With the year approaching its end, it is time to evaluate how well you followed the SEO trends for 2020 and whether you are on track to continue doing so into 2021.
Importance of SEO Trends in 2020
Before getting into the various SEO trends, it is smart to understand why they matter. Familiarizing yourself with the strategies that other companies are using to enhance their SEO helps you remain competitive. If you do not also put in effort in the areas that your competitors are, your rankings will fall and your business will suffer.
By contrast, paying attention to trends lets you know which aspects of your SEO marketing strategy deserve the largest share of your resources. Of course, do not neglect any aspect of SEO just because it is not one of the current trends; just prioritize the ones that are. After all, a well-rounded SEO strategy is key to success.
With that in mind, it is time to explore some of the SEO trends for 2020 and those that will continue for months and likely years to come.
Artificial Intelligence Influences SEO
As artificial intelligence continues to develop, it has had surprising effects on SEO. If you have been using SEO for a while, you likely remember the introduction of RankBrain to Google results in 2015, promoting relevant content. BERT (Bidirectional Transformers for Language Understanding) was introduced in late 2019 and is a technique based on neural networks for natural language processing. It helps with understanding the context of words and officially cannot be optimized for.
Even though you cannot optimize for it, AI like BERT still affects your SEO strategy. It essentially means that you need to ensure the content you create is for users, natural, high-quality, and useful. While it should include keywords and other SEO strategies, the most important factor for AI-based search engine tools is the content’s value to searchers.
In addition to writing content for your users, consider creating an FAQ section that is based on natural questions your audience may have.
Voice Search Continues Strong
Voice search has been rising steadily in popularity in recent years, but 2020 has shown that it is here to stay. In addition to people using the voice search on their smartphones, the rise of home assistants, like the Amazon Echo with Alexa, means that you need to ensure your SEO strategy accounts for voice search.
Part of this means placing a greater priority on developing high-quality snippets, as featured snippets are the go-to response of most voice assistants.
Semantic Search Will Increase in Importance
Another type of search that you should be aware of during your Google trends keyword research is the rise of semantic search. Semantic search refers to how search engines rely on data to figure out what a user means and the context behind their search to provide relevant results.
This type of search comes back to using search terms in natural languages. This particular one of the SEO trends does not have a quick fix, as you will have to keep it in mind when creating all of your content. The most important tip when incorporating it is to think about what users on your website search for. Then, create content that will answer the questions that they likely search for. As you create the content, write for the users instead of search engines (remember the AI point from above), add contextual internal linking, and use structured data in areas you can.
User Experience Is Growing in Importance
In May of this year, Google announced that some user experience signals would be incorporated into the Google Search ratings. These include the load time, the stability of the content during loading, and interactivity. This has become one of the major new SEO trends this year, and it will continue into 2021.
To incorporate this into your SEO strategy, prioritize creating a strong user experience. You want your page to load quickly and be accessible across devices. While this was already a factor in search engine rankings, its increasing importance makes it one of the SERP trends to follow. Your focus should be cross-device functionality, quick loading, and annoying or intrusive pop-ups.
Video Continues Its Reign
Do not forget to consider the SERP trends involving video, as the video carousel on the SERP has been in place since 2018 and has continued to grow. To take advantage of this trend in your SEO strategy, be sure to include video marketing in your overall digital strategy. The rise in videos is directly related to user demand, with the vast majority of users having watched videos explaining products and services and a slightly lower but still very significant majority saying that a video helped convince them to make a purchase.
To incorporate this SEO trend into your strategy, be sure to create strong video content and then optimize the videos properly. Consider taking a look at the most popular pages on your website and incorporating video content into them. You could also consider webinars and repurposing podcasts by adding some graphics.
Local SEO Requires Google My Business
Yet another of the Google SEO trends to make sure you incorporate into your strategy is Google My Business, especially for your local SEO. Local search should be included in any business’s SEO strategy. The only exception is if you have no physical locations, but even then, it is wise. To show just how important Google My Business is to your SEO strategy in 2020 and beyond, consider that each month, over a billion people rely on Google Maps, including on more than 5 million websites and apps.
Because of its popularity, if you do not have a Google My Business profile, you are missing out on potential clients. Start by claiming your business, which can take up to several weeks to verify. Take the time to update your profile (and keep it updated) to include information like your hours, services, address, phone number, website, and menu (if applicable). To further take advantage of this SEO trend, add weekly photos, share business posts, and answer FAQs on the listing.