Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in 2020 expands on trends and doubles down on the upgrades and changes that were made in 2019.
SEO this year is highly competitive. Both brands and individuals alike are all on the lookout for favorable ratings that’ll help improve their business and visibility on the internet. Search engines, on the other hand, are seeking to improve their user experience by providing only the most relevant and best result to users.
Did you know that 2 million blog posts get published every day? Each of these posts is competing for the highest rank on page one in Google. Good SEO practices in 2020 will help you rise above your competition and gain favor with the search engines and your intended audience.
Some Deeper Reading On SEO:
- What is SEO
- What does SEO Stand For
- What is Social SEO?
- The Ultimate Guide To Organic SEO
- The Top Local Search Ranking Factors
- Technical SEO and How it Affects Your Website’s Rank
- How Does SEO Work for Your Business?
- SEM vs. SEO: Tapping Your Business Potential
- White Hat SEO vs. Black Hat SEO: Are You Doing SEO Right?
- Easy Guide to Getting Local SEO to Work for Your Small Businesses
- The Importance of NLP and What It Means For SEO
- The On-page SEO Checklist
- Keyword Research Mastery: The Beginners Guide
- The Ultimate Google Algorithmic Penalty Recovery Guide
- Questions you SHOULD Ask Before Hiring an SEO Expert
- The 5 Step Beginner Guide to SEO Writing That Ranks
Listed are some trends in SEO for 2019.
1. Keeping Up with New Google Algorithms
Google, the leading search engine, keeps on changing its algorithms that determine how online content ranks and respond to search queries. In 2019, Google is tracking how users interact with the pages that they visit to determine how each page should be ranked.
RankBrain, a machine learning software that Google is using to monitor user experience, will be a guiding force in determining SERP rankings for your content. Through RankBrain, Google monitors how long users engage with content on a particular page, known as dwell time. If it finds that visitors to a particular top-ranking page spend less time than the average three minutes in a high-quality page, then that page gets demoted. Pages that have lower rankings, yet longer dwell time, are candidates for higher rankings according to Google.
The relevance of content will be a major factor in SEO in 2019 even as ranking algorithms change. When the world runs on information, the relevant information is king, in real life and in online searches.
2. Content Production
Content will always be a major factor in SEO and search engine rankings. As mentioned, search engines in 2019 going forward will put more importance in the relevance of the content when ranking pages.
Relevant content is engaging and provides solutions to the user. A search engine user enters their query into the search bar and in a few seconds, millions of solutions are presented to them. However, most people do not scroll past the first page of the search engine results.
To save time, searchers tend to open pages in a bunch of tabs to test their multitasking superpowers. However, they will usually spend most of their time on the third tab and close out the other tabs.
Ranking Rule of Thumb: the page that has the most relevant information in a particular topic deserves a higher position in the SERPS.
Another aspect of content and SEO in 2019 is freshness. Search engines look at how much content a particular website produces. For higher rankings this year and going forward, web publishers need to ensure that their pages are updated as frequently as possible. Updating your pages and blog with relevant content is an important part of your EAT (expertise, authority, and trust) signal.
3. Well-researched Long-form Content
Regular publishing of relevant content brings people to your website and helps search engines rank you higher in their results. However, there’s another form of content that search engines love to see and rank highly. That’s thoroughly researched content presented in the form of an in-depth and comprehensive article.
Often this form of content is around 1500-3000 words. Blogs and websites that produce this type of content appeal to Google’s algorithm and users who visit the site do actually like it better.
How can you win SEO in 2019 by creating comprehensive content? One, write on a relevant topic. Focus on your niche and find out what most people are searching for. Is there a new development in your industry that people are searching for more information about? Is there an aspect of your work that’s not well understood? Write a comprehensive guide on how to succeed in that particular pain point.
To do this successfully, you’ll need to conduct high-quality keyword research. With the correct keywords, create your content and let it be as informative as possible. Keywords have always been an important part of SEO and search engine rankings.
4. Keyword Research
Keyword research in 2019 is focused on identifying what users are really searching for. Keyword research identifies what the users’ intent is when searching for a particular phrase or word in search engines.
