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.
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.