SEO 'Crystal Ball Gazing -2019' - Is it more of the same or what?
In 2017 and 2018 we speculated that the priority for SEO would be "all about the technology." This forecast proved correct, to rank highly in Google search; even with the best content in the world if your website is technically deficient, it will adversely impact your website being seen.
The sophistication of the search engine algorithms continue to evolve, their objective is to deliver the best quality search result that meets the user’s expectations. This is simply the bottom line, usability improvements made to the search engines are created with this in mind as the priority.
In 2018 the emphasis on security was a positive development with Google within Google Chrome now reporting websites with a security warning if it is not HTTPs secured. We discussed this in our earlier blog. In 2019 if you see a website that is showing as insecure it should be avoided, particularly if it is using forms or seeking information from you.
We identify the Top 5 (no particular order) SEO trends that we consider are important in 2019:
1 - Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning
Google 'RankBrain' is a euphemism for artificial machine intelligence (AI) an algorithm (one of Google's many) that assists in processing search results. Combined with the 'Hummingbird algorithm' that recognises long tail search queries, that is English natural phrases, the function is for the Google Search engine to constantly learn and provide visitors with the most useful, relevant, trustworthy and authoritative results. Google refers to Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) it uses to discover how a term, word and content interact together to mean the same thing. This means the search engine is clever enough to identify your website content’s context, and synonyms related to your keywords. Google draws on personalised browsing, and search history to deliver the most relevant search query answer, as quick as possible.
As the reliability and quality of the search results are refined, Google in late 2017 started to experiment as to how it presented featured snippets with more answers appearing in Knowledge Graph boxes, showing on the side of the page. These prominent items, or snippets displayed are intended to give users better quality answers.
2 - The Rise of Conversational Search
As hardware capability accelerates, hand in hand with Point 1. voice assistants such as Siri, Cortana, Alexa, and Google Assistant allow conversational style search engine queries to replace typed commands. Teens particularly have enthusiastically embraced voice search. This lends itself to Google's Mobile First policy that is now entrenched with mobile being the natural platform capable of voice search. Google states; “mobile-first indexing means that we'll use the mobile version of the page for indexing, and ranking, to better help our – primarily mobile – users find what they're looking for.”
With a proliferation of devices such as voice-activated speakers, like Google Home, and Amazon Echo will further influence search strategy. Currently, 1 out of 5 searches come from voice queries.
We believe voice search is still a work in progress; it will still not see mainstream adoption in 2019, but is coming.
3 - EAT your SEO!
Acronym spaghetti here, Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness (EAT) is a critical for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Essentially the Google algorithm assesses the website as a total package, and whether the content is authoritative.
This is in the context of the author’s reputation, attribution and quality of references to the writer, prominent links to the content and credentials that are proven. The real world implication is for the algorithm from Google, or Bing etc. a page on a website would be ranked with the same authority or credibility as if a human was selecting and prioritising physical documents on the chosen subject.
One of the most effective methods to improve the perceived authority of your website is to have other trustworthy and reputable websites link to your content.
4 - Technical SEO
In our introduction, we noted the importance of good housekeeping of the technical website elements is taken care of. It is understood Google looks at some 200 factors in determining what search result will be at the top of the pile. Google does not disclose the weighting, but common sense would suggest a website that has fast performance is an essential factor versus slow unreliable hosting will be an important factor and weighted accordingly.
At Move37 Consulting we have formulated our 50-point SEO - Healthcheck review which adopts a best practice approach in evaluating the many incremental components to ensure your website is seen.
5 - ‘Content is King’
In 2016 we wrote our ‘Content is King’ blog, that your website must offer quality search engine results the user wants. With your prospective customers you need to decide if is better delivered as text, images or video in search.
Ultimately what matters is fresh, authentic and original content. When you provide quality content, you will end up in Google’s algorithm sweet spot, when you have adhered to the technical SEO basics. The importance of quality content will no doubt appear every year as probably the most crucial website requirement.
For your website redesign or improvement program in 2019, there are multiple moving parts, the overriding mantra is to provide fresh, deep, and meaningful content for users and make sure the technical housekeeping is done correctly.
“Is it more of the same or what?” - There are no quick SEO solutions despite the ‘snake oil’ claims from those SEO marketers that spam your email. SEO is about a deliberate carefully formulated strategy that understands your specific business objectives and translates this to an actionable plan, rather than a generic one size fits all approach.
We know SEO, talk to us today.