Crystal ball gazing into the top SEO trends that will dominate 2020.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is essentially about making websites easy to find and understand and getting content ranked highly inside of a search engine – and Google is by far the biggest with a massive 78% global market share in the late 2019.
The big reason to conduct SEO is to drive prospect traffic, revenue, and leads to your website or specific landing pages. Over the past few years, Google has been trying to improve the quality of search results and filter out poor-quality content – you know, the annoying text that doesn’t read well and is stacked with repetitive keywords. With the rise of semantic search and intent, old-school methods focusing on a single keyword string don’t work anymore.
But it’s not just all about Google. There are quite a few other search engines around and each offers a different take on how page results and rankings are formulated. They’re popular, just nowhere near as dominant as Google. With 3 billion searches per month, YouTube’s search volume is twice as large as Bing’s (with 8% global market share). Then there’s Yahoo! (3.4%), and the “privacy, simplified” DuckDuckGo (0.40%). Delve deeper and you’ll find more including Ecosia, an eco-friendly engine that’s planted 75,775,000 trees based on search usage.
The tactics involved to be able to get on top of SEO are remarkably different from five years ago, or even last year. In 2020, the drivers of SEO are even more focussed on user-experience (UX) and aligning with how people actually use search engines these days, to get the answers and news they are after.
Here are seven important SEO trends for 2020:
1. Voice Search – talking the walk
Many millions of people already use Voice Assistants as part of everyday life – think Siri, Alexa, Cortana and ‘hey Google’. And more people are talking into their smartphones, tablets and laptops too. So that little microphone icon that Google uses for its Voice search has been a real hit. Industry experts predict that around half of all internet searches in 2020 will be by voice, so on-site content needs to reflect this. By incorporating scalable phrases instead of keywords, content producers can make content conversational and fit-for-task rather than just seeding in a bunch of short words. Done right, you’ll get more interactions and greater engagement.
2. Featured Snippet – because we’re all time-poor
Featured Snippets (FS) came out of Google’s quest to deliver a faster search experience. They usually appear above the first organic result, referred to as ‘Position zero’. To drive more clicks to your site you’ll need content that provides clear answers to frequently asked questions on your website. It needs to be interesting and bullet points and tables need to be in your mix, to be in with a chance for Google to elevate you to FS status. That, and some luck. Google’s FS algorithm is top-secret but it’s all about quality they say. As 55% (and rising) of all Google clicks now come from them, it really can pay to get your content overhauled to try and get a Featured Snippet.
3. Mobile first and Rich Snippets – for SEO on the go
‘Mobile first’ is not just a buzz phrase, it’s a fact. Recent research shows the average device split for searches is 72% for mobile (phones/tablets) and 28% for desktop (laptops/fixed PCs). Since 2018, if you want to be visible on the web, you have to be mobile-optimised. That’s because Google only accesses websites as if it’s on a mobile device, so sites that aren’t optimal for mobile get a major SEO fail. A Rich Snippet is a small excerpt of site content that appears on a results page. After a couple of clicks, helpful information like opening hours can be displayed on small devices. Mobile UX plays a part in determining your ranking, so it’s critical for SEO.
4. CTR and Time-On-Page – numbers in and engagement within
Click Through Rate for EDMs, newsletters and on social is a critical analytic. It’s an increasingly important metric for SEO too, as it tracks the number of people who clicked on a link based on the number who saw the SERP (Search Engine Results Page). TOP (Time On Page) which is also referred to by some as ‘dwell time’ is a measure of how engaging and relevant the content is to a webpage visitor. It reveals the length of time someone spends on a page or other links they click, which can show how interested they are in your content and if they’re finding what they need, or bouncing out after a short time. CTR and TOP are rising in stature as major ranking factors.
5. Excellent UX – without it, visitors quickly leave
In 2018, Salesforce reported that just a one-second delay in page-loading time can cut your conversion rate by up to 7%. Just imagine what a five-second delay would do! The simple truth is that if your site is full of bad code and overlarge images that cause wait times, has a complex interface that makes it hard for visitors to navigate, or does not incorporate accessibility features, they will leave in large numbers. In 2018, Google reported that while more than half of all web traffic comes from mobile, page-load speeds are usually twice as long as desktop and mobile conversion rates are around 33% lower. In short, slow speed equals less revenue. As visitors bounce out, this has a negative impact on your search rankings. The user experience (UX) really is a key driver of SEO.
6. Quality content – shorter is not better
Now more than ever, users want meaningful and useful quality content that is applicable, beneficial and timely. The Economist Group’s ‘Missing the Mark’ Report found “71% of readers are turned off by content that seems like a sales pitch.” Content should be well researched and follow a logical flow that makes it easy to read – so ensure your site has quality articles, videos, podcasts, info-graphics and blog posts. Under 300 words and you’ll be penalised for ‘thin’ content with good 600 to 1,400-word articles giving great TOP engagement and rewarded with a higher search engine rank. The ‘Medium’ platform says the sweet-spot for a blog post is 1,600 words.
7. Video is the new TV – and it’s great for SEO
Online video continues to rise in popularity and will be the ‘must have’ new content on your website in 2020 and beyond. Videos should be entertaining and a source of information – from ‘How To’ Guides and problem-solvers for issues that inbound customer service keep dealing with, to videos on specific products and services where benefits can be clearly and compellingly portrayed. All videos must be searchable, so use the video sitemap of YouTube and Vimeo to communicate keywords and long-tail phrases in the metadata. Plus, feature a terrific summary in the video’s descriptor area to hook in prospects. More engagement equates to better SEO, so don’t overlook videos.
What are the advantages of optimising your website based on these new SEO trends? You’ll boost the awareness of your brand and come across as an industry leader if you are getting first page rankings for different keywords and phrases. You’ll also get improved traffic and conversions, as good SEO delivers quality traffic that is searching for a need that you can fulfill or a service that you can provide, leading to greater conversions for your business.
Need a hand with your next project?
If you need a hand developing SEO strategy, and creating quality content for articles, videos, blogs, podcasts, and more, contact Orion for a chat! We can boost your visibility with innovative SEO tactics. Plus, our highly experienced content creators are experts at producing quality audience-driven content that delivers great outcomes for our clients.