MOZ users make their SEO predictions for Google in 2019
News Courtesy of Moz.com:
With the new year in full swing and an already busy first quarter, our 2019 predictions for SEO in the new year are hopping onto the scene a little late — but fashionably so, we hope. From an explosion of SERP features to increased monetization to the key drivers of search this year, our SEO experts have consulted their crystal balls (read: access to mountains of data and in-depth analyses) and made their predictions. Read on for an exhaustive list of fourteen things to watch out for in search from our very own Dr. Pete, Britney Muller, Rob Bucci, Russ Jones, and Miriam Ellis!
1. Answers will drive search
People Also Ask boxes exploded in 2018, and featured snippets have expanded into both multifaceted and multi-snippet versions. Google wants to answer questions, it wants to answer them across as many devices as possible, and it will reward sites with succinct, well-structured answers. Focus on answers that naturally leave visitors wanting more and establish your brand and credibility. [Dr. Peter J. Meyers]
In total, MOZ listed 14 predictions, each from a different user. I’m not going to chime in on each of them, but there are a few which I find particularly interesting. It’s absolutely worth it to read the article with details on each prediction. These users, much like the MOZ team, offer some great insights and rationale as to what to expect next from Google. Here are a few of these insights listed below.
Answers Will Be a Dominant Factor in Ranking Pages
This is the first prediction made and the one I’ve highlighted above. It makes a lot of sense, especially with the rise of voice search with many people entering search queries in the form of a question. Rather than getting a broad overview of a topic, most searchers want specific details on the how, where, when, who’s and what’s of certain points of a topic.
For instance, if you’re looking to lose weight, I’d guess that you’re more inclined to search How can I lose weight quickly over weight loss strategies. Unless you’re looking to become a dietician, answering a question satisfies the user intent over a broad topical search query.
It really forces authors to place themselves inside their target audience. It’s unrealistic to expect the reward of a high-ranking page just because you hit that magic keyword density number. However, if a lot of effort is put into keyword research and your weight loss page answers the most popular of questions related to that topic, Google will recognize that and rank accordingly. This also relates to another prediction of MOZ users for “Targeting topics will be more productive than targeting queries”.
Google is Going Towards a More Interactive Experience for Searchers
Have you noticed the People Also Ask dropdowns in Google’s search results when asking a question? It’s a slick way of keeping users on the SERPs instead of clicking to your website. In fact, I believe they would be perfectly happy if searchers never left the results page.
Remember, Google’s main objective is to satisfy the searcher’s intent. While it would be foolish (and possibly illegal) to not link to a source website, Google wants to provide information quickly. The answer boxes will usually have text bolded that offers the best result to the question. The related questions listed below continue to generate even more answer boxes when clicked on. So even though you might have expertly detailed all of that information on your page, it’s highly probable that some searchers won’t even go to your page as they’ve already had their queries satisfied.
There is a concern among SEO’s that Google will limit the visibility of source pages by hiding links under “click for more information” buttons or similar. The more actions necessary to visit a web page will ultimately lead to less traffic. I’d like to think that Google realizes that a symbiotic relationship between websites and a search engine is a delicate balance. With the dominance of social media, it would be idiotic to do something as underhanded as obstructing potential traffic when there are different avenues to direct such traffic.
Businesses That Value Google Reviews Will Benefit More Than Others That Don’t
Many businesses that I work with either don’t understand or care to go after customer reviews. Even businesses with a stellar reputation seemingly ignore this potential goldmine. It should be standard practice for a business to offer a follow-up email with a link to offer a review.
If a client is especially happy with a product or service, the chances they leave a positive review are almost guaranteed. It’s been proven that many decisions have been made on whether to solicit a company solely on the number of positive reviews. The more 4 or 5 star reviews accumulated will earn a top spot in the local pack.
I realize that there is a worry of negative reviews. However, Google makes it easy to respond to such reviews and then put the pressure back on the client to answer back. If you operate your business in a shady manner, then yes, you should worry. If you treat your customers with respect and courtesy, those fake reviewers will be left speechless. Even responses to legitimate issues will let others know you care about your customers.