SEO is all about organic. However, all the changes we’ve seen taking place lately seem to be for worse when it comes to the share organic search engine results have on the SERPs.
We bet you’ve noticed it too – the SERPs game is more competitive than ever.
With the increased ad space, the rising popularity of featured snippets, video carousel, and zero-click searches, as well as the “People Also Ask” feature, organic search results have been slowly pushed further and further down.
A considerable drop in the share of organic clicks and web page visits (the estimated 13% decrease when compared to 2016), which negatively affects your website traffic and, ultimately, your ROI.
However, by keeping an eye on the latest SEO trends and adapting to changes in the SEO industry, you will increase the chances of your result standing out in a crowded playing field.
#1: Voice Search Optimization (VSEO) is here to stay
Remember that we told you that 2020 will be the year of voice search? As it turns out, it most certainly is. The new decade marks the beginning of a voice search era – in fact, it is estimated that more than half of the searches conducted this year will be performed by using voice-based technology.
The trouble with using voice search is the fact that it limits your marketing opportunities – once a user poses a question, the voice assistant delivers just one answer in response. The days of scrolling through the result page, getting distracted and ending up visiting a website here and a website there, are becoming a part of history.
Voice assistants tend to source the answers from the high ranking results, those that include both the question and those that appear in the featured (rank zero) snippet, so make sure to optimize your content accordingly.
For starters, you can set up a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page, since they always include a straight answer to a particular question, giving you a competitive edge over others. Moreover, when doing your keyword research and implementation make sure you focus on long-tail keywords, as people tend to use long-form questions for voice search (after all, we use different word formations when we speak than when we type). Additional tip: check the “People also ask” feature – it’ll give you loads of ideas to use for your FAQ page.
If it is applicable, try to use this “question-answer” structure on other pages, such as services and product pages, or on your blog, to further increase your discoverability.
#2: Videos are gaining momentum as we speak
Back in 2016, we claimed that video content is the future of marketing, and we were spot on – videos are huge right in the digital world right now!
More and more marketers are becoming aware of the vast potential videos have in increasing the website traffic and use different strategies to optimize their videos so as to own more Google real estate.
But don’t fret – it’s not too late for you to jump on the bandwagon and join the race.
Once you create engaging video content, ensure it is well-optimized, with accurate tags, captions, transcripts, and an eye-catching thumbnail image. Also, don’t forget to upload and share your videos across multiple platforms to increase their visibility and reach.
#3: The page authority is based on the E-A-T principles
Want to increase the chances of your content ranking high?
We have three words for you:
- Expertise – the content should be created by an expert content creator
- Authority – content, the content creator, as well as the website where the content is published, should possess a certain level of authoritativeness
- Trustworthiness – both the website and the creator should be cited and mentioned by trustworthy and reliable sources
If you create your content around these three E-A-T principles, Google will be more than happy to reward it.
#4: Search intent can make or break your SEO strategy
Google has recently launched the BERT update, designed to enhance Google’s search algorithm by understanding the intent behind each individual query the searchers make. Perfecting the algorithm helps Google deliver the best possible search results and give its users exactly what they came for.
To create content that is in line with BERT, you should start by identifying the intent of each keyword you’d like to focus on.
For this endeavor to be successful, however, you’ll first need to come up with an intent-based keyword research list. Start off by gathering and analyzing your core keywords and use everything you can get your hands on to help you with your inspiration – keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner or Ubersuggest can come quite handy, as well as the resources readily available on the SERPs such as “People also ask” and related searches.
Once your keyword list is all set, it’s time to define keyword intent and decide whether your keyword has an informational, commercial, or transactional intent. Just don’t forget to audit the list when you’re done with the categorization – there’s no way you can possibly use all the keywords listed, so it’s better to stick with those you believe have the most chances for success.
When it comes to creating the actual piece of content, ensure it is original, informative, purposeful, well-written, and created with the user in mind. After all, the content should be there because of the user, and not the other way around.
#5 Mobile-first indexing becomes the norm
Let’s face it – mobile smart devices have become our BFFs and faithful little sidekicks that are by our side 24/7. So, it’s no wonder that mobile search and mobile indexing are what Google is focusing on these days.
Since mobile-first indexing means that Google bots will first go through the mobile version of the website in order to index and rank the content you publish, it’s wise to ensure your website is mobile friendly and focus your SEO efforts on mobile optimization.
This means using a responsive WP theme and plug-ins designed to increase mobile compatibility and improve website loading time. Adding Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) functionality to give your mobile website an additional boost is a must, as well as using Schema.org structured data to improve your SERPs rankings.
When it comes to mobile-friendly content, keep your titles and meta descriptions concise to fit the screen, chunk your texts to make the reading easier by using short paragraphs, whitespace, subheads, and lists, use simper phrases to make the reading experience faster, and ensure your content is easily scrollable.
Finally, once you create your very own mobile-optimized website, don’t forget to test it using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Tool and check whether it’s ready to be launched.
#6 Popularity and engagement as kings of local SEO
Since around 46% of all Google searches are location-specific, mastering local SEO is crucial for making your business stand out. The key factor in ranking local establishments and services is the authority of the business in question, i.e. entity popularity and entity engagement.
Entity popularity is determined by the number of times your brand gets mentioned in the online world, including forums, blogs, social media, etc. Good news – unlinked brand mentions and citations count as well.
Entity engagement is measured based on certain “engagement signals”, such as the number of recommendations and positive Google My Business reviews your business gets, as well as the number of people who saved your business as a contact on their phone or asked for the exact address and location of your business.
All of this simply means that if people love and engage with your business, Google will recognize it as a sign of authority and your business will start climbing the SERP ladder, which will result in higher traffic and conversions.
So, in order to ensure your business is properly optimized for local SEO, analyze both its popularity and engagement and think about strategies you could use to further improve your reputation, such as generating more local brand mentions and recommendations, devising a local link building strategy, or investing in Online Marketing Reputation campaign if you feel your business needs a little more boost.
There you have it – the 6 most important SEO trends that will mark the beginning of the decade that lies ahead of us.
The competition is fierce and the share of the organic search results is getting smaller, making it even more difficult for website owners to earn their rightful place in the SERP and increase the chances of being found.
So, if you want to gain the upper hand and ensure your brand wins the race, make sure your SEO strategy is always up-to-date.