Dedicated app or mobile website?8 January 2019
Google Algorithm Update – March 20195 March 2019
2018 for SEO was a year of search engines striving to improve the quality of search results. So far, we have observed increasing dominance of mobility, personalization in searches and algorithmic changes. The entire previous year at Google was marked by improved mobility and speed.
2019 will continue to benefit from the previous year trends. This year SEO will consistently introduce us into technological innovations, trying to adapt to the upcoming changes intensely introduced by Google. A large part of SEO efforts will be associated with Google’s aim for mobility and speed. Thus following topics may be considered very important.
Here are our predictions for 2019.
As every year, organic searches are going to be important since they are the key to our understanding of consumer experience. Currently, the way to purchase is unique for every customer, but still there are some fascinating trends that we can identify in the behavior of seeking customers.
Consumers are looking not only for a product or service to meet their needs. They use the search engine to learn everything they can. They want to know what kind of experience they can create. People want to know when a company is open, how to get there and what service it provides.
Thanks to the growing number of people using the Internet and continuous communication, countless new points of contact appear, thanks to which marketers can connect with consumers. These are playing increasingly important role than ever before. The intent for using a search engine has completely redefined the marketing path and, as Google claims, there are no two identical customer travels.
Currently, the search engine is a two-way communication channel, which is guided by knowledge about how to meet the needs of the market, from marketing to operations, customer service, loyalty and more.
People are increasingly turning to phones to search the Internet. It makes sense because the phones are smaller and we always have them with us. Additionally, 2019 is the year of the first Google index for mobiles. Thus it is worth preparing yourself for because you can lose a lot of it looking from the point of view of SEO.
With mobile indexing, Google will start from the mobile version of your content, deciding where will be placed in SERPs. When Google started by indexing content on computers as a priority, it often meant that a poor version of said content loading would drag search results on mobile devices. Beginning with mobile indexing as a priority, the problem of a weak version on a computer is not as likely, considering that desktop computers and laptops have larger processing engines.
Web developers are adapting to the increased use of mobile devices, by creating mobile-friendly websites. Many WordPress themes are becoming more and more helpful in terms of having a responsive version. In other words, owners of online businesses are becoming easier to adapt. For SEO strategists, this means adjusting search optimization strategies to attract more mobile users. More research will need to be applied to the keywords in search engines that mobile users will probably type in.
Page speed – i.e. the page loading time
Site speed is important for SEO because it has been considered a decisive factor in computer searching for quite some time. However, only recently Google has officially introduced speed as a ranking factor for mobile search engines using Google Speed Update. Because the index is now mobile, optimizing page load speed has never before been more important if you want to position well. There are many tools that allow you to measure page speed.
Historically, after analyzing in PageSpeed Insights, the site was evaluated only on the basis of technical parameters. Now, both computer and mobile versions, are classified according to two different indicators: optimization and speed. Result of the optimization is now important in the rankings. Fortunately, the optimization of the website and the tracking of results are entirely in your hands.
If you look at the search engine results pages (SERP), you’ll notice that they have received a lot of “competition”. AdWords ads take up a lot of space on commercial queries. Depending on the type of query, ads with photos or ads with block of four texts are placed before the free search results.
Your other “competitors” for the highest positions are:
- local packages
- chart of knowledge
- recommended fragments
- “People also ask”
- Google news
- Google images
- Youtube Video Pack
Recommended fragments, i.e. Featured Snippets, will continue to play a major role in 2019. They satisfy user’s needs for simple answers to their questions. The snippets come from sites that Google interprets as relevant to the user’s question. However, we have yet to see how Google deals with the credibility of the websites used. Google has already begun creating a graph of knowledge for many queries, using data from Wikipedia.
