the complete guide to ranking first – WAU
How will SEO be in 2020? Google is always updating, the technology keeps evolving and the market becomes more and more mature to keep up with the changes. Then, the time has come to find out what should be the optimization strategies next year.
SEO doesn’t stop.
If you want to keep up with the latest in search marketing, you need to know the trends that will mark SEO in 2020, driven by Google updates, changes in technology and user behavior and the evolution of the market itself.
In this article, we will analyze what is most important for your optimization strategies in the next year, so that your website will reach the top of the search engines!
Want to understand how to do this? So, now know the main SEO trends in 2020!
1. Optimize your website with E-A-T factors
Google’s understanding of what is a quality website, which deserves to be among the first places in the search, changes over the years.
In the early days of the search engine, what mattered was the amount of backlinks the page received and the matching of keywords.
Then, it also started to count the quality of the page content. Later, it was also worth the quality of the sites that linked to that page.
Today, Google makes clear what is essential to determining the quality of a page’s content. The search engine considers three important factors to assess whether the pages deserve to appear well positioned in the search results:
- Expertise (level of knowledge);
- Authoritativeness (authority);
These words make up the E-A-T factors, which are presented by Google in the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines.
This document shows the guidelines of the algorithm for people who manually evaluate the quality of the results that the search engine offers. The E-A-T looks like this in this document:
It is believed that these factors are not criteria for ranking the algorithm. However, they what Google considers important to rank pages. And, therefore, it deserves your full attention in content and SEO strategies.
But let’s clarify: E-A-T factors have been adopted by Google for years. However, it seems that the search engine is increasingly aware of these criteria when ranking sites.
And, therefore, the acronym is increasingly used as a guideline by SEO professionals.
Therefore, understand that your pages must have content created by those who understand the subject (expertise), be a reference in the market (authority) and have the public’s trust (reliability).
This should be your focus for Google to understand the quality of your pages. But how to do this in practice? Here are some tips:
Be an expert in your field
Or, if you are not, hire or partner with anyone who is an expert on the subject.
Google wants to prioritize pages with specialized content, in a way that offers the most accurate, updated and reliable answer to what the user is looking for.
Medical websites, for example, need to be written by doctors or administered by recognized institutions in the field.
Be transparent about website ownership and ownership
Google wants to know who was responsible for the content. So, have a complete “about us” page, easy-to-find contact information, privacy policies, terms of service and author signature in blog articles.
This helps the search engine understand if you can trust your website.
Get quoted by other sites with good E-A-T
Here comes the link building: for the search engine to understand its authority in the market, you need to be referenced by other sites that also have quality and authority.
In the past year, Google has published updates to its guidelines that demonstrate an even greater concern for E-A-T factors for YMYL sites.
This type of page – usually in the medical, legal or financial areas – contains information that makes people make important decisions for their lives.
If you work with this type of website, E-A-T is even more important. After all, Google needs to trust that its content won’t put people at risk. This is a major concern for the seeker.
2. Think about the search experience beyond the website
Google’s mission is to offer, in the fastest and most accurate way, the best answer to what the user is looking for.
It may be difficult to accept, but the search engine is not concerned with generating traffic to your site: Google’s focus is on the user experience, regardless of whether he will visit your site or not.
It is no accident that, year after year, the search results page becomes richer in information.
Often, the user does not even need to access the sites to obtain the information he seeks. And right there can be strategic information for your business.
Knowledge graph, featured snippets, rich answers and the “people also ask” section, for example, bring responses ready for the user before he clicks on any link.
Take, for example, this Google search, which features a rich answer (the queen’s age) and the knowledge graph (the information panel next to the results):
The impact of this is already being noticed. A study by Rand Fishkin, a worldwide reference in SEO, shows that the number of searches without a click is increasing since 2015, especially in mobile searches.
On the desktop, they rose from 28.43% to 34.28% in 2018, while on mobile devices it jumped from 33.41% to 61.03%.
If the answers that the user seeks are not only on your site, they are not limited to SERP.
There is also a wealth of information about your company on third party websites and applications, such as review sites, news portals, company directories and social networks.
And what effect will this have on SEO in 2020? Generating traffic may no longer be your big SEO goal.
You need to take a broader look at the search experience of users, who may not even reach your website, but still generate results for your business.
We know that optimization has always focused on the pages of the website itself, in order to generate traffic, which would possibly be converted into sales or leads.
However, this conversion does not necessarily have to happen on your website – it is migrating to other locations, such as the results page itself or third party websites and applications.
