In order to stay ahead and outrank your competitors, it’s vital that you put plenty of forward thinking into your SEO strategy. And, there’s no better time to do this than when the New Year is approaching. You want to make sure you’re prepared for any upcoming developments, and it’s wise to try out trends that other webmasters are following to see whether they work for you.

As 2019 is well and truly on its way, we’ve put together a round-up of some of the biggest SEO trends that you should pay attention to next year. Incorporating some of these into your SEO strategy is sure to help you rank as highly as possible on Google’s SERPs, so take note!

Focusing on page speed

Google loves sites that offer the best possible user experience and, because most searchers want to be able to find any information they need as quickly as possible, the search engine giant carefully considers page speed. While desktop page loading time has been a ranking factor for quite some time now, it recently became a ranking factor on mobile, too.

This means you need to ensure that your website’s pages load quickly, so users are happy and less likely to bounce back to Google’s SERPs and on to another site. The search engine will then be able to tell that searchers are happy with their experience, and it will be more likely to rank your site well for relevant queries.

Prioritising mobile

In March of this year, Google announced that it would be rolling out its mobile-first index. This means, if you have both a desktop and mobile version of your website, the search engine’s bots will take a look at the mobile one first to determine how to rank your site overall. As a result, if you don’t have a version of your website that’s been specially designed to work well on mobile, you might rank lower in the SERPs. And, if you do have a mobile site, you need to be putting plenty of effort into ensuring it runs as quickly as smoothly as it can.

If you would like to learn more about this, make sure you check out our guide to everything you need to know about the mobile-first index. You’ll find all of the information you need there.

Putting more effort into building a positive reputation

As a business owner, it’s likely you’re already putting plenty of effort into building and maintaining a positive reputation in order to retain and attract customers. But, if the internet perceives your brand to be trustworthy, this can have a positive impact on how your website is ranked on Google’s SERPs.

One way Google can determine your reliability is by looking at your backlinks. Essentially, the more links you’ve secured from external sites, the more legitimate your web presence seems. So, it’s well worth building a healthy backlink profile , and our outreach service can help you with this.

To learn more about how having a positive online presence could help to boost your rankings, make sure you take a look at our guide to Google’s E-A-T ratings and how you can improve yours.

Strengthening your site security

If you use the Google Chrome browser, you might have noticed that a little “secure” or “not secure” message pops up in the left-hand corner of the URL bar whenever you visit a website. This is a result of the search engine giant’s July 2018 security update, which made it so non-HTTPS sites now display a warning and are typically not ranked as well as their more secure counterparts. So, if you haven’t yet transferred your site over to HTTPS, now is a great time to do so in order to up your security and boost your rankings. This is especially true following the implementation of GDPR back in May 2018, which has meant that all eyes are on online data protection in particular.

Optimising for voice search

As we explained in our guide to optimising your content for voice search, 10% of Brits owned a smart speaker in quarter one of 2018, and that had doubled from 5% in the last quarter of 2017. They’ve continued to become increasingly popular as well, which means SEOs need to pay special attention to the way in which their content is optimised — voice search needs to be taken into account.

There are a range of ways in which you can adapt your content for voice search. For example, you can ensure you’re using the appropriate structured data mark up, claim your Google My Business listing, and target more conversational keywords. All of these steps will give you a much higher chance of being suggested to smart speaker users when they ask their devices a relevant question.

These are just five of the most popular trends that you need to be following in 2019 in order to stay ahead of the game. If you would like more frequent updates about what’s going on in the SEO and digital marketing industry, make sure you follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn

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