If you want to get with your content to the top position in Featured Snippets, especially when it comes to knowledge questions, consider putting a question and answer sequence on the page. Tables containing structured information can also contain information regarding free results. Even if the competition for the highest positions becomes more fierce, with regard to the descriptions of fragments, “smaller” sites also have a high chance of being ranked high if they provide well-ordered answers that Google can use.
So in 2019, you should ask yourself more often about what your target group wants to know when it searches the Internet or what it wants to include in its search. The more you satisfy this need in your materials, the better your chances of ranking high will be.
In terms of coding, microformats are small HTML patterns that signal information about a website. The more information about a particular website the search engine has, the more accurately it can be ranked. Search engines usually reward you with a better position if you can provide a fair description of your site. In addition, microformats often make the content more appealing to the consumer and thus attract more clicks. An increased number of clicks means, of course, improved ROI and better SEO signals for search engines such as Google.
Microformats add labels or tags. However, you can specify it for your content according to your liking.They translate to search engines about what your content is about. Microformats are not intended for every website. If you do not run business with ratings, working hours or a specific location where customers can visit you, microformats are potentially not suitable for your needs.
Optimization of user intentions
In the world of marketing, research is still on going regarding search engines when specific keywords are entered. Search engine optimization is not just about pushing popular keywords on websites. It’s about the integration of keywords to make your website keep its promise to the search engine.
Goal optimization is the future since from, 2019 and later on, voice search will become increasingly popular. Voice search identifies the intentions of users much faster. Instead of typing shortened search intentions, the consumer can now clearly state what they are looking for in terms of products or services, or even information.
The best way for optimal understanding of user intent is to think about yourself as a particular user performing the search. What would you look for? What calls for action would influence you to learn more about a product or service? What would be the most adequate value for using the site?
That’s why optimizing user intentions in 2019 will be more important than ever before, mainly due to the growing voice search.
Local searches are particularly important for companies that aim to attract local customers. The best way to ensure this is by optimizing the website to clearly indicate where the company is operating. In 2019 local search will be even more precise. Increased accuracy will mean even more targeted search results. This means that instead of targeting the suburbs of the city, you can hit the intersections of the streets. More precise targeting will in turn create improved paths for pre-qualified consumers.
For most of us closeness is an important factor. If the service of the same or slightly worse quality is a bit closer to our location, we tend to choose it over a better. Thus, consumers usually want to locate the nearest the product or service provider.
Personal data protection (RODO)
Security on the Internet is a major issue – and fortunately it is taken seriously. Earlier this year, the EU adopted a general regulation on the protection of personal data (RODO), which empowers users to have more control over their private information that are gathered by websites. While it certainly works to increase user data security, there are still many vulnerabilities that can be exploited by malicious third parties.
2019 will undoubtedly present us with more initiatives in the field of data protection, as well as more ways to improve security on the Internet.
In 2019, backlinks will continue to play an important role. In 2018, a good old PageRank ranking was still an important signal for Google in ranking creation.
In fact, so-called “link-free backlinks” can play an even greater role in 2019. This consideration is based on the fact that Google may also consider mentioning of sites or brands on other websites, although no direct link refers to landing page.
In the case of SEO 2019, you must understand that building links through third and fourth class article portals is futile. Instead, you should invest in unique content that users like to use or share.
You should also be careful with guest posts in general. Two years ago, Google warned about similar low-quality posts, so you must make sure that quality is preserved.
Always, think whether the link to your site really offers added value to the user. Because smarter search engines will analyze whether people clicking your links really stay and read or leave immediately. SEO marketers need to focus more on relevancy and quality in their link building strategies.
Going further, you’ll have to choose more selectively your links. Here are some simple fixes that build a good link:
- create return links to reputable websites
- favoring linking to institutions’ websites (scientific publications, well-known journals)
- limit links to websites that direct ads to the same niche
- establish relationships with other people that give you the ability to link
- internal linking for a better structure of site links
Content, or good content
Content will be just as important as in previous years. Creating high quality, engaging content can inform people about what a website or company is. It also signals readers that the company cares to help the people, which is ideal for the brand’s image.
