Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a popular and constantly changing digital marketing technique. It is considered to be one of the most important tools for website owners, brands, and digital owners. Through SEO, if someone types a query, your website will appear in the search results. Basically speaking, it increases your website’s visibility leading to more organic traffic.
Regardless of whether you are a business owner or a digital marketer, it is important to stay updated with the latest trends. In this post, we will be discussing the SEO trends in 2020 – What’s working and what’s not.
Trends that are working
- Keyword Research
Google is now more than just a search engine – it’s an answer engine. And even though the way in which keywords are used in the web pages for improving relevance has changed, keyword research has continued to be the foundation of SEO strategy. It doesn’t matter if the searches are made via text or voice, the primary factor for ranking algorithms is keywords. So, you need to upgrade your strategy. You need to use a combination of tools for preparing a master keyword list like Google Keyword Planner, Answer The Public, SEMrush, Uber Suggest, and Ahrefs. You need to find keywords that lead to more clicks than searches. Once you have identified a set of topics, enter them into Google and Youtube to see their autosuggest.
- Voice Search Optimization
It is expected that by 2022, voice-based shopping will reach $40 billion. Voice-based technology will lead to an increase in searches as direct questions. Question keywords and semantic search have an important relationship. The entities in the question keywords are identified using semantic search. Google can answer the following types of questions:
- Direct Answer – Questions starting with What, Who, Where, Which, etc.
- Short Answer – Questions starting with Can, Why, etc.
- Long Answer – Questions that need a long and instructional answer.
- Entity Engagement and Entity Popularity
About 46% of the searches made on Google have local intent. The authority of a local business is a key factor to get higher rankings. This authority is decided by entity engagement and entity popularity. The entity popularity is determined by the number of mentions the brand has received on forums, articles, social media, etc. Entity Engagement is determined by signals on the internet like:
- Positive reviews on Google My Business
- Positive recommendations on other review sites
- People who have saved your contact on their phone
- People who have asked for your location on Google Maps
So, you need to optimize your GMP listing and make sure that your NAP is accurate. Also, try generating local brand mentions along with positive business recommendations.
Google has become better at understanding the context or relationship between birds. This is because of the Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT) update. This update to the search algorithm had made Google capable of comprehending the intent of the search. This means that content focusing on the E.A.T principle will have a higher rank:
- Expertise – Page must have quality content from an expert writer.
- Authority – Websites must have authority on the subject.
- Trustworthiness – Websites must have authoritative links from other trusted websites.
Google will remove any out-of-context results. So, you have to create content that answers the query accurately. To prepare great content, you need to focus on detail, value, editing, user experience, and schema markup.
- Mobile Usability
Earlier, desktop optimization was the key and mobile was an afterthought. Now, mobile is more important. Google has already started to rank websites as per their mobile version. From 1st July 2019, Google enabled mobile-first indexing for all the websites. This means that the mobile version of content will be predominantly used to index and rank the pages. In 2020, you have to build your SEO strategy on the basis of mobile usability. You need to make your website mobile-friendly.
Trends that are not working
- Spammy Guest Blogging
Guest blogging has been one of the key approaches used for SEO. But, the algorithm has started to suppress spammy guest blogging results. Google will be cracking down on the links that are not relevant to the theme of the website. Penalties on optimized anchors will be tightened in such posts. Lastly, the algorithmic importance of Google authority and authorship will be increased. So, you need to stop using optimized anchors or trying to rank for head terms and long-tail keywords in guest posts. Also, you need to stop writing low-quality and irrelevant content.
- Optimized Anchors
Yes, anchor texts containing keywords were used for improving SEO and it worked. But today, optimized anchors will only result in penalties. Google warned against using this practice. Unnatural links that contain optimized anchor texts in press releases or articles violate their guidelines. Instead of optimized anchors, you can use naked URLs, branded URLs, and long phrases. Links are important but you don’t have to associate it with anchor text. Its mere existence will be able to get its SEO value.
- Quantity over quality
It is easy and cheap to purchase backlinks. For many years, link building has been an important part of the SEO strategy for many businesses. However, the SEO value of this depends on the validity and authority of the website sending the links. Because of Google’s Penguin algorithm update, the quantity of the link is not important, their relevance is. And having a lot of backlinks can hurt your website, especially if the website with the link is penalized or has a low DA.
- Keyword Stuffing
Keyword Stuffing is the practice of filling a website with keywords or numbers for manipulating the website ranking in the search results. Usually, these keywords are in a group, list, or completely out of context. Filling your web pages with keywords and numbers will lead to negative user experience and harm your website’s ranking. You need to focus on creating content that is useful, informative, and uses appropriate keywords that are in context.
It is important to stay at pace with the algorithm updates to make the most out of SEO. Consider SEO as a long-term strategy to generate leads and you will not be left behind. To understand what is in trend and what is not, you can join an SEO course. The program will help you understand the fundamentals of Search Engine Optimization and prepare you for a successful career in the field of Digital Marketing.