEO-oriented texts contain exact keywords, while LSI means the use of relevant synonyms.
- In contrast to the SEO-oriented, headings in LSI texts must be short and informative. They should not necessarily contain exact keywords.
- The ratio of keywords to words is not essential in LSI texts. The only thing that matters is a level of expertise and usefulness.
- The primary goal of SEO-oriented text is to move a page to the top of SERP, while the goal of LSI text is to be useful and answer the user’s question.
8. Optimize Website Considering Active Mobile-First Indexing
It seemed that Mobile-First Indexing has been active since 2016 and all statistic data shows that mobile audience continually grows. However, a lot of webmasters and SEOs are pretty naive to think that some quick and dirty mobile website will be enough to meet modern search engine requirements.
In the middle of 2018, Google has sent reminder letters about Mobile-First Indexing to websites owners. It must be a wake-up call for everyone who didn’t take mobile optimization seriously enough. It is so because users perform more than 50% of all searches from their mobile devices.
So what mobile optimization exactly means today:
- If you are using responsive design, make sure that website looks and works perfectly on all devices, regardless of their screen size.
- If there are two separate website versions for desktop and mobile devices, you need to check:
- all important content and its availability for mobile users
- microdata in both versions of the website
- links set in hreflang attribute
- metadata for mobile pages
- all important pages
- mobile version response and loading speed
- length of Meta Title and Meta Description for mobile pages
To perform a necessary mobile optimization check you can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. It will help to test whether a page on your site is mobile-friendly.
If you need to perform a bulk analysis for all pages of your website, make it with crawler using one of the available mobile user-agents. In the case of Netpeak Spider you need to perform next steps:
- Launch the tool.
- Open ‘Settings’ menu and choоse Googlebot (Smartphone) or any mobile browser as user-agent. Save changes.
- Select ‘Default’ template on a sidebar’s ‘Parameters’ tab.
- Paste a website address into ‘Initial URL’ field and press ‘Start’ button.
- After tool finishes scanning, go to the sidebar and take a look at the list of detected issues. Pay special attention to problems of URL compliance, response and content loading time, and metadata.
9. Improve the Level of Quality and Expertise
Over the years, content still has its supremacy given to it by Bill Gates in 1996. But when an information volume grows exponentially, it’s not enough to produce some content. And there are several reasons for that:
- Fierce competition for a place in SERP and audience attention.
- The level of users’ expectation growth. They become more demanding in terms of quality and information depth.
- Importance of content creator’s authority.
- Fast improvement of Google’s algorithms through Machine Learning and their ability to understand content almost like a human.
Take care of users first, and don’t focus on a content quantity. Today content should meet the following requirements:
- Content must be made with real and competent specialists.
- Articles must be structured and readable.
- There must be not only the text but also additional media content to illustrate it.
- Each article must contain detailed information about its topic and be exhaustive.
- Content should be updated regularly not to lose its relevance and rank successfully in the long run.
In a Nutshell
Main trends of SEO in 2019 are looking like a logical legacy of the last years’ tendencies. The most important of them include:
- optimization for Featured Snippets
- preparing content for voice search
- special attention to structured data
- creating videos for ranking in Youtube and Google’s video search
- creating PWA-websites
- improving technical optimization
- LSI copywriting
- optimization for mobile devices
- increasing the level of content expertise
Have you already implemented new trends into your SEO strategy? And do you feel some results? Share your experience with us in the comments below.