SEO for 2020
Google, among other search engines, is determined to make the user experience as authentic as possible. With 3,234 algorithm updates reportedly made last year, there are possibly a good number of new SEO trends for 2020.
In October of 2019, the search engine giant announced that they have made “the most important update in 5 years”. Introducing BERT, Google has created a method of teaching Artificial Intelligence to learn the human language.
With this new model, the face of SEO has once again changed. How will businesses cope with these changes? How can pages stay ranked?
If you have trouble keeping up with the changing times, here are some SEO tips that you need to know. Hopefully, this SEO guide for 2020 will provide you with ten fresh ideas to keep your page up the ranks.
Years ago, the highest-ranking page stayed on position one. However, now the competition has become steeper with Position 0 up for grabs.
A featured snippet is a selected search result that is displayed in a box at the top of Google’s organic results page, right below the ad banners. Its purpose is to provide you a quick answer to your questions.
Hence, this is also called answer boxes. Most often, high-quality content is displayed to provide answers to frequently asked questions.
For businesses, being in a featured snippet means additional exposure for the brand. Moreover, being ranked at a prominent spot means credibility and authority.
As reported by Ben Goodsell, the CTR or click-through rate of a ranked page can exponentially increase from two percent to eight percent only because it has been in an answer box. Additionally, organic traffic revenue increases by 677 percent.
With the popularity of virtual assistants such as Alexa and Siri, Google has realized how important it is to keep the search as organic and conversational as possible. That is why the Voice Search was created.
Nowadays, most people depend on their smartphones and other smart devices for tasks other than texting and calling. Some may want a quick update on weather reports and the latest news, while others would want to hear recommendations for the best hotel and travel spot.
Users wanted a technology that delivers value. Ninety-seven percent of the answers chosen appear on the first page.
Meanwhile, 76 percent appear on the first three organic results, and 70 percent may contain a SERP or search engine results page feature such as a site link, people also ask box, knowledge panel, or featured snippet.
Have you ever tried buying online? Most likely, you have searched through the Images section for a similar item. As a result, Google has created a means for users to search using images apart from the usual text format.
Now, users can snap a photo of an object and search either for information or similar products online. They can also use the feature for cross-selling items and a more personalized shopping experience.
On the other hand, digital platforms such as Amazon, Bing, and Pinterest can be used to optimize business pages through visual search as well. It may lead to an increase in business transactions and popularity.
Say you are an SEO marketing company located in Rancho Palos Verdes, and a potential customer is looking for local SEO companies. With a quick Google search, all SEO companies near the physical location will appear on the results page.
When your website is location-specific, brand discovery is gradually improved. According to research, 46 percent of all Google searches are localized searches. So, it is no surprise how local SEO has become one of the SEO strategies you must watch out for.
It has been reported that 88 percent of users who discover new companies either visit or call the place within 24 hours. So better have your website updated to Local SEO standards fast.
User Search Intent And Keyword Context
The goal of user search intent is to provide an authentic search result by understanding the user’s intention. Now a central function in SEO, the algorithm, as a primary ranking factor, eclipses individual keywords determining which intended search result was desired by the user.
User intent can either be transactional, informational, or navigational. When a keyword is used for inquiring, the search becomes informational. On the one hand, if the keywords entered are brand names or businesses, the search becomes navigational.
When the user wants to buy something, the search becomes transactional.
In this current year, it is projected that SEO experts will utilize user search intent and keyword context more because of the BERT and voice search update.
A recent poll determined that 40 percent of organic search results are wasted because fewer people are clicking the top 10 ranked pages. What could be the reason?
Well, most likely, this is because some of the provided answers are not familiar to users. That is why it is crucial for businesses to also focus on brand building.
Users would often respond to brands that they are familiar with. So, if you are a small-to-medium enterprise, this could be a challenge.
Google has always been particular with content structure and quality. Hence, once again, structured data would have a shot for the top spot.
FAQs or Frequently Asked Questions and snippets are among structured data that could get a high rank. So, it is high time to publish content that gives answers to common questions about your products and services.
Jeremy Knauff, CEO of Spartan Media, said this about structured data, “… structuring the data in a way… helps search engines better understand not only what is on a page, but also how each element relates to other elements on the page, and how that page relates to other pages within the website.”
When poorly implemented, expect penalties from Google. So, get your data structured immediately.
UX And Technical SEO
Brock Murray, the cofounder of seoplus+, posits that SEO professionals should concentrate on UX or user experience among current SEO trends for better results this 2020.
He added that the UX is the users’ overall experience, which includes the first interaction in the search engine results pages to a website’s landing page experience and even the experience after leaving the site.
When thinking of improving UX on your site, Murray said that it is necessary to think about how you provide users the “best possible experience.”
Technical SEO, meanwhile, is a vital component of the user experience. This year, it is vital for websites to sort out weak technical foundations such as hreflang corrections and canonical corrections to rank high on the SERPs. The ranking is also determined by the site speed and page download speed.
Furthermore, app first companies will transition to the internet because of the benefits of PWAs.
Entity & Knowledge Graph Optimization
Google has, through the years, been searching for means to refine UX. Through the Knowledge Graph, users can access information regarding places, public figures, facts, organizations, and other entities.
It means that the search engine is trying to include as much local information as possible. For instance, if you look for major brands such as Nintendo and Disney, you will see a Knowledge Graph card displayed at either the right-hand column or above the SERPs.
On the other hand, it is also useful for businesses that are franchised all over the world. And even if a local business has no website, the knowledge graph card can generate organic leads for local businesses.
As predicted by Bill Slawski, director of SEO Research from Go Fish Digital, “the search of the future increasingly is about real-world objects.”
Otherwise known as Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, this algorithm utilizes NLP or natural language processing to help machines comprehend human language. However, its use is only limited to search queries.
With the use of transformers, BERT will take verbal cues and compare these to the rest of the sentence to determine context and meaning. It will also assess sentence structure and preposition placement.
So how does BERT affect SEO?
As usual, Google created BERT to deliver high-quality content to its users. Focusing on understanding queries from internet users, you can expect a search result that is most relevant.
However, this may also mean that as a business owner, you have to turn your focus on answering questions that are frequently being asked. It is no longer just about keyword as the content BERT wants must be direct answers to user questions.
The algorithm will most likely choose to display content that provides immediate answers and will disregard pages that do not. Long-tail queries will become more popular, so it is high time that you check for long-tail queries. Also, watch out for thin content.
It looks like this year is a busy year as new SEO trends for 2020 emerges. To get your business website rank high, focus on things that do not easily change, such as high-quality content, backlinking, and other white hat practices. On the other hand, you can also check out SEO marketing companies for better results.