Top 7 SEO Trends in 2020: What You Need To Know

BLOG | SEO

Top 7 SEO Trends in 2020: What You Need To Know

Melissa Clarke, Freelance Digital Marketing Specialist, Sydney

27 March 2020

We all know that quality content is one of the most important factors for SEO. After all, “quality” relates to everything, from your website copy, backlink profile to the structure of your website. But what other SEO trends might we expect in the coming year?

Well, let’s dive right in and look at the seven important SEO trends in 2020.

1. Focusing on the Semantics of Content

Simply identifying keywords your customers may be using to search for your product or service is no longer enough. Search engines are continually evolving and learning with the help of artificial intelligence.

Since 2013, search engines have been showing websites with the best matched content in search results – rather than those stuff with a bunch of keywords. Search algorithms are now more concerned with natural, conversational style language and high-quality content.

Are you familiar with “BERT”? It refers to Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers but this is simply a language processing technique that Google is using to assess content. BERT was launched in 2019 and is said to be the biggest jump forward in the history of search.  They now understand – more than ever before – the language humans use to search and the context behind each word.

 But how can you adopt BERT as part of your strategy? Google’s goal is to deliver the user the results that best match their query. Now more than ever, your content matters. In-depth information is especially important for SEO in 2020. It’s important to use simple and natural language. Also, Google appreciates when this content is written to appease user intent rather than tricking the search engine with keyword-focused content.

As Danny Sullivan has said many a time – write great content for your customers. 

Hummingbird update focused on understanding to the user intent and context words used in a search.

2. Update “E-A-T” Signals

For many years, Domain authority (DA) was one of the most influential factors for SEO rankings. However, expertise, authority and trust (EAT) are now far more important when it comes to Google algorithms.

In short, E-A-T is tasked with assessing whether the content of your website can be trusted. E-A-T was born out of an algorithm update in August 2018 which has been labelled as the ‘medic update’. It seemed to target medical websites with YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) content that couldn’t be linked to a credible source. With health, wealth and well-being searches, Google wants to deliver accurate credible information – not uneducated spam.

How does this affect your website? Website owners should take time to evaluate their approach to content and ensure they are producing high quality content that is genuine, informative and trustworthy. Similarly, existing content should be examined and modified to reduce the amount of spam-like content on the website. Also, it’s worth updating all “About” information on the website to include key people, author information on blog articles and links to trusted sources such as LinkedIn profiles.

There’s nothing to optimise for with BERT, nor anything for anyone to be rethinking. The fundamentals of us seeking to reward great content remain unchanged.” 

Danny Sullivan, Search Engine Journal

3. The Rise of Visual Image Search

While we are still in the early stages of certain SEO trends, visual search is increasingly prominent. That is to say, studies show that more and more people are using visual search by the day. In fact, Pinterest continues to amass more than 500 million visual searches per month, while even Google Lens has eclipsed one billion objects. Just so you know, Google Lens uses image recognition to produce relevant information in search results.

Our search results are now a blend of many elements rather than just website links and ads. When you conduct as search you will see images, videos, maps, news and even shopping options within SERP.

There is still a lot to understand about visual search and techniques that will help you master the process. This will continue to evolve. But for now, you need to make sure all your images have informative Alt Tags and descriptions to help improve their visibility.

4. Taking Time to Create Video Content 

You might be tired of hearing this one but video continues to grow and dominate SEO trends. In some circles, it’s believed that video will even account for more than 80% of online traffic within the next year. Also, it would seem that online users are still most interested in video content and the continued growth of YouTube is a prime indicator for SEO 2020.

Either way, every SEO and marketing strategy should incorporate video. This is especially true when you consider most people are simply too lazy to create this type of content. This is an area your brand can get an edge over competitors.

You will find many platforms to publish your video content. YouTube is a great place to get started. You can optimise your videos on YouTube directly and even upload transcripts to help this content get found. Ideally, every page or post on your website should feature an optimised video snippet for Google to consider for search engine results.

5. Don’t Forget the Importance of User Experience

User experience is a word that gets bandied about quite a lot. But you should know that Google is primarily focused on improving user experience which is directly impacted by the quality of a user experience on any given website.

Imagine.  You type your search term into Google, click on the first website, it takes 9 seconds to load and looks like it was updated in 1987. Do you stay? No. You leave the site and bounce back to Google to find a better result. Google picks up on these signals and will rank poor user experience lower in search.

