SEO (search engine optimization) is subject to new changes every year. Also in 2019 it will be exciting! Already starting in recent years, Google's artificial intelligence, Mobile First as well as Voice Search more and more important alongside the two most important ranking factors: unique content and high-quality backlinks. Also, you should keep your content "fresh" and up-to-date in 2019 to secure the top rankings in the search results (Google Freshness Algorithm).
The Artificial Intelligence of Google – RankBrain
The term "Rankbrain" is already known to some web developers. But what the algorithm of Google really does, only SEO experts deal with it.
Google has already recognized very early that users not only use "exact search queries", but also phrases, questions or the like. At RankBrain it is not predominantly the "best-match search queries", but unknown queries, which Google did not know before. These make up 15 percent of all search queries every day. every day. In 2007, it was even 20-25 percent.
And it is precisely with these unknown search queries that RankBrain comes into play and attempts to use artificial intelligence to better sort, categorize and assign these search queries 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 doesn't matter because every search query is different. Generally, we can say that RankBrain interferes least with the "exact match search queries" and interferes most with unknown search queries. Besides that, the two other factors that come into play are backlinks and content.
Here's a short video (1:07 minutes) where Google reveals the top ranking factors:
Is RankBrain constantly learning?
All the learning that RankBrain does happens completely in the background and offline. Google collects this historical data and creates predictions that seem most helpful to the user. These predictions are tested offline. If they are good, they are incorporated into the latest version of RankBrain and are then "live" in the algorithm. This process is constantly repeated and thus RankBrain is constantly evolving.
Mobile First Index: Google's new index since March 2018
The epoch change is complete and now Google is using the mobile index as the main index instead of the original desktop index.
In March 2018, Google announced the mobile-first index on Google's Webmaster Central blog . In the beginning, only a few webmasters got a notification in Search Console. The biggest roll-out then happened in September 2018, where most webmasters got the following notification:
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 is provided with a responsive is provided. Besides that, there are two other methods to deliver a website on screens of all kinds of sizes. Namely as "Dynamic delivery" or with "Different URLs"..
Tip #2: Mobile Speed Optimization
Not only in SEO, but also in Search Engine Advertising (SEA), the loading time is an important factor for the user experience: More than half of the visitors leave the the website after a loading time of around 3 seconds.
With the Google Speed Update in July 2018, Google tightened the loading time for websites and became a ranking factor for mobile websites as well.
Which websites are affected by the Google Speed Update?
According to Google, the update does not affect sites , which already have an optimized load time. This does not give these websites any additional advantage in terms of rankings. The focus is on websites with good rankings, but which have a high load time. Exactly these sites have 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 on mobile and desktop - Make sure that all content is loaded. You can also omit individual elements for the mobile website to shorten the loading time.
Voice Search: The future is changing
At the latest since Siri has been available in the iPhone and is just waiting to finally be used, voice control has arrived among users. Nowadays, there is almost no smartphone or tablet that does not follow instructions via voice control. In 2013, Google also introduced voice control in its Chrome browser. Voice searches are more spontaneous, comfortable and faster than original typing.
How Voice Search and Search Engine Optimization are changing
Nowadays, a site is often optimized for one keyword or additionally for a few long-tail keywords. Mostly, however, the optimization is done on a main keyword with a high search volume and additionally a few long-tail keywords with a 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 long-tail keywords are picked out, which also have a high search volume and, if possible, are surrounded by little competition.
How Voice Search will change search volume
It's obvious - if more people use Voice Search in the future, the search volume of "exact match keywords" will decrease and long-tail keywords will move into focus. Also, in the future, more questions will be asked 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, if Voice Search is not being used. However, if voice search is now used, then phrases and longer questions will occur more often. To optimize the content, you should always define the keywords in connection with W-questions and use this already in the h2-headings as well as in the content.
Speech recognition is certainly a challenge for Google, since the connection between keywords, questions, search intent and content must be brought together even more intensively. However, Google is already well on its way to mastering this. Currently, however, there are few content pieces that fully cover these W-questions - so there is again a small gap for SEOs to be better than the competition.
Tip #2: Search forums in the respective niche/industry
In addition to using the classic keyword tools, you should also read up on forums and become active there. This way you will find out what your users are interested in and can precisely match the search intention - and thus offer the corresponding added value with your content.
Forums are the best way to find out the real questions that users in the industry have. 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 always be active, to interact with your users and to maintain and secure contact.
Tip #3: Be an expert in your subject area
In order to be perceived as an expert in the industry, you must first 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 in 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 are no exact specifications at all how long an SEO text should be, because in 2018 as well as in 2019 it is solely about covering the entire topic and fulfilling the search intention 100 percent.
In addition to the appropriate W-questions, you should also refresh your content with so-called "most frequently asked questions" (FAQs). This makes the article more complete and fulfills the search intention.
Tip #5: Use more long-tail keywords through more intensive keyword research
As already mentioned, the keyword research is usually not deep enough, because a detailed research of course takes a lot of time. Nevertheless, a good research is already worthwhile today. Because with it you can recognize possible content gaps and attack them easier and faster with SEO. In the future, you should not only optimize for one main keyword, but increasingly for longtails.
Tip #6: Use Schema.Org Data for Local Searches
Research shows that many language search queries are performed at the local level. Therefore, you should always integrate the Schema.org data and keep it up to date. In addition, the Google Business entry should always be up to date and maintained. Additionally you can also include rich snippets can also be incorporated into the code to to increase the click-through-rate (CTR).
I hope I was able to help you with my SEO advice for 2019. If you have any other questions, tips or comments about SEO trends, feel free to leave me a comment. I'm happy to hear your feedback!