At the Google I/O '19 conference held last week in Mountain View, CA Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller and Developer Advocate Martin Splitt delivered a presentation on how Google Search will be changing in 2019.
Highlights for tourism businesses:
- Google is aiming for 100% mobile first in its index, currently at around 50%. Delivering a good mobile experience is going to be essential for success in organic search.
- Images are important to Google because they provide context that might otherwise require sentences or paragraphs of text. But to help Google understand the relevance of your images, optimize the surrounding text and metadata. And always code images with HTML "img src" including an "alt" attribute vs. calling via CSS. Use descriptive filenames for images, e.g., hampton-beach.jpg vs. 1234567.jpg etc.
- Coming in 2019: ability to suggest via Search Console and JSON-LD markup large, hi-res images on your website for inclusion in Google Discover, which now replaces the search box on Android devices.
- Googlebot has been updated with 1000 new capabilities and will now always run on the latest version of Chromium, so will have new/improved crawling abilities that will likely drive changes to technical SEO.
- Google will be introducing a new (maybe Android-based) Googlebot user agent - watch for announcement.
- Google will recognize 3 new types of structured data that can produce rich snippets, using Schema.org:
- Single-topic Q&A pages
- Multiple-topic Q&A pages
- You will be able to request crawls of time-sensitive livestream video using the Indexing API, provided content has structured data markup.
- To make links crawlable by Googlebot, always use HTML anchor tags <a href></a>.
- Google is running a trial of reporting page speed in Search Console. That's further evidence of page speed being a ranking factor for search.
Many of those items are directly actionable only by your Web developer, but you as marketer or other person with bottom-line responsibility need to be driving your company's response to them. Google has given you a lot of free tips on how to rank well in their search index in 2019. Don't ignore!