Search engine optimization (SEO) is constantly changing as new trends emerge and technology advances. What worked in years past may need to be tweaked to account for how search habits evolve. Regardless of how best SEO practices may change over the years, the fact is that an effective SEO strategy is more important now than it has ever been.

SEO Trends

The basic goal of an SEO campaign is to get your website to rank higher in search engines and increase your web traffic. With millions of users searching the web at any given moment, you’ll need any advantage you can get in this incredibly competitive market. This is even more apparent when you consider the fact that the majority of users never scroll past the first page of search results.

The following are some of the biggest trends that will be shaping SEO strategies moving forward.

Mobile-First Indexing

This is basically Google’s effort to use mobile versions of sites and pages for their indexing and rankings. Many view this as long overdue, considering that mobile users have accounted for such a high percentage of overall web traffic. In fact, mobile devices generated over 52 percent of total web traffic in 2018, and that number is looking to be higher this year.

This means that there is simply no way to thrive without a mobile-friendly site. While “mobile-first” certainly doesn’t mean “mobile only”, Google considers slow loading sites as the biggest problem for mobile platforms, and creating a fast and convenient mobile experience will be imperative for the future of any site.

Voice Search

Thanks to the prevalence of mobile devices and assistant apps, the popularity of voice search are growing rapidly. In fact, it’s estimated that by 2020, half of all searches will use voice. Voice search ushers in some of the biggest changes to SEO strategies thus far because it’s an entirely different kind of search that requires new optimization strategies.

Voice search is done through more natural language than traditional keyword searches, so website owners need to start writing in ways that more closely resemble speech. Search engines also tend to prefer short answers for voice searches, so pieces of content need to be brief and to the point.

Location-based phrases will also be important since a significant percentage of voice searches are asking about nearby businesses and attractions.

Page Speed

Page loading time has been a factor for Google’s desktop rankings for many years, but with their recent focus on mobile support, the page speed for mobile sites is becoming a ranking factor as well. This score will be based on how fast a page loads for every individual visitor, which is obviously determined by a variety of factors, many of which will be out of your control.

Website owners can control the optimization metric, however. This can be done by identifying and fixing issues that may be causing your pages to load slowly for certain users. As of now, while Google can rate your site as slow, the speed score won’t affect your overall rankings. Sites will be ranked primarily on their authority and optimization, so keep an eye on a DA checker to see how yours is doing.

Amazon Search

While everyone, understandably, views Google as the biggest giant in the search engine world, SEO specialists are expecting tremendous growth in Amazon Search Optimization in the near future. Amazon has a huge international market and has overtaken Google in product searches.

Amazon users also find product reviews, recommendations, and all sorts of product information on the site. This means that Amazon is the primary search engine for many people’s needs, and catering to Amazon branding strategies will be hugely important for online businesses moving forward.

Strong Branding

As always, the tried and true brand building strategies of classic SEO campaigns will need to continue. Your site’s overall authority in its niche, reputation, advertising, trust with customers/users, and any other identifying features will play important roles in your rankings.

Building your brand through backlinks, as well as simply mentioning your brand online at every opportunity, are still good ways to rise in the rankings. Researching your competitors and using their strategies to your advantage when possible while also delivering unique content will go a long way as well.

You don’t necessarily need the highest DA score out there. You just need to outrank your competition.