Search engine optimization (SEO) is a vital component in nearly all business operations. Finding the correct balance of keywords and semantics and links is a delicate science – and it seems like every time you think you’ve got it right, something changes in the algorithm.
SEO is constantly changing and can be wildly unpredictable. Luckily, we’ve rounded up a selection of top SEO predictions for 2019 to help you stay ahead of the competition – and even the search engines themselves.
Our world is becoming increasingly mobile and interconnected. We’re growing accustomed to results at our fingertips – and SEO will receive updates to increase speed to keep up with human demand.
If your site doesn’t clearly communicate the answers that users are searching for, they will leave your page and find the next one that does contain those answers. We know that loading times impact web traffic – 47% of internet users expect a page to load in 2 seconds or less. The same logic could be applied to search results as well.
If a user can’t gain information from your site immediately, you’ll be left in the dust. Your site content needs to be coherent, concise, and informative to gain SEO points. Make sure to format your site using best practices for web writing such as:
- Short, concise sentences
- Using an “inverted pyramid” structure, putting the most important information in the first paragraph of the page
- Using meaningful headers to break up content and guide readers’ eyes
Voice Search and Artificial Intelligence
Recently, we have witnessed the rise of handheld, easy-to-access AI technologies such as Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google Home. As a result, more and more people are relying on voice search and these AI assistants to find information on the web. AI technology plays a part in speed-oriented search results as well.
When people use voice search or AI assistants, they form their queries like a question – “Siri, where’s the best place to get lunch near me?” or “Alexa, what type of flowers should I purchase for my wedding?” As a result, web pages will have to start phrasing its content like questions.
If a common question is found on your web page, the AI or voice search will direct users to your site. If you do not have these questions, your site will become lost in favor of the sites that do. Incorporate more question-based content on your web pages, posts, headers and titles for AI prioritization in search results.
Focus on Brand Personality
The future of SEO revolves around the increase of AI, speed, and prioritization of the user experience. While SEO guidelines in the past have prioritized keywords and algorithm adherence, many sites are beginning to witness shifts in their rankings. This is due to a greater emphasis on human behavior and semantics in SEO than ever before.
The rise of semantic SEO in recent years will change search engine results dramatically in 2019 and beyond. These techniques prioritize human behavior and engagement over how many keywords are on a page. While keywords are still important, search engines will focus more on who’s talking about your brand.
To increase audience engagement across the internet, invest in your social media accounts and focus on building your brand’s personality. SEO algorithms will soon become too tough to crack, and increasing engagement will help organically boost your site in search results.
Emphasizing the User Intent
The rise of semantic SEO comes with a greater emphasis on the intent behind a user’s search, rather than the keywords they searched for. Since search engines are tailoring results to benefit user experience, these engines are likely to rely less on keywords and more on why a user would be searching for the phrase in the first place.
For example, let’s say that a user enters “type 2 diabetes test” into a search engine. Old SEO strategies would suggest that sites that contain this phrase will come highest in the results. However, semantics research has shown that these results won’t necessarily answer the user’s question. The engine will then consider why someone might be searching for “type 2 diabetes test.”
The user might be concerned about a family member’s health or interested in how type 2 diabetes is tested. More likely, they are concerned about their risk of developing the disease and what symptoms they should be looking for. As a result, search engines will prioritize results that include terms such as “type 2 diabetes screening quiz,” “diabetes risk assessment,” or “do I have type 2 diabetes?” among others that could provide the information they’re looking for.
When creating your web pages and posts, consider how your audience will find your content. Craft the terms within your content to cater to the user’s intent – your search engine rankings will likely climb after you make these changes.
Consider Google’s Direct Answers Box
In recent years, Google search results have incorporated Direct Answers Boxes within their search results. These boxes aid users when they’re searching for answers to questions, such as “How old is Samuel L. Jackson?” or “How long should I boil pasta?” At the top of the search results, Google will display the answer to these questions in a box, allowing users to find the answers they’re looking for quickly. Usually, this box quotes information directly from a website, providing a link along with the answer.
If you’re able to gain a spot in a Direct Answers Box, your web traffic will likely increase. Use brief content that provides straightforward answers to gain this spot. Using lists and bullet points will increase machine readability, which also increases your chance of appearing in these boxes. These tips will boost your SEO among voice search and AI assistants, as well as boost popularity among speed-oriented readers.
Focusing on speedy answers, adhering to voice search and AI best practices, and focusing on human intent and brand personality are some methods that you can use to boost your SEO in 2019. By staying ahead of the curve and incorporating these best practices now, you’ll boost your chances of ranking higher than the competition in future search results.
For more guidance on increasing your SEO power, contact Vizion Interactive today.