Towards the end of 2019, Google introduced a new algorithm that partly started off possible trends for the next year. Keeping a keen eye on the trends will help website owners improve their ranking and if they are already up there, they can keep a step ahead of the competition and not see a surprise drop in their ranking.
We saw a number of trends in 2019 which included mobile-first optimization as more internet users accessed the internet using mobile devices and Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant all caused a bit of a wave in the way a percentage of users searched for different things. Some trends are likely to remain trends even in the next year and some may not play a very important role even if they may still matter. Let us take a look at the hottest ones to look out for.
It is now official, there is a position higher than 1 and everyone is already trying to get there. 2020 will see more competition to be in position 0.
The rise of the virtual assistant has come with the rise of voice search. This is going to be a big trend in 2020 and it will definitely affect SEO. How?
According to research, 4 out of 5 searches are for services or products nearby and 50 percent of the searches will result in an action to either visit the physical location or make an order. In 2020 this is not likely to die out, it will instead become more popular.
Search Intent and Keyword Context
Google released a new algorithm in 2019 which prioritizes search intent. It is part of its attempt to teach machines how humans speak so that search results are more accurate. In 2020 this is predicted to become a big deal as SEO experts discover ways to optimize for search intent and keyword context.
This will probably be one of the trendiest SEO efforts in 2020.
A recent survey showed that fewer people are clicking on search results even when the results are among the top 10. About 40% of search results are going to waste and that number is on the rise. Why? Simple, humans are creatures of habit and that means they will click on results they recognize, so this means the big brands that are known are what they would click on. If you are a small fish in the web waters, 2020 is the year to start acting like a big fish. Branding is not just an option for SEO it is a must. So many companies noticed that in 2019 and they are bound to work hard at the brand building in 2020 because that is the only way to survive.
In 2019, Google released the BERT update and almost immediately there was a buzz about it with many SEO experts noting that it will change the SEO landscape. Google may have tried to downplay its implications, but no one is falling for that, BERT is big and it will indeed be a major trend in 2020. This BERT algorithm helps search engines to understand human natural speech and that means that long search queries will get more accurate results. Optimizing for BERT is already a big deal for any business that takes their online presence seriously. Content needs to be even more relevant because Google will not be fooled by a few keywords stuffed into your content. Large text can be deciphered better and questions by searchers will receive better answers — this is going to be BIG.
UX & Technical SEO
You may have already noticed that most of the trends in 2020 focus on user experience. Well in the past a lot of the SEO trends were more about pleasing the search engines. As time goes by, the two have become linked so 2020 will see user experience meet technical SEO. Trends like mobile-first, knowledge graphs and BERT are evidence of that. SEO experts are advising their clients to ensure that they produce content that will be useful for the user, and then perform technical SEO to ensure that they have a good experience as well as meet all the expectations of search engines like Google so that they can have more clicks. 2020 will have the two working closely together for the best results and no one can ignore them and expect to be ranked positively.
Knowledge Graph Optimization
Information is one of the things that searchers are looking for. Google is aware of that and that is why we see the top 10 search results being pushed further down and getting replaced with what people really want. Knowledge graphs are an essential part of SEO and that is a huge trend for 2020. Franchise brands are eyeing knowledge graphs as a great source of traffic. The great thing is that people can even claim knowledge graphs created by random people and they can even correct the information there for example on Wikipedia. 2020 is likely to see more competition for the top spots using knowledge graphs.
Back Links are Still Important
If anyone is claiming we can say goodbye to backlinks, then they have no idea what they are talking about. SEO in 2020 will still need to embrace backlinks as an off-page strategy for SEO. This helps to add credibility to a website and if you are trying to build your brand, they are a great way to do that. Search engines will still use backlinks when ranking a website and ranking high is a trend we will see every year. Website owners are expected to spend millions of dollars in 2020 to get credible backlinks that are related to the content. Like any other trend, quality is important and more websites will be looking for quality links.
2020 will be another busy year for SEO professionals as they try to get pages ranked high. The focus though will not change. Great content that focuses on the user will carry the day. It will become increasingly hard to fool Google with keywords since its focus is on providing the user what they want. You may also be on the lookout for the rise of other search engines that will dictate the SEO industry to an extent.
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