With the onset of 2020, SEO continues to stay the world’s youngest and most dominant marketing strategy for all businesses. Even though a lot of money is pumped into the digital marketing machine every day for SEO, the benefits of effective SEO techniques make any costs well worth it. However, effective SEO techniques change with each new SEO trend, and to reap the most benefits you have to keep up with the latest and greatest!
In the following article we’ll be discussing what SEO trends you need to prepare for in 2020. Here are some of the stats that foreshadow the trends we’ll cover:
- 31% of smartphone users rely on voice search at least once a week, this is growing in frequency.
- 50% of all online searches are going to be voice-based by 2020, thanks to voice-based search assistants like Amazon Alexa and Apple Siri.
The above statistics will have a huge impact on SEO. New websites are launching every day and so are newer mediums and devices. Therefore, it is equally important to keep in mind before setting out to prepare an efficient SEO strategy, or you’re going to miss the boat!
1. Zero Click Searches > Organic Searches
According to marketing analytics from Jumpshot, there has been a major surge in zero-click searches in the last three years. With more than 48.96% of Google searches in the US ending without a click. About 41.45% of searches lead to organic clicks. This means that a large portion of users are getting their query answered within the SERP’s itself. Google has become very good at finding valuable snippets within content that will answer user queries. Jessica Bowman, the editor of Search Engine Land says that Google is becoming more of a portal and less of a search engine by the day, and industries and entrepreneurs need to be preparing themselves for this change, as this trend would mostly benefit brands with the most resources.
In the past it was mostly big players that were more likely to be at the top of Google SERPs. However, this trend means that top search rankings will be given to those who are able to provide the most valuable, short and user centric snippets to be displayed in Google SERPs.
What makes a featured snippet different than others? In addition to the common title and description, images, reviews, prices of the products — there needs to be exactly what your users are looking for (not offers). Sometimes people will say, “click here to learn more” to get click throughs, now users are more likely to continue scrolling if you can’t provide the solution within the snippet itself.
What You Can Do:
First things first, SEO audit your entire website with a tool like LinkAssistant. From that audit, find meaningful opportunities to include user centric snippets. Practice implementing long-tail keywords that relate to specific user queries. Keep a keen eye on focus keywords used by your competitors as well
- User-Query-Centric Optimization
BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers), Google’s new search engine algorithm, launched in 2019. In the past, more emphasis was put on keywords to rank high in Google SERPs for a range of queries which you hoped you would provide a solution for. BERT has made Google better at understanding specific user queries and user language. Neural matching (sometimes called Google’s inner kitchen) makes BERT understand the user context and shows more valuable corresponding results. Now, this may lead to the entire removal of your snippet from the search results if it is irrelevant to the query, even if it has relevant keywords.
Frédéric Dubut, Senior Program Manager of Bing states that the boom in deep learning research and natural language processing, search engines will be able to separate user intent from relevant keywords (similar to that of Google’s BERT and further), making keyword research completely obsolete. Therefore, in order to make sure that your product is featured in the results, good quality, intent-highlighting content is a must — be it for writing snippets or blogs.
What You Can Do:
- Build your entire content, web and marketing strategy that focuses entirely on specific user issues, queries, suggestions and reviews. Analyzes every detail of the buyer’s journey every day. Long-tail keywords will prove more valuable than short general keywords.
- Building trust with customer-centric services offers that are reasonable to help them connect with you the way old brick and mortar stores used to. This relationship would now mean more online as it’s going to impact the online perception of your brand, especially on search results.
- Finally, implementing a user-focused and holistic marketing strategy is what your SEO strategy needs right now. SEO needs to be centre to your businesses focus at the start of 2020.
- Brand Building on Consumer-First Trust Approach
User query based SERPs and content leaves a huge gap for link-building to catch up to this consumer-first approach. For this, you need to acknowledge that organic social media is pretty much ineffective, paid advertising still works average. More companies are turning to paid campaigns and the return on investment (ROI) on such campaigns are expected to decrease over time. This leads to a point where paid ads would become more widespread and expensive with little to contribute to actual sales and conversions.
Linkless content and quality link profiles are gaining more and more attention by search engines as ranking signals.
‘Social media listening’ is a process you need to start doing in 2020. Social media goes deeper than just monitoring every mention of your brand, service/product. Social listening means you’re also measuring the mood or sentiment of your data—understanding how people actually feel about your brand is more important than knowing numbers which could mean anything, even if they are “likes.” Whether what you hear is good or bad, social listening allows to create much more meaningful marketing and product developments.
What You Can Do:
- Use social media listening tools to help you build brand awareness. Better understanding organic traffic helps reach people who are genuinely interested in your business.
- Use image targeting and favicon optimization to help gather increased click through rates.
- Reach out to social media influencers to encourage deeper relationships with your customers. If you can get them to share your content, or even experiences they’ve had, your brand becomes more accessible.
- The ‘Voicesearch Armageddon’
With 50% of US households dependant on voice-based search assistants like Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri and Google Home smart speakers, there’s been a sudden surge in voice-search results and traffic. According to Backlinko’s recent analysis of 10,000 Google Home search results, there are several factors that contribute to a website ranking high in Google SERPs They are:
- The average voice search result page should load within 4.6 seconds- that makes it 52% faster than the average page loading speed.
- 70% of Google Home results have HTTPS on their website
- The average voice search result has 1,199 Facebook shares and 44 Tweets
- Google Home search result pages have an average word count of 2,312, that is higher than Google’s normal search pages, which is 1890 words
- The average reading difficulty were about 9th grade level (14-15 years old)
In 2020 voice search and voice search SEO is going to be a big deal. It means you have to create and optimize all content for voice, if you wait too long you’ll see yourself quickly sliding down search rankings.
What You Can Do:
- You can opt for an omnichannel marketing approach. When done right, your user specific content will be optimized for all channels such as search engines, voice assistants and chatbots.
- Release original industry reports, compiling new expert advice and going that extra mile to make your business a credible source. Credibility means valuable content rather than SEO optimized but hollow content, this will make you ranking higher.
Everytime we think that we have SEO figured out, the rules and the scenario changes fast taking us back to square one. Long gone are the days when SEO meant entailing keywords. Thanks to the advancement in artificial intelligence and machine learning, search engine results will become more valuable. Optimizing quick accurate responses to user specific queries is the way to go in 2020—the earlier you do so, the better your ranking.
While all these trends may have given you an idea of your goals for 2020, it’s easy to see that a lot of preparation is necessary and marketing is becoming more dynamic every year. When things are rapidly changing, your brand requires constant and reliable development and technical support to keep your brand upto speed. CodeClouds’ CMS and eCommerce solutions come with over a decade of experience helping brands bring out their full potential. Hiring their custom development experts will remove any of the technical burden that comes with SEO optimization as well as optimize site functionality so optimized content can create more value.