SEO Trends that will Dominate Digital Marketing in 2019

January 22, 2019

By Kirsten Oelrich

Digital trends keep changing but for any digital marketer, Search Engine Optimization has always been a key focus area. To stay relevant in today’s crowded marketplace, SEO is perhaps the most effective tool in a digital marketer’s arsenal.

But marketers face an ongoing challenge. As browsing habits change and new trends emerge, Google continues to update its search engine algorithm. Marketers must adapt to this ever-changing SEO environment and constantly recalibrate their strategies in order to maintain their SERP rankings and retain a competitive edge.

As we step into the new year, it’s time to ask some important questions. What SEO trends will underline the digital marketing landscape in 2019? What tactics will help marketers dominate in SERPs and earn more revenue in 2019? Let’s find out.

1. GDPR

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was passed in the European Union in 2018. The regulation requires businesses to protect the personal data and privacy of the citizens for various transactions that occur within the EU. The users are in charge of the data collected online, instead of the businesses. Now the users can request the business to give them details of their personal data that was collected by them.  They can even ask for its correction and export. The business can be severely fined if it doesn’t comply with its regulations.

EU companies and customers have been affected by this regulation. International companies have to also comply with GDPR. Therefore, Google has introduced changes into its Analytics. Earlier all personal user data was perpetually kept, but now it will expire after 26months. The data includes affinity and demographic but doesn’t include goal completions and sessions. The site owners can still change this data collection default period. In addition, data can be deleted upon the request of individual users.

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If you don’t have European customers, you can switch to the option ‘do not automatically expire’ in Google Analytics. You must be careful as Google removes the responsibility of user data protection on you. In addition, these user data control efforts can extend well outside the EU.

In case you have European customers, or you plan to, you must review all the sources collecting user data. You must make sure that you don’t accidentally send Google Analytics any private data. Make sure to update your Privacy policy according to the requirements of GDPR. Also make sure to revise your cookie consent form and see to it that it contains the information you collect, where you store it, why you collect it and declare the information is protected. Activate IP anonymization in case you are using Google Tag Manager. Though it will be less precise, you will still have a general idea about where your traffic is coming from.

2. Mobile-first indexing

We have been hearing about Mobile-first indexing a lot. What does it mean? It means that Google uses the mobile version of your website for ranking and indexing. Google started the process of migrating sites to mobile first index in March 2018. You may have already been notified by the Search Console. Remember it does not mean that its mobile only. For example, if your site just has a desktop site and not a mobile friendly version, it can still be included in the index. So, there is still a single index for both the desktop and mobile versions. Once the site migrates, Google will primarily be using the mobile version for ranking.

What you must do is, better go responsive before the mobile-first launch. It is the right time to do it now, in case your website hasn’t migrated yet or you have been thinking about it. When m-dot and responsive are on the same page, it confuses the crawlers. Google has strongly recommended against it being on the same page. Crawl the mobile pages with a mobile bot in order to understand how search engine spiders see it. Keep track of the loading speed of your mobile pages. You must also regularly keep a check on your pages to see whether they are delivering the right user experience.

3. Page speed

Page speed is very important, as it has been the ranking factor for a while. Google delivers the best UX, that too quickly. Initially, it was just the desktop page loading time that was the ranking factor, but now it’s the mobile page speed too. Optimization and Speed are the two metrics that matter for Google when it comes to evaluating the page speed.

The Speed score is generated when the data (for the metric) is taken from Chrome User Experience report, which is the real users performance database. It shows how the site loads for each visitor. It’s hard to measure the speed at which each visitor’s device loads the site. Therefore, it is impossible for metrics to get through local tests. Optimization scores can be totally controlled by fixing all the problems that are preventing the site from loading fast.

According to an experiment, the relation is strong between the page’s Optimization score and its position in the SERPs. There seems to be no relation between the Speed score and the page’s position. This means that Google can now rate the site as slow, while your ranking remains the same.

Optimization is now key for ranking. Site optimization and result tracking are totally up to you. A list of recommendations is also provided by Google which is detailed, so that you can refer to it for improving your Optimization score.

4. Amazon search

Amazon search is used for internal search within Amazon pages. It is not a universal search engine but has similar algorithms as Google. It has been observed that people generally go directly to Amazon to shop. Based on a study, 56% of consumers who have ‘shopping’ on their mind visit Amazon first. 51% of consumers find something elsewhere and then check on Amazon for it. This shows that Amazon is becoming the Google of e-commerce. You are missing out of 56% of potential customers if you are selling something, and if you are not on Amazon. You need to include optimization for Amazon into your SEO strategy if you sell products.

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You must research ‘keywords.’ Use Amazon itself to run the keywords. Make sure to make the title of the items and its descriptions user friendly and effective. You must also provide high-quality images. Use ‘backend keywords’ or ‘meta tags’, as they tell Amazon’s algorithm to target a precise item on the precise keyword on the site. You must regularly keep track and address the customers reviews and complaints.

5. Brand as a ranking signal

In its search algorithms Google uses online brand mentions. It can use brand as a ranking signal in two ways. First through unlinked brand mentions. The brands entity is learnt by the search engine. After further analyzing all the properties mentioning it, Google gets a clear picture of your authority in a specific field. The second way is that the context and sentiments of each component matters, like advertising, trust, reputation, complaint solving etc. Google learns to discern the good from the bad, just through context. For instance, Google’s Search Quality Guidelines state that for ranking, reputation matters. Therefore, site rankings can also be affected by the sentiment around brand mentions.

Backlinks are a strong ranking signal. Building links fast is rare. Therefore, use link-less backlinks. Where ever you have an opportunity mention your brand name online. Cater to the needs and pains of the customers with your brand name. Make it a point to engage with satisfied and happy clients too. Track mentions of your brand online. Use monitoring tools for finding link-less mentions across the web. Find influencers who are ready to promote you, or who are already talking about your brand. Also make it a point to look at your competitors and see how they grow their awareness. Research and analyze their strength and weaknesses. You can also reverse engineer their strategies and look at your own SEO efforts completely.


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