Every year, SEO trends change — sometimes a little, sometimes dramatically. And if you want to maintain top rankings, you need to stay current with the latest SEO updates. So, how will the state of SEO in 2020 change?
Here are seven expert SEO predictions and tips to stay ahead of the new year’s top SEO trends. Keep reading or contact WebFX to learn how our team of over 200 leading SEO experts can make your SEO strategy fully equipped to take on the new year!
1. Optimize your content for position zero (P0)
When people search online, they want quick, easy-to-digest answers that support a great user experience (UX). Position zero (P0) optimization allows you to answer searchers’ questions directly in search results — without them even needing to click. And as search technology evolves, P0 optimization will be even more important in 2020. P0 results — also known as featured snippets — display above organic results in search engine results pages (SERPs). In 2020, P0 optimization is even more important because it helps you connect with voice searchers. This year, 50% of all searches will be conducted with voice search devices.
Since voice search devices pull answers directly from P0, you need to rank in P0 to reach voice searchers. If your site isn’t optimized for voice search, you’re missing out on valuable leads, so be prepared to break out some voice search optimization techniques for the upcoming year. So, how do you prep for the state of SEO in 2020 by earning P0 rankings?
Position zero content typically includes the following formats:
- Short paragraphs that directly answer questions
- Numbered and bulleted lists
Incorporating P0-friendly formats into your content will help you rank in the coveted search spot and reach voice searchers. Want to prep for the state of SEO in 2020? Check out voice search optimization services from WebFX!
2. Create SEO content that matches search intent
Search engines like Google want to rank content that answers searchers’ questions and provides a great UX. That’s why in 2020 it’s even more important to create SEO content that matches search intent. Search intent refers to the reason why people conduct a search.
What do they want to find? Typically, search intent falls into three categories:
- Informational: Searching for information about a specific topic or question. (“What are the best running shoes for marathon training?”)
- Navigational: Searching for a specific website. (“Asics running shoes”)
- Transactional: Searching in order to make a purchase. (“Buy women’s size Asics Gel-Nimbus 22 running shoes”)
To rank at the top of search results in 2020, you need to create valuable content that matches search intent. If you target the keyword, “buy running shoes,” and provide informational content about “how to choose the best running shoes,” you won’t rank in the search results for the target term. Companies targeting the term, “buy running shoes,” need to create product pages that allow people to browse their inventory, learn more about the shoes, and purchase.
In 2020, it’s increasingly important to select keywords related to your business goals and create content that matches the search intent for those terms. Google’s recently-unveiled BERT update focuses on better understanding and matching search intent. And given the state of SEO in 2020, it’s more important than ever to make search intent matching a key focus of your SEO strategy.
Want to create SEO content that matches search intent? Check out our copywriting services!
3. Add video marketing to your SEO strategy
With the state of SEO in 2020, you’ll need to make video marketing part of your strategy. Sites with video content are 53 times more likely to rank on the first page of Google’s search results. So, if you want to capture valuable SERP territory, you’ll need to start using video marketing for SEO this year.
Videos also encourage visitors to spend more time on your site — and that tells search engines you provide relevant, valuable content. That’s because users spend 88% more time on pages with videos. Don’t forget to optimize your videos.
Similar to your content pages, Google uses your video’s title, description, and tags to figure out what your video is about. Video captions also provide clues about the content — and they support a positive UX for all users. You can also section your videos into different subtopics — similar to how you include headings in content.
Doing this allows Google to take different clips from your video and show them as video featured snippets in relevant searches. Want to amplify your SEO with video content in 2020? Check out our video marketing for SEO guide!
4. Optimize Google Business Profile (GBP) listings
Local SEO will continue to increase in importance with the state of SEO in 2020. You want to be well-known globally, but more than that, you want to be famous in your home turf. Why? Because, right now, 46% of all Google searches are local, and that number will grow this year.
The best way to prepare for the leap in local SEO is to claim your free Google Business Profile (GBP) listing.
Local searches take into account your business’s relevance, distance, and prominence (how well-known your business is) when ranking sites. Creating and optimizing a GMB account allows you to rank higher for local searches. When you claim your listing, you’ll enter your business name, address, and phone number (NAP).
The information you enter into your listing helps Google better find and determine your business’s relevance, distance, and prominence. Easy-to-use tools like LocalFX help keep your NAP consistent in all of your citations across the web, which will verify that your GMB listing is accurate and increase your credibility as a brand. Having your NAP all in one place allows users to find your business and the information they want quickly and easily, making them more likely to convert.