In this regard, navigation and clear headings/subheading is essential for a smooth experience. Meanwhile, page speed and appearance are just as important. Not to mention the fact that mobile-first design is still one of the most important SEO trends of the past decade. Keeping on top of your site’s technical SEO is crucial. No amount of amazing content will help your rankings if your website is not technically sound.

“Think about how you can help your users have the best possible experience while truly pondering what value you can provide to them during their visit. ” 

Brock Murray, seoplus+

6. Start Implementing Voice Search-Friendly Content

Have you ever wondered “Is voice search important for SEO in 2020?”

Let’s be honest, everyone knows that voice search is the next pillar of importance for SEO trends. It’s true, statistics show that more than 40% of people use voice search at least once every day. While voice search may not be a priority for SEO in 2020, optimising for this future trend is certainly worth consideration. As for how to optimise, you can start by using questions, just like I did before this paragraph in your content.

7. Remember That Backlinks are Still Important

Now, we mentioned how Google is less concerned with backlinking for SEO in 2020. At the same time, it should be said that without link building, you will never reach page one. Google knows that people like linking to quality content which means they will always pay attention to these backlinks.

This can be a time-consuming process, so how do you get these backlinks? Creating useful case studies is a good way to attract links. Alternatively, you might write a link roundup post which features advice or information from experts on topics. Similarly, most influencers and experts are open to interviews and online users will always appreciate this type of content.

Final Thoughts

SEO trends are slowly shifting from the rather flawed ideology that backlinks can determine the accuracy or quality of content. However, backlinking is still a foundation for SEO in 2020 and one of several important pillars that continue to drive SEO trends. Either way, the above tips should help you get ahead and keep your SEO strategy on point for the coming year.

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Local SEO: How It Can Help Your Business

BLOG | SEO 

Local SEO: How it Can Help Your Small Business

Melissa Clarke, Freelance Digital Marketing Specialist, Sydney

9 December 2019

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is something you’ll hear just about everyone talking about these days when you want to figure out how to build your business. In the information age it’s never been more important to rank on the first page of Google, but is that always the case? Are there actually very few searches where it matters where you rank, and a handful that are absolutely vital? To answer these questions we need to go local.

What is Local SEO?

Imagine you’re a plumber looking to get more leads. It doesn’t really help you if people from all over the country can find you, because all you want are a lot of leads in your hometown. This is where local SEO comes into its own. It’s the technique you need to master if you want to attract customers who live in the same city, neighbourhood, or even street.

 

Local search is a key SEO strategy for any small business working to a specific geographical service area.

What are the Benefits of Local SEO?

Here’s 5 key ways local SEO will really allow your business to take off:

  • You can compete with national and international brands by hyper targeted your local area, and nowhere else
  • It’s a truly cost effective way to advertise to the people in your local community
  • Local SEO will build your online reputation as a local expert
  • Reaching new markets will get a lot easier when you appear in far more relevant search results
  • Increased traffic to your site will result in more local business, meaning less money spent advertising and traveling further afield for work

 

“Today it’s not about ‘get the traffic’ – it’s aboout ‘get the targeted and relevant traffic’.” Adam Audette, SVP at Merkle

What are the Components of a Local SEO Strategy?

Local SEO is a highly specialist technique, which means there’s no substitute for partnering with an expert to put your business in the spotlight. Here are the key building blocks that will allow you to direct the entire local community to your business:

  • Local Search Keywords: If you want to localise your content, you need to localise your keywords. This can be as simple as adding a place name or region to your keywords, giving you phrases like ‘Adelaide expert plumbing contractor’ to embed in your text.
  • Google My Business: Every business should have a profile on Google My Business, so why delay setting one up? It will make you more visible to users and search engines, which in turn will strengthen your local reputation.
  • Local 3-Pack: If you want to appear more visible, getting into the picture based listings Google highlights near the top of the results page is the way to go. It’ll allow you to display key information like location and opening hours.
  • Google Reviews: Everyone takes notice of reviews, especially when they’re approaching a small business. By being proactive in asking happy customers to post a review, you can further strengthen your reputation in the local area.
  • Schema: This is a specialist technique where you can have an expert add little sections of code to your site’s HTML information. The idea being that this will help search engines display your page for highly targeted local searches.
  • Build a Trust Pilot Rating: There are plenty of other review sites where people can post on. Make use of them and harness the localised content users are likely to include in their reviews.
  • Combine SEO with Social Media: Many businesses forget that they can use social media as part of their SEO strategy. By creating a localised hashtag you can make it clear to everyone you are open for business in their local area.

Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve heard all about the benefits of local SEO, it’s time to start putting these hints and tips into practice. Whether you decide to make a start on your own, or consult an expert is up to you, just make sure you identify the key things your business can offer customers in your local area. Once you do that, you’ll be able to get your message out there a lot faster than you might think.

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Google Ads vs SEO: What’s the Difference?

BLOG | DIGITAL MARKETING

Google Ads vs SEO: What’s the Difference?

Melissa Clarke, Freelance Digital Marketing Specialist, Sydney

25 November 2019

It’s the age-old question that seems to pop up over and over again, so I thought it about time I put pen to paper on the subject. Here’s everything you need to know in 3 minutes or less.

What are Google Ads?

Google Ads are adverts you pay for so that you can appear at the top of the search results page on Google. If you’ve ever heard anyone talking about Pay Per Click (PPC) then the chances are they were talking about Google Ads.

 

Google Ads position in search engine results. 

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is all about embedding keywords (natural search terms used by your target audience) into your website text. The goal is to signpost search engines so they know your content is relevant so that it appears higher up the search results page.

 

Do Google Ads Boost Your SEO?

The quick answer here is no. Whilst you want to target keywords with your Google Ads, doing so does not improve your SEO. To do that you’re going to need to research relevant long-tail keywords and embed them naturally into your text in a way that doesn’t sacrifice quality and readability.

 

“Marketing has never been about keywords, it’s about people” Simon Penson, Digital Entrepreneur, Marketer and Investor

Which One Costs Less?

Google Ads cost money to run and you’ll be charged every time someone clicks on them. This is why they’re known as Pay Per Click ads. SEO also costs money if you hire an expert to help you with it, but it doesn’t cost money every time a user interacts with your content. For this reason SEO is seen as a free way to generate organic traffic.

 

Is the Approach to Keywords the Same?

SEO works across all search engines, whereas Google Ads only show up when a browser searches using Google. It’s also worth noting that with SEO you want to laser target a few relevant, niche keywords that connect directly with your target audience. Whereas with your Google Ad campaign you can target far more keywords, changing them frequently to fine tune your campaign.

Why Would You Ever Use a Google Ad?

At first glance it might seem like the focus and cost of SEO sets it miles ahead of an ad campaign, but there’s a little more to it than that. The ability to effectively target a larger number keywords is actually a strength as it allows you to introduce your offering to a wider audience. There’s also no substitute for the instant recognition an ad gives you when it appears right near the top of the results page.

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5 Factors Impacting SEO For Your Website in 2019

BLOG | SEO

5 Factors Impacting SEO For Your Website in 2019

Melissa Clarke, Freelance Digital Marketing Specialist, Sydney
17 October 2019

When you want to move up the Google rankings you will often come across 3 little letters: SEO. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is something that many people will claim to know a lot about, but few can do well.

Simply put, it’s all about convincing search engines like Google that what you have to say is useful and relevant. If you can do that you’ll move onto the first page, and if you can’t, you won’t. To keep things nice and simple we’re going to look at 5 key factors that are impacting your SEO right now.

Mobile Optimisation

The majority of online users use their smartphones to take a look at your content, which means it has to be optimised for the small screen. You’ll hear a lot of people talk about responsive website design at this point, and it’s what ensures your content resizes appropriately for different screen sizes. If it doesn’t then it’s not going to offer a good user experience, people will soon leave your page, and Google will notice.

Responsive web design across all devices.

Site Speed

Search engines exist to show people what they want to see, but who wants to see a website that buffers and stutters into life? If your site is slow to load, then it’s going to harm your SEO for no other reason than it’s not offering people what they want. If you’re unsure how to speed it up, speak to a developer who will be able to put things right in no time at all.

“The slower your site loads. The more visitors and revenue you’ll lose out on” Anna Crowe, Search Engine Journal

HTTPs

Google wants to redirect its users to safe and secure sites that load fast, which is why HTTPs is the way to go. Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with the technical details behind it, just remember that it’s the preferred way to serve up webpages, and your site needs to be using it too.

Dwell Time

You might think this has something to do with loading speed, but that’s not the case. Dwell time is how long a user spends on your website before returning to the search engine results page. The longer the dwell time the more useful and informative Google will assume your content is.

Quality Content

Last but not least, you need to work on the quality of the content itself. Keywords and innovative layouts are all well and good, but if they result in content people don’t enjoy reading or find useful, no amount of SEO expertise is going to propel you onto the first page.

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