It’s a shiny new year and search engine optimization has changed once more, at least slightly. Getting higher page ranks in the new year, and beyond, would require companies becoming familiar with new search trends, advancing technology, and priorities for search engine companies (Google, really). Let’s take a look at what’s driving higher page rankings right now, and what your website would need to attract more traffic in the coming months:

Mobile Responsiveness

This doesn’t come as a huge surprise. Mobile responsiveness has been important for search rankings for some time as more and more consumers use handheld devices to search for things than desktops. If your company or brand is targeting a global audience, remember that in many countries mobile users outnumber desktop users. Therefore, mobile responsiveness is just as important, if not more, than the previous year.

Brands and businesses must invest significantly to make websites mobile responsive as much as possible. In addition, you will need to engage in mobile-based SEO, where results are optimised exclusively for mobile platforms. This can get tough for a company with a small, in-house marketing team. SEO specialists like Shout Agency can help Australian brands and companies optimise for mobile and reach a global audience.

Contextual Keyword Placement

Keyword optimising has dramatically changed over the years. Remember when stuffing a web page with keywords gave sites top ranking? Google is once more changing keyword optimised content thanks to artificial intelligence and machine learning making highly advanced search possible.

While keywords are important for SEO, simple placement is no longer sufficient to get content ranked high. Search algorithms now consider the context a keyword is placed in, additionally to how relavant the keyword is.

Consider for example, a key phrase like “lawyer in Melbourne.” About 5 years ago, the same search would have garnered a list of websites for individual lawyers based in Melbourne, or at least law firms. The modern Google algorithms first list Google Maps results for lawyers in Melbourne. The actual search results are for directors of lawyers.

So what changed? Unlike before, Google and other search engines have begun to prioritise user intent. In the example before, Google understands that someone who types in “lawyer Melbourne” is in the process of searching for a lawyer, rather than looking up an individual lawyer. Hence, the results are for directories. In the past, the algorithm merely considered the websites with relevant keywords.

Keyword placement in 2019 thus has to be relevant in the context.  Just choosing keywords that best suit your site no longer does the trick. Therefore, brands should choose keywords only after checking the other search results for the same keyword or phrase. It should give the context the algorithm considers.

Credibility of Content and Links

Authority optimisation is definitely back for 2019. In the age of fake news and fake profiles, credibility is now a major factor in getting high search rankings.

Websites and brands must make sure the content present in their web pages are as accurate as possible. All content must be original to avoid getting flagged for plagiarism or copying. More importantly, outbound links on the website must come from credible and authoritative sites. A bad link to a scam site would bring your site’s ranking crashing down.

Authority optimisation should be a part of a company’s overall SEO strategy as it directly affects it. Invest in efforts to make your site appear highly credible so that search engines have no qualms in giving it a high ranking.

Voice Search Optimisation

Voice search is expected to take off in 2019 and beyond. Voice search is largely driven by voice-operated personal assistants like Apple’s Siri, Amazon Echo, and Google Assistant. Voice search may soon be everywhere because of smart home gadgets. Businesses, therefore, must think ahead and optimise content for voice search as well.

There isn’t a major difference between SEO for voice search as opposed to typed-in search. If there’s a difference, keywords and phrases chosen for voice search should appear more “natural.” That is to say, brands should aim to choose phrases that match natural speak. Remember, people don’t necessarily speak into voice-enabled devices the same way they type into a web browser. Plan early for voice-based SEO to take full advantage of this up-and-coming technology.

Search engines are slowly but significantly changing to provide users high-quality and precise search results to users. As a result, the field of SEO is undergoing a slow-burn overhaul process. Keep the above in mind when your business does SEO in the New Year. As always, keep in touch with the latest tech news to understand the changes coming to search engines.