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Search engine optimization has seen seismic changes in recent years, and there’s plenty more ahead. So how do you stay ahead of your competition? We asked SEO experts to share their predictions for 2020 search engine optimization trends. Here’s how they weighed in:
Nick Galov

Nick Galov

Nick Galov is a geek, writer, and editor who enjoys a pint and a good read (good as in challenging and, preferably, about obscure technology). Currently, he is sharing his expertise with our team of writers, giving practical advice about product testing and content structure. Find him here: review42.com

Voice search optimization

Considering the continuously increasing use of voice-operating assistants like Alexa, Siri, or Google Voice Console, there’s no doubt that voice search optimization will be the buzz in the New Year – and the years to come.

There are several important differences in optimizing content for voice search. Semantics are different – keywords are key sentences as there is no need to economize time and character space when searching.

Unlike keyword researching where there are many relevant results displayed on the first page of search results, all of which can get decent traffic, voice search will take you to the one, most relevant answer. All this means that the New Year will bring a harder content relevancy game – people will invest more in creating super relevant content.

Mobile will continue to be the preferred search-engine environment. So, optimizing for mobile, and then for the web, will be a must if you want to be rated as relevant by Google.

Behavioural Changes

SEO is important to anyone who is remotely related to the online world. Whether you are providing a service or are a seeker, SEO impacts everyone in one way or the other. Yet, it is more crucial to those whose entire livelihood depends on it.

From user behavioural changes to Google’s tweaks, every year brings something new with it as far as search patterns are concerned. Hence, it becomes vital to cope with those changes for entities at the business end of the spectrum.

It has been made clear by Google through its constantly evaluated and changing guidelines, as well as by the users through their preferences, that content is the king in the battle of rankings. Yet keeping pace with the trends should go hand-in-hand with the quality so that you do not find yourself missing out on any opportunity.

Let’s discuss some important trends that SEOs and marketers need to watch for:

User Preferred Content

Since the benefactor or rather the influencer, who is the user here is the one who is affecting the entire decision-making, it is important to pay attention to user intent and preferences. The analysis behind the content selection should be customer-centric. Content that users like will garner more eyes. In a world of sharing, better content will always be rewarded by shares, enhancing visibility. Discovering the expectations of someone initiating the search and providing them with the best answer in the simplest form should be of prime importance.

Increasing Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness

Summed up as Google’s E-A-T guidelines, these serve as guardians of the users’ interests. One should ensure that their efforts fall under those guidelines, while being sincerely customer-serving. Efforts should be directed at gaining authority on a subject matter before delivering authoritative content.

SEO Practices Beyond Google

Search platforms are increasing, evolving and diversifying. Hence, it is important that focus is not concentrated on one platform. Especially for niche markets such as app development, it is relevant to promote the app through websites; however, it is also important that the app ranks within an app store. Similarly, overlooking voice-enabled home assistance devices would not be the best strategy as these devices are slowly but gradually gaining popularity among modern households.

Nathan Sebastian

Nathan Sebastian

Nathan Sebastian is a Content Development & Marketing Expert at www.goodfirms.co, a dedicated research & review firm for IT companies, software, and consultants – showcasing their genuine portfolio and clienteles to service seekers. He is focused on developing SEO-friendly content (with creativity to taste).
Jose Gomez

Jose Gomez

CTO & Technical Lead

Jose Gomez is originally from Spain and is now working in Newport Beach, CA. He has been passionate about technology since the early 2000s. He has a Master’s Degree in Computer Science, and he is a certified Software Developer and Project Manager. Currently, Jose works as CTO of his own company, www.evinex.com. He spent the last ten years learning about technical SEO and website optimization.

Not any piece of content works

Artificial Intelligence in content marketing: 

It comes as no surprise that AI has dramatically changed the world we live in; it’ll keep on modifying it in the future. Content marketing is not an exception because online searches are performed more every day and are more personalized. This is because of Google’s RankBrain algorithm, which uses AI to provide relevant and up-to-date content.

