SEO trends: focus for 2020
- 1. BERT
- 2. Google remains the market leader
- 3. Focus on EAT
- 4. New forms of structured data
- 5. Mobile and desktop results grow further apart
- 6. Voice search
- 7. Local SEO is becoming more important
- 8. The SERP is becoming a printer and a printer
- 9. Forget about SEO tricks, go for quality
SEO trends: focus for 2020
Everything would change at the end of 2018 to EAT. At the start of 2019, it was straightened again with Florida 2. Halfway through the year, the June Core Update was rolled out and at the last minute, Google announced the BERT Update. It was the year for me … But what has really changed in the world of SEO?
With every update from Google, search engine optimization is less about tricks and manipulation of the algorithm and more about building a lasting relationship with the search engine and its users. Optimizing for the user and answering the search query as well as possible is also central in 2020. Of course, it is wise to keep a finger on the pulse and to continue to follow developments. By responding to the following 8 SEO trends, your focus for 2020 becomes clear and you can take a lead on your competition. List curated by the Best SEO Expert in New York Vidit Meghwal.
First, let’s talk about the latest update from Google: BERT. In principle, a Google update (including a meme-worthy name) is nothing new. In recent years we have seen Florida, RankBrain, Penguin, and Hummingbird pass by. These updates have forever changed the way Google works. And now there is BERT: Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. Google explains the update itself as a way to better understand language and thus improve search results. The update is already being rolled out in the United States and will be coming to the Netherlands soon.
In short, BERT revolves around understanding the contextual relationships between words and a better understanding of natural language. That’s right: in the past, SEO copywriters deliberately made crooked sentences such as “We sell athletic shoes red” in order to be able to use the keyword “athletic shoes red”. With BERT, Google understands that a phrase like “We sell athletic shoes in the color red.” or ” We sell red sneakers” matches this keyword as well.
2. Google remains the market leader
Google has been the market leader in search engines for more than ten years and there are no indications that this will change in the coming year.
In the Netherlands too, Google is still at a lonely height with 95.37% market share. It seems that in the past year it has even received a larger share than the years before.
Despite the rise and growth of new search engines such as DuckDuckGo, it does not yet seem worthwhile to optimize for search engines other than Google.
The nice news for the B2B market is the announcement of the new business search engine from Microsoft. It will be interesting to see how this search engine works and how Microsoft will market it. But it won’t be a real competitor for Google.
3. Focus on EAT
The quality and quantity of links have always been an important means to determine the authority of a website. In fact: when Google just launched its search engine in the 90s, PageRank was the most important ranking factor. Scoring high in Google was then very simple: the more links a webpage received, the higher the ranking in the search results.
In the meantime, hundreds of factors are added every year (the weighting and effect of which change regularly), but the left still remains important. And last year, Google confirmed the importance of backlinks by adding EAT to the Quality Raters Guidelines. EAT stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.
Google explains that they prefer reliable sources with expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.
What is a reliable source?
But how does the search engine determine what a reliable source is? A few tips:
- Have your content written by an expert. Faking makes no sense: manipulation is quickly understood by Google.
- Be transparent about who you are. Share contact details and links to social media profiles, refer to (reliable) sources, and show who or which company is behind this page/website.
- Generate links from websites with high authority (in your industry).
4. New forms of structured data
Structured data are short pieces of code that are placed around specific content on a page. This code helps search engines better understand what a page is about and how it is structured. For example, you can state your address and telephone number, but also that a page can be classified as a product page or recipe. In the area of structured data, we have seen two striking changes in the past year.
The first is that there are fewer stars ( rich snippets ) in the SERP ( Search Engine Results Page, or search results page, ed.). Google only seems to show reviews for the ‘product’ type scheme. Why this choice and how it will develop in the future is unclear.
New rich snippets are also being added to the SERP. The second striking change is the display of a FAQ and associated answers. This means that a result takes up twice as much space. So it stands out enormously.
In this tutorial, Yoast explains how to create a FAQ page and which structured data you use for this. With the Yoast WordPress plugin, it is, of course, a piece of cake.
5. Mobile and desktop results grow further apart
From July 1, 2019, mobile-first indexing is the standard for new websites. With mobile-first it is meant that mainly the mobile version of a website is used to judge the ranking of a page. Old and existing websites will continue to be indexed and ranked based on best practices and will be notified when they are mobile-first ready.