Recent research has also found a link between the number of photos on your business on your GMB account and ranking in searches (plus increased website traffic). Businesses with more photos get more website visits, calls, and direction requests. If you’re part of the 56% of local retailers that still haven’t claimed their business listings on Google, then you’re missing out big time, because you’ll lose out on ranking for the local SEO 3-pack, the prime position for local SERPs.
Bonus tip: Long-tail keywords are significant in local SEO as well.
With the state of SEO in 2020, make sure you are optimizing your local listings with “near me” queries to boost local brand awareness.
Want to optimize your GBP for local SEO? Learn how to improve your GBP listings!
5. Boost social proof with online reviews
Reviews can make or break a business. There is a massive amount of credibility grown or lost with each new review. Let me give you an example.
If two companies offer the same services, say, two fast-food restaurants, the restaurant with better reviews gets to take home the cake. As an added bonus, consumers will view them as better in the ever-important E-A-T — expert, authoritative, and trustworthy. Your customers, through reviews, help determine to users that:
- They found your products and services are valuable
- You know what you’re doing in as an industry leader
- They trust your brand (which in turn helps others trust your brand)
And not just from the users’ eyes either. Google sees it that way, too. Reviews account for 7% of the total ranking factors.
The more positive reviews your site has, the higher you’ll rank, the more traffic you’ll get to your site. And with reviews impacting your search rankings and clicks, no reviews = lost leads and revenue. Make sure that you’re getting ready to generate enough reviews for next year because, for the state of SEO in 2020, reviews will have even greater importance.
6. Secure your website
If your site isn’t secure, 2020 is the year to get your site security game on. First, check your domain. If you’re using Chrome, your domain will be marked with either a lock symbol or “not secure.” If your site is marked “not secure,” it means your domain uses HTTP as opposed to HTTPS.
Secure: Not Secure: What the HTTPS in a domain indicates is that the information — such as passwords for login and account information — is protected by the HTTPS protocol, meaning the site’s connection is encrypted and authenticated, making the information much safer than the unencrypted HTTP domains.
An encrypted site signals to your users that you are trustworthy and accountable with their information. Without the encryption, users are more likely to immediately leave your site (which also affects your rank). The booming necessity for improved site security is a significant rising trend.
Google is pushing for 100% site encryption across the web.
Site security is also one of the ranking factors, so if your site isn’t secure, you’ll receive a lower rank in searches. Lower rank and lower bounce rate mean that if your site isn’t secure, your site traffic will plummet. To make your site secure, you’ll need to apply for an SSL certificate.
Want to secure your site? Learn how WebFX can help you get started!
7. Re-optimize stale content to maintain rankings
With how quickly everything changes in today’s age of information, it’s not surprising how fast information gets outdated. For your business to stay afloat in this world of highly-competitive markets, you need to continually update or replace old information.
Content will decay exponentially with each year after 2020. Soon, information even a year old will be outdated. And from an SEO standpoint, updating your stale, outdated posts with new and improved content will boost your traffic by over 100%. Let’s look at a few scenarios that demonstrate the importance of re-optimization, given the state of SEO in 2020.
Problem: You have an old page with out-of-date information
Solution 1: Increase the page’s relevance. Research the search intent of your old content’s target keywords. The intent might have changed over the years, so here’s your chance to match your old content to the new search intent.
While you do, research the topic anew and update the information on the page so that it’s current. That way, your old content will become just as relevant as your new content. Solution 2: Delete the page.
If the page’s content is no longer relevant or accurate, it may be worth considering setting the page aside to make room for new, more relevant content, either by deleting the page, archiving it, or redirecting your users to content that is newer or more relevant.
Bonus Tip: Research competitors’ decaying content
It can become exhausting to continually generate better content than your competitors. Researching your competitor’s decaying content is an easy way to one-up them. Create better, more up-to-date content using your competitors’ decayed content as reference.
Your audience will view you as a tech-savvy leader of your industry. Tools like Ahrefs and our exclusive CompetitorSpyFX let you monitor page rankings — and you can perform a keyword gap analysis to identify keywords competitors rank for that you do not. So, get ready to revamp your content to master the state of SEO in 2020. Want to step up your content marketing game this year? Learn how our content marketing services can help!