Keeping up with SEO trends are becoming more and more difficult since the search giant Google constantly changes its algorithm and ranking factors. Google SERPs get more and more crowded with SERP features such as featured snippets, local packs, carousels which push organic blue links further and further down the page.
Come 2019, Digital marketers are faced with the challenge of mastering following trends to compete for the limited SERP real estate that is available for organic results or getting their sites into SERP features.
Mobile first indexing
In 2018, Google initiated Mobile first indexing which is aimed at serving the best content for ever-increasing mobile searchers. In this method, Google considers the mobile version of a website for ranking purposes.
There is, of course, only one index for both Desktop and mobile. Needless to say, Desktop only sites will be at a disadvantage. You don’t need to have a separate mobile site but it must at least be responsive.
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Page speed is more important than ever since the majority of users use mobile devices. Mobile devices use lower bandwidth and processing power. Using a lightweight layout and user-friendliness is important to retain users.
Statistics say that if 60% of mobile users won’t return to your site if their experience is unsatisfactory. 40% of users will go to competitor sites.
Google home and Google Assistant are trending at a considerable pace and more and more people tend to use voice search functions on their mobile rather than typing their query into the search box. What are the factors that weigh in for ranking for voice search?
According to a study done by Brian Dean following factors seem to have a correlation to obtain higher positions.
- Page Speed
- Short and concise descriptions
- Authoritative domains
- Easy-to-read content
- Schema markup
Google has made it official several years ago that HTTPS (or HTTP over SSL/TLS) is a ranking factor. Their intention was to make the web secure. Last year Google chrome started warning users about not secure sites by displaying a label next to the address bar. This might scare away your potential customers.
Hence there is no option but to implement HTTPS. To do so you’ll have to purchase an SSL certificate from a trusted certificate provider and install it on the web server. Securing your site is not that difficult. Many web hosting providers provide easy options to install SSL certificates on your website.
Optimising for Searcher Intent
In the early days of SEO, optimising for search phrases meant stuffing all the related keywords into pages and waiting for Big G to rank your pages for all those keywords. Those days are long gone. Then came an era where you’d select a keyword and sprinkle it into the title tag, H1 tag, meta description, meta keywords and content.
Then you’d go on to build links using exact match anchor texts to the website. Although some of these methods may serve the purpose, Google engineers have improved their algorithms to serve best pages that’d help the searcher to find what he actually wants. Hence creating high-quality content for your potential customers is of paramount importance
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
As mentioned earlier, improving your site’s mobile page speed is important. One way to achieve this by implementing AMP on your site. What does AMP do exactly? AMP pages are simply lightweight versions of your standard web pages.
These pages are stripped of bandwidth and processor consuming resources. Hence they don’t look as good as the original pages but are lightning fast. There are rules that must be adhered to when designing AMP pages as laid out by Google AMP project. If you’re a WordPress website, there are plugins for this purpose to transform basic pages to AMP.
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