The year 2019 will not differ from previous years in terms of the strong impact of content on the search engine ranking. Content production is the basic business model in the SEO industry, Thousands of companies appear every few months in the form of content marketing solutions.
The ability to have a deep arsenal of proven content will benefit the website from a variety of viewpoints. Including internal links that help Google learn more about the new and old content you have prepared.
It also helps to point Internet users who are already impressed by some of your content to even more of your content. This helps to improve website statistics per session in Google Analytics, which is a big challenge in the Google SEO algorithm.
Voice search and home assistants
It is estimated that by 2020 50 percent of all searches in the world will be conducted by voice. Users will use voice-enabled devices such as Google Home for at least 30 percent of all searches without using the screen.
Voice search seems to be longer than the keyboard one. That’s why your SEO must focus on finding and using keywords from seven to nine words that people can use in conversations.
Devices like Amazon Alexa, Apple’s Homepod and Google Home are selling worldwide like fresh rolls. More and more homes are connected to these devices. Although you can buy Alex initially for starting the car or adjusting the air conditioning but, eventually you will use it to find a cheap hotel offer.
In addition, people are increasingly looking for local businesses and services using voice search devices at a stunning rate.
As with mobile optimization, voice search optimization will require more research and implementation by marketers in 2019.
Artificial intelligence in SEO
Artificial intelligence is a new ground for gaining competitive advantage and creating business value. It refers to the machine’s ability to replicate human cognitive functions, with the ability to learn and solve problems.
AI contains the algorithm and data used to determine the best and relevant results. The data uses all kinds of content, images, user behavior and trust to help get the information needed.
Think about Google search engine, based on its ability to understand text on websites. But now, thanks to the advances in deep learning, search engine is able to make photos and videos useful to people in a way never seen before. This category also includes the aforementioned devices like Alexa and Google Home.
Greenlogic – SEO curiosities from 2018 based on our clients:
At Greenlogic, we work with companies from various industries. From law firms, through medical, technological, industrial, clothing, sports and tourism companies – to IT companies. That way, we learn about the specificity of the industries and their seasonality, but also find out which SEO activities to put in the process of creating a policy for our clients. And here invariably reigns one approach – you cannot use templates. Instead you should understand the business goals and budget possibilities of the client and only then create a strategy. There are many ways to increase organic traffic. Let’s check what worked last year.
A small budget, but a “catchy” industry, a SEO for a sports company
The service had undergone a full redesign already in 2017 and had been optimized for the key on-site SEO issues. The correct structure of HTML tags and URLs has been introduced, and the service has been given a more interesting information architecture. In addition, appropriate snippets were implemented, care was taken to redirect old addresses and all copywriters wrote interesting meta tags – built on the basis of the phrase analysis carried out earlier. At the beginning of 2018, the website was ready for content marketing activities. All that remained was to focus on constant content development, patient waiting for success and monitoring of applications such as GSC, Majestic and the link profile.
The situation, however, had a significant advantage, which should have been used – the client created interesting content, and the industry needed it. Instead of focusing only on supporting indexing, we took advantage of the SEO PR benefits and reached popular media. Some of the “good content” had to be given as part of negotiations with information services, but the “strong links” obtained in this way did what was expected of them. Monthly organic traffic at the turn of the year increased almost 10 times.
Bigger budget, similar tactics and equally good results with the use of SEO PR
The example with a sports company was convenient since we started from a relatively low traffic, Hence, by anticipating potential comments, we present another client – operating in a less spectacular, but equally intriguing industry, tools for professionals and “do-it-yourself” enthusiasts.
The main difference was the amount of content that we could work with. Instead of precisely defining the subject of the content, format and target group, before publishing in the mass media, we could use part of the developed articles to check the interest they generate.
