SEO (search engine optimization) has been around since the first search engine emerged in 1997. However, much has changed and evolved since then. Over the last two decades search optimization has become a major focus for companies. The launch of Google Analytics, the impact of YouTube, the rise of social media, a demand for mobile-first design, sophisticated updates, and ever-changing algorithms have all made substantial impacts on SEO

Optimized search is at the forefront of the digital marketing industry. Keeping up with rapidly shifting SEO best practices is crucial for the success of businesses. A secure, mobile-friendly site, accurate and claimed local listings, and active social media accounts are SEO staples, but what’s next? These are the top five SEO trends to look for in 2020.

1. No-click search results

When you Google a question or search term, you can often find the information you’re looking for without actually clicking on any links. That’s because Google now places featured snippets at the top of many search results (AKA position zero).

While a featured snippet may prevent some people from clicking on your site, it’s not always the case. Almost 100% of featured snippets come from the top ten organic results of a search, only 31% hold the number-one position. By optimizing your website for snippets, you might be able to skip the line in terms of visibility. If you weren’t one of the top few sites for organic search before, it could result in a higher click-through rate. Numbered and bulleted lists, knowledge graphs, how-to sections, FAQs, and other directly answered questions can boost your chances of being featured.

2. Optimizing content for voice search

Over 66 million people in the U.S. currently own a smart speaker, a 40% increase from 2018. With the burgeoning popularity of Siri, Amazon Echo, Google Home, and other voice assistants, voice search has become not only prominent but easier to use than ever. In most instances, you don’t even need to push a button to get a question answered. Needless to say, one of today’s top SEO trends is optimizing content for voice search.

In November 2019 Google rolled out what they say was one of the most important updates to their algorithm in five years, and called it BERT. Essentially, it helps a machine to understand what words in a sentence mean, but with all the nuances of context. 

With BERT in mind, optimizing for voice search means writing high quality content and moving away from sloppy long-tail keyword stuffing.  Try including how-to sections as well as short and direct answers to frequently asked questions.

smart speaker usage stat

3. Competitive UX

With regard to SEO, UX (user experience) is a person’s overall perception of a website. This typically entails a site’s layout, ease of use, page speed, and the value it provides visitors on both desktop and especially mobile.

UX has been a fundamental component of business plans and marketing strategies for quite a while. However, you can expect to see many organizations step up their UX games in 2020. Even if the content on your site is optimized with keywords, headings, and images, you’ll miss out on a lot of potential business without easy navigation and a fast loading time

Accessibility will also play more of a role, following incidents like Beyoncé experienced with her website. The variations in how people access websites is changing: from Android to Apple, dark mode, and more. 

4. Influencers

Listen, you might hate us for saying this… but influencers are going to matter, even to your SEO strategy. Knowing how to deploy high quality brand ambassadors to contribute to the direct traffic and positive engagement on your site can help boost your metrics and improve your overall search engine visibility. Don’t kill us.

5. SEO, beyond your website

Incorporating SEO best practices beyond your technical SEO and website content is going to continue to gain popularity. For marketers looking to succeed on search, focusing on using search optimization for things like YouTube videos, hashtags on LinkedIn posts, and making sure you’re dominating on Pinterest are all unconventional ways of winning in markets you may have ignored in the past.

Why you should partner with a digital marketing agency

Mad Fish Digital is a Portland digital marketing agency with the technical skills and expertise to maximize your site’s performance. It’s our job to stay on top of SEO best practices so our clients don’t have to. In addition to SEO, we offer content marketing, graphic design, paid media, and social media marketing.

Get in touch to learn how our digital marketing agency can support your business and deliver on KPIs.