2019 in Search: The Year to Streamline

Companies should focus on working to streamline tasks across departments. It will enable them to leverage data and implant stability within the minds of their employees.

Google turned the big 2-0 this year and just like most adolescents, weird things have happened. There was this political and media drama a few weeks back that could literally hold the key to what might unfold in 2019 in terms of search. (And if the Pichai’s hearing was any indication of the level of an average searcher’s knowledge, we’ll all have job security.)

In case you forgot the online marketing atrocities of 2018, here’s a recap

Skipping over a large amount of the details (we all probably want to forget anyways), Google was gifted some real flak from the media and government officials relating to a myriad of significant, collective issues. These topics are all bound to how the user consumes data and Google’s role and responsibilities in that consumption. (Reflect: “With great power, comes great responsibilities.”).

Top issues include:

  • Confirmation Bias: We are what we Google. Unfortunately, being a pull channel, there is an innate issue of confirmation bias. It led to a garbage-in, garbage-out problem for search engines.
  • Accuracy: The false assumption that search engines are foolproof suggests users are content living in a bias bubble, blissfully ignorant and too lazy to separate fact and fiction.
  • Accusations of political bias: If ever there was a time for the “praise hands emoji…” it’s anytime anyone mentions the Pichai congressional committee hearing. We’ll let you read up on that yourself.

So, moving on to 2019… what’re your next steps?

A slight modification suggested to Facebook’s tagline.

Wondering where Google is headed?

Let us not kid ourselves… the bottom line is always about revenue. There are employees to pay, overhead to pay, bills to pay – they all require a steady stream of revenue. For Google, it is obvious that search is imperative to its foundation, as there is a substantial economic incentive to keep search users well satisfied. Comprehending the mechanics of search, realizing how to add value and where to prioritize SEO efforts remains vital.

Watch Google and react wisely

1. They will most likely focus on the known, snuggling into a trademarked comfort zone which includes:

Doubling down on the known:

 
  • Increased focus on top brands, news outlets, and well-known sites.
  • Increased aesthetics in SERPs to ascertain how credible Google feels results are.
 

Tripling down on the facts:

  • Semantic fact checking, flagging of pages exceeding a certain threshold.
  • Partnering with hospitals and the medical field to seek out more expert advice.
  • Finally, it will release some form of multi-perspective answers to address a sliver of confirmation bias for queries like: [Is [x] good?] or [Is [x] bad?].
 

2. Google will aim to be more than just an information portal, but also the transaction hub of the web. They will focus on ways to pull conversions from Amazon.

3. It will double down on security with more stringent prioritization of HTTPS sites, definitely additional education and transparency goals targeted toward Washing, D.C. (ahem), more evaluation of hacked sites and in SERP, visual identification to users of sites with higher risk or that Google believes is compromised.

4. Privacy: We’ll probably be told what Google’s doing for privacy, security and ensuring credible sources are identified. Likely this means increased notifications for identification when cookies are being stored and more updates for when apps are storing location-based information. Don’t anticipate anything changing with actual best practices.

5. Amplified Incorporation of search within their hardware products is the next obvious and most strategic move. With Google Home and Android implemented already, search will be omnipresent with even more imaginative search identifying products.

What should your next move be?

1. Streamline and be proactive

  • Work towards a frictionless conversion.
  • Recognize and prepare for new and current client behavior, intent and common journeys.
  • Verify internal site search is providing relevant results.
  • Ensure customers can easily find and navigate to your physical locations.

2. Merge recurring tasks

Monthly meetings are a must with marketing and development departments to discuss collaborations and create strategies.

Review 2018 work: identify what worked and why and more importantly, what did NOT work and why.

3. Leverage data to power better user experiences and to empower users.

Ensure that your company has the analytics and content management infrastructure needed to support personalization.

Test and develop more personalized experiences (make sure to provide search engine bots with a base-case user experience).

4. Implant stability in every aspect of the online experience. Show users and search engines why you’re the best at what you do.