In the first two months of 2018, we published “samples” in the form of sponsored articles on selected information services. Then, by segmenting the publications thematically, we collected data on the volume of traffic and quality parameters, and on this basis we prepared high quality content for the target publication.
During 2018, the entire process was repeated twice, and the effects exceeded the customer’s expectations. The use of SEO PR, preceded by market research, is an extremely effective technique that we constantly use and recommend.
Getting rid of useless weight, i.e. what good is traffic that does not convert?
Hardly anyone likes to make a move that distorts his perfect, green-glowing reports. Sometimes, however, to go forward you need to take a few steps back. This was the case with two of our clients.
Using our Firecrux.com tool, we are able to influence the appearance and behavior of any website – thus stimulating, for example, the conversion rate in the store. However, Firecrux’s capabilities are broad and we also use them to analyze and assess to what extent the traffic that the service collects is generated by bots.
In the case of a client from the medical industry, we could see how a significant part of what we called the organic traffic was generated by bots, crawlers and other such gadgets. In the summer, we filtered out almost 20% of traffic, which first looked alarming on the charts, but the volume of sales not only didn’t drop, but increased significantly! Several issues affected this, but one of most important was the increase in the efficiency of the service by reducing unnecessary server load.
The second example for getting rid of useless load was filtering traffic on a tourism selling website. As probably many of you realize, the biggest traffic in this industry is gathered around the holidays and at the beginning of the year. The following example however has a slightly different dynamic.
Once again, the statistics collected by Firecrux showed that we maintain a web service, which is largely visited by bots. The decision made to filter out the traffic coincided with the general cleaning of the link profile. The effect was moderate for most of the year, however, in November and December 2018 we recorded a nearly 100% increase in organic traffic compared to 2017.
Is the classic SEO craft still useful, or maybe nowadays only unusual, aggressive actions payoff?
There are sectors – e.g. law – in which some activities are not allowed and too aggressive SEO techniques can have the opposite effect from the desired one or hinder clients reputation – which is the key value of trust-based professions. Adjusting activities to the market requirements, we must make it clear that patience is essential, but when we succeed, it becomes evident that it was worth the wait.
Law firms have been cooperating with us for many years. We use SEO in accordance with all the rules indicated by Google (White Hat SEO). Our goal was for their websites to be designed and implemented in accordance with the mobile-first recommendations. From year to year, organic traffic was growing steadily, which in turn increased the number of inquiries about their services.
We have also conducted an interesting case for the watch industry client. Systematic optimization of the website combined with the development of content has allowed to gradually accumulate more and more organic traffic and strengthen the link profile of the client. However when we reached the season (October – December), slightly more aggressive SEO activities were launched. The increase in traffic translated into sales and last season was the best in the company’s entire history.
An additional challenge was to move the store from the old domain to the new one, since the previous version was shut down around October 2017 and the new domain had to focus primarily on taking over the traffic. The graph below shows how this migration was successful.
For the following clients, nothing unusual happened. Just a constant improvement of the website and modification of the SEO policy as well as “positioning” classes. In both cases, we reached 20% increase required by the KPI – year to year.
A brief summary of 2018 from an SEO perspective
In 2019 SEO will be deeply embedded in content enrichment. The importance of keywords and back-links will both remain as basic functions that can not be ignored. However, local websites that can achieve the power of “authority” by creating amazing, niche content, will no doubt attract more viewers with Google’s SEO algorithm, which is constantly trying to improve the SERP for consumers. Consumers are now looking for solutions that are close to them, even within walking distance.
Local companies that are experts in their field and can attract consumers who are looking for a solution while being near their company should be more visible in 2019. With the emergence of more and more substantive websites, it is worth having a specialized agency, because one thing is to make good content, and the second is to sell it to a wide audience. SEO PR services, supported by prior market research, will surely be very effective, so they are worth payin attention to.
Ultimately 2019 will offer one thing in common with the past, namely – those who work hard will be those who get high positions on Google.