Wondering what’s ahead for your SEO strategy in 2019? Since Google is more focused on mobile-first indexing and site speed, SEO efforts in 2019 are most likely going to be in this direction. You need to know and work out an action plan for the upcoming trends in order to achieve success. Let us explore the top 5 SEO trends for 2019:

1. Mobile-first indexing

To put it briefly, mobile-first indexing means the mobile version of your page is used by Google for indexing and ranking. Your Search Console might have already notified you that Google has started the process of migrating sites to the mobile-first index since March 2018. There is still a single index with both mobile and desktop versions, therefore a mobile-first index does not imply “mobile-only. However, the mobile versions for ranking will be used by Google once the site is migrated. It means there is no excuse to procrastinate with mobile-friendliness as your mobile version will be the primary one for ranking.

Action plan:

If you have been thinking about switching your site and not migrated yet, you need to do it now.

Google’s Trends Analyst John Mueller mentioned: “If you want to go responsive, better do it before the mobile-first launch”. Also, Google highly recommends against m-dot and responsive to the same page, because of the fact that it confuses crawlers.

2. Page speed

Mobile page speed has become a ranking factor for websites recently. Here you need to understand which metrics matter for Google in terms of page speed evaluation. It is graded as per two different metrics – Optimization and Speed, both for desktop and mobile. You can control your Optimization score by fixing all the issues preventing your site from loading fast but the way Speed score is generated is the actual game-changing part.

Action plan:

Optimization score matters for rankings. The site optimization and result tracking are completely in your hands and a handy list of recommendations has already been provided by Google.

3. Brand as a ranking signal

Google can use the brand as a ranking signal in two ways.

  1. Through unlinked brand mentions, the search engine considers your brand’s an entity. Google gets a better understanding of your authority in a specific area by analyzing all the properties mentioning it.
  2. The sentiment and context of each component are important including reputation trust, advertising, complaint-solving, etc. Google gets to know the good from the bad through context. For instance, the reputation matters for rankings as per Search Quality Guidelines of Google and as a result, the sentiment around brand mentions can affect the rankings of the site.

Action plan:

Backlinks are still a strong ranking signal but it is hardly a white-hat business to build links fast. You have the option of using the power of linkless backlinks. Mention your brand name online whenever you get a natural opportunity.

4. GDPR

Getting GDPR and Privacy Policy emails are annoying. GDPR is the General Data Protection Regulation passed in the European Union which regulates an important issue and that is who owns the data created by users’ interactions online. Now it does not belong to the corporations who collect it, rather it is the users who own it. The users can request to see the personal data that the company has about them and can demand to correct and export it. The company can be charged with severe fines if it refuses to follow the regulations.  The regulation applies to the EU companies and customers but international companies should also abide by GDPR.

Action plan:

You can switch to the “do not automatically expire” option in Google Analytics if you don’t have European customers. This way Google removes the responsibility of data protection of the users from you. And if you have European customers then:

  • Review all the sources on your site that collect the data of the users and ensure to not send some private data to Google Analytics;
  • Update your Privacy policy file by GDPR requirements;
  • Revise your cookie consent form to make sure that it has the information you collect, why you do it, where you store it, affirm that the information is protected;
  • Activate IP anonymization if you use Google Tag Manager. It will be a bit less precise but you will still have a broad idea where your traffic comes from.

5. Amazon search

Amazon has an algo similar to Google’s but it is used for internal search within Amazon pages. Amazon is not a universal search engine but more and more people go to Amazon directly to do shopping, visit Amazon first if they want to shop and check with Amazon after finding something elsewhere. It indicates that Amazon is turning Google of ecommere. It means you are losing potential customers if the product you sell is not on Amazon. Therefore you need to include optimization for Amazon into your SEO strategy.

Action plan:

Run keyword research. Make the title and description of the product efficient and user-friendly. Provide images of good quality. Track reviews of customers and address complaints.

Conclusion:

There are lots of things to discuss in 2019. Trends may be few but changes are big. Even though things that are mobile are going far yet keep an eye on Amazon and GDPR’s consequences.