The Future of SEO: 5 Trends You Need to Know in 2020

Written on 14 January, 2020 by Julia Hammond
Categories Search Engine Optimisation

What better time than the start of a new decade to look toward the future? We’ve tracked down the top 5 SEO trends that are going to shape 2020.

Trend 1: User experience (UX)

Many of the updates that Google has made throughout 2019 were aimed at providing a more cohesive, simpler user experience. Examples include:

  • The June 2019 Core Update which reprioritised ranking factors to improve user experience
  • The Site Diversity update which minimised the ability of a site to rank more than twice for the same query, in order to bring users more than one voice on a topic
  • The BERT update which brought context into search queries to help improve the relevancy of results

What is clear from each of these updates is that user experience is at the centre of Google’s thinking. If you want to impress Google with your SEO, you need to follow the same train of thought. Placing a priority on features that improve user experience should lead to improvements in search rankings. Simple updates to your site like site speed, ease of navigation and informative, well-structure content are a good place to start.

Trend 2: Artificial intelligence (AI)

In the early 2000s, AI was more likely to be the plot of a horror movie than a reality. In 2020, AI is changing our day-to-day lives. There are two significant Google algorithms which use AI and machine learning; RankBrain (2015) and BERT (2019). There could be countless others which Google has not publicly divulged – either in existence or testing. What makes AI so significant? It provides real-time reactions to users and increases the speed of change. This means it’s more important than ever to continually track your site performance to make sure you don’t fall behind.

Trend 3: Mobile searches

As of July 2019, all new websites will be crawled on their mobile version before their desktop version. This is known as mobile-first indexing and has been a growing part of Google’s ranking algorithms since 2017. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, now is the time to invest in those updates.

Mobile searches also prioritise local results; both because users are searching for local answers like ‘near me’ and because our devices are frequently tracking our location. If you’ve been avoiding going local because you worry it will shrink your results pool, it’s actually the opposite. You might miss out because you’re not hitting the right search topics and locations that mobile users are looking for.

Trend 4: Voice search

Part of the mobile revolution includes a rise in voice searching. Thanks to smartphones and smart homes, you can ask your device to find answers for you. Voice searches are frequently more conversational than keyword based ones. For example:

Keywords: Best burgers in Melbourne

Voice: Siri, where are Melbourne’s best burgers?

Focusing your content on both keywords and conversational answers should help it rank for both queries. Many voice assistants will read from Featured Snippets to provide the answers. If you can manage a Featured Snippet for your site, then you’ll also be more likely to achieve a voice search answer.

Trend 5: Branding

For some time, Google has been using the principles of E-A-T (expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness) to decide which page ranks first. Your SEO is impacted both by changes you make on-site, and external factors happening off-site. Things like positive reviews, authoritative backlinks and a strong social media presence can all improve your E-A-T score. Building a reputable brand is a long-term strategy; one that you’ll need to follow for months or even years before reaping the benefits. But, if you can get there, you’ll be hard competition to shake from page 1. Multi-channel campaigns combining SEO, paid searchsocial media and content can help you to build brand awareness and authority in your industry.

Onwards and upwards with Webcentral

At Webcentral, we’re always looking to the future. We stay on top of all the latest updates and industry trends so that your campaigns are never outdated. Get in touch with our team to future-proof your SEO and digital marketing on 1300 663 995.

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