The dynamics of SEO have changed over the years becoming more dynamic in general. Some aspects may remain unhindered such as putting the relevant keywords in your titles and making it a priority to optimize for mobile users. On the other hand, some things are bound to change for good in this never-ending spiral. Google, along with other huge platforms, is pushing its limits every year to be the final destination of their users’ journeys by defining major SEO trends for 2020.
The job is to find certain suitable ways to stay effective within the framework created by Google. As SEOs, your job is to keep an eye on the future and anticipate what Google is planning, testing and looking to drop on our doorsteps. We will take a look at the different advancements in store for SEO in 2020 and how these aspects will change the way strategies are formulated throughout the next year and beyond.
Evolving Artificial Intelligence
The wheel of evolution has taken its toll and it seems that the most recent step in this progression of artificial learning is, of course, the introduction of Bidirectional Transformers for Language Understanding (BERT). Google has announced it in the fall and if you’re unaware of it, BERT is Google’s neural network-based technique for natural language processing which deals with the very fundamentals of how people search. BERT is being considered one of the most important elements in Google’s search engine’s arsenal. This accounts for focusing their efforts on creating the most useful, natural, and highest-quality content for webmasters and SEOs more than ever.
An important thing about BERT is the fact that Google has itself claimed the representation of such algorithms to be the biggest leap forward in the past five years. BERT has given Google a better understanding and affected one in ten searches. Being one of the biggest leaps forward in the history of Search, BERT is the perfect example of how language is used and how it helps comprehend the context of individual words within searches.
Optimized High-Quality Content
Content affects everything in SEO starting from your site structure and internal linking strategy to the types of links you build. If you want to succeed in 2020, you must write something that is relevant, valuable and correct. This accounts for different SEO and learns a proper way to write or hire people who know how to write. Since Google is looking to satisfy user needs and represent the type of market investment, it will need top-notch content that they can bring out to their audiences. This is why Google is about doing things with massively scalable algorithms.
Basically, it all boils down to some pointers that I am discussing out here. It all begins with developing a sense of understanding with your audience and the way they utilize the search options. The next thing you need to discover is the intent behind the questions they ask or if they are going through any problem. If they are, then, you must provide them with solutions in the formats they prefer via on-point, quality, and authoritative content. In order to serve their needs repeatedly, you must execute satisfactory topical experience in this fashion for every stage of their journey.
Optimizing Voice Search
The dawn of 2020 has seen the future of voice search. Back in 2012 when voice search was released, it was thought to be another project consigned to the ever-growing Google graveyard. However, today, we know so much more about this technology and where it is headed in the future. The adoption rate may be slower than predicted, but voice search has leaked into our lives and only by perfecting it over the course of time we can completely optimize it into our projects. Voice search changes the mode of interaction in a big way. Since it is all about asking questions via voice instead of entering search queries, the advancements in technology have made it easier to optimize this tool for the latest SEO and make it more conversational and targeted.
Using a voice search engine requires more work to deliver relevant information. If you have come across a voice search in your mobile platform like Google assistant, Cortana, Siri etc, you are most likely to look for relevant information. The user is looking to make short choppy keywords not so important anymore. When it comes to SEO, voice search plays a vital role in making it to this list.
Prioritizing Brand Building
Organic social media is pretty much stagnant and this is for a noticeable trend for any marketer working today. If we talk about the paid advertisements, they’re still working brilliantly for social affairs but the fact that several other companies are also doing it creates a real trend where ROI for paid ads will be decreasing. It has become quite obvious that paid ads have become more prevalent and expensive for any individual who is willing to grow through that avenue. Such conditions encourage brand awareness and brand building to take charge at the frontline of digital markers’ efforts.
You can monitor every mention of your brand as well as the type of service and product you provide by utilizing the social media listening. This will allows you to engage with your clientele directly while giving you an opportunity to build brand awareness. Thus, utilizing social listening tools marketers are able to build brand awareness through direct interaction with their customer base. This prevents you from being thrown out of any digital marketer’s agenda.
User Experience & Mobile SEO
One of the trends that have come out as one of the biggest trends that have caught the attention of smart SEO professionals in 2020 for greater success is user experience or UX. This will include the overall experiences beginning right from the initial interaction in the SERPs to the overall landing page experience. Providing your users with the best possible experience while coming up with the true values during their visit will surely go a long way. As mobile devices have become readily available, it is believed that sites are built for mobiles first and then made compatible with the desktop. It has become essential to reflect insights into your mobile performance for your online reporting as it is very much likely that the user might find your website via a mobile device.
Today, SEOs are required to look at real mobile search results in order to know what kind of traffic to expect along with the type of optimization that will actually be successful at impacting the bottom line.
