Some of the hot trends of 2019 will continue, while others will also start to take center stage.
Search engine optimization not keywords, clusters
SEO will now be more about clusters, not keywords. This has been happening more and more in the last few years, but the algorithms are now being specifically set to look for groupings of words, not just isolated words.
Commonly referred to as semantic support, the algorithms will look at words in relation to one another to determine the meaning of a page and the relevance to a search query.
For example, the word “bachelor” actually has four different meanings:
If you see the sentence, “The bachelor lay on the beach,” there is no clue as to which of the four meanings is intended.
On the other hand, if you say, “The animal behaviorists will be studying the bachelors on the beach at Peel for the next six months and determining their hunting and fishing patterns,” then we know that the last meaning is intended.
The other words give us clues so that even though the word “seal” is not mentioned, we can still infer it.
There are still arguments over short- versus long-form content. No one can agree on the ideal article or blog post length. Having said that, the longer an article is (650 to 700 words, for example), the more words will be clustered together, including “seal”, and the more clues the search engine will get.
About 500 words should be enough to get the point across if writers are really pressed for time and struggling to keep their site or blog updated.
The other thing to keep in mind in relation to this change is that it reduces keyword stuffing and encourages people to write naturally – for people, not just the search engines.
With more and more households owning Alexa, Google Home, and similar products, voice search and artificial intelligence (AI) are here to stay. Around 65% of users say they don’t see themselves getting rid of it anytime soon.
Estimates show that approximately 67 million voice devices will be in homes and offices in the US by 2019. Predictions show that by 2020, voice search queries will make up 50% of all queries. So, if you are not already factoring in voice search in reference to your marketing mix, now is the time.
The shift to more natural language in written content can help with this. However, voice search will change results and potentially starve some sites of traffic, because the way a person asks a question can be very different from the way they type in a query. Think semantic support and your content should be highly discoverable.
Google and Facebook search have enhanced their algorithms in relation to predictive and intent data. What do people want to accomplish when they run a particular search?
Unless you are operating in incognito mode, every search you run is giving these marketing giants information in order for them to then determine the intent of a search and what will be of most interest to you. They can even aggregate data from other sites to predict interest.
The trend is most obvious on mobile. If a person is out of their home (which the GPS locator will determine) and types in “coffee”, the assumption will be that they need a caf? to go get a cup. A second option might be to list a local coffee and tea shop, or a supermarket. Bricks and mortar businesses need to make sure they have robust listings in Google, so they will be as discoverable in local search as possible – especially on mobile.
Around 50% of all searches are carried out on mobile devices and that number is sure to rise as the latest generation of smartphones have more computing power than the desktop computers of just a few years ago.
Amazon, YouTube and Facebook are search engines too
Gone are the days when people used to go to Google for everything. Amazon is now a vast product search engine, with the ability to turn browsers into buyers in an instant with the help of their 1-Click shopping. If you want to make your products more discoverable, you need to be on Amazon.
YouTube is the largest video sharing site in the world, and growing larger with every passing second. Studies have shown that 75% of searches are related to how-to content. If you don’t already have a channel and playlists with these types of content, you’re missing out on the chance to market your business effectively to people who really want to know what you do.
Facebook has demonstrated the rise of social search, with users avoiding search engines completely as they search for information about products, services and topics within the Facebook interface. This is not likely to change, even though many keep saying Facebook is dead, is just for older users, and so on.
While it is true that the most loyal users tend to be over the age of 30, it is also true that those under 30 who love Instagram and Snapchat still have an account at Facebook so they can keep up with family news, photos and so on.