Massive changes are in store for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as it becomes even more of a science and continues to focus in on user experience. Some of what’s to come will sneak up on us due to the enigmatic nature of the SE beasts but industry experts are already talking about changes we can expect.
Voice search – 50% of all searches are predicted to be voice-based by 2020. As most speak differently than they write, voice search will change the way people search. They will use longer keyword queries which means that the keyword research process will have to change. It will become more about the intent of the search, the meaning of the keywords and how they are used in context. Instead of “telling”, website content will need to be presented in a manner that solves problems and answers questions. It is predicted that voice search will continue to become more and more accurate as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies become more sophisticated.
Mobile focus – Depending on the niche, 60-90% of Google searches are made on mobile devices and it is predicted that mobile use will continue to dominate. Google began using a mobile-first indexing in March of this year and will continue to roll out mobile-friendly strategies. Truly, responsive website design is no longer a choice, it is a must.
Blockchain – Blockchain is one of the less known and understood changes and will impact the way search engines interact with websites on the technical end of things. Blockchain verifies that people are actually people based on their past online behavior. It can also identify repeated clicking on an ad by the same person (potentially a competitor draining your ad campaign budget). In addition, blockchain code implemented on web pages will become the new secure way to obtain things online.
AI – AI will continue to impact keyword research. Private demographic data such as location, search history, what others have clicked on, etc. will influence rankings even more than they currently do. The goal of AI is to produce more useful results as the algorithm learns from data relevant to a given query in combination with a searcher’s behaviors. It is widely believed that is will still a few years out before the full potential of AI is reached.
Amazon Search Optimization (AMSO) – 56% of consumers begin their product searches on Amazon making it a stronger competitor for Google and Bing. Amazon’s search is more basic than Google’s as it is focused purely on making transactions happen. Relevancy and performance are the two, main factors that will improve your ranking. Keywords and item descriptions need to be able to predict and provide for consumer intent. Side note – Amazon’s search algorithm is referred to as A9.
User experience (UX) – 70% of consumers learn about a brand from their website. To determine whether user experience is positive or negative, Google’s AI algorithm considers organic click-through-rate, dwell time, bounce rate and pogo-sticking.
Bounce rate: single page viewed on a website – could be dissatisfaction or the thing being searched for was found.
Pogo-sticking: clicking back and forth from search results page to different results – an indication of immediate dissatisfaction.
Video content – Video content will account for almost 80% of all online traffic by 2021. This impacts SEO in that video is known to improve bounce rates as well as the amount of time spent on a site. Both of these metrics are interpreted by search engines as responses to “strong” content. It will become more important than ever to use a video sitemap to keep search engines informed about video metadata.
Content clustering – Algorithms from Google reward sites not only for strong content but also have their content focused on topics within their niche. Topics, rather than discrete keywords are the new focus. See more here for Hubspot’s take on the topic (scroll down to Content Clusters).
From revolutionary changes in algorithms and customer behavior to the latest Google innovations, 2019 is sure to be an exciting time for SEO experts. Of courses, you can’t ignore the basic best practices of SEO – just buy a bigger toolbox and keep piling in the new. For assistance with search marketing, advertising, and all of your digital needs, contact the experts at Strategy Digital Marketing today. We’re ready to help you take your brand to the next level!