Structured data can become your marketing data layer if it is done in the right way. It allows you to publish your content for any machine-search, voice-engine, assistant or a Chabot while providing services to your customers. High-quality content is said to be one of the most important things in 2020. However, algorithms cannot fully understand the context as of now and so we need to give search engines some hints to deliver better results based on a searcher’s intent. Basically, data must be structured in a manner that helps search engines understand the dynamics on the page more efficiently. Along with that it also shows how each element relates to other elements on the page how the page relates to other pages within the website. The ultimate aim is to be understood and found by your customers through any channel.
Focusing On Visibility More Than Blue Links
Going back a year, 2019 has been a big reality for zero-click searches and SERP SEO will only continue to grow in importance in 2020. Therefore, adapting to a zero-click search will be the key in the coming years as more brand marketing is happening on Google itself. Smart marketers need to learn and adapt to take advantage of this by getting more strategic about the information shown in search snippets. It is more than just zero-click searches that we need in 2020. We need to plan and optimize the need for much more than blue links. Further, it is also believed that users will continue to see more localization in search results with more Map Packs News and events ranking from traditional organic ranking.
Optimizing for Rich and Featured Snippets
The information shown on the SERP itself is now more important than ever in situations where zero-click searches are so prevalent. Apparently, two of the great ways to stand out is to either get rich or featured snippets. Rich snippets in addition to the title and description also show images, stars, prices for products, etc. Apart from being easier to acquire, they also bring lower CTR improvements compared to a Featured snippet. This means your results will be more noticeable, even though, your position in a SERP remains the same.
While on the other hand, Featured snippets are an entire block of information that is displayed at the top of a SERP and brings great increases in CTR. Although, getting one is comparatively trickier.
Topics and Semantics over Keywords
Google has put less priority on both links and keywords where modeling and semantics come into the conversation. Google is becoming very clever when it comes to the understanding of a user based on a few basic words. This has been credited to modeling by Google itself after the introduction of the “topic layer” in September 2018. This algorithm indeed has a deep understanding of semantics and yearns to provide users with troves of information.
The introduction of Voice Search, rich snippets, Google My Business, updated Image Search results, and SEOs have considered a whole new range of technical marketing strategies to appear in organic search results. It is quite hard to predict where Google will take SERPs in the coming year. Although, the strategies we use today for the search environment are most likely to be outdated in the next six months. In order to cope up with a constantly evolving search environment, you need to ensure the flexibility of your strategies. You must constantly prepare for changes in both your business sector if you do not work within SEO. The key is to pay attention to the seasonality of searches and use tools such as Google Trends to cover any out-of-season deficit that you may encounter.
Ensuring Secured Websites
One of the most important things that one need to take into account is the safety of user that may not have much to do with SEO but is equally important for the website user experience. If a user feels unsafe visiting a web page then they’re very likely to leave without even considering the contents. This usually happens when they experience a website that has a “Not Secure” warning appearing that makes them decide not to proceed with your page. This could result in high bounce rates which will affect the position of that page in the organic search listing.
It’s important to enable HTTPS protocol for your website as it gives users a secure connection that is both encrypted and authenticated. Google suggests that HTTPS helps in preventing intruders from tampering the communications between your websites and your users’ browsers. Google aims to provide its users with a secure browsing experience so that implementing HTTPS lets you experience a minor SEO boost.
Videos as a Source of Information
Videos on the internet are exponentially rising with voice searches becoming more popular. Studies from Google suggest that people would rather watch online videos than television which in many ways seems normal given that YouTube has now become the new TV. Current internet users mostly millennials and younger, prefer to get information through online videos for their academic or entertainment purposes. This is why implementing online video to reach more people should be on the radar for most businesses. Many users can be attracted to your videos if you optimize it for search users. Using appropriate keywords in the description along with the headline of your video will guarantee a vast reach across the number of people who are interested in that subject.
We already know how the bar must be raised on the quality of the content that gets published. But we must also discuss the length of the content as well. Web pages that have longer and high-quality content are usually getting more visibility because internet users prefer to get all the information they need from a single reliable source. Studies suggest that pages that have articles with 1500 or more words are more likely to get more readers than an article with fewer words. But high word count alone isn’t good enough. The content must be comprehensive and rich enough to solve all the queries users have and address closely-related questions.
Google is more likely to reward pages with more organic traffic which will come from users spending more time on the web page. This means that ideally, publishing high-quality content consistently on your website will always keep your website active and fresh in the eyes of Google and its ranking algorithm.
Use of Other Search Engines
Google is currently considered the best internet search engine available and they have constantly updated its platform to improve user experiences. As much as you would think about other search engines being obsolete, there are search engines out there that do not hinder the popularity of Google nor will it lose its credibility. Platforms such as Amazon require you to optimize your content based on their standards. This also includes smaller search engines like YouTube, DuckDuckGo, and Bing. Therefore, before posting any content on your website you must ensure that you can have a good rating on other search enabled platforms.