Surfing the 2020 SEO Trends to the Top of Search Rankings

Surfing the 2020 SEO Trends

It’s easy to admire surfers and some of the amazing rides they are able to take on the big ocean waves.  Becoming a good surfer requires courage, timing and the ability to position themselves properly out in front of the big wave so that they can catch the momentum of that wave to propel them on their spectacular journey.

Trends are a lot like big waves. They provide momentum for those who are able to step out with courage at the right time and position themselves out in front of a trend. Getting top rankings on Google through search engine optimization or SEO is not an easy task. But if you can see certain trends forming and then position yourself out in front of that trend, it can give you momentum to reach the top of the search results.

Let’s take a look at the 2020 SEO trends we see forming on the horizon.  

1. Google’s BERT Update Will Influence More Searches This Year

If you haven’t heard of Google’s BERT update, it is Google’s most recent addition to its core search algorithm. It’s an acronym for words that barely make sense to me, but BERT aims to improve the language understanding capabilities of Google.

In short, Google is working to understand the intent of each search query.  When someone searches for “computer repair in Bradenton” Google can make assumptions about this prepositional phrase and recognize that the searcher is probably looking for a computer repair company in their local area and not an article about computer repair.

What can you do to prepare your content for the BERT update?

  1. Research your long tail keyword phrases on Google to see what type of content is presented in the top 5 results.  This will help you determine the intent of that search.
  2. Then prepare your content to match that intent.
  3. Use text, images, video, infographics and any other types of content to provide the best experience for the intent of the search.

2. Voice Search & Natural Language Searches Are On The Rise

VSEO or voice search engine optimization is the growing SEO trend in 2020. In 2019, 65 percent of adults aged 24-49 talk to their devices at least once per day. More and more people are becoming aware and accustomed to using their voice assistants on their phones.  In turn, they are performing searches by asking questions in their natural language.

Thus, it’s important to keep your SEO strategy ready for spoken searches. Remember, in the US, Google Assistant uses Speakable (BETA) to answer questions.

If you're unfamiliar with Speakable, it's a new system that allows portions of a webpage to playback via text-to-speech. This makes it great for people with visual disabilities since they can now navigate a page using audio.

When Google Assistant returns with results, which are often three, it includes the source and the URL to the full article. These types of searches are typically very long and specific and are performed by people who are nearing a purchase decision.  

How can you capture more voice searches? Follow these tips:

  1. Headline your content with commonly asked questions.
  2. Use an ordered or unordered list of concise answers.
  3. Include local specific answers because most voice searches are local in nature.

3. Keyword Research Is Changing

How many times have you used Google to ask a question rather than enter keywords? Search engines are changing so your keyword research should change to match. Google has been morphing from a search engine to more of an answer engine. Many searches now pull up answer boxes at the top of the results as Google attempts to understand and then provide an answer for each search.

How should your keyword research change to match up with what Google is doing?

  1. Use your favorite keyword research tools, like UberSuggest and Moz’s keyword planner.  But make sure you also use Answer The Public which provides you with questions people are asking about a specific topic.
  2. Next, create thoughtful answers to those questions throughout your content.
  3. If you build excellent depth and breadth in your content topics, it will allow you to target an array of keywords and questions with each page.  In turn this expands your online visibility.
  4. One more way to address the changes that Google is making is to find and use keywords with more clicks than searches.  Because Google is providing the answer box at the top of many searches, many times a search will not result in a click because the searcher already has their answer and doesn’t need to click in to find it. So you will want searches that are resulting in clicks and Ahrefs keyword explorer provides the click metrics for keyword searches.

2020 Trend Analysis

4. Local Search Will Continue To Become More Competitive

While the world gets smaller every day, you want your SEO to grow in your local area. Optimize your website for local customers and improve local search ranking. Claiming your Google My Business page, Bing, Places account, and Apple Maps Listing are a great way to start.

But don’t stop there. Continue to build and optimize those properties by encouraging local customers to review your business online. Positive reviews will provide great social influence on your potential customers.  Be sure to add detailed descriptions of your business, it’s services and products along with pictures and even video.

As much as possible, keep the business name, address, and phone number on your website updated. Be sure to create a page on your website for each City/area that you want to target with your site. This way, it gives you an opportunity to rank for each of those locations.

Use structured data in the code of your website.  This structured data helps Google and other search engines identify the types of content you have, the kind of business you run and the location of that business. The structured data will help to strengthen your local footprint with Google and in turn, help you perform better in the local search.