User intent could be buying, seeking information, or even asking for directions. If your content doesn’t fulfill the users’ intent, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll land on your page.
For example, imagine a user enters a query on a search engine in search of information and two pages really stick out in the first two positions. One is seeking to sell a product and another page provides more educational information; one of the pages will still be irrelevant even though they both have the same keyword focus.
Why? Well, each user is at a different stage of the buyer’s journey.
Proper keyword research is a pertinent factor in SEO. Search engines are the best source for proper keywords for your content.
Secret Sauce Tip: Type in a keyword in the Google search bar then click down to the “also search for” (also called “Google Suggest”) section and choose any of the six to ten other options that are freely provided by Google to find more keyword gems.
5. Mobile Compatibility
Search engines have, over the years insisted on the need for websites to get increasingly mobile friendly. Google applies the mobile first index on all websites; this means that it considers the mobile version of a website as the main website.
As smartphone penetration all over the world has grown, the majority of searches now made on the internet are through a mobile device. As a result, search engines are punishing websites that are not mobile friendly.
To get your website to be mobile friendly, there are three main steps that you should take:
- Website design. Rather than having a mobile website and a desktop website, have a responsive site. This is a website that responds to the size of the screen being used to view it. It means that you do not have to scroll to the end of your mobile phone screen to see the content on a page as it should align to the size of your phone’s screen automatically.
- Ensure that your website is easy to use on mobile devices. This will help in ranking your site higher in the search engine results.
- Ensure that all content on your site that is visible on the desktop is visible on mobile devices. With Google indexing now being mobile first, content hidden for the mobile version site is not visible on the desktop version of the website which is a big disadvantage to any content publisher.
Mobile first index means that when a website is launched, page rankings will now be considered by their level of compatibility to mobile devices. Ensure that your website pages are easy to interact with on mobile and that they load quickly.
Video SEO is going to be a big trend in 2019. Most publishers are now more than ever including explanatory videos in their blog posts. It’s forecast that in the next few years, video will be the leading source of content.
Videos on any topic you search for appearing on the very first page of search engine results. It’s important to know and understand how video SEO works to ensure that you are highly ranked by search engines at all times.
YouTube is the leading platform to do video SEO. Why is it so influential? Because it’s the second largest search engine with a substantial number of people now searching for videos first before they search on Google. Google has also noticed the growing significance of YouTube as a search engine which is why it often ranks content with videos high in the search engine results.
Another method of using video SEO is to embed videos into your content with proper schema markup. When you have informative content in your videos, there is longer dwell time on your site. This is noticed by search engines and raises the ranking of your website.
7. Optimize for Voice Search
In the last decade, online search data shows that voice searches are gradually growing. Web publishers should therefore also consider how they will optimize their content for SEO in 2019 and beyond.
How do you optimize for voice searches?
- Most voice searches are question-based. Google will then search for the pages that contain that question and its answer.
- Secondly, to rank high in voice searches, you should also rank high in the content search rankings. If your pages are in the top 5 of search results and you have the correct question and answer, then your webpage may receive a high ranking for voice search.
- Third, you need to rank in the featured snippet. A featured snippet is a statement extracted by Google from a page as a summary often at the top of the search results. Featured on the answer is a link to the website from which it is extracted.
8. Proper Link Building
Proper link building must start with great content. SEO in 2019 will focus on long-form, detailed, and exploratory content. This is the kind of content that Google rewards and that will be the content most web publishers will want to link to.
To get more links, content publishers must have a particular audience that they are targeting and should produce content that is relevant and timely for that audience.
When this is the case, publishers find that their audiences interact more with their content. It receives more shares and likes on social media and is also referenced more with links. Google was built to rank content based on the number of backlinks. When content has more links, search engines take it as a credible sign that the content is superior and should get maximum visibility.
Backlinks still remain the most important factor when it comes to search engine results rankings. Link building should be the focus of SEO. High-quality content is the foundation of how you get there.
9. Focus on the Featured Snippet
The featured snippet is a rectangular box that answers your search query directly. It often appears before the first ranked search result. SEO experts in 2019 should aim to appear on the featured snippet box.
