How will the world of search engine opti­miza­tion change in 2019? What new trends will emerge, what old trends will die, and which trends will con­tin­ue in the next year?

SEO is in con­stant motion, always chang­ing to the point where it’s dif­fi­cult to keep up with every­thing.

In this blog post, I’m going to go over some of the biggest SEO trends I’ll be track­ing in 2019.

Voice Search Begins Its Rule

Voice search is clear­ly grow­ing in pop­u­lar­i­ty – and at a very rapid rate, too. In fact, I feel like in a cou­ple of years, we’re all going to hear “Ok, Google” all around us every few min­utes. By 2020, the experts believe that 50% of all search­es will be voice search­es.

The num­ber of peo­ple who use voice assis­tants is actu­al­ly grow­ing year by year, at a very rapid rate; for exam­ple, 35.6 mil­lion Amer­i­cans use a voice acti­vat­ed device at least once a month, and one in six Amer­i­cans now own smart speak­ers.

While it’s true that the world of search engines and SEO is con­stant­ly chang­ing and evolv­ing, the increase in voice search usage is one of the biggest changes yet. That’s because it’s some­thing com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent and it requires a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent opti­miza­tion strat­e­gy.

Think of it this way: there’s one way you’d search for some­thing on Google (the reg­u­lar web­site) and one way to ask about some­thing. “You got to real­ize, the ques­tions they’re going to ask are going to be a bit dif­fer­ent,” explains Stone Temple’s Eric Enge in an episode of the Sure Oak pod­cast, “and it’s going to cre­ate a need for our con­tent that we’re return­ing – be it either via web page or a return voice inter­ac­tion – to be pre­pared to answer those more nat­ur­al lan­guage queries.”

It’s also impor­tant to note that Google prefers short answers to voice search queries: the typ­i­cal result is about 29 words in aver­age.

Even more inter­est­ing­ly, there looks to be a very big con­nec­tion between voice search opti­miza­tion and Google’s fea­tured snip­pets – those short answers you some­times get above all oth­er results, that have posi­tion zero in SERPs.

Mobile-first Indexing As A Work In Progress

Back in March 2018, Google final­ly start­ed rolling out the so-called mobile-first index­ing. A change that many might say has been a long time com­ing: after all, mobile devices now account for near­ly 60% of all traf­fic and that num­ber is only going to grow.

But what exact­ly does mobile-first index­ing mean for SEOs and web design­ers? And when can the “voice search index” be expect­ed?

The mobile-first index is less than a year old, so it’s dif­fi­cult to say where exact­ly it’s going to head. But what is clear is how impor­tant speed is, based on July’s Speed Update. As well as how impor­tant it is to build a tru­ly respon­sive web­site, one that not only is ful­ly func­tion­al on mobile devices, but also one that moves very quick­ly.

It seems that Google views slow-load­ing web­sites as the biggest prob­lem it has with the mobile web today, and they want to use their influ­ence in the mar­ket to force web­site own­ers to do bet­ter,” Duda CEO Itai Sadan recent­ly told me. “Our team at Duda agrees that web­site speed is one of the core com­po­nents that makes up the UX of a web­site, and we believe low­er­ing load times is the best thing a web­site own­er can do to improve their web pres­ence today.”

Build­ing bet­ter mobile web­sites and cre­at­ing bet­ter user expe­ri­ences for vis­i­tors using mobile devices is imper­a­tive. Because while it’s not clear exact­ly what is com­ing up next for mobile-first index­ing, what is clear know, based on the Google’s past, is that it’s all about offer­ing your audi­ence web­sites that are easy to use and nav­i­gate, that offer a good user expe­ri­ence and that move fast.

Blockchain Technology Impacts SEO and SEM

Blockchain might be most­ly asso­ci­at­ed with Bit­coin and cryp­tocur­ren­cy in gen­er­al, but blockchain’s influ­ence will be much more far-reach­ing than that.

And not sur­pris­ing­ly, it’s also going to reach and impact search engine opti­miza­tion, if not dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing in gen­er­al. But how exact­ly can it influ­ence SEO in a mean­ing­ful way?

Blockchain, in short, aims to cre­ate a secure and trust­wor­thy record of trans­ac­tions.

