Google makes thousands of changes to their algorithms every year. These changes can happen as frequently as nine times per day. Many people are aware that things are always evolving when it comes to SEO, but this shows just how fast changes happen.
It always shows how important it is to keep on top of SEO trends in order to make sure your website performs well. The five SEO trends that we are likely to see in 2020 are described in more detail by Power SEO below.
Snippets and On Search Engine Results Page SEO
You will probably have already seen snippets in the Google results page. They are pieces of text that give additional information about a website. On-SERP SEO refers to optimising your content for the results page. This is not easy because the layouts are changing all the time.
Rich snippets provide more information about a site than you would get in a normal search engine result. If you were to search for a product then the usual result would give you the url of the website and a brief description of the product. A rich snippet would also include additional information such as the price.
Featured snippets are different because they appear at the top of the page, above the regular search results. They are particularly useful for people who are searching on mobiles, because it means they don’t have to keep scrolling down to find the information that they want. They are also the results that are most commonly displayed to people that are searching by voice as voice software only usually provides a single response.
Google is now putting a greater emphasis on snippets because it wants people to be able to get an immediate answer to their query that does not require them to click on a link. Featured snippets automatically get a place at the top of the SERP, so there is a lot of competition to rank in this way. They impact on SEO because organic search results get pushed further down the page.
Another factor that needs to be considered when thinking about on-SERP SEO is pay-per-click advertising. This is not something that would normally fit into the remit of SEO, but again these results will be found at the top of the page. These can be distinguished by the word ad which will appear before the URL.
All of this means that even having the top result in an organic search on Google could mean that your site doesn’t appear on the top half of the page.
You could start your own PPC campaign, and this is something that many businesses do. However, there is no need to give up on SEO totally as it still has a role to play.
Your content can be optimised for snippets in the same way as it can for everything else. Rather than focusing on a specific keyword, you should focus on answering questions that your customers may have. There are tools such as Answer The Public which can help you to do this. If you can provide concise answers to commonly asked questions, then you may be able to get your site in one of these featured snippets. If you can do this, then you will see a significant increase in visitors.
It has always been important to optimise for mobile sites, but now it is something that cannot be avoided. Google now indexes all web pages on using ‘Mobile-First Indexing’. This means that when it is determining rankings, it will be the mobile version of the page that is used first. This is a clear indication that Google now sees the main pages of websites to be the mobile version.
In the past websites may have had reduced content on their mobile sites if this content was not optimised for mobiles. This is not something that you can do anymore because this will mean that you get a ranking penalty for your desktop site. However, on the bright side, your desktop site may get a ranking boost if your mobile site is fully functional.
When you are creating your content, there are a few things to bear in mind to ensure that it is mobile friendly. Paragraphs should have no more than two or three sentences in them and heading and subheadings should be used to break up blocks of text. Lists and bullet points should also be included where appropriate. It is important that your pages load quickly and the site should be easy to navigate.
The chances are that you are already optimising for mobiles and so these recent changes by Google may not have that much of an effect on your SEO results. However, it could still be worth using Google’s free checker to see if there are any improvements you could make to your mobile site.
There was a time when visual search was considered to be an emerging technology, but in recent years it has become much more established. Pinterest Lens was one of the first services to launch, and by September 2019 it could identify more than 2.5 billion objects. Google Lens and Bing Visual Search also allow you to upload an image and then get search results based on that image.
Visual searching provides many more options to those who are performing the searches. Searching a picture of an ingredient could help people find recipes and searching an item of clothing could give ideas about basing a whole outfit around this one piece. If there is one specific item that you are searching for, then being able to search by image can provide better results than if you were to describe the item as text.
You will need to optimise your site for visual searchers, and this means you will have to really think about how your images are used and how they will be indexed by Google. You need to ensure that the metadata is SEO friendly and this means using descriptive filenames that are focused on the keyword, as well as using captions and tags.
You also need to make sure that you are using images on your site effectively. Visitors to your site will be more engaged if the images help them contextualise what they have just read. It is always better to use your own unique images rather than just relying on stock photos. You should also be using an image compressor. This will help to ensure that the images are of high enough quality that the visual search AI can read them, but they will not be so large that they slow your site down.
Optimising your site for visual search means that you won’t be missing out on something that could be one of the biggest SEO trends of the whole year.
It is estimated that over 80% of all web traffic will be in video form by the end of 2022. This means that video marketing is really something that you need to be thinking about. Using videos can be a really effective way of increasing awareness of your brand.
You can increase engagement of your site with the use of video as some people do not have the time or the inclination to read through a long blog post.
The use of video may also help to improve your ranking in Google because it increases the amount of time that people spend on your site. It is also a good way to develop backlinks because people are generally inclined to share videos that they find funny or useful with others.
Optimising for video will follow a similar process to optimising images. Google can crawl a video, but it does not get a complete picture so having good metadata is critical. All titles and descriptions should be keyword oriented. If videos are transcribed, then this will make it easier for Google to crawl. It also gives your audience the option of reading the video as text if they prefer. You will find some good advice about SEO and video content on Google Search Console.
There are a growing number of homes that have smart speakers such as Alexa or Google Assistant. Google and Siri are also available for voice searches on almost all mobile devices. This means that voice search is fast becoming an alternative to typing directly into a search engine. This is a trend that is likely to increase further in the future. Optimising for voice search can complement the work you have been doing on providing content for featured snippets. Voice searches tend to be in the form of a specific question, and this is also what featured snippets are targeting.
It is a good idea to create a detailed FAQ page on your site which has the answers to a range of long tail questions. This will be useful for both voice search and featured snippets. You should try and use language on this page that mirrors the spoken word and the way that specific questions would be asked. There is no doubt that voice searches are going to become more common in the future. The day may come when it is this that underpins your whole SEO strategy.
Adapting to SEO Trends for 2020
SEO trends are changing all the time and it can be hard to keep up with them at the same time as trying to run your business. This is why it can sometimes be a good idea to consult with an SEO expert. If you need any advice about keeping up with the latest SEO trends, then PowerSEO are happy to help.