Lastly be sure to leverage your local network of businesspeople to earn high quality backlinks.  Perhaps there is a business that you work with closely that would welcome you to create a great resource article for their clients to read.  Then within the article you should place a link back to your site to serve as a reference on the topic.

5. Enjoy The Benefits Of Content Filled With E.A.T.

As always, focus on the EAT principle as you build your content which stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness.

Expertise is shown by your depth of content for each topic, both in number of words and use of other types of content.

Authority comes from backlinks generated from trusted sites. These links count as votes by Google's algorithm and identifies you as an authority on a subject.

Trustworthiness can be built into your content by citing and linking to your sources for statistical data and claims you make in your content.

As you create great content based upon these principals you should see positive results with your site’s search rankings and visibility.

6. Prioritize UX, Google Does

Having a pretty website won't cut it anymore. You need to prioritize top-of-the-line user experience (UX) too. Unfortunately, too many people confuse UX with UI (user interface) so let's break it down.

UI refers to the visual aspect of a site and how you navigate it. This can refer to the layout, the color scheme, the placement of ads, and all the links and buttons. UX, on the other hand, refers to how well the UI and site design come together to offer smooth and seamless navigation.

How can you improve your site’s UX?

  1. You can start by speeding up your pages load time. You can use tools like Google’s Pagespeed Insights and GT Metrix.  These tools are a bit on the technical side but many insights are fairly easy to implement if you run your own site. Having a faster loading site will keep your visitors from fleeing your sites spinning wheel.
  2. Be sure that your site uses responsive design so the site looks and navigates well on mobile devices as well as desktop computers.  Google has taken the approach of “mobile first” in it’s ranking priorities and you will find it hard to get good rankings without a responsive site.
  3. Be sure to use icons, images or infographics in your blog posts and pages so they don't look like big walls of text on a phone.  This will help to make your content more interesting and improve your user experience for your visitors.
  4. Lastly, make sure that your site is accessible.  Accessibility is very important for those with disabilities.  Accessibility tools like Userway’s Toolbar will go a long way in helping to foster a great experience for those with disabilities.

7. Video Remains A Game Changer For Competitive Markets

Video content is very popular as it should be for good reason.  It’s full of life, engaging and very easy to consume.  Many internet visitors consume hours of video content and you can see this popularity in the growth of properties like Youtube and Vimeo.

How can You Leverage Video to Improve Your SEO?

  1. Use structured data to help Google understand the content of your video.
  2. Promote your video on as many sites as possible. You can load it onto your Youtube channel and then share it on your site, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to name a few.
  3. Add captions for your video to make it accessible.
  4. Add transcripts for each of your videos.  This adds depth of content.
  5. Use keyword phrases in the title and description of your videos.
  6. Have professional videos created for your business so that it makes a great impression on your visitors.

8. Quality Backlinks Will Still Be An Essential Factor In Growing Rankings

What are backlinks?  A backlink is any link directed from one site to another site.  These links help Google determine the value of a site or page.  Not all backlinks are created equally.  Here are some of the items that help determine the value of a link:

  1. The authority of the page that the link is found on
  2. The authority of the site that a link is found on
  3. The relevancy of a site a link is found as it relates to the site receiving the link
  4. The location of a link on the page it is found on – links within the main content are the most valuable
  5. The anchor text of the link
  6. Is the link tagged as “nofollow”

What is a backlink profile? Your backlink profile consists of the number, quality and types of links coming into your site.  You should have a natural looking backline profile which means there is diversity in the quality and types of links your site receives. Ahrefs offers tools to help you view your backlink profile.

How do I get quality links? Here are a few ways you can accomplish this.

  1. Submitting your site to Google My Business
  2. Submitting your site to local review directories like yelp and merchant circle
  3. Setting up social media accounts for your business on properties like Facebook and Instagram
  4. Create amazing content that people will recognize as a great resource
  5. Hire a link development company
  6. More info

Succeed Throughout 2020 And Beyond

Search Engine Optimization is constantly changing but one fact remains: you'll always need to invest in it if you want to keep traffic and conversions coming. It's all about staying updated and implementing the best SEO practices to continue to climb the rankings. Position your site out in front of the evolving trends and enjoy your ride to the top.

Next Steps

That concludes our guide to the 2020 trends in SEO. Do you want to learn more about SEO and how you can stay ahead of your competition?  Then just contact us for your free consultation and we will be happy to answer your questions.

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