As we come up to halfway mark in 2019, we thought it would be beneficial to take a couple of posts to explore how SEO matters were looking for the year. Keeping pace with the current market is crucial: with the rapid evolution of technology, even a slight hesitation can cause a business to lose a hard-won advantage.
Has anything changed in 2019?
Whether you agree with them or not, most people understand that Google is the de facto standard for search engines. Google leads the pack … which means Google often writes the rules, including regularly updating its SEO algorithm. How regular? Well, it’s not uncommon for the company to make over 500 changes during the course of the year. With that much tweaking going on, it’s hard for the casual SEO dabbler to catch every little move.
Unfortunately, the core of SEO is optimizing your site content so that it aligns with Googles algorithm, thereby allowing your site to show up higher in search results. Missing the wrong tweak could potentially wreak havoc with your SEO, and could render your content all but invisible.
The bottom line is, keeping up with Google and adjusting your content accordingly is simply not optional these days. By necessity, you’ll need to up your SEO game in key areas like mobile, data structuring, content relevance, and overall accessibility.
In 2019, content optimization continues to be a big deal. Today’s SEO, however, demands a clearer understanding of how your customers actually engage online. It’s no longer enough to know what they are looking for; know you must also ask, what does Google think they are looking for?
As we’ve mentioned in earlier posts, it’s also good to consider how searchers are asking. The growing popularity of voice assistants and smart homes have changed the way search engines operate; merchants need to think about how best position content so Google can connect those searches.
More and more, we’re finding the search engine results page (SERP) is being dominated by structured data and schema—those small data nuggets that allow you to tell Google the contents of your page, instead of depending on luck. Especially when it comes to informational searches, structured data hand-delivers search engines the context and available information to boost the appearance of a site in searches.
While it’s obviously no guarantee, properly structured data can certainly boost your SERP performance. A word of caution, however: if you provide inaccurate, vague, or badly worded data, Google may decide your structured data isn’t viable … and that could negatively impact site rankings.
As we have pointed out before, Google is actively pursuing users of mobile technology. Last year, they introduced mobile-first indexing, which uses the mobile version of any given web page for indexing and ranking. There’s little doubt that they will put even greater emphasis on optimizing pages for mobile crawlers in the coming months.
In terms of SEO, this means both mobile and desktop content should perform the same, or at least be equivalent; otherwise, merchants still relying on two versions of their site can expect to see a negative hit on search rankings.
In our next post, we’ll explore research and relevance, and talk about RankBrain.