This choice is not made without reason. Due to the leaps in smartphone technology and the internet that are quickly available almost everywhere, nowadays searches are conducted more often via a smartphone than via a desktop. This percentage and rate will increase in the future.
If we compare the market share of mobile, desktop and tablet devices over the past 10 years, we also see a clear trend.
Results pages are increasingly different from each other
We also see that the SERP on mobile and desktop is increasingly different. The results pages for desktop and mobile (for the same keyword) showed 76% of different results last year. But research by BrightEdge shows that it had already risen to 79% this year. If we only look at the top 20, we see that the SERP looks different in 47% of the cases.
It is clear that mobile is becoming increasingly important. In B2B it will probably go less fast in 2020 since desktop computers there will not be replaced quickly for another device. But in B2C, it’s high time to design mobile-first in 2020 (if you didn’t already do that). Speed , in particular, plays an important role in this. A handy new tool to analyze the speed of your website is the new “Speed” tab in Google Search Console.
6. Voice search
What about voice search? 2019 would be ‘the year of voice search’ and SEO would change forever. A Google Home or Amazon Alexa in every home! But the explosive growth was still not there … Maybe in 2020 then? At least ComScore thinks so and predicts that 50% of all searches in 2020 will be done by voice.
The consequences of voice for SEO are that long-tail keywords such as ‘sports shoes red’ are replaced by natural language and phrases such as ‘On which websites can I buy red sport shoes?’ . Because people talk in different ways, keywords with a lot of volumes will break into many different keywords with smaller volumes.
Read what are the top SEO Audit tools SEO Experts Recommend in 2020.
SEO Tips in 2020
To prepare you for this, the following actions are advised:
- Write content in natural spoken language.
- Focus less on keywords, but on search intent.
- Include the questions that people ask as sentences in your content. For example as an intermediate header.
- Be to the point and give short answers.
- Try to score the featured snippet 7% of all voice results read the featured snippet.
- Use structured data.
- Voice is all about speed! Therefore, optimize the loading speed of your page.
7. Local SEO is becoming more important
In October of 2019, Google reported that 350x more searches than 10 years ago for ‘local’ and ‘near me’ in combination with short tail keywords.
This is partly due to the rapid rise of mobile use, which resulted in no less than 500% growth for ‘near me’ terms in just a few years.
People know better what they want and / or how to use search engines to find what they want. By focusing on local SEO you ensure that you are found as soon as your target group starts looking for the services or products that you sell.
Tips for local SEO in 2020
A few tips:
- Include name and address data on your website. Add your contact and address details to (the footer of) your website and contact page.
- No Google My Business page yet? Make it as quickly as possible, enter all information and optimize. That’s how you do it
- Search for (and create content for) keywords in combinations with where your company is located. For example ‘Lawyer new york’
- Generate local citations. In other words: online listings of your company with associated contact and address details.
- And of course link building. Generate links on relevant external web pages. For example, if you are a plumber in New York, try to get a link in articles with titles such as ‘The 20 best plumbers from New York’ .
8. The SERP is becoming a printer and a printer
Rand Fishkin of Moz already warned us in 2018: the SERP is getting busier!
In short, he says that Google is trying to keep its users on the SERP and answer their questions directly there. For example in the form of a featured snippet. And above that, there is, of course, one to four ads.
Others are also seeing this trend. For example, Jumpshot’s research shows that more than 50% of all searches do not result in a click.
The trend is clear: Google prefers to help its users by answering their questions directly on the SERP. With new developments, such as showing FAQ and answers under a result (see trend 4), it is expected that this trend will only continue in 2020.
Fortunately, there are also ways to respond to this. The advice is to no longer focus on search questions in 2020 that can be answered in one sentence. Focus on questions that you can talk about for a long time. Such as the SEO predictions of 2020 … 😉
Forget about SEO tricks, go for quality
So far the trends and forecasts for 2020. One more important overview:
- Google knows how to answer search questions (even) better.
- Focus on quality.
- Mobile is becoming (even) more important.
- Google will try to answer more questions directly on the SERP.
Forget about SEO tricks, but in 2020 go for quality and sustainable collaboration with Google. Do not think in quick wins but invest in the long term.
Investigate which questions are relevant to your target group and give the best answer that is possible, written in natural colloquial language. Create a fast page with a nice design, a great user experience (both on desktop and mobile) and use structured data to give Google a helping hand.