Like any other discipline, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) evolves with time. As little as a decade ago, optimizing content for search was little more than stuffing content with keywords in hopes of having it rank. Today, SEO is a completely different animal. From on-page and technical SEO to local SEO and quality backlinking, there are many factors that ultimately guide how and where your website ranks in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). How has SEO changed in the past few years and how can we expect it to evolve in 2020 and beyond?
We’ll Optimize For More Than Just Text Search
Optimization used to be as easy as ranking for a desktop computer. Then, the widespread adoption of smartphones led to a “mobile-first” approach to SEO. Now, optimizing for voice searches is becoming more popular as digital assistants such as Siri, Alexa, and Google become more prevalent in devices, both on the go and at home. Optimizing your content for voice search will only help increase organic traffic in 2020, which requires a conversational approach to SEO. In fact, some SEO experts estimate over half of all internet searches will be voice searches in 2020, so it is essential to have an SEO agency who understands the importance of optimizing for voice and language queries.
Natural Language Processing Will Be More Important Than Ever
Google is famous for keeping SEO experts on their toes – with hundreds of algorithms every year, the search engine system is continually evolving. A common trend among all these updates, however, is the switch to SEO practices that encourage content to be more conversational and less riddled with keywords.
For example, in the last quarter of 2019, Google released BERT, an acronym that stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. In layman’s terms, it’s better to think of this as a neural processing network for your computer. By using Artificial Intelligence, developers are attempting to have search engines understand user queries more like a human does. It helps Google tease out context from conversational queries, which it was previously unable to do. In addition to making it easier to find what they are searching for, it additionally encourages businesses to create high-quality content instead of jamming it with unnaturally sounding keywords in an effort to rank above the competition.
Mobile UX Will Be More Important Than Ever
It’s no secret that people perform searches on their mobile devices, but, with the majority of all internet searches trending toward mobile, it makes sense to take a mobile-first approach to SEO. A recent study found that over 80% of consumers conduct local searches on their mobile devices. When optimizing a website, local SEO should be mobile-heavy and businesses should create local content with mobile indexing and optimization in mind.
Video Killed the Written Content Star
If you’re looking for one channel to put your content creation dollars, consider videos. The consumption of internet videos continues to rise exponentially with each passing year. A recent study from Google found over 60% of people surveyed would rather consume videos online than watch television. YouTube is, in many ways, the new mobile television set. Millennials and Gen Z would rather get their information via online videos, for both informational and entertainment purposes. If you are looking to optimize your content for search, don’t forget the importance of optimizing the headline and meta description for the audience you are trying to reach.
Don’t Neglect CTR or Dwell Time
In previous years, things like load time were some of the most important elements driving SEO. However, with lightning speed internet connections becoming the norm, considerations like click-thru rates and dwell time (the amount that a person spends on a site before bouncing) will be integral to your SEO success.
These two metrics work together to show the level of satisfaction a user has with your site. If you’re experiencing short dwell times on internal pages, it could be a sign that the content needs to be revamped to help the user find what they need. In 2020, expect search engines to place an increasing emphasis on metrics like CTR and dwell times.
How Will Your SEO Stack Up In 2020?
Technology trends such as AI, digital assistants, and mobile-dominant searching will continue to shape SEO best practices in 2020 and the years to come. SEO experts will place a greater emphasis on conversational content and optimizing for other types of searches, such as video and voice. At the same time, metrics that indicate how long a user engages with a site will take front and center stage. To stay ahead of the curve in 2020, businesses should focus on creating quality content that informs and engages the user, with keywords taking the backseat.
An SEO audit can help you determine how your business website is currently performing and provide actionable insights to increase your online visibility. Contact Vizion Interactive and get a jump start on your 2020 SEO today.