The internet is always evolving. Not only are websites frequently added and upgraded, they are held to ever-changing standards. This affects how the user finds and interacts with the websites they encounter.
So what does this mean for SEO? How does this change the way we think about marketing and the ongoing conversation with potential customers?
Let’s look into what you need to keep in mind to stay competitive with SEO in 2020.
Trends for the new year don’t have to be new ideas. Quality content will always be a major factor in SEO rankings. The search engine’s job is to answer the user’s question. Search engines are programmed to accomplish this goal as well as they can. And the best way to answer a question is by providing thorough content from a position of authority.
Searchers are looking for an article that speaks to a particular subject in an educated and clear way. This means the search engine is looking for the same thing. Quality content will always be the cornerstone of top-tier SEO performance.
Google introduced a new algorithm called BERT (which stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers). BERT is a “neural network-based technique for natural language processing (NLP) pre-training.” Let’s break that down.
NLP is concerned with programming computers to understand what we tell it.
BERT “allows anyone in the world [to] train their own state-of-the-art question answering system.”
So what does this mean for SEO?
Computers are going to continue getting better at understanding what people want from their searches. This leads to inference, which means focusing on keywords will become less important.
SEO practitioners will need to start focusing more on quality content (as mentioned earlier) as well as understanding exactly what their audience needs.
Importance of Voice Technology
Smartphones have been implementing voice searches for years. And recently, the technology has spread to personal digital assistants, smart TVs, and more. This means people are searching the internet in a new way.
People speak differently than they type. This means these searches tend to have a more conversational tone. This puts pressure on the search engine to answer the question quickly and directly, which tends to make less use of short keywords.
Optimizing a website as well as content for voice searches is going to be an important practice in 2020.
Mobile Use Continues to Thrive
Websites also need to be designed for mobile use. The best way to do this is to initially design the website for mobile use and then convert it to desktop use, instead of the other way around. You want the layout to be flexible. This allows it to be viewed on screens of varying sizes while maintaining its appeal and usability.
This can also be addressed in the way content is laid out. Short sentences, small chunks of text broken up with headers, and bulleted lists are a great way to make your content more easily read on a mobile device.
The goal of SEO is to rank at the top of Google’s results page. However, there’s a place that’s even better than the number one spot—the Featured Snippet. This position is the most visible search result and therefore drives the most traffic.
Content creators can reach the coveted position by providing clear, concise, and accurate answers to common questions. Google takes many factors into account when awarding the Featured Snippet position, but overall quality is the main driving force.
People would rather get their information from a video than an article. This is particularly true for younger internet users. Videos are engaging. They hold the viewer’s attention. A well-made video can attract a good amount of users, especially if it’s used as a source for other articles on your subject (leading to quality backlinks).
Videos can be optimized for SEO by using relevant keywords in the titles and descriptions.
Necessity of Quick Load Times
Users want a website that is easy to use. User experience is factored into your search result rankings. People quickly lose patience with a website that doesn’t load quickly.
Proper design and optimization can keep your website running smoothly. Don’t overload it with images, videos, and unnecessary text. You want your website to be efficient yet informational. You can always get help to update your website. Or, as we said earlier, designing a new website for mobile use first is a great way to keep load times down.
Visit Horton Group for everything from website design to inbound marketing. We can keep you competitive in 2020!