If there’s one thing consistent about SEO, it’s that the rulebook is always evolving. What worked to get our web pages on the SERP back in 2010, or even 2017, is no longer the most effective strategy. We all need to work on SEO for organic traffic and growth—but don’t be overwhelmed! We’ll break everything down in our list of trend predictions for 2020.
We’ve been saying it since 2018 (and even before): one of the best ways to enjoy positive results with SEO is to produce high-quality content that has been optimized for your target audience. In case you didn’t know, content impacts everything and that’s why it’s at the top of our list. From internal linking to site structure, content is king.
In 2020, we want you to keep two things in mind: value and relevance. Every day, we’re getting closer to a world where the best content ALWAYS wins on Google. For businesses and marketers, now is the time to get serious about it. If you don’t have the talent in-house, invest in those who can create high-quality content on your behalf.
Not only will this help with SEO, it should be a mission you want to succeed in anyway because it provides value. If you’re answering the industry’s most common questions and offering genuinely useful content, you’ll soon become an authoritative source. Everybody will come to you for news, updates and general advice.
One of the great tenants of SEO is that site authority grows through long-tail keywords. Rather than focusing on single keywords, however, create content based on specific topics. For example, we’re seeing brands dress entire conversations with content, which means they don’t have to worry about plugging in keywords and shaping their content around these terms. Naturally, the content will perform well because the conversation will contain these keywords and phrases anyway.
If you’ve ever made a query on Google, you’ve probably seen the search engine display an answer right at the top of the page. Instead of having to click on a link and visit a website, we get the answer in ‘snippet’ form. Paid ads, organic ads and SERP results aside, Google users get an answer to their question without having to do anything but search. According to Google, this means that around half of all searches now lead to zero clicks… and this is an important fact.
Does this mean you should give up on SEO entirely? Not at all. You should instead focus on question-based keywords and search queries. Look at the ‘people also ask’ section, as this will give you an idea of what other searches people make who research you.
In 2019, some sources suggested that influencers made up more than 50% of the marketing budget for nearly one in five companies. There are a couple of reasons for this, but perhaps none more important than the fact that consumers are driving this change. Though ads are still effective, it’s fair to say that many consumers are getting frustrated and overwhelmed by them. Ads are everywhere: on YouTube, Google, and at the top of their favorite websites. As we tire of seeing ads, consumers are looking for a credible and reliable voice, which can sometimes come from influencers.
Although you may think that working with an influencer will just earn the occasional mention, it also generates traffic, boosts content reach and increases visibility online. Consumers often trust influencer content above other sources.
We often hear people say: ‘Many companies don’t see a positive return on their influencer investment.’ However, that is normally a failure on the part of the business. While some fail to align content with the audience’s needs, others don’t plan the sponsored content well. They believe that everything the influencer touches will turn to gold, when really you need to carefully plan a strategy to see the right results.
When deciding on an influencer, make sure they have a wide audience that engages with content. We recommend choosing an influencer that operates within your own niche (or at least offers content similar to it). If you can do this, you’ve got a ready-made audience who will likely have an interest in what you have to offer. What’s more, the influencer will speak passionately (and knowledgeably) about your products.
When planning your SEO strategy, it’s critical to think about the customer experience as a whole. Sometimes, we spend so much time planning and creating content, building a website and perfecting segments, that we neglect to look at and optimize the visitor experience as a whole.
Here are some tips:
If you have any doubts, the best thing to do is either spend some time on the website as if you’ve never seen it before, or ask a friend/relative to navigate it. They may catch issues you accidentally ignored.
We know that mobile and voice searches are taking over digital marketing. Both internet usage and transactions are increasingly taking place on mobile devices, which means that businesses need to cater to this audience. Not only should your website accommodate mobile users, you also need to think about content structure and the technical SEO representation.
Meanwhile, it’s said that there are three billion voice assistants in use as of the end of 2019. Although this hasn’t translated into massive sales and transactions just yet, many think that 2020 will be the year for it. Since using voice requires less effort than typing, it’s becoming increasingly important to optimize content for long-tail keywords. From a ranking perspective, we have a secret tip: use bullet lists.
We’re under no illusion that most people reading this guide will focus on Google SEO efforts, so it’s worth mentioning the new BERT algorithm, which is short for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (don’t worry, you don’t need to know this!). According to some predictions, as many as 10% of search queries will be impacted by this shift.
You cannot optimize for this new change, but you can optimize for the intent behind search queries. Rather than classic string matching, Google wants to move towards intent matching. Once again, we return to the point of writing for user intent and to inform (not just to throw some keywords into an article!). Keywords will still play a role with mobile and voice search, but the BERT algorithm changes how we operate elsewhere.
The days of keyword stuffing seem far away now, don’t they? Another SEO trend of 2020 will be the growing role E-A-T plays in deciding who ranks and who doesn’t. In addition to considering the actual content, Google will investigate the Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness of the brand behind the content.
If there are customer service problems within the business, you have a poor reputation online, or there seems to be a lack of trust surrounding the company, you won’t appear in the top search results even if you have followed every other SEO practice to the letter. Every day, Google fights a raging war against fake news, which is why they push so heavily for credibility and respect.
If you really want to make a good impression with SEO in 2020, this list is essential. Don’t cut corners, otherwise you won’t get the recognition and exposure your products/service deserves!