And it can be used to secure the trans­ac­tions hap­pen­ing on search engines too – the con­nec­tions between adver­tis­ers and web­site own­ers. Google, in this sense, is the mid­dle­man between the adver­tis­er and web­site own­er, help­ing them trust each oth­er so that all of these trans­ac­tions will run smooth­ly.

But that is exact­ly what blockchain does, by def­i­n­i­tion – only a bit more effec­tive­ly. Blockchain can ver­i­fy that every user is who they say they are, with 100% accu­ra­cy.

It can see whether an ad was viewed by an actu­al real per­son and not a bot. It can help you make sure that web­site own­er only pay for gen­uine click-throughs to their web­site. And even more so, all of this will help reduce online ads fraud.

This, of course, will not only impact Google’s ad rev­enue, but it is also like­ly to impact SEO in gen­er­al. Microsoft – and oth­er big com­pa­nies – are already col­lab­o­rat­ing with blockchain-based iden­ti­ty sys­tems Block­stack Labs and Con­sen­Sys to help improve apps and ser­vices.

Using an embed­ded schema markup, web­sites could record the iden­ti­ties of their vis­i­tors, or log the num­ber of token rewards that a blog post has secured. It could even cal­cu­late which vis­i­tors have con­tributed val­ue to cer­tain posts and the actions they took,” says David Lock­ie, the founder of Prag­mat­ic. “All of this would input into rank­ing fac­tors and make the web a more robust and pro­duc­tive social graph, almost infi­nite in its scope.”

The Rise of Amazon Search Optimization

It’s dif­fi­cult to see how Ama­zon Search can ever com­pete with Google – after all, it’s hard to see one­self search­ing for “how to remove car­pet stains” on Ama­zon – but it’s actu­al­ly a huge com­peti­tor. Many SEO spe­cial­ists are expect­ing a huge growth in Ama­zon Search Opti­miza­tion in the com­ing year.

Not con­vinced? Well, to start with, 72% of shop­pers now use Ama­zon to find prod­ucts, based on a study from Ken­shoo across con­sumers in the US, Ger­many, UK, and France.

What’s even more inter­est­ing is that they also found that 56% of con­sumers actu­al­ly search on Ama­zon first before they go look­ing at oth­er sites. Plus, they don’t just find prod­ucts – they find every­thing they need that they would oth­er­wise need Google for: prod­uct reviews, sim­i­lar prod­uct sug­ges­tions, and all kinds of oth­er prod­ucts that you might be inter­est­ed in. In oth­er words, they real­ly don’t need anoth­er search engine to find what they need or want to buy, as well as do some prop­er research before mak­ing a pur­chas­ing deci­sion.

And that is def­i­nite­ly a pret­ty big threat to Google and Google Ads. If few­er peo­ple are googling for prod­ucts, that can have a big impact on its adver­tis­ing and rev­enue.

And when it comes to actu­al­ly mak­ing pur­chas­es, peo­ple favour Ama­zon because if its con­ve­nience, prices and ease of ship­ping, accord­ing to the lat­est data from BigCommerce’s Glob­al Omni-Chan­nel Con­sumer Shop­ping Research Report.

Because more than half of all U.S. online con­sumers start their search on Amazon.com, every brand much has a brand­ing and con­tent strat­e­gy on the Ama­zon chan­nel in order to have any con­sid­er­a­tion with the largest audi­ence of online shop­pers,” says James Thom­son, a part­ner at Buy­Box Experts. “You know more about your brand­ing than any­one else, so make sure you have con­sis­tent, accu­rate brand­ing across as many online and offline chan­nels. Don’t let ran­dom resellers con­trol your brand­ing.”

Conclusion

There are a lot of changes hap­pen­ing in the dig­i­tal world right now, includ­ing in the world of search engine opti­miza­tion. It’s an excit­ing – if also a lit­tle scary – time. It might not be clear what the future will bring exact­ly, but it’s clear that emerg­ing and old­er tech­nolo­gies are start­ing to have a huge impact on SEO – if it’s not already hap­pen­ing, then at the very least it’s bound to hap­pen soon.

What are some of the biggest trends you’re expect­ing to hap­pen in 2019? Which ones are you most excit­ed about?

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