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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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