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2018 marked the emergence of several new SEO updates whose influence will have key effects into the new year. Mark your calendars for a review of these important SEO practices and website assets to prepare for a strong start in 2019.

 

1. Page Speed

Mobile-friendly considerations are more important than ever, so it comes as no surprise that the top trend to expect in the new year is an even shorter threshold for webpage content to load—before your eager users abandon their efforts. According to a recent Google article, 50% of visitors expect your page to fully load within only two seconds.  

To help your optimization score keep pace, Google advises a set of tips

 

2. Linkless Mentions

Search engines can now calculate a site’s authority on a subject by associating third-party mentions of a particular brand with that brand’s website. As unlinked mentions become more commonplace, take advantage of life-science industry influencers and social media-based conversations to increase your presence as a thought leader.  

 

3. Voice Search

IoT devices have encouraged our search queries to be more intuitive and natural sounding. To optimize for voice search, write content in a conversational tone, and integrate relevant long-tail keyword phrases. Targeted keywords will then better match user intent and resemble how they really speak.  

When developing keyword plans or reviewing audience search terms, consider:

  • What are the most anticipated questions from your audience?

  • Does your landing page provide the most precise and relevant answer to those questions?

 

4. Mobile-first Indexing

As of March 2018, Google Search Console began migrating websites to mobile-first indexing, which means Google will use the mobile version of a website as the primary means for indexing and ranking across the Web.

  • If your website still operates under two distinct desktop vs. mobile URLs, users will continue to be shown the format relevant to the device they’re on, however the content on the mobile site is the only collection being indexed for both cases.

  • Pages without separate mobile versions will be indexed, be sure your site is constructed with mobile-first design that adapts for all screen sizes.

 

5. GDPR

In May 2018, the European Union launched GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) to protect users’ private data. Updating your website Privacy Policy and Terms reinforces brand credibility, benefits SEO and satisfies GDPR requirements for your EU audiences.  

For any EU-based visitors (and even California-based visitors beginning in 2020), prior to collecting any data your website must implement a consent box with the following:

  • What kind of information is going to be collected

  • How that information will be used

  • Where information will be stored

  • Consent options

  • State the information collected will be secure

 

Together, these SEO updates indicate the importance of user-centric design for web development, data privacy, and search functionality. Digital devices will continue to have an increasingly intimate role amongst our daily interactions—necessitating information accessibility and responsiveness.