As Google continues to heavily invest at being everyone’s favorite search engine, SEO’s need to continually modify the techniques and priorities of their optimizing strategy to go along with all the newest bells and whistles. Let’s take a look at some of the top trends to consider as 2019 rolls into view.

Be Prepared for Voice Search to Gain Traction

Although voice search got a bunch of attention in 2018, people have not taken to it as was initially projected. While voice search might be an easier way to find answers in some scenarios, in other more complex searches like comparing products or services, voice falls a bit short.

That said, it’s not going away and will only continue to gain more prominence and importance. Understanding the voice search nuances of your target audience is key, which can vary by country, region, dialect, social class, etc. Starting to optimize and prepare for conversational search should become a part of your everyday SEO marketing efforts.

Optimize for Google SERP Features

Google is continually looking for ways to enhance the overall search experience. A Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) feature is any result on a search page that is not a traditional organic result. These are additional ways your product or services could be displayed.

Some of the most popular SERP features include:

  • Local – Shows in results that appear to have local intent, Google will highlight three locations that should match the search.
  • Images – Will appear in results where visual content may be helpful.
  • Featured Snippet – When trying to find an answer to a question, Google may pull a snippet from a page it feels answers that question.
  • News Box – Features time-sensitive and newsworthy topics.
  • Shopping Results – Paid product listing ads that include images and price.
  • Reviews – Review stars and rating data.
  • Site Links – When Google feels there is a clear exact domain or brand intent search, they will include up to 10 internal sitelinks.
  • Knowledge Cards – Extracted semantic data from a number of sources including human-edited sources like WikiData and private data partnerships.
  • Google Ads – Most commonly appearing at the top and bottom of the search results, these are paid ads which you can get through advertising with Google.

Knowing how to optimize and obtain a spot in these extra display areas of the search results can lead to a lot more traffic and lead opportunities.

Schema Markup & Structured Data

Structured data can help send the right signals to the search engines and increase their understanding of your business and services. Structured data is a great way to create more search opportunity by improving the way the engines read and represent your site. If done correctly, it can directly impact search rankings in a very positive way.

In a recent Google blog, they even clearly state “Structured data is very helpful to better understand the content on your pages, and allows us to highlight your pages in fancy ways in the search results…”. So it’s not to be ignored.

From the very basic organization schema markup that every business can use to the more individualized structured data for video or software, knowing where and how to utilize it can give your company an advantage. Small caveat, be sure you are clear on all the rules and guidelines so you don’t get penalized for incorrectly implementing schema and structured data.

Don’t Limit Your Efforts to Just Google Search

SEO should not just be about how to optimize for Google Search SERPs. A large part of search engine optimization is showing up wherever and however your target audience is searching.

If you’re an eCommerce site and you haven’t yet considered Amazon, 2019 is the time to rethink it. With more and more people going straight to Amazon when they are shopping for something, you could be missing out on a great source of income. According to a recent study on Amazon, 56% of consumers visit the shopping giant first when looking for a product and about 51% check on Amazon after looking elsewhere. I’ve certainly seen others doing an Amazon search while visiting a store just to make sure they’re getting a good price or the best product for their needs, myself included.

Think of how your brand can branch out and reach its target audience. For example, if people are looking for videos of information you can provide, then creating those videos could be a new top focus for your company in 2019. Then, drive traffic and engagement for those videos in a place like YouTube. Expanding your businesses reach is always a win-win!

I’m sure these are just a few of the many exciting SEO trends ahead for 2019 and I can’t wait to see what the new year brings. From our Hawaii Internet marketing and web design teams here in Maui, we wish you a Mele Kalikimaka me ka Hau’oli Makahiki Hou!