A Recap of 2018 & Predictions for 2019

It’s the time of year when the Netvantage staff looks back at what happened in the search engine marketing industry and how it changed the way we help our clients. We also take this time to highlight a few things we are going to keep our eye on in 2019 with Google’s ever-changing SERP. Read on for our thoughts and predictions.

What We Learned in 2018

Abbey Hadar
Abbey Hadar
Twitter
Every year it seems that Google finds more ways to deliver valuable content to users faster. One thing I noticed change this year in search results is the increase in answer boxes. Sometimes I have found that I don’t even need to click on a website for more information – Google has already found what I want to know at the top of the page. Another way I have noticed this is the recent change made to Google’s local map listings for the travel industry. Google now shows hotel options for top choices, guest favorites, budget, and other selections. Google continuously wants to improve its ways of delivering valuable content to users faster, and I definitely saw this improvement in 2018.
Adam Henige
Adam Henige
Twitter
Everything matters. In the past, there were elements of SEO you could sort of gloss over if you did other elements really well. If you had the links, you could win, even if your content wasn’t quite there or if your site was a little clunky. No more. Everything needs to be working in unison or you’re asking to lose.
Jerod Karam
Jerod Karam
Twitter
I’ve been fighting a losing battle over site speed for a couple of years now. With a little research and some persistence, I FINALLY have a dialed-in game plan for increasing site speed. Now I just have to dial in a method to convince clients that it’s important.
Joe Ford
Joe Ford
Twitter
It was a monumental year for Google in PPC. Google AdWords is out and Google Ads is in and with that, a new interface to manage campaigns. Additionally, we are seeing large SERP real estate grabs by Google. Expanded text ads and additional extensions will continue to push more advertising space for paid search. Additionally, more tools that PPC managers used to have, such as the display planner and exact match variants, are being taken away to again, make Google more revenue.
Lexie Kimball
Lexie Kimball
Twitter
In 2018, I learned to look well beyond keywords. While they are still important when optimizing a website, it is more important to focus on the users intent. We have to pay attention to what they are really looking for, which makes utilizing questions in your content and creating helpful how-to-guides extremely important.
Michael Hall
Michael Hall
Twitter
Backlink quality and relevance are more important than ever before. I’m finding more and more instances where a website with fewer than 100 referring domains beating out a similar site with ten times as many referring domains and much stronger domain authority metrics. That’s only after realizing that the site with the smaller backlink profile is getting links from all the right places.

What We Are Looking Out For in 2019

In 2019, I expect to see a larger focus on voice search. I feel like this is mentioned every year, but I definitely think it will be the main focus in 2019. Voice search has become part of our daily lives with the many different devices such as our phones, Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and other devices making their way into people’s homes. I’m even guilty of this where all I have to do nowadays is say “Hey Siri” followed with my question. In 2019, we need to figure out how to better incorporate voice search into our content strategy, which might include incorporating more long tail keywords and less keyword stuffing. Adam HenigeAbbey Hadar
Twitter
Google will continue to focus more and more on outcomes and user interactions in how they choose to rank and order information. What metrics they’ll use is anyone’s guess, but I’m sure it will keep us on our toes. Adam HenigeAdam Henige
Twitter
As for 2019, I think Google is going to roll out more and more warnings about SSL / HTTPS or lack thereof on websites. I think we’re going to start seeing warnings in the SERP and, increasingly, more warnings in the browser (Chrome, of course). Jerod KaramJerod Karam
Twitter
My specific expectation in 2019 is industry-centric – Google Ads must clean up its new interface. The usability and speed of it are unacceptable. I do believe with the vast improvements in the Bing interface that we may start to see some more incremental click dollars trickle from Google into Bing. Joe FordJoe Ford
Twitter
I anticipate Google My Business and local search becoming more interactive. Google is already making small changes to the Google My Business set up to allow business owners to respond to questions, and if owners don’t respond, other users can. I see interactions on Google My Business to become more prominent in 2019. Lexie KimballLexie Kimball
Twitter
A concern over the percentage of users that click through to a website with an organic listing. With the rise of voice search, more snippets and rich content in search results, and sponsored results dominating above the fold search results, a fewer percentage of users may end up needing to click through to a website to get what they are looking for. In other words, #1 in Google ain’t what it used to be. There will certainly be steps available for websites to increase their organic search presence in 2019 and beyond, and SEOs will likely find ways to make the most of a future SERP structure, as they always have. Michael HallMichael Hall
Twitter

 

Netvantage Marketing

Netvantage Marketing is a search engine marketing company founded in 2008. We assist businesses in a variety of industries with search engine optimization and paid search management.

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