What Will SEO Look Like in 2019?

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With 2018 drawing to a close, it’s time to look onwards to 2019 and put an SEO strategy in place so that you are prepared for the new trends and changes in the industry.

2018 has been quite the year for SEO; Google has changed the scene by prioritising mobile and speed as important ranking elements. Due to the amount of changes surrounding this, we can expect this theme to continue well into 2019.

Keeping the changes of the last year in mind, here’s what we predict SEO will look like in 2019:

Page Speed

Desktop page speed has been a ranking factor for many years, but in July of 2018 it was announced that mobile page speed was going to be an additional ranking factor for the search results.

Google’s number one priority is to deliver the best user experience; it looks badly on them if the websites they rank on page 1 load slowly and result in high bounce rates. Due to this the algorithm now takes into consideration how quickly a website loads.

It would be ignorant to ignore this change, as no matter how brilliant your content is, if it loads slowly then you simply won’t get the rankings you are expecting!

You can evaluate how well your website performs using the Google PageSpeed Insights Tool, which has been updated to reflect the importance of page speed. Historically, your website was graded based on technical parameters, but this has now all changed with the addition of two new metrics: optimisation and page speed.

Your score for these metrics is generated from Chrome User Experience, i.e. performance data based on real user experiences. The overall metric reflects an average of how quickly your website performs and loads.

You can easily achieve a better Optimisation score by following Google’s advice on how to fix elements they have highlighted could be improved on your website. Experiments have shown that whilst your page speed score does not currently correlate with better or worse rankings, your optimisation score does – so focus on fixing that first! Here are 9 optimisation elements that Google recommends that will help to improve your score:

  • Avoid landing page redirects
  • Enable compression
  • Improve server response time
  • Leverage browser caching
  • Minify resources
  • Optimise images
  • Optimise CSS delivery
  • Prioritise visible content
  • Remove render-blocking JS

Mobile-First Indexing

If you weren’t convinced that mobile is the major change coming to SEO, it’s time to change your mind – because it’s already happening, and your website may already be losing out because of it.

As of March 2018, Google have been rolling out mobile-first indexing. Mobile-first indexing, in a nutshell, means that Google now uses the mobile version of your website for indexing and ranking. It seems that most websites have now been migrated to mobile-first indexing as the year comes to a close, but if you’re unsure you should check your Google Search Console account as you will have had a notification about it!

Now that Google has confirmed the importance of being mobile friendly, to such an extent that they have changed their ranking algorithm for it, it’s time you bring your website into the 21st century and ensure that every possible element is responsive for not only mobile but desktop too.

Branding

Within Google’s Search Quality Guidelines it states that brand reputation matters for rankings, but this fact is often overlooked as other ranking signals are favoured, so this may be a good way for your business to one up your competitors in 2019.

Garry Illyes of Google has stated previously that the search giant uses brand mentions in their ranking algorithm. How do they do this?

Google analyses all mentions of your brand across the web and by exploring the different websites/resources mentioning it, as well as sentiment, context, reputation, advertising etc they can determine a trustworthy brand for a non-trustworthy brand. If Google can see you have a good amount of positive feedback mentioning your brand name, this will benefit your rankings.

Engage with happy, and not so happy customers – Google loves this as they see you as a reputable company that does not only care about the positive feedback they receive but also strive to help customers who may have had a less than positive experience with you.

There are tools you can use to monitor brand mentions that don’t necessarily link back to your website, this will help you not only reply to any feedback but keep track of how your brand is perceived.

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