Before talking about the relevance of SEO, it is important to take a step back and understand the most important question: what is SEO? SEO or, Search Engine Optimisation refers to the process of improving the volume and quality of user traffic on a website or a webpage. This helps in increasing its visibility, through organic search results. It includes only unpaid traffic from SERP or the search engine results page.
SEO practices and trends keep on evolving continuously. With the continuous revision in the Google algorithms, optimisation practices that are popular today might become outdated tomorrow. Even though there is a continuous change and improvisation in the SEO practices, it will be misleading to mention SEO, a dead practice. Thus, the question regarding ‘Is SEO dead’ is irrelevant and an uniformed statement to make. SEO trends 2020 will continue to influence company and website growth. In fact, it is expected that companies and agencies in the US will spend over 80 billion dollars on SEO efforts to optimise on SEO trends 2020. It is important for a website to rank high in the SERP so that it can drive higher organic traffic, and generate millions and billions in revenue.
Factors such as increased mobile search, featured snippets, voice search are some of the growing SEO trends. Below is an overview of 8 of the most important and popular SEO trends 2020:
Trend 1: EAT SEO
EAT SEO is short for Expertise- Authoritativeness- Trustworthiness SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). It refers to a set of content standards and guidelines that every website should uphold for it to rank highly in SERP trends. Each component of EAT SEO is outlined below:
In order to have a good ranking for a website, it is best that the content on it should be written by SMEs(Subject Matter Experts). These SMEs can be either professional with years of formal experience and relevant training, or everyday experts might not have undergone professional training and qualifications but depend on their experience. These experts know how best to create content and provide relevant information in a particular domain, so as to engage web users for longer on a website.
If the website can claim authority on a subject or a field, by producing valuable content written by experts, its authority increases. This is mostly true in the case of legal, medical, or financial sites which requires high involvement from the users as it affects their life, health, and finance. Websites should provide the author credentials, bio, a link to their LinkedIn page, a photograph, etc. to increase credibility and authority on the subject matter.
The last component of EAT SEO is Trustworthiness. It is crucial that the content on the website is so professional and neat, that it induces an instinctive sense of trust from users. The website should have an SSL certificate, an attractive ‘About Us’ section, customer reviews, testimonials and so on.
Thus, any new content on a website should be created and curated in a way that it upholds the EAT SEO standards, which is an important aspect of the SEO trends 2020. This improves the website’s credibility, user experience and consequently, its search ranking.
Trend 2: Page Speed
Site Speed or Page speed is one of the important SEO trends 2020. SEO companies and agencies around the world have carried out in-depth research on how and to what extent the page speed can affect a website’s rankings. However, it is now common knowledge that the time taken by a website to load directly affects and influences user-experience. In today’s digitized world, where every information is accessible to us within a fraction of a second, a delay in site speed leaves a negative impression on the users. A slow website usually leads to a high bounce rate. To elaborate, the longer it takes for a page or a site to load, the higher the frequency of users leaving the page or site abruptly.
Expert findings for SEO trends 2020 claim that the TTFB or Time-To-First-Byte is an extremely important aspect which is taken into account while ranking site speed. TTFB refers to the time taken for the first content to load or show up after clicking a link. Ideally, when it comes to e-commerce websites, pages and sites should load within 3 seconds or less of a search. However, most websites take up to 7 seconds to load. Every second’s delay in loading a page can cost website millions of dollars. According to a finding by Blue Corona, a marketing solutions platform, “If an e-commerce site is making $100, 000 per day, a 1-second page delay could lead to $2.5 million in lost sales every year.” Similarly, according to a study conducted by Amazon, revealed that the company would lose $1.6B/year if the site’s speed slowed just by 1 second.
Thus, e-commerce SEO services have been striving to improve the page speed of various e-commerce websites, in order to reduce the bounce rate and increase revenue.
Trend 3: Internal linking
Another important, but often undermined SEO technique which has rightfully made its place in the SEO trends 2020 is a website’s internal linking. With internal linking, a particular page can be linked to another page within the same website.
With effective internal linking, Google can discover and index the pages on a site. This helps Google to understand the architecture of a particular website. If a certain page is far away from the home page of a website and is neither effectively linked through internal links, it becomes difficult for Google or a user to reach and discover that page. The number of times a page is internally-linked points to its relevance and importance to Google.
Internal linking also helps the users to explore and navigate through a website smoothly. When users can effortlessly find the content they are looking for, they tend to spend more time on a particular website. Hence, the user experience improves drastically, and the bounce rates are also reduced.
In order to make the most of the internal linking SEO practice, websites need to follow the best practices, as suggested by the SEO companies.
For starters, the anchor texts in any content should have descriptive keywords, so that Google, as well as users, understand what the page being linked is all about. Secondly, it helps if low page-authority pages are linked through high page-authority pages like the homepage. The number of links per page should be optimum. Moreover, internal links should be usually placed right at the start or top of a page, so that users can take note of the link and click on it right away. Old articles should be linked to new articles regularly, and broken links should be frequently identified and fixed.
Effective use of internal linking can thus boost up a website’s SEO growth and performance.
Trend 4: Crawling
It is important to mention Crawling when talking about SEO Trends 2020. According to moz.com, “Crawling is the discovery process in which search engines send out a team of robots (known as crawlers or spiders) to find new and updated content.” The type of ‘content’ may vary widely. It might be a pdf file, an image, a video, an audio file or a webpage. However, this content can only be reached and discovered through links.
The Googlebot starts by finding new content on few webpages. The crawlers then follow the links mentioned in these pages to arrive at new content. This is how they discover new URLs that are stored in the index which is called Caffeine. The next time a user searches for similar content, Google pulls up these newly discovered URLs.
