We’re only a few weeks away from 2019, so most of us have at least started planning for next year. SEO is a huge consideration for your marketing plan. What should you consider for SEO as you look to 2019?
Google has made its impact on SEO tactics with its efforts related to mobile first and speed. But there are some non-Google factors that should be considered as well. What should be on your SEO radar?
- Mobile-first indexing. It’s the mobile version of web pages that are used by Google for indexing and ranking. For much of 2018, Google has been migrating sites to mobile-first index. If that migration has happened for your site, you’ve probably been notified. Even if you have both mobile and desktop versions of your site, it’s the mobile site that Google will use for ranking. If you haven’t already fully optimized your site for mobile, what are you waiting for?
- Page speed. Research has shown that slow page loading times lead to abandoning the site. Google takes this to heart and uses it as a page-ranking factor for both desktop and mobile sites. However, there is also an Optimization factor that is considered along with speed. According to an experiment by SEO PowerSuite, the correlation between a page’s Optimization score and it’s SERP position is strong, while there is no correlation between the Speed score and the page’s position. However, as Google tweaks its algorithm, that may change.
- Brand as a ranking signal. Online brand mentions are part of Google’s search algorithm. By looking at unlinked brand mentions, it learns of your brand’s existence and builds a picture of your brand’s stature in your field. Google then uses context to assess your brand’s reputation. You can strengthen this ranking by using backlinks whenever possible and being responsive to your online reputation through reputation management techniques.
- GDPR. Even if you have no customers or business in the European Union, from which GDPR originated, you should still be aware of related changes that Google has made. Now all personal data expires 26 months after it is collected. You can change the expiration option in Google Analytics, but consider carefully before doing so. If you do have customers in the EU or are planning to market there in the future, you should review your practices for collecting user data.
- Amazon search. While this particular aspect isn’t currently a factor for healthcare, it may soon be, if all the rumors about Amazon entering the healthcare space are true. While Amazon’s search engine is used only within the Amazon site, it’s important because so many customers go directly to the Amazon site for shopping. If some aspect of healthcare is brought into the Amazon arena, it will be important to know how to navigate Amazon’s search.
Is your organization’s SEO strategy changing in 2019? If so, how?