SEO Guide 2019: Google Rankbrain, Mobile First & Voice Search

Michael Schöffmann Last updated on 15.01.2020
6 Min.
SEO Guide 2019 cover picture 1
Last updated on 15.01.2020

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is subject to ongoing changes every year. So it will be exciting in 2019, too! The two most significant ranking factors are still unique content and high-quality backlinks. But in recent years, Google's Artificial Intelligence, Mobile First and Voice Search have become more and more important. 2019 is all about keeping your content "fresh" and up-to-date – to ensure top rankings in search results for your business (Google Freshness Algorithm).  

The Artificial Intelligence of Google – RankBrain

The term "RankBrain" is already familiar to some web developers. But what Google's algorithm really does is something only SEO experts are concerned with.

Google recognized very early on that users not only use "exact search queries", but also phrases, questions or the like. These RankBrainare not predominantly "best-match search queries", but rather unknown queries that Google had not known before. These make 15 percent of all search queries every day out. In 2007 the figure was as high as 20-25 percent.

And it is precisely these unknown search queries that are now RankBrainbeginning to be used and that the artificial intelligence is trying to better sort, categorize and assign to the respective topics.

Top 3 Google ranking factors

The top 3 ranking factors are definitely content, links and RankBrain. Whether we say links, content and RankBrain or if we name a different order, it does not matter, because every search query is different. In general one can say that RankBrain interferes least with "exact match searches" and most with unknown searches. In addition, two other factors come into play, namely backlinks and content.

Here is a short video (1:07 minutes) in which Google reveals the top ranking factors:


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Is it always learningRankBrain?

All the learning that RankBrain happens completely in the background and offline. Google collects this historical data and makes predictions which seem most helpful to the user. These predictions are tested offline. If they are good, they are incorporated into the latest version of the RankBrain and are then "live" in the algorithm. This process repeats itself constantly and thus develops RankBrain continuing steadily.

Mobile First Index: Google's new index since March 2018

The epoch change has been completed and now Google uses the mobile index as its main index instead of the original desktop index.

In March 2018 Google announced the Mobile First index in the Webmaster Central Blog of Google on. In the beginning, only a few webmasters got a message displayed in the Search Console. The biggest roll-out then took place in September 2018, when most webmasters received the following notification

Google Mobile First
Message Mobile-First on Webmaster Central Blog
Mobile indexing
Mobile deadline notification in the Google Search Console

3 Tips for using the Mobile First Index

Tip #1: Use responsive web design

From an SEO point of view, it is best if the Website with a responsive web design is provided. In addition, there are two other methods of delivering a website to screens of all kinds of sizes. Namely as "Dynamic deployment" or with "Different URLs.

Tip #2: Mobile Speed Optimization

Not only in SEO, but also in Search Engine Advertising (SEA), loading time is an important factor for the user experience: More than Half of the visitors leave the website from a loading time of about 3 seconds.

With the Google Speed Update in July 2018, Google is tightening the loading time for websites and is also becoming a ranking factor for mobile websites.

Which websites are affected by the Google Speed Update?

According to Google, the update does not sites affect those that already have an optimized loading time. This does not give these sites any additional advantage in terms of rankings. The focus is on websites with good rankings, but which have a high loading time. Exactly these websites have sites to expect losses in the rankings.

Loading time should not only be considered as a ranking factor, but also in terms of conversion: The shorter the loading time, the higher the conversion.

Tip #3: Mobile accessibility for the crawler

Your mobile website must always be accessible for the Googlebot. If you deliver different content to mobile and desktop - make sure that all content is loaded. Individual elements for the mobile website can also be omitted to reduce the loading time.

Voice SearchThe future is changing

At the latest since Siri has been available in the iPhone and this is just waiting to be used at last, voice control has arrived with the users. Nowadays there is almost no smartphone or tablet that does not follow instructions via voice control. Also in 2013, Google has introduced voice control in its browser Chrome. Voice searches are more spontaneous, convenient and faster than original typing.

How Search Engine Optimization Voice Searchand Search Engine Optimization are changing

Nowadays one is site often optimized for one keyword or additionally for a few longtail keywords. Mostly, however, the optimization is done on a main keyword with a high search volume and additionally on a few longtail keywords with lower search volume.

The reason for this type of optimization is the number of search queries. The focus keyword has the most traffic and then 2-3 longtail keywords are selected, which also have a high search volume and, if possible, are surrounded by little competition.

How Voice Searchthe search volume will change

It is obvious - if more people Voice Searchuse Exact Match Keywords in the future, the search volume of "Exact Match Keywords" will decrease and longtail keywords will become the focus of attention. Also, more questions will be asked in the future than just single words strung together. Google understands the individual phrases - Now it is up to the user to provide the appropriate content to the questions and to understand the question and the user exactly.

How to optimize your content to be Voice Search compatible?

Tip #1: Keywords in connection with W questions

The search queries on computers/laptops and on mobile devices are mostly single keywords when not Voice Searchin use. However, if the language search is used, phrases and longer questions will occur more often. In order to optimize the content, keywords should always be defined in connection with W-questions and this should already be used in the h2 headings as well as in the content.

Speech recognition is certainly a challenge for Google, as the connection between keywords, questions, search intention and content must be more closely linked. However, Google is already well on the way to mastering this. Currently there are only a few content pieces that fully cover these W-questions - so there is a small gap for SEOs to be better than the competition.

Tip #2: Browse forums in the respective niche/sector

In addition to using the classic keyword tools, you should read up on forums and become active there. In this way, you can find out what your users are looking for and can hit the search intention exactly - and thus offer the corresponding added value with your content.

Forums are the best way to find out the real questions that users have in the industry. There you can also establish yourself as an expert (see tip 3 in the next step) in an industry and confirm your expert status. It is important to be active at all times, to interact with your users and to maintain and secure contact.

Tip #3: Be an expert in your subject

In order to be perceived as an expert in the industry, the first thing you need to do is to prove your knowledge through unique content and back up your statements with high quality sources. As already mentioned, you should therefore be active in forums and always activate the comment function for your posts so that other users can get in touch with you.

Tip #4: Include FAQ questions in the content

High quality content for SEO is not the 300 SEO texts, as many non-SEOs like to claim. There is no exact specification how long an SEO text should be, because in 2018 as well as in 2019 it is only about covering the whole topic and fulfilling the search intention 100 percent.

Besides the appropriate W-questions you should also refresh your content with so-called "most Frequently Asked Questions" (FAQs). This makes the article more complete again and fulfils the search intention.

Tip #5: Use more longtail keywords through more intensive keyword research

As already mentioned, the keyword research is usually not deep enough, since a detailed research naturally takes an enormous amount of time. Nevertheless, good research is already paying off today. Because with this you can detect possible content gaps and attack them easier and faster with SEO. So in the future you should not only optimize on one main keyword, but more on longtails.

Tip #6: Using Schema.Org Data for Local Searches

Research shows that many language searches are carried out at local level. Therefore you should always include the data and keep it up to date. For this purpose the Google Business entry should always be up-to-date and maintained. Additionally, you can also Rich snippets included in the code to increase the click rate (CTR).

Final thoughts

I hope I could help you with my SEO advice for 2019. If you have further questions, tips or comments about SEO trends, please feel free to leave me a comment. I appreciate your feedback!

Michael Schöffmann from Innsbruck lives for SEO and speed optimization. With his small agency FUXIG in the middle of Innsbruck, he now deals with his passion for SEO and various new social media strategies. Since a few months he also dedicates himself to video marketing, because in the future a lot will be about video and Voice Searchplay.

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