The SEO landscape is set to change and adapt in 2020. You could have the best digital marketing campaign in effect, but if you’re not open to flexibility, your business will struggle to prosper.
Artificial technology, virtual reality, content creation and voice search are shifting into new shapes for us to fit into our strategies, but rather than think of this as a daunting challenge, it’s time to take it on-board.
Here is a quick guide on the SEO trends that matter most in 2020 and how you can include them in your digital marketing campaign.
1. Content optimization
Whether it’s written, video or in the form of a podcast, your content needs to remain optimized if it’s to compete in the SERPs. How can you do this exactly? Keywords, anchor texts, backlinks, PR and descriptions will all add to your content’s successes.
With video content, you will need a good channel name, use channel keywords, a description, and cater to user experience. Making your video easy to share and relatable will also push for it to go viral across social media platforms; however, this may not always be the case.
Video content cannot be ignored, with consumption exceeding 85%. It is expected that by 2021, 78% of mobile data will be consumed through video, making this an important trend to include in your marketing strategies.
Regarding written content, whether it be on-page or link building, you need to undergo keyword research, audit your website (seeing if there are areas of improvement) and keep yourself educated on any changes in Google’s algorithms.
Content is all about putting your readers, viewers or listeners first; all content should be created with a human in mind, not machines. You do not create content for a bot to crawl over, but rather it needs to be made by humans, for humans.
Knowing how to write good, well-informed content is no easy task. PWD have written an in-depth and complete guide to on-page content and how to optimize it for the SERPs. Using such resources is a great way to improve your content strategy so that you don’t miss out in 2020.
2. Voice search
There’s a rise in people buying Amazon Alexa’s, and as such, it is predicted that 50% of all online searches will be done by voice command. Why is voice search so important? People opt for voice search because it is quicker and more accessible if a phone or laptop is not to hand.
Making your website accessible for voice search isn’t as difficult as you may think, however. Think about how you, yourself, would ask a home hub to search for something. Typically, you would start your question with the following:
Then, within that question, you’ll have a targeted, longtail keyword. Gone are the days when short and almost sharp keywords were used – the ones that resembled caveman talk. Rather, you need your keywords to be conversational.
• Where is the nearest Chinese restaurant?
• How long does it take to get to [insert brand name]?
You can cater to these questions by creating an FAQ page, which is a natural and customer-friendly way of answering any queries your customers may have and need answers to.
3. Long-form content
This doesn’t mean writing an essay with citations and large paragraphs. You still need your long-form content to be easy to skim, shareable and quotable, but instead of having many small blog posts, have a pillar piece that can backlink to smaller, relevant blog posts.
Recently, long-form content has been bringing in higher search rankings. This isn’t because they have included more keywords, but it’s to do with backlinks and that longer-form content has the potential to have more of these.
That doesn’t mean dragging out a piece of content, and neither does it mean all content should be a set length. There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to a blog post’s length, but it can be frustrating if the content is weak and does not offer substance. If you have a subject that has meat to it, aim for a longer piece of content.
Tips for writing long-form content:
• Keep it concise – do not lose sight of your content’s end goal.
• Have step-by-step instructions
• Prepare an outline
• Only use relevant keywords
• Use relevant and interesting infographics and pictures
• Don’t forget to E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness)
4. UX and technical SEO
In the past, SEO trends focused on pleasing the search engines more than their customers and the people trying to use their website. This has greatly shifted over the past few years, with Google rolling out algorithms that looked for user-friendly interfaces, genuine content, and a clear internal and backlink strategy.
Learning to balance technical SEO with a more UX strategy may seem alien to some marketers but using keywords and links naturally will only bring organic traffic – and that’s what search engines like to see.
Google may be downplaying the severity of BERT, but marketers are not falling for it – and neither should you. BERT is all about learning human natural speech, making longtail search queries are the main focus when it comes to keywords. Your content can no longer rely on a few carefully selected keywords, but rather large paragraphs can be deciphered better. This means optimizing your whole content, not bits and pieces.
While BERT is important, you shouldn’t overthink this algorithm. While it reads copy much better, it is not only the same level of us humans yet. Plus, if you already have a content strategy that focuses on natural content (as opposed to content that’s focused on keyword stuffing), you have nothing to worry about.
2020 will continue to be a busy time for digital marketing professionals as they continue to focus and implement new ways of increasing their ranking in the SERPs. Be on the lookout for any disturbances that may impact your current ranking and strategies, and be sure to adapt so that you can stay ahead of the game.