We are not saying that you should leave your site aside, okay? The concern with the content and the browsing experience on its pages should be one of the priorities, because the website and blog remain essential tools of Digital Marketing.
But you should also look carefully at what information about your business is out there. Many professionals call this trend the On SERP SEO, whose intention is to dominate the search results page, even if it does not always lead to the site.
So, start with Google My Business (which we’ll talk more about below), enter your data and manage the information there.
Also try searching for your brand on Google and see what other sites report on your business. If there are customer reviews, try to interact with them and answer their questions.
If there is data in company directories, check that it is correct and complete. If there is information on news portals, you can do a press office job to get links to your website in quotes or generate new news about your company.
Later on, we’ll also talk about how to optimize your pages for featured snippets – Google’s “zero result” – so that the ready answer at the top of the results is extracted from your site.
3. Manage your business on Google My Business
Is your company already on Google My Business? If not, it’s time to put that goal into your SEO strategies in 2020.
Google My Business has been around since 2014. However, this Google vertical is becoming increasingly important for the search engine.
As we already said, Google is dedicating its efforts to bring the answers that users want in the most practical and quick way possible.
And Google My Business does this: the person does not even need to leave the search page to find a series of relevant information, such as opening hours, telephone, address, access guidelines, user reviews, questions and answers, photos and many other data.
For certain types of business, there are other possibilities, such as menus for restaurants, accommodation reservations and promotion of events for cultural places.
To provide an increasingly better experience for the user, the searcher has been frequently investing in improvements in this resource.
In 2019, it started to allow the creation of welcome offers as a reward for those who start to follow the business on Google.
Another novelty is the creation of friendly URLs for Google My Business pages, which facilitates the dissemination.
Speaking of advertising, Google launched a novelty along the lines of other competitors, such as TripAdvisor and Yelp: the possibility of creating marketing materials, such as posters, stickers and cards for social networks, to publicize the Google My Business page.
On this site, you can customize and download all materials.
As we said, SEO strategies no longer need to focus on generating traffic to the website. Probably, when you dedicate your efforts to Google My Business, you probably will not attract as many visitors to the site, because they will already find the answers in the search results.
But think that more people will know how to get to your business, buy tickets to your events, book rooms at your accommodation and order dishes via the delivery.
And that all represents effective results for your business.
4. Optimize your site for featured snippets
Featured snippets are getting smarter. Google understands that this feature is valuable to the user, as it quickly offers the answer they want. For this reason, it is dedicating efforts so that these responses are increasingly better.
First of all, do you know what we’re talking about?
A featured snippet is considered Google’s “zero score”, as it appears above SERP’s organic links.
See, for example, the featured snippet that appears when searching for “dollar tourism quote”:
Realize that Google extracts from the page the piece of content that best responds to the user’s search and even offers a link to that site.
As we said, the search engine is not as concerned as you are about generating traffic to your site – what matters is delivering the answer to the user. But of course you would like to receive more visitors, wouldn’t you?
So it’s worth optimizing your site so that those ready responses, when they match your keywords, are extracted from your page. Thus, you appear in Google’s “zero result”, receive more visibility and traffic and still show the public that you are a reference in that matter.
As featured snippets tend to become more common in the years to come, your SEO strategies in 2020 should include them.
To do this, you need to understand the types of featured snippets that Google generally uses:
So, format your content with these types of featured snippets in mind. To appear in lists, for example, organize the text so that each item on the list is a heading tag (H2 or H3), so that Google easily scans its content.
Another interesting example is what HubSpot does. In many blog articles, the company adds boxes that explain basic concepts in the “what is…?” Format.
This makes it easier for Google to extract a ready answer in the form of a paragraph from that page.
In addition, it is important to know: according to a study by Ahrefs, 99.58% of featured snippets are taken from URLs ranked on the first page of results.
Therefore, it is worth checking which keywords already place your site in the top 10 and focus on optimizing those pages.
They represent the best opportunities to position your site on Google’s “zero score”.
5. Prepare for visual searches
Since the emergence of television and, later, with the popularization of the internet, images have taken over communication. Today, just open a website, Instagram, Facebook or YouTube to realize that visual information is becoming paramount in relation to textual.
But why does this happen? No time to waste, people search for fast and easy consumer content. And did you know that the human brain can identify images in a measly 13 milliseconds? Meanwhile, the texts require a much longer processing time.
If the world is becoming more and more visual, the search engine follows the trend. Over the past few years, search results are no longer just textual.
Google Images, the integration with YouTube and the evolution of technology to understand images started to allow them to appear on SERP.
