Top 7 SEO Trends to Consider in 2020

2020 is fully underway, and we’re seeing a lot of key parts of the digital work going through changes driven both by technology as well as the evolving needs of different customer bases. SEO is no different. As SEO standards and how customers look for content changes, something that seemed perfectly designed for a top ranking can begin to slide lower and lower. To avoid this issue happening to your web pages, you need to constantly be ready to shift and adapt. With that in mind, here are some of the key trends this year you should keep track of for your digital marketing strategy.

Google BERT & Intent Optimisation

Google BERT was a new algorithm that launched in late 2019, and sites have been scrambling to account for it since. In essence, what BERT does is give Google a more effective means to look at context-sensitive meaning within queries, better emulating how a human may perceive a search query. Naturally, Google isn’t revealing the entire nuts and bolts behind the algorithm, but this does give us a chance to revisit the discussion about search intent. The advent of BERT means that content creators need to design their content just not to match empty strings, but to really adhere to the meaning of what those queries mean. This means a radical change in how keywords are constructed.

Top 7 SEO Trends to Consider in 2020

E-A-T & High-Quality Content

In some ways, the more things change, the more they stay the same. One of the most common things that you’ve likely heard from SEO experts is that the best way to maintain an SEO presence for your content, even through trends and other changes, is making sure that you take the time to emphasize quality over everything. While this is true, in 2020, we now have a more effective way to sum up what makes “quality.” That’s the abbreviation E-A-T, standing for expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. These 3 attributes are going to help your content score the highest marks in terms of quality.

This is best accomplished through having an understanding of what will drive searcher intent to a specific query, so you can gear your content to answer those questions. From there, you want to develop authority behind your statements by linking to relevant sources in your niche. Equally important is your work to develop your inbound link profile as well. The more publications linking to your site, the better your SEO is. Finally, you need to make sure that your site and brand have a credible presence in your niche. This means managing and addressing negative reviews or press that come your way.

Top 7 SEO Trends to Consider in 2020

Voice Search

In many ways, a lot of the need for Google BERT was driven by the greater demand for voice search. While it’s been around in some shape or form since 2012, voice search has really hit its stride lately as mobile searches begin to overtake computer searches in a lot of areas. The main way that we see voice search making an impact is through keyword selection. A person isn’t going to vocalise a query the same way that they would type it, so it’s important that you build your keyword profile around both sets to get the most amount of traffic. This is especially important for local SEO, which is even more reliant on those mobile users.

User Experience

UX, or user experience, is an overarching category that not every SEO professional is giving its fair due. In essence, UX covers the entire customer journey over the course of their interactions/usage with your site. This can range from initial interactions in search rankings/results pages, what their experience is with your landing page, as well as whether or not they go through any conversions after the result of their search. UX can even extend after someone is done using your site, considering factors like remarketing or personalisation for returning users.

These aspects of things may not necessarily seem like SEO-related items at first, but there’s also a technical component of UX as well. This includes factors like site loading times, broken links, or general site errors. Not only do these issues hamper the UX, but it will also end up dragging down your site ranking as well. This is why it’s important to partner with web design professionals to make sure that you have a technical foundation for success.

Top 7 SEO Trends to Consider in 2020

Entity & Knowledge Graph

We mentioned how trends with local SEO are beginning to spin into SEO in general. Entity information is a good example of this. For example, Google has been able to rank local businesses, even if they don’t have an actual website, through real-world visits. This shows the value of a physical entity in SEO. That’s now going into other categories as well. Google is currently working on connecting SEO results to real-life objects, and you can further this along by optimising your content for Google’s knowledge graph.

The end goal in these situations is for your company to ultimately be seen as an entity in and of itself. However, this is the type of thing that’s going to take a lot of time for your company to develop. To do so, you’re going to need to create high-value content like industry reports and expert advice. When you become a true authority, Google will rank you as an entity, and your ranking will rise appropriately.

Brand Building & Links for Traffic

While links have always been a part of SEO building, these will carry a greater responsibility in 2020, to help drive traffic as well as increase brand presence. This means that professionals are going to need to be smarter about where they put their links, not just putting them anywhere they can. Planned or reactive editorial content in industry publications are some of the strongest examples here. These get your content in front of the right faces, while also creating prominence for your brand.

Image Search

Image search is similar to voice search in that while it’s been around for a while, we haven’t really seen all that it has to offer yet. Google has already made some quiet changes to point toward this with shifts like getting rid of the view image function and incorporating images into the general SERP results. This means that along with appropriate sites, maps, and news, you’ll be seeing relevant images as soon as you enter a query.

What does this mean for SEO professionals? It’s been common practice to tell webmasters to make sure they optimise and mark their images. This means having appropriate meta tags, text descriptions, even captions if appropriate. Now, the stakes for getting this right are higher than ever, especially for areas like e-commerce where images are directly tied to conversions.

Understanding how SEO is evolving is going to be key for preserving/improving the ranking for your sites and pages, but you don’t want to neglect the fundamentals when you do so. Choosing the wrong keywords, having broken links, or a site that loads slowly means you’re going to rank low no matter how much time you invest in the above trends. To make sure you’re creating a good foundation, be sure to utilise a full website SEO audit. Partnering with an experienced SEO service provider will ensure that you manage any existing problems.