Voice Search 

Had it not been for voice search, there wouldn’t be so many ongoing changes in SEO. But the truth is that the words that people use in these searches dramatically affect SEO rankings. Most of the time, the words used are not only simple but natural language.

Search Snippets

Snippets are pieces of content that appear as an answer to specific searches without people having to click on them. It’s search engines who choose which site acquires the position zero. Search snippets aim at providing short and direct answers, which concentrate a lot of data within a small amount of text.

Content

As you may have already noticed, content is king. And it will keep on being utterly crucial in 2020. Indeed, not any piece of content works. If you want your content to improve your SEO, you will need to write long pieces of content. That’s to say at least more than 1,500 words. But the length is not the only aspect which affects SEO, quality matters, too.

Video Content

Video content can help you increase your SEO results in several ways. It is no secret that videos are highly popular among online users, mainly because they are easy to consume. Videos can help you boost your SEO results as they drive people to your site, not to mention the fact that exciting and creative videos tend to go viral, as many users share them.

SEO extinctions

2018 and 2019 were tumultuous years for SEO. The main difference going into 2020 is that we now have some idea of what to expect.

There are two ideas that are likely to go extinct this year. One is the idea that content spinning and link networks (black hat SEO) can provide sustainable rankings. Google is getting ridiculously good at identifying this behavior, so the net is closing on these techniques. The other is the mythological E-A-T concept. Companies are quickly discovering that they can produce great quality with great credentials and still fail to rank – and in many cases, technical SEO is the real culprit.

Google is now starting to explain its updates to the general public, and coin its own nomenclature. The likely effect is that the SEO industry will become less clandestine and rumor-driven.

Last but not least, it seems unlikely that Google’s campaign to clean up the health web is over. The previous two core algorithm updates actually rewarded a few anti-science sites and punished some very strong evidence-based sites. Once again, this is due to the importance of technical factors in determining “authority.” Google will be looking to refine this system to ensure that “Your Money or Your Life” queries receive professional results.

Joe Fitzpatrick

Joe Fitzpatrick

Joe Fitzpatrick has been working in marketing for five years. Find him here: www.canirank.com

Shayne Sherman

Shayne Sherman

Shayne Sherman is the CEO of techloris.com based in Brookline, Massachusetts. With over 11 years of experience in the industry, Shayne founded the company with the goal of providing unbiased reporting on the tech world. When he is not running TechLoris, Shayne spends time with his family and is a passionate practitioner of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Image searches are going to be the next big thing

SEO is all about optimizing keywords right now, but the future is image-oriented. Take a picture of whatever you’re looking for and plug it into the search engine. It’ll be about finding out how to best match these images on your site.

Content marketers can write naturally

With the release of BERT, which enables Google to better understand the context of search queries, I believe this will hugely shape how content is created, updated and maintained in the New Year.

In terms of how this will affect content, I believe it should make things easier by putting the onus on being completely natural. For example, previously, long-tail keywords could be difficult to optimize for because many of them are constructed with Google in mind and do not sound natural. Also, in Google’s own examples of search before BERT, these unnatural long-tail keywords brought results that didn’t meet the user’s needs. This made it tricky for content marketers, and it often resulted in unnatural sentences and texts being constructed to try and capitalize.

However, BERT should now make it much easier to rank for these long-tail keywords just by answering the question and writing informational pieces naturally. In essence, I feel that it is an extension of how content has been reshaped towards answering featured snippets. The end result of BERT should be beneficial to everyone – content marketers can write naturally and have a better chance of ranking for unnatural long-tail keywords. Google can answer the user’s query much better, while users also have a more pleasant time actually reading more natural text.

Adam Lumb

Adam Lumb

EN Site Manager

Adam Lumb is an experienced site manager who designs and executes on-page and off-page strategies in competitive SEO industries.

This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors are not necessarily affiliated with this website and their statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.