Long gone are the days when one could optimise a website for better rankings and succeed in a matter of months.
Nowadays, however, search engine optimisation is a complex process – it is a unique mix of technical knowledge applied in practice, psychology, and copywriting.
But, the most difficult aspect of SEO is that it’s constantly changing. There are always new trends that reshape the game.
If you want to stay ahead of your competitors and remain successful, you need to keep adapting. Below you will find a list of the top SEO trends to look out for in 2020.
1. One approach to rule them all
The upcoming year is most likely going to be more difficult and demanding in terms of SEO. Doing search engine optimisation most certainly won’t be enough to boost rankings.
It is inevitable that all your search engine marketing activities need to be primarily aligned with your content marketing, as well as with digital PR, social media, and email marketing efforts. Having all your channels aligned and operating as one is of the utmost importance.
With a unified approach, you get to combine more ‘guns’ all aimed at a single target – better ranking and branding.
2. Voice search
With millions of people already actively using voice assistants in their everyday lives, it is clear that voice search needs to be prioritised when it comes to optimisation.
Due to the rising popularity of Amazon Echo, Google Alexa, and other smart tools, knowing how to optimise your website for voice search will surely help you generate more organic traffic. Still, the most difficult part is understanding and implementing conversational searches into your SEO strategy.
Voice searches are all about asking questions. In situations like these, search engines need to do a lot more work to get the relevant information a certain user is looking for.
So, brace for impact and adjust your SEO efforts to match this emerging trend. It is believed that by the year 2020, more than 50% of all internet searches will be initiated through voice.
3. Featured snippets
You are not the only one doing your best to deter a user from leaving a website quickly. Google does that too.
And that’s where snippets come into play.
Google has been trying its best to deliver a better search experience for users in recent years and one way of doing so is through Featured Snippets.
These text excerpts usually appear above the first organic result, commonly referred to as ‘Position 0’.
Naturally, it would be wise to take advantage of such a feature if you want to drive more clicks to your website. Rest assured that everyone will be aiming for position 0 in 2020.
If you want to get your share of the pie, you will need to provide clear answers on your website to commonly asked questions by your audience.
The answers to these questions are evaluated and boosted to the top based on Google’s quality standards.
4. The HTTP/3 + QUIC Protocol
HTTP/3 is a robust protocol that offers many benefits with few adoption blockers. At the moment, this protocol is still just a promise waiting to be granted. However, in 2020, you can expect this promise to become a reality.
Why should the HTTP/3 protocol that uses QUIC be of importance to you? How can it affect SEO?
Firstly, QUIC reduces the time it takes to set up a connection. Seeing that QUIC handles security features on its own, the number of round-trips will be reduced. This feature will make it easier and faster to establish a connection.
Additionally, this upcoming protocol will allow better transitions between networks. Instead of requesting an IP address for the source and destination of each request, QUIC uses a unique connection ID to ensure that all packets get delivered to the right place.
All this technical talk may seem tiring, but you should pay attention as the impact of this will be significant. Mobile users will be the ones who will reap the most benefits. In general, thanks to QUIC, HTTP/3 will provide faster connections and smoother transitions between networks.
And, of course, speed and smooth transitioning are important for better search engine rankings.
5. Mobile versions
It’s strange that the topic of mobile-friendliness has to be covered yet again considering that the concept of mobile websites dates back to 2012.
However, since many websites still aren’t responsive enough, it’s worth mentioning that making a mobile-friendly website is important and will undoubtedly affect search engine rankings.
The more user-friendly a mobile version is, the higher the Google mobile page index will be. You need both Google and users to like you.
2020 will be the year where mobile UX will make or break websites. That is simply inevitable with more and more people doing all their searches from mobile devices.
Progressive web applications will be a major factor when it comes to SEO.
You may think that PWAs may not have a direct connection to better search results. But, executing a well-crafted PWA means that you deliver a better user experience which helps you become better at the game of SEO.
PWAs render quite fast, provide a rich experience on mobile and desktop devices, and can be installed by the user on their device. The main goal of these apps is to deliver an exquisite user experience that rivals native applications.
Bear in mind this – the better the user experience, the better your chances are to rank higher among search results.
7. Switch to PHP 7+
WordPress is definitely the most popular website CMS platform of today.
That makes every trend concerning WordPress relevant enough to be mentioned in terms of SEO. Which is where PHP 7+ comes into play.
Let’s emphasise again that a website’s speed is a major factor that can boost search engine rankings. And, this general-use scripting language does a great job when it comes to speed.
For instance, if your website is running PHP 5, by switching to PHP 7+ you can:
- increase your website’s speed by up to 300%
- improve memory consumption by 50%
- serve up to three times as many requests per second
8. Real content
There is no denying that online ads still work. But another thing that is clear is that they will get even more expensive in the coming years. Once you realise there is no guarantee that customers will respond to your ads, the ad investment may not be the smartest choice anymore.
Hence, stick to creating real, high-quality content. This kind of content is more important than ever since users want to see something relevant, helpful, and valuable. If you manage to deliver this kind of content, Google will reward you.
So, sit down, do the research, follow a logical structure that makes it easy to navigate through the article piece, and make the content a pleasure to read.
9. Machine learning taking over
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a relatively new technology that is slowly becoming extremely important and popular among users all around the globe.
It is already being used in a wide variety of industries to create unique, personalised experiences for consumers. Companies such as Google use artificial intelligence to deliver better search results to users.
Explaining how AI affects SEO would require a lot of technical talk. But in layman’s terms, let’s just emphasise that AI learns the characteristics of what makes published content valuable (or not).
AI then classifies web pages and determines their rankings with extreme precision.
These nine trends will surely reshape the SEO game to a significant extent. So, make sure you are ready for the changes.
If you have any uncertainties or questions, and you’d like to learn more, do not hesitate to contact us.