Stay on Top of Google: Top SEO Trends and Predictions for 2020
The only constant in the world of SEO is change.
But when was the last time you evaluated your digital marketing strategy?
You can’t expect to see success if you’re using last year’s rulebook to play this year’s game. SEO is evolving at a more rapid pace than ever before.
We know that it can sometimes be tough to keep up.
That’s why we’ve written this ultimate guide to the biggest SEO trends of 2020.
From the power of linkless backlinks to the trend of creating longer content, you might be surprised by what you learn here.
Read on to learn what’s in, what’s out, and what’s coming up in the world of SEO.
1. Search Intent
First up on our list of the biggest SEO trends of 2020 is the idea of “search intent.”
In short, this means understanding what the user’s goal is when they’re looking for something online. This makes sense, as the focus of SEO is now more about providing personalized search engine results. It’s less about a general popularity contest.
So, what are some of the different intentions that users have when they conduct a search online?
First, there’s an action-based search.
This means that the user might need to make a purchase, book a service, or sign up for a contest. Usually, some kind of transaction will take place during an action-based search.
The user is less interested in collecting information in this kind of a search. Instead, they’re focused on getting what they need as quickly as possible.
There are also information-based searches.
In these kinds of queries, users are looking to collect opinions, information, and even the latest news about what they’re interested in. They could have a specific question in mind. Or, they could be looking for more general information.
The main thing here is that users are looking for information from brands/blogs they feel are an authority on a subject.
Finally, there are navigation-based queries.
Here, the user wants to figure out how to physically get to a specific destination or wants to be directed to a specific website.
They may also have a certain brand or company in mind, and be searching for those specific products online.
2. Adapting to Blockchain
The first thing that you think of when you hear the word “Blockchain” is probably cryptocurrency, like the famous Bitcoin.
However, the latest SEO trends tell us that Blockchain is seriously expanding its influence over digital marketing as a whole.
In a nutshell, the purpose of Blockchain is to create an established history of safe transactions. This helps to establish credibility. It also provides site owners with the most accurate data possible.
In the world of SEO, this means that Blockchain technology works to be certain that an Internet user actually is who they claim to be.
It helps to verify that a real person — not a bot — viewed and interacted with your ad. It also ensures that website owners aren’t being frauded.
It means that search engine results are accurate and fair.
It will also use schema markups to learn more about individual site visitors. It then makes it easier for companies to refine their future content and digital marketing plans.
They can do this based on what they know users enjoy and respond to the most.
3. Mobile-First Optimization
We hope you know by now that more people use mobile devices to search for information online than desktop computers.
In a world where everyone is always on the go, many of us just don’t have time to sit at our computers. Plus, mobile searches allow consumers to make decisions about where they’ll shop, visit, and eat in the moment.
This is true even when they’re already in transit.
In 2019, it’s hard to overstate just how much of an impact mobile marketing has on the top SEO trends.
Mobile-first optimization is now the norm. In a nutshell, this means that search engines expect users to search on their smartphones and other devices, not on desktop computers.
These search engines will, therefore, penalize websites that aren’t mobile-friendly.
If your website is slow to load on mobile devices, you can expect to be penalized in the search engine results.
The same goes if your website doesn’t load quickly and completely on mobile devices. You’ll also fall in the search engine rankings if your site has too many pop-ups and redirects, causing users to click away quickly.
Now is the time to prioritize mobile-friendliness above all else, and to implement the latest mobile search trends.
4. SEO for Voice Search
By 2020, about half of all searches will be conducted over some sort of voice search device. These can include voice search tools like Echo, Siri, or Alexa.
One of the biggest SEO trends of 2020 is preparing for the voice search revolution.
This means creating content that answers some of the most commonly asked questions about your company and industry as a whole. It means adopting a more casual tone and writing in shorter sentences.
It’s also drastically changed the way people choose keywords. The intent now is to mimic the way people speak, not the way they type online.
For example, someone might type “local bookstore open Sunday” into a search engine. But when they use a voice search to run the same query, they’ll say something like, “Which bookstores near me are open Sunday?”
Keyword phrases will often be in the form of a question, and they’ll also be much longer than standard keyword phrases.
You’ll need to adapt accordingly.
Your goal is for your content to be featured in the “snippets” Google results. This means that voice search tools will actually read it out loud.
5. A Greater Focus on Click-Through Rates
One of the biggest SEO trends of 2020 is your site’s overall click-through-rate (or CTR for short.)