If Google cannot find a way to crawl to a website, it would not index in the SERP trends, and users will not be able to discover the website. The Googlebot will crawl a specific number of URLs on that website before leaving it. The average number of URLs crawled by Googlebot is called the crawl budget. Website owners and publishers find a way to optimize the crawl budget so that important pages of a website are not left out or ignored from being crawled.
The most important step in crawl budget optimization is crawling a website’s pages in Robots.Txt. This will allow/block any specific pages to be crawled in a domain. Secondly, a website should avoid redirecting chains as much as possible. In order to include crawlers from several search engines into a domain, HTML should be used. Next, websites should also fix the 4xx and 5xx status codes so that HTTP errors do not ruin the crawl budget. Updating the sitemap and using “hreflang” tags is a useful way to optimize the crawl budget.
Trend 5: Featured Snippets
SEO trends 2020 would be incomplete if we overlook Featured Snippets. Featured Snippets refer to the concise results which appear in a block, without users having to click on a specific website appearing on the SERP trends. This snippet is selected from the top-ranking website for any field, and the block appears below the paid ads and above the first organic result. Google defines featured snippets as ‘position 0; or ‘Zero position’ because it appears before the first organic result.
There are a variety of featured snippets, as described below.
The Paragraph or the Definition Box
This type of featured snippet appears in a paragraph and is often used to answer the what, when, why and who queries.
The List Type Featured Snippet
This list type featured snippet produces results or answers in a list or a pointwise format. This list can be either ordered or unordered, depending on the type of search.
Table Type Featured Snippet
The table type featured snippet appears in a tabular format. This often has multiple numerical data details such as price, rates, years, etc.
Video Featured Snippet
The Video Featured Snippet shows video results. Google tries to bring out relevant videos based on the information processed by the NLP or Natural Language Processing tool. Using relevant keywords clearly audible in the video also helps.
If a website’s content appears as a featured snippet on the SERP, it increases the website’s credibility and creates brand awareness for it. Moreover, if a small website has quality content on it, the Featured Snippet feature will help it compete against bigger companies.
Trend 6: Visual
The visual trends are also important to mention while discussing the SEO trends 2020.
In September 2018, with the advent of Google Lens, visual image search changed considerably. These changes included featured videos being a part of image search, AMP stories, new ranking algorithms as well as tags. Google has also got rid of the ‘view image’ function and changed the image search for Desktop.
According to John Mueller, image search will continue to go through major changes in these years. In the recent future, images would not be limited to mere viewing, but also be used to meet goals, buy different products and access information. Now, visual images are a part of SERP trends as well.
It is important for SEO services to use these changes in favor of different websites. Images should be properly marked, tagged and presented with proper information in order to optimize the visual images.
Trend 7: Video
Videos are increasingly becoming a popular source of entertainment and information. With easy access to a stable internet service, as well as affordable data rates, more and more people are turning to video content. Users are consuming video content is not only for entertainment but also to keep themselves informed, educated and amused. Videos are changing the way both companies are approaching digital marketing and customers are consuming content. According to the Cisco Annual Internet Report (2018-2023), 80% of the world’s internet traffic will be video-based by 2019. As per the report from Zenith media, for the consumption of the content in 2018 people spent on an average of 67 minutes per day watching online videos. This number is expected to reach 100 minutes per day by 2021.
Quality videos can thus be used by both e-commerce websites, and digital marketing services in order to appeal to and attract consumers. The information available on videos is most likely to capture focused attention. According to one of the consumer survey, 96% of people agreed that videos help them retain the details of a product in a much effective way. Video content is an important part of SEO trends 2020.
In order to rank higher in a search result, relevant keywords should appear several times both in the titles as well as the descriptions. Moreover, it is important to use good lighting, sound, crisp audio and sharp image resolution, for better customer engagement. This will also increase the organic traffic to a website, and build trust among customers. Additionally, in order to increase the visibility of a website, video schema should be implemented. Schemas help crawlers of different search engines to recognise media like video. Schema can be used to understand what the video is about, the title, duration and so on. This way, when a user is searching for any product, say, a review for a particular phone model, the relevant video will pop up.
Trend 8: Voice
With the increasing use of smartphones, the volume of voice searches over the internet has also increased. Over the past 8 years, voice search has seen a gradual but continuous growth. With the launch of innovative tech devices, voice searches are not limited to smartphones alone. Different home voice assistants such as Voice Pod, Amazon Echo, and Samsung Smart TV also work on voice commands.
In order to optimize the content on a website using voice search, schemas should be placed in such a way that websites can take full advantage of the millions of voice searches made every month. Moreover, it is important that websites create and curate content effectively so that the voice assistants like Speakable and Alexa can easily pull up results from the website.
Voice search as an SEO trends 2020 is here to stay. It will continue to influence SEO and the websites produced by SERP, depending on what users search for using their voice, instead of typing in keywords. It is thus important for websites to stay updated with the latest SEO trends.
SEO thus continues to be relevant in 2020. The evolving SEO trends 2020 and its parameters is to ensure that users get appropriate results for their queries, and websites with relevant and good content keep on generating organic traffic.
Irrespective of the type of industry the company belongs to, it should work on improving its online presence. This will ensure increasing customer trust, sales, and revenue.
The better the user experience on a website, the higher the website’s ranking on the SERP. Thus, website owners and publishers who are determined to achieve growth and higher goals in their businesses must keep an eye on the above-mentioned SEO trends 2020. Only if they invest in and integrate these trends through technical strategies and innovation, their websites can outrival competitors.
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