With the holidays finally over, business may be slowing down for the rest of the winter season. But that doesn’t mean it’s a good time to let your SEO go on autopilot. In fact, after ringing in the New Year, one of the best steps you can take for your business is to evaluate your SEO strategy and assess where the big trends of 2019 may fit in.

SEO doesn’t have a static definition. In 2019, it will evolve to include more types of search and to focus more on end users than on search algorithms. All the while, technical factors will only become more critical to maintaining visibility in search, no matter where your audience is searching. Here’s a closer look at the year’s trend forecast, so you can better shape your SEO strategy for 2019.

Users’ search habits will be in the spotlight.

What does your content seek to accomplish? Is it written to engage and inform readers, helping them find the answers to the questions they’re asking online? Or is it simply rehashing the same topics surrounding top keywords for your industry?

People don’t think in keywords, which means that’s not how they search online. Instead of searching “auto shops Tucson,” someone might search “what’s causing that hissing noise when I start my car?” Part of the reason search queries are becoming more conversational is because more and more searches are happening by voice through mobile devices. But the important takeaway in terms of keywords is that content should be shaped to answer consumers’ questions the way that those questions are being asked through search. So, in this example, an auto shop might keep up with their content with a blog dedicated to car care questions.

Google will have competition for search queries.

If your SEO strategy only accounts for Google searches, then you are likely missing out on potential leads searching elsewhere. Amazon has put voice-assist devices in homes across the country, and those are answering the questions that users are searching for. They do this with short, conversational snippets from high-quality content highlighted in search results, so that should be something that can be readily pulled from your site. Other avenues of engagement that are worth accounting for in your SEO include video and podcast searches and app stores.

Site improvements will be worth the investment.

Redesigning your website may not have made it onto your budget in 2018, but this year may present more urgency. Poor site responsiveness can be punishing for your search rank, as the end user experience is valued above all else. Users should be able to load your site quickly and navigate it easily. If you’re really looking to shake things up and jump ahead of the curve, then the trend to watch here is progressive web apps (PWAs). These are basically apps that are accessible through a URL, delivering the same app-like experience across multiple devices. It’s essentially the next generation of responsive web design.

Machine learning will advance.

It may sound a little scary, but machines are watching how people behave online—particularly how they search. Why? Because intent isn’t always clear in the question a user searches for. So, as machine learning becomes more advanced, it will start to play a valuable role in interpreting user queries and providing better answers to those queries.

Brand reputation will be front and center.  

Looking at online reviews has become a fixture in the buyer’s journey. That means that you won’t get very far in a customer’s mind if you have a lot of bad reviews floating around about your business. A bad review here and there is virtually unavoidable, but if you are seeing consistently poor feedback on review sites, it’s worth analyzing where these customer complaints are originating and how you can respond to them.

Brand reputation also extends beyond reviews. It’s increasingly important to have your brand seen as an authority in your industry. Your content will play a big part, but it’s also essential to have a consistent presence on social media to engage with clients where they are asking questions and looking for recommendations.

Pennington Creative can help you stay on top of the trends that matter most to your brand this year. Whether you need managed social media, plug-and-play social posts, or a full content revamp, we can capture the right voice for your brand and get readers to take notice. Reach out to us today to be sure that you don’t fall behind on your SEO strategy.

About the Author

Marissa - Digital Marketing Manager, Account Services
Marissa Storrs

Digital Marketing Manager, Client Engagement