SEO Trends to Expect in 2019

SEO is getting tougher and it's a known fact that the popular best practices are swiftly becoming old news. The question is; how do you stay ahead of the curve in order to beat the competition? This short read provides answers to constantly asked questions about SEO in 2019.

1. Are backlinks dead in SEO?

The ambivalence of Google's relationship with backlinks remains increasingly complicated. Backlinks are an essential driver of Google's central ranking algorithm on the one hand while, on the other, in order to target manipulative link-building methods, Google is being forced to work overtime. The fact remains that backlinks are here to stay, love them or hate them.

Google is getting better at being able to recognise questionable backlinks. This simply means that SEOs will have to be better at staying beneath the radar. Providing quality content and building relationships with bloggers and influencers will promote link building. The days of people using paid posts to push the rankings are long-gone and these days, contents provided need to be impressive and endorsed online.

Backlinks are significant but your reputation also matters for rankings, so in the process of producing content, think about ways in which your content can be used to promote brand noise just as much as backlink links. At a recent search conference, it was announced by Google's Gary Illyes that a brand's mentions are put into consideration for its search algorithm thereby generating the concept of linkless backlinks.

2. How does JavaScript impact SEO?

One word that creates fear in the heart of any sensible SEO is JavaScript and for a very good reason. While there are claims by Google & Co. to have conquered creeping concerns surrounding sites that use JavaScript, there's still some work that needs to be done.

Undoubtedly, the major search engines have gotten much better at crawling JavaScript, but the links on these pages can be followed only if the links are physically present on the webpage.

There are two ways to render JavaScript pages, by the server (server-side rendering) or by the browser (client-side rendering). With server-side rendering, all the HTML elements are available on the server so links can be followed and the content can be crawled by the bots. However, with client-side rendering, the web pages are created on the fly so its links cannot be followed and the content can't be crawled by the bots. Hence, while client-side JavaScript isn't search-friendly, server-side JavaScript cooperates better with search engines.

Google is trying its best to upgrade the client-rendering capabilities in Chrome, but it might take a while so webmasters that use invisible websites need to make changes now. One good solution is to explore is a pre-rendering service like prerenderer.io. It uses middleware to deliver a static HTML snapshot of the page if the page is requested by a crawler. As more sites are being developed using client-side JavaScript, pre-rendering services are quickly becoming big news in the world of SEO.

3. Can UX design really boost SEO?

For a long while, Google has been preaching the importance of user behaviour and presently, UX design is a key part of SEO. You'll enjoy much more engagement and be well rewarded when you build your website around the needs of users, rather than by being a pushy publisher. Spending more time on your site not only means there will be more opportunities to convert, but it also means you'll also be sending the right kind of search signals to Google.

4. Is website speed important for SEO?

Overemphasising the importance of swiftness in SEO is impossible and as search becomes increasingly mobile, then the load time also becomes more and more important. Recently, the way Google calculates speed score has changed. It's done by combining data from the Chrome User Experience Report which is the real-world data pulled from Chrome browsers, and the change shows by the addition of new speed metrics to their Page Speed Insights tool. Google has clearly been on a mission to increase the speed of the web and they are giving web owners the tools to get the job done easily. Should in case the possibilities of a boost in the algorithm for fast pages isn't enough, then the statistics that show that as page load increases from one to five seconds, the probability of bounce grows by 90% should be considered.

5. How is SEO affected by mobile-first indexing?

It's not much of a surprise that Google has converted to a mobile-first index now that 60% of search queries are exercised on mobile devices. This move simply means that Google will begin to use the mobile version of a site for indexing and ranking instead of the desktop version. Although it is maintained by Google that they have one single index for presenting search results, they fail to admit that mobile-friendly content performs better for people who search on mobile. From the SEO perception, this means that mobile versions should be given as much importance and not be treated as a poor version of their desktop counterparts.


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