As we discussed in our year-end review, 2019 was full of SEO changes that affect the way digital marketers do their job. To help you prepare your 2020 initiatives, we’ve analyzed 2019’s trends and forecasted what you can expect in the coming year.
The traditional SERPS have changed. With the rise of featured snippets, organic rank has lost its luster as a top source for new traffic. Google is pushing organic listings further below the fold and replacing them with their featured properties, while also seeking out new opportunities to monetize paid placements. As this is happening, users have become more accustomed to and trusting of paid ads. For retailers, there are few other options than to turn to paid search. SEOs must now be well-versed in paid media to maintain their share of the market.
Highly-relevant content will be at the forefront of SEO. Thinking through your audience journey and providing content to assist in that journey will be critical to success, especially in long tail keyword search. To answer users’ questions quickly and easily, and assist in informational searches, FAQ content will become more polished and focused. As Google further attempts to provide informational focused results, building audience focused, highly relevant content will be at the top of the SEO trends in 2020.
It’s been reported that more than 50% of searches end without a click. As featured positions continue to dominate the search results, the concept and concern of “0 click searches” will be buzzing in 2020. This will be an area of new scrutiny as SEOs try to determine and communicate the impact of their results in search by impressions rather than clicks.
Location-specific search queries have been growing exponentially – Google reports a 900% increase of “near me” in searches in the last 2 years. As more and more users rely on mobile devices to find products and services in their area, local search strategies become increasingly important in the discovery phase. In 2019, Google focused on improving the Google Business interface and implemented a series of new features throughout the year. As a result, users are now discovering and interacting with the Google My Business interface instead of navigating to brands’ homepages. Accordingly, these listings must be attended to and maintained with the most current features and information on the brand. As Google continues to invest a huge amount of resources into Google maps, it’s very likely that 2020 will see even bigger changes. In the new year, it will be more important than ever to keep Google My Business and Google maps profiles up to date, especially if you do business locally.
Technical SEO has increasingly become a top concern for SEOs. As websites become more complex, it’s imperative that they are crawlable and indexable. Page speed plays a crucial role in this, especially on mobile. Google has made it known that it takes page speed seriously and this will continue to be an area to focus for rankings. Addressing page speed issues and using tools to identify errors on your site should be an essential part of your business’ SEO strategy. Technical SEO factors will become an ever-increasing signal to Google on the site experience and are among the top reported factors of importance going into 2020.
Google has been building a rich visual content ecosystem, and increasing photo and video carousels in the rich results and featured snippets. Users are interacting with multimedia at an accelerated rate. These rich assets are part of the knowledge graph and are culled and curated by Google into informational features. In 2020, this will be an area where digital marketers can leverage new opportunities; photos and videos will become an area of focus as SEOs look for additional ways to get into featured snippet positions and ensure their brand is well represented.
As Google continues to refine and optimize the user experience, SEOs will have to adapt accordingly. From providing rich media and high-quality content to optimizing for the “0 click search,” 2020 will bring a crop of new challenges and trends. Is your digital strategy ready?
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Jeff Williams is an SEO Project Manager at Fruition. He uses his deep understanding of SEO and internet marketing to guide clients, optimize websites and ultimately improve search rankings. Jeff continues to focus on understanding the technical aspects of SEO factors that affect website rankings in the major search engines. He has recently found a passion in local marketing and helping business carry out effective digital marketing strategies, taking a lead role in developing Fruition’s local SEO services.
President & Founder, Tru Family Dental
Marketing, Dependable Cleaners
President & Founder, Family Travel Association