Here’s a quick roundup of trends you should be aware of to stay ahead of the curve in 2019. This list isn’t comprehensive. And there aren’t any big predictions (besides Fortnite eating the entire internet). Hopefully, you’ll find something for your personal or professional toolbox.

Website Personalization and SEO

Personalization

Not a new trend. However, website personalization is now a user expectation. A recent study showed that 74% of customers feel frustrated when website content is not personalized or is otherwise irrelevant. Shortened attention spans require minimal search times; serving the same static content to an unsegmented audience won’t move the needle in 2019.

If you want to reach the right audience at the right time, you have to personalize your marketing efforts. That means personalized web content, CTAs, offers, search results, and more. And with the increased availability of personalization and recommendations tools, creating personalized experiences has never been easier. Dive in.

More Video?

Every year the experts predict more video. And the numbers certainly suggest continued growth. By 2020, 82% of web consumer web traffic will be video-based (Cisco). Hubspot found that 45% of people watch an hour or more of video per day (🎶Baby Shark… do doo do do do doo🎶). Additionally, Google found that 70% of B2B buyers (up 50% from just 2 years ago) watch videos on their journey through their path to purchase.

Is video really worth the effort? Well, Aberdeen Group researchers found that video marketers get 66% more qualified leads per year and achieve a 54% increase in brand awareness. And 81% saw an increase in sales after implementing a video strategy. Not bad.

If video isn’t already a part of your marketing strategy, dip your feet into the pool in 2019. A short 1 minute video explaining your products or services is a great place to start; an easy way to make your value proposition immediately clear to visitors. Product demos and reviews are great, too. We love social proof; people are more likely to buy if they see relatable content.

Being Data-Driven

Supposing is good, but finding out is better. Move past simply following “best practices” in 2019. Remember that your target audience doesn’t always navigate technology in the same ways as your design and marketing teams. It’s very hard to predict what users actually want. Luckily, you can bridge that gap with an audience-first approach assisted by data. Make sure user surveys, A/B testing, analytics, and empathy are a part of your process. The more you understand your customers, the easier it is to appeal to them. “Supposing is good, but finding out is better.” – Mark Twain

PageSpeed

On-Page SEO

Increasing organic traffic to your website should always be a goal. And you don’t have to write 1000 targeted blog posts to improve it. On-Page optimization of the content you already have (I’ll save “Search Intent” strategies for another day) can go a long ways.

Google’s ranking algorithm uses over 200 factors to determines which pages come up for which searches. Many are on-page. At its core, the algorithm has one simple goal: provide the best user experience possible. With that in mind, here are a few suggestions to improve your site’s on-page optimization:

  • HTTPS – As of September 2018, Chrome (45% of users) now displays a “not secure” message in the URL bar if your site isn’t secured. We’ve seen higher bounce rates on pages that aren’t secured with HTTPS.
  • Mobile Page Speed – How do you score? Speed is now a Google mobile ranking factor. More importantly, the slower your site loads, the more visitors and revenue you’ll lose out on. Caching and image optimization are good places to start.
  • Mobile Usability – If your site’s user experience is bad on mobile, it’s time to invest in making it better. This matters for search and the overall health of your website.
  • Schema – Schema lives in your site’s markup. It makes it easier for search engines to identify important information. Schema also makes it possible for Google to show photos or ratings from your page within search results, which can help with click-throughs and bounce rates.

Voice Search

A recent study showed that 40% of adults use voice search at least once per day. By 2020, 30% of all searches won’t use a screen. The growth of Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa for Echo, and Siri means that businesses need to optimize for voice search capabilities now. Especially if their customers could benefit from quick results to simple questions (eg “What are Pizza Joe’s hours on Sunday?” ).

Obviously, the types of questions will vary based on your industry and the audience you’re trying to reach. A good chunk of people are looking for location-based content (eg “Camping gear store near me”). On-page SEO best practices can help with that. For more complex queries, it’s all about writing the way you speak and using long-tail keywords (eg “What are best probiotic gummies for kids?”).

Google and other search engines are starting to place a higher emphasis on voice search optimization. If you haven’t considered voice a part of your SEO strategy, now is a good time to start.

A parting thought

The strategies listed above have one thing in common: they are focused on improving user experience. Providing your users with a satisfying experience should be top-of-mind for all digital efforts.