2018 was a HUGE year for SEO. Google went all-in for mobile. We saw record growth in featured snippets. And users began searching in ways we’ve never seen before. It was an exhilarating year and we expect 2019 to be no different.
2019 will bring things we never thought imaginable. From voice search to YouTube optimization, 2019 holds great potential. Throughout this post, we’ll unwrap what we expect from the world of SEO in 2019. We’ll present to you what the SEO community as a whole is saying and what our SEO gurus here at OneIMS predict for the upcoming year.
Here is our complete list of predictions for SEO in 2019:
What the SEO Community Says
To start, we’ll delve into what the SEO community as a whole is predicting for 2019. From voice search optimization to advancements in featured snippets, we expect big things for 2019.
Voice Search Will Become the New Standard
If you’ve been working in SEO for a while, we probably sound like a broken record to you right now. But we swear this is the year of voice search. And not only voice search, but voice search optimization.
It seems like voice search has been on our radar since the first iPhone hit the market, but the SEO community is dead-set on the fact the voice search will finally break through as a dominant form of search in 2019. In 2014, former Google Brain Founder, Andrew Ng, predicted that by 2020, 50% of all searches will be either speech or images. And with 2019 approaching, we’re nearly there.
In 2019, agencies and businesses around the world will take voice search optimization seriously - optimizing in ways we never thought possible. SEO experts will have to reframe their thought process. Instead of optimizing for the way people search, we will begin to focus on the way people talk. When someone searches by voice, there is an unspoken, unanimous agreement that they will be searching in the form of a question.
All in all, people search differently by voice as they do when they’re browsing the internet. In 2019, it will be crucial to frame SEO tactics to target the way people speak instead of the way people search when browsing the web.
RankBrain Will Be More Important Than Ever
Yes, RankBrain is not necessarily breaking news. In 2015, Google confirmed that RankBrain was the third most important ranking factor taken. But as time goes on, just like SEO, RankBrain is evolving. Every day we learn more and more about what RankBrain really is and how SEO experts can play these insights in their favor.
In 2019, we expect RankBrain put an even bigger emphasis on CTR and Dwell Time. These have been common trends in the past but in 2019, Google will take this to a whole new level.
The Year of the Featured Snippet
Featured snippets are not new to the game, but optimization for them is. Forms of featured snippets have been around since nearly 2013, but we’re not officially classified as “Featured Snippets” until 2016. They provide quick answers to common searches.
With nearly 11.3% of searches resulting in featured snippets, agencies everywhere are starting to optimize their content to appear in a featured snippet. This can be done by formatting data in easy-to-read tables with useful information. Or by answering high search volume questions in a few sentences near the top of your page.
There’s a variety of other ways to appear in a featured snippet and this is the year that agencies and businesses will truly get creative with it.
What the OneIMS Experts Say
Here we’ll turn to our group of experts at OneIMS. Read on for a bit of insight from our very own SEO ninjas:
Search Will Become Even More About the User
The OneIMS team as a whole agrees that search, now more than ever, will be about the user.
What content answers their questions.
What site provides them safe and relevant information.
Overall, what content not only contains the keywords you are searching for as a user but the content that is genuinely useful to the user.
We’ve already seen Google put an emphasis on more user-centered content through an increase of importance in E-A-T accurate content. Here is exactly what the OneIMS experts think that Google has in mind for the user experience in 2019:
“Links will become less important, with E-A-T related data points taking some of their weight.”
– Nick Hendricks, Account Manager
Links have been one of the most important ranking factors since Google’s beginnings but in 2019, be on the lookout for some changes. In 2019, links will decrease in importance and give way to high ranking E-A-T content.
E-A-T is a Google acronym that stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. E-A-T is Google’s way of deciding how valuable your content is to the user. To rank on Google in 2019 you need to provide users with:
- Skilled content that shows a high level of expertise, especially within the financial, medical, and legal fields.
