As new businesses spring up each day in search results, the competition for the reader’s attention heightens. Staying on top of the latest professional SEO trends will enable you to meet specific requirements that search engines use to rank websites.
Google makes tons of changes to its search algorithms every month. While most changes are minor, they could affect your search ranking. These are some SEO trends I expect to see in 2020.
1. Search Intent is Staying Strong
Search intent is an extremely important part of any SEO Campaign along with keyword research and is absolutely essential to ranking. This means that by understanding and creating content with search intent in mind, you will give your site a much better chance at ranking on a high page of Google.
As can be seen below:
That is a 677% increase in organic traffic to a core landing pages in just six months!
How was this done? A small change was made to the page to bring it in line with search intent.
2. BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers)
BERT is used by Google to train their own question answering system and impacts around 1 in 10 queries. SEO Marketers who keep BERT in mind and optimise web pages with BERT in mind increase their chances of being featured in the mentioned feature snippets.
BERT cannot be optimised for as it is used by Google to improve the understanding of natural language, so it is important to optimise for the search intent behind search queries.
Before writing content, it is important to analyse the top 10 content pages ranking on the first page of the SERP for the desired keyword and ask yourself this:
Are the results...
Afterwards, create the content that best matches the user intent for that keyword based on your analysis.
3. Content length helps to determine search rankings
High-quality content can help you beat the competition to the first page of Google rankings, although it is important to consider the quantity as well as the quality of the content.
It can be hard to gauge the ideal length for your blog content but research shows that the average length of the top 10 results is around 2,000 words. This is due to long-form content that is high-quality enjoying more visibility than content that is either extreme.
It is important that your content answers the question the user has asked as well as any questions related to the main search query.
Long articles keep users on your site for longer which tells Google that users are enjoying your content. Through this you build authority and in response Google will increase your ranking for that search query.
4. People will want digital experiences
Plenty of businesses have moved to a digital-first approach to try to improve customer experience. Most of which have said that it has led to an increase in revenue.
The speed at which a page loads is an important ranking factor and should not be overlooked. Even if you have great content, it means nothing if your page does not load quickly or you have a complex UI in place.
Businesses looking to be successful understand that building a long-term relationship with customers is based on the experience provided to the customer and customer experience undoubtedly impacts your websites ranking because users who have a good experience when visiting your site are more likely to spend more time on it.
Refine your user experience for helping users find the information they need easily by making it easy for potential customers to proceed to the next step.
In order to provide the best user experience it is important to put yourself in a users position and attempt to identify any problems on your site that may hinder them. Keeping the content on your site simple and not using overly complex words as well as a lack of clarity in your messaging helps to decrease the bounce rate of your site which can have a big impact on your site's SEO.
5. Backlinks are still key
Backlinks are still a cornerstone of SEO as any digital agency will tell you, a simple shift in page authority gained through relevant backlinks can see your website leap ahead of competition quickly.
One major downfall for small business sites is that when investing in SEO, they tend to leave backlinks as an afterthought but produce high quality content, never really seeing a large impact in their SEO.
When creating content it is important to consider the potential for backlinks from authoritative sites.
6. Voice search: People search how they speak
“Google, can you find the nearest restaurant near me?”
Around 33 millions voice searches were made in 2017 alone and statistics from March 2019 show that 20% of mobile queries were made through voice.
Voice searches are becoming increasingly popular, more and more people are typing search queries the same way they speak.
It is important to note that many of these searches are long tail and very specific, this is because users want and accurate answer to the exact question they have asked.
Users searching through long-tail keywords are in a consideration stage and thus more likely to convert than someone in the awareness stage.
Bulleted lists increase your chance of ranking for voice queries and most voice queries are local, thus help optimise your website for local SEO.
7. Featured snippets will continue to dominate
Featured snippets are a summary of an answer to a specific search query. Google displays it above both paid and organic search results.
They have been a part of Google search results for a few years and have led to significant changes in Google's search result pages. These lead to almost half of all search results ending in no clicks due to the user finding all the answers they need directly from SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). Some studies show that featured snippets get more traffic than the first organic search result.
In order to take advantage of this it is important to aim for question-based queries and keywords. Using the "people also ask" section helps to offer insight in to related questions to achieve a more in-depth answer.
8. More marketers will leverage influencers for SEO
A decent percentage of businesses have spent over half of their entire marketing budget on influencers. These statistics show the importance of influencer marketing for companies, especially in industries such as:
Users browsing online can be overwhelmed by ads. They are looking for trust-worthy information that can be trusted. Most of the time, the source of that information is from reviews by key influencers in the industry. They are much more likely to trust a review from an influencer than an ad.
The connection between influencer marketing and SEO is that working with an influencer helps you generate traffic and increase online visibility as well as amplify your content's reach.
Many companies attempting to invest in influencer marketing don't see a good return on their investment, this is due to failing to properly plan and execute their sponsored content properly. Put simply, your marketing will not reach your audience if it doesn't properly appeal to them.
To get the most out of your influencer marketing it is important to partner with an influencer who is already in your niche, which means they are already engaging with your target audience. It also means any backlinks gained from that influencer will show authority to Google and boost the SEO of your site.
9. Video is becoming the king of content
Google loves video content and should be a crucial part of your SEO strategy and digital marketing efforts. Statistically, video is 50 times more likely to show up on the first page of SERP than a web page with plain text. Also, 62% of Google universal searches include video.
To take advantage of this, Create helpful Youtube videos that support the existing content on your site. This is not a guarantee for first page results but you will have higher traffic when Google indexes your video.
Embedding videos on your site will get you more traffic. Remember to optimise your video to your page's width and add content on your page to help Google understand what your video is about.
10. Mobile search will continue to take over Desktop search
Around 87% of internet users are on mobile phones and 40% of transactions occur on mobile. Google moved to mobile-first indexing on the 1st of July 2019 to improve the mobile search experience.
You can't get that far on organic search results if you haven't optimised your website for mobile, thinking beyond responsive designs to rich snippets is key.
If you have optimised your website for voice searches, you have also optimised for mobile. Apart from utilising long-tail keywords for on-page SEO, make sure to modify content structure and presentation for technical SEO.
Just when you get a handle on SEO, an algorithm update happens and shakes up. Today's SEO is a holistic process that requires both offline and online marketing strategies to succeed. Investing in SEO is a long-term strategy for lead generation and by staying on top of the latest SEO trends you can avoid getting left behind by competitors.
SEOwned is a SEO agency providing SEO services in Belfast Northern Ireland that aims to provide you and your business the best results possible through digital strategies tailored for you with a proven track record for helping businesses improve visibility.