2018 saw Google, as usual, making continued updates to its platform to provide searchers with the best experience and the most relevant search results.

With so many updates occurring on such a regular basis, it can be difficult to stay up-to-date, so it’s important to remain familiar with the way in which Google applies updates and why.

To help you prepare for what might happen in the future, we’ve put together some predictions for what might happen in 2019.

So … what are our SEO predictions for 2019?

2019 is set to be the year of user experience in SEO. It’s users who choose your website in Google, it’s users who use your website and it’s users who buy from you so, ultimately, pleasing users is key.

We are likely to see clients and businesses putting a greater focus on elements such as site usability and site speed as it is these factors that will be critical to SEO success in 2019.

In addition, we will see a continuation of constant testing on the part of Google. 2018 brought a number of algorithm updates but also, interestingly, some reversals of these algorithm updates as we saw Google perform a few tests before deciding it didn’t quite work for them.

We also expect the machine learning elements of Google’s algorithm to come to the fore. The main example of this that we’ve seen recently is the ‘people also ask’ boxes.

We saw far more of these in 2018 and, in 2019, we will see clients and brands try very hard to get inside those boxes to answer user questions. However, at the moment, “people also ask” doesn’t always provide the best user experience so we expect to see Google making changes throughout 2019 to hit that perfect level of customer experience.

What about brand equity as an SEO focus?

Brand equity will continue to be a huge focus in 2019. Brands are what people like to choose in search results and so it’s brands that Google likes to favour - nothing about that is likely to change.

All of the signals around being a brand also signal to Google that your website is one that should be favoured in search results. This should continue to be a focus for clients and brands throughout 2019.

What do we predict for the wider digital marketing industry?

More generally, for the digital marketing industry as a whole, we will see brands returning to agencies for a wider range of services.

Many brands have taken some of these services in-house over the last couple of years but agencies have advanced to the point where brands will look to bring agencies back on board in order to tie those channels together for them and provide a much wider digital marketing strategy going forward.

2019 is likely to be the year that Google continues to transform its algorithms to align with changes in user preferences and behaviours which means that brands must also adapt their own websites and strategies to make users a top priority in SEO strategies going forward.

If you’d like to read more of our 2019 predictions for digital marketing, please head to our previous blog post on the topic.