Several hacks can help a publisher appear on the featured snippet box. Here are a few of those secrets:
- First, ensure that you look for keywords that rank for a featured snippet already. In your content.
- Second, have a 40-60 word block that can easily fit within the snippet block in the page results. Make sure your page contains those keywords that you want to rank for in that block.
- Third, format it correctly. Snippets can either be paragraphs, tables, or lists. Paragraphs are the most popular to appear in the featured snippet box. Format your content accordingly to ensure that you appear on your preferred snippet box.
10. Make Your Content More Visible in the SERPS
Changes in Google policies, algorithms and search result displays lead to an increased difficulty for content providers to gain audiences. This is due to more PPC ads and featured snippet boxes. Since these appear first on search results, it’s difficult for Google users to now go beyond these search results that appear on top, which is great for Google but tough for small business webmasters.
Click through rates refers to the rate at which people click through to your content or digital advertisements. SEO in 2019, will, therefore, focus a lot on attracting more people to click through to your content from the search engine results pages.
So, how does a content publisher attract a larger audience to their site?
- First, have an attractive heading to your post, this helps in attracting attention to your post.
- Secondly, create a meta description that expounds on the topic and hints that the content in that link is useful and relevant to the title and will help the audience.
- Third, you can use power words. These are words that make your audience think that your content will provide immediate and exact results for their queries on Google.
11. Develop Expertise Authority and Trustworthiness
Google algorithms award top rankings to sites that post high quality and relevant content. Niche sites get better rankings than sites outside that industry. For example, corporate blogs that touch on technical issues will get rated higher than other blogs published by non-experts.
Expertise, authority, and trustworthiness are highly considered by search engines. Does your website have the reputation of being an authority in the niche it serves? Authority websites are found in every niche in the online world.
Publishers with the reputation of experts find that their websites rank higher. Usually, these sites have in-depth content written by reputable experts who understand the intricate details of a niche. This type of content will gain more shares and links.
12. On-page Optimization
SEO in 2019 will still be heavily reliant on on-page optimization. Website owners should ensure that their pages are easy to use and navigate. Have a proper and easy to understand navigation map that helps both users and search engine spiders easily access and index your page.
Using chatbots, relevant content that’s detailed, ease of use and quick customer support are some of the ideals in on-page optimization. Page loading speeds and dwell time remain a major focus of search engines in determining how high they will rate your web pages.
A focus on on-page optimization will enhance and update old content and ensure that users can engage and dwell on a page longer for better results. Deleting pages with obsolete content is an important part of on-page optimization to reduce catabolization and avoid an algorithmic penalty.
13. User Interaction
SEO in 2019 is increasingly focused on how much engagement your users get on the site. Web publishers should encourage their audience to make comments on their website rather than on their social media pages.
Website owners should build an engaged community that they can interact with.
14. Use Podcasts
Podcasts have gained popularity over the years. With a large following, podcasts are a new way to gain more links and get your name out there. They help build your reputation as an expert, and as the number of users to your website increases, so will your rankings.
Podcasts diversify your methods of popularizing your website and your content. By providing informational value on the podcasts you attend, you gain more fans who help establish you as an expert in your field.
15. Machine Learning
Machine learning will be a major driver of SEO in 2019. Google’s RankBrain is in the lead in helping rank web pages.
Increasingly, machine learning will also determine how you write content that will attract and engage with more and more users. Through data analysis, web publishers will increasingly rely on machine learning to develop and create content that will also be favored by search engines.
16. Diversify Your Search Engines
SEO in 2019 will focus on Google as the leading search engine but will also focus on other search engines, such as YouTube for Video and Amazon for product placements and sales. Running the right SEO with other search engines in mind will help improve your ranking on multiple platforms.
SEO in 2019 will continue to grow and become more advanced. SEOs and web publishers will have to invest in more skills and available information on how to get into a consumer’s mind and gain more traffic.
As a business owner, you can start implementing these tips today and outrank your competition online.
To help you along you can download my on-page infographic to make sure you are properly optimizing your web pages.