- Content that presents you as an authoritative source within your industry.
- Factual content that establishes a trust between your business/website and the user.
E-A-T is about protecting the user and delivering them content that is accurate and useful. Strive to have every piece of content on your site be of the highest E-A-T level and you’ll be set in 2019.
“Accurate information such as NAP+ becomes critical and user experience becomes even more important.”
– Evan Lee, Account Manager
Accuracy is of the utmost importance to users, especially when search locally. In 2019, expect to see a growing emphasis on accurate information and consistency across your site as well as in specific areas like NAP+.
NAP+ is closely related with E-A-T on the basis of putting the user first. But while E-A-T is a review of the overall value of your content, NAP+ relates to local search. NAP+ stands for Name, Address, Phone Number, and anything else of importance to local search such as website URL. It’s crucial to have this information listed accurately and formatted consistently everywhere on the internet. Google sees this consistency as a form of value.
In 2019, make sure your site includes:
- Full company name
- Phone number, including area code
- Full address
Each of these pieces of information should be formatted consistently on every page of your site. For example, If your address includes Street, be sure to choose between St. or Street and keep that consistency throughout your listings.
Optimization Beyond Google
Yes, Google is still the #1 search engine, but with competition heating up on this search engine giant, businesses are starting to optimize for more than just Google. Here’s what a few of our very own digital marketing geniuses had to say about this shift in 2019:
“While Google becomes increasingly harder to rank organically on, businesses will have to turn to other channels to optimize their content. There will be a greater focus on other "search engines" outside of Google, such as YouTube, Pinterest, Amazon, etc. After all, YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine!”
– Tina Le, Marketing Coordinator
Due to such high competition, agencies and businesses will begin to look elsewhere for optimization opportunities. In 2019, we expect to see an emphasis on not only YouTube optimization but Pinterest, Amazon, Bing, and other search platforms. With YouTube being the second most-searched engine and Amazon the most-searched e-commerce search engine, it’s time businesses started taking advantage of these sites.
If businesses aren’t optimizing for Amazon, they can miss out on nearly half of users searching for products. And with social media expanding rapidly, it will become increasingly important to optimize for social media shares in the upcoming year. It’s not just about Google anymore.
“I think we’ll see more focus on optimizing for SEO within YouTube. Creating engaging content is just part of the puzzle. Optimizing titles, descriptions, and even thumbnails will be vital to a video's success.”
– Edward Sablan, Account Manager
2019 will bring groundbreaking advances for YouTube optimization. We expect agencies all over to dive into technical YouTube optimization. As Edward stated, even the thumbnail will have extreme significance. Agencies and businesses will be optimizing everything from the video content itself to the video description.
With YouTube being the second most-searched platform on the internet, optimization on this site is crucial. In 2019, expect to see:
- Video description optimization
- Video title optimization
- Added video tags
- Consistent YouTube channel branding
- And much more
It’s not enough to have killer video content anymore. 2019 is all about taking that killer video content to the next level. How else will you reach your target audience?
Increased Frequency of Algorithm Updates
2019 will bring insane SEO growth and Google will definitely be contributing to that. Here’s a bit of insight from our team on how Google will handle algorithm updates in 2019:
“Expect more algorithm updates than a few times a year and increased AI integration with past cookies.”
– Sarah Lugo, Account Manager
We’re expecting Google to crank it up a notch in 2019. In 2019, instead of the two or three times a year we usually see updates, we’re expecting updates more frequently. So be sure to stay on your toes SEO experts!
These updates will bring about more integration specifically with past cookies. This increased AI integration will make retargeting more accurate than ever, PPC more advanced, and so on. All in all, expect Google to be smarter than ever.
That concludes our list of SEO predictions for 2019. From voice search to putting the user first, we expect great things for 2019 and are so excited to see what this year brings for the world of SEO. For more tips on how you can get a head start on 2019, read more from our SEO experts at OneIMS today!