The advancement of augmented reality and artificial intelligence technologies has also enabled Google to offer a new feature: Google Lens.
Launched in 2017, this tool was created so that users can scan anything around them with their cell phone camera and find more information about it.
Want an example? Let’s say you liked a shoe you saw on the street. Then, you can take a picture of it and know where to find it for sale on the internet.
In 2019, Google announced news for visual search and Google Lens. One of the ads was the possibility of viewing 3D objects in the search and inserting them in the scenario that the user wants.
See this example of a search experience:
In Google Lens, the novelty was the possibility of scanning images and transforming them into text.
For example, if you are traveling in Japan and need to translate text in Japanese, you can direct the Google Lens camera to the text and translate it right away.
Therefore, the trend of visual searches has been consolidating for years and promises to get stronger in SEO in 2020.
To keep up with this trend, visual content marketing must be part of your digital strategies. The use of videos, photos, images, infographics, GIFs and memes should become central to the production of content.
In addition, it is essential to help Google understand your images. Remember that even though Google’s algorithm technology has evolved even to read pixels, understanding text is always easier.
So, when adding a photo to your blog, for example, insert the alternative text (alt tag), the image title (title tag) and the caption.
When producing videos, insert captions and descriptions that identify your content.
6. Understand how Google understands search intentions
Keywords have always been essential in SEO. Initially, professionals optimized the pages by repeatedly repeating the exact keyword match.
If they wanted to rank for the terms “Digital Marketing”, the sites repeated “Digital Marketing” several times in the text, in the description of the images, in the meta keywords and in the meta description – even with black hat practices to deceive Googlebot.
But that time is gone. In addition to penalizing the black hat, Google’s technology has evolved to identify users’ search intentions, which go well beyond the exact keywords they type in the search field.
For this, the searcher started to understand human language through artificial intelligence. A big step towards this was the launch of BERT in 2019.
BERT is one of the most revolutionary innovations of the search engine. It is a neural network system capable of improving natural language processing.
Based on artificial intelligence, the system can recognize patterns, word contexts, sentence meanings and still learn and improve continuously.
With this technology, Googlebot is much smarter! Now the robot can understand human language, with all its complexity and nuances.
But how can your website adapt to this novelty? Avoiding repetition of keywords and understanding search intentions has been a trend in recent years. But the launch of BERT makes it inevitable that you adapt quickly.
Websites must now work with natural human language in order to offer the best reading experience to the visitor. Instead of worrying about the exact match of the keyword, it is necessary to work with semantics, using synonyms, similar words, related expressions and terms within the same field of meanings.
For example: in a text about SEO, it is important to use words like “search engine optimization”, “search engines”, “Google” and “Digital Marketing”.
This helps Google understand what that page is about and what search intentions – more than keywords – it should appear for.
Therefore, SEO in 2020 is switching from keywords to search intentions. It is up to you to align your content to meet the interests of users. Understand what your audience wants to know and what type of content they would search for on Google.
Then, produce quality content that meets those demands. The secret is in writing what people want to know, in the format they want to consume.
What remains important in SEO in 2020?
In this article, we talk about the main news that emerged or strengthened in 2019 and that should mark SEO in 2020. If you want to rank in the first places of Google next year, you must know them and adapt to them.
However, there are SEO guidelines that don’t go out of style. Although they are not new, it is necessary to remember their importance so that they do not get lost in their strategies.
We are talking, for example, about the importance of producing relevant content for your website or blog.
This is one of the main engines of SEO, because it is the quality of content that attracts and engages visitors and shows that you are an authority in your market.
Therefore, invest in original, authentic, updated content with correct information. These characteristics are valued by Google and are able to win the loyalty of readers.
In addition, backlinks remain differential in an SEO strategy. You can have the best content published, but if they are not referenced by other referring sites, Google has no way of knowing that you have authority in the market.
Also invest in a link building strategy. Look for partners for guest posts and co-marketing, work with influencers, have a press office that generates news about your brand and take advantage of the opportunities for disclosure on social networks. All of this makes your site more mentioned and linked by the web.
In general, the rule continues to apply: the focus is on user experience. In SEO strategies in 2020, this is what you should prioritize.
Therefore, when optimizing the website based on E-A-T, inserting your company on Google My Business or optimizing for visual searches, as we show in this article, always think about what benefits you are offering to the user. Google will know how to value what you’re doing!
Now, how about planning your strategies? Download our 2020 Marketing Planning Kit free of charge with everything you need to set your goals, goals, calendar and budget for next year.