Your CTR measures the number of people who actually clicked on your website and visited your landing page when it showed up in the search engine results in comparison to how many people saw it.
Here, it’s all about the amount of traffic that your website actually gets. Even if you’re on the first page of search engine results, if no one is clicking on your site, search engines don’t consider your site useful to users.
It’s no longer just about “making impressions” or ranking for a particular keyword. Users must now actually take action and interact with your site for you to improve your SEO score.
6. Longer Content
Many of the latest SEO trends in this post have to do with focusing on quality, not quantity when it comes to content.
In the past, it was all about pushing out as many social media posts, blogs, and other forms of content as possible. That content needed to be short and sweet to keep the attention of readers.
However, this led to a massive influx of content — and not all of it was useful. It became easy for users to figure out which content was used mainly to boost SEO scores, and what was designed to help users.
“Snackable” content is declining in popularity.
Now, users are paying much more attention to long-form content that they feel can genuinely teach them something. This works for websites, too, as it can boost dwell time.
Dwell time is the average amount of time a user spends on your website. The longer your dwell time, the better you’ll rank in the search engine result pages.
Longer content keeps users on your website for longer, giving you a major SEO boost.
Start by focusing on 2,000-word posts, and increase your word count from there.
7. The Rise of Linkless Backlinks
Brand authority, exclusivity, and influence have always been a huge part of the marketing world.
In 2019, brand recognition is now directly linked to search engine optimization through the concept of “linkless backlinks.”
This means that your goal isn’t to get other blogs and social media accounts to link back to your website. Instead, it’s all about making sure that they mention your brand/company. This is done without taking the extra step of including a link.
In short, search engines are now looking for the “most talked about” brands and using that popularity to determine ranking factors.
This doesn’t mean that you should abandon your traditional internal and external linking strategies. It just means that “buzz” now directly impacts your overall SEO score, in addition to your linking profile.
8. Stronger Video SEO Strategies
It’s official — YouTube is now the second biggest search engine in the world.
In short: you can no longer afford to ignore essential search engine trends like video marketing. Of course, you also need to understand that video search optimization follows a completely different rulebook than standard SEO.
You’ll have to think about things like the optimal video length (two minutes and under is best.)
You’ll need to select a compelling thumbnail image for your video that encourages people to click (a smiling person looking directly at the camera usually does well.)
You’ll also need to properly categorize your video.
This makes it much easier for users to connect with your content based on their specific interests. Don’t be general and vague when it comes to categorizations.
For example, instead of just choosing the “home and garden” category, you should include relevant video tags. These can be things like “tools,” “tutorial,” “weeding tips,” “plant identification,” and other things relevant to the topic of the video.
Perhaps most of all, you will need to optimize your video title and description for search engine results. This means that your keyword should absolutely be in the title.
Even though YouTube puts only a portion of your video description above the fold, many don’t realize that all of the descriptions influence your SEO score. So, write detailed and complete video descriptions that include lots of keywords.
9. Remember to “E-A-T”
Of course, there are certain Internet search trends that will always influence the world of digital marketing and content creation.
These are things like providing genuinely useful and new information, making an emotional connection with users, and establishing a sense of trust and transparency between yourself and your market.
In short, remember to “E-A-T” when you’re looking at your SEO strategy.
This stands for “Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness” and it’s the guiding light of all content creation in 2019.
Expertise means you’re less focused on putting out as much content as you can and more interested in the quality and originality of that content.
Authority means that you’re in step with your audience, you know what they want, and you’re creating content that shapes thought patterns in your industry.
Trustworthiness means that users feel you’re being honest and transparent with them.
Adapt to These SEO Trends to Stay on Top
We hope this post has you feeling much more confident about taking on some of the biggest SEO trends that will continue to dominate 2019.
Now is the time to focus on voice search, mobile-friendliness, video content, and more.
Of course, we understand that you may not have the technical skills — let alone the time — to implement a new SEO strategy that’s consistent with the demands of today’s market.
That’s why we want to help you make it happen.
We offer a wide variety of SEO and digital marketing services that will establish you as an industry authority and help you to rise in the search engine results.
Whether you need assistance with landing page design/development, PPC management, social media, email marketing, and much more, we will help you get the job done.
Now is the time to ensure that your SEO strategy isn’t just in line with the trends, but is a step ahead of them. Reach out to us to get started.