In today’s world, maintaining a market share is more difficult than ever before. In just about every industry you can think of, the competition for customers’ attention has never been stiffer. As such, the right SEO strategy makes or break.
Unfortunately for many small businesses, it’s rarely made and often break.
The truth is, we all know why SEO matters. Most people have a decent grip on the basic principles too. The trouble arises when the SEO landscape changes. That is, what works today might not work tomorrow.
This can make it hard to keep up. The situation only gets worse if you don’t have the resources to take on an SEO specialist. Of course, one solution is to work with an agency. Alternatively, you may wish to take matters into your own hands.
With that in mind, here are 6 SEO trends to help you get one up on the competition in 2020.
1. The Importance of Click Through Rate and Dwell Time
BERT, Google’s most recent algorithm update places more emphasis on meeting users’ needs. This is the final nail in the coffin of the newbie SEO professional’s favourite pastime – keyword stuffing.
Indeed, keyword density is becoming less and less important. In turn, two other metrics are will take greater precedence in your SEO strategy in 2020.
• Click-Through Rate – This is the number of people who click on a link, relative to how many saw it.
• Dwell Time – This is how long people spend on a page on your site.
Both are essentially measures of how satisfied users are, and to what extent they’re able to find what they’re looking for on your site. This data can be found under the Behaviour tab in Google Analytics.
If you have a low dwell time, there are a couple of potential problems. Firstly, your site may be too difficult to navigate. Secondly, your content may just not be up to scratch. In particular, ensure that you’re creating valuable and easy to read content for your users.
If you are struggling with low click-through rates, chances are that you’re messing up your anchor texts. Check out this guide on how to cite a website properly.
2. Influence Outreach for SEO
Influencer marketing is constantly gaining popularity. It’s well known that this approach can help you reach new customers, by creating authentic feeling ads. The SEO benefits of working with influencers are less well known.
It all comes down to gaining backlinks. That is, the more high authority websites link to your content, the more important Google will think you are. This will help your site to sail up to their results page.
This is as simple as reaching out to influencers in your niche and asking them to link to your site. This can be to either your content or a specific product.
In return, you might do the same for them. More often though, you should create content for them to post on their site. This is called guest posting.
Since this strategy involves a lot of asking for favours, you might want to consider an email tracking tool to make your life easier. This will help you by letting you know who has and hasn’t seen your initial email. You can then tailor your follow-up around this.
3. The Rise of Voice Search
It’s said that 50% of searches will use voice in 2020. This creates a number of challenges for SEO. For one thing, the inputs are different when someone asks their smart speaker a question, rather than typing a couple of keywords into Google.
This means you need to adapt your approach too. One important element of this is the fact that voice searches are trickier to break down into keywords since people speak with so many different dialects and lexicons.
The best way to get around this problem is to focus more on broad topics start targeting long-tail keywords. These are keywords with more than three words in them.
You can check out one of the most popular longtail research tools in this Longtail Pro Review.
Of course, you also need to adapt your content to make it a smart speaker friendly. There are a couple of easy to implement tricks you can use here. One is to create an FAQ page to target specific longtail keywords from voice search traffic.
Voice search also means you can no longer be lazy with accessibility standards. In particular, you need to ensure that your images have relevant and helpful alt-text since this is what smart speakers will present to users.
4. Longform Content will Dominate
We already know that SEO practices are moving towards providing value for users, rather than just cramming in as many keywords as possible. One easy way to ensure this is by providing everything your users need in one location. That means creating long-form content.
But how long should your content be?
Well, opinion is somewhat divided. Some argue that there is a sweet spot, while others hold that longer is always better. In truth, what’s happening here is that a sweet spot exists in certain niches and not others.
However, pretty much everyone agrees that your long-form content of around 2,000 words is the minimum for decent performance on the search results pages.
In light of this, you should aim to create the content of at least this length, and experiment with even longer content to see if it is effective with your audience, by tracking its performance in Google Analytics.
One thing to note however is you should not aim for length for length’s sake.
For example, if you try and cram in a bunch of irrelevant nonsense, you won’t be providing any value to your users. They’ll then get fed up and, and your dwell time will suffer. It’s all connected.
The same thing will happen if you create long and repetitive content. Unfortunately, long-form content can be hard work to create, and there aren’t really any shortcuts available.
5. Mobile UX will be Crucial
One trend which has been ongoing for a number of years now is the gradual move away from desktop browsing. In its place, mobile search has come to be the norm for most people. This trend shows no sign of stopping in 2020.
Obviously, the bare minimum you can do is to ensure your site works properly on mobile devices. While nobody wants to spend money on having a new site developed, unfortunately, mobile responsiveness is basically non-optional at this point.
Again, this is the bare minimum.
You’ll also need to adopt a mobile-first attitude to SEO. The core of this is recognizing that people search differently on mobile. One way to implement this is to improve your local SEO. That is your rankings for searches specific to your geographical area.
The vast majority of local searches take place on mobile devices. This is fairly intuitive. When people are out and about, they’re obviously more likely to be looking for a certain business nearby.
One of the easiest ways to improve your local SEO is to keep your details accurate and up to date on Google My Business. You can also focus on what’s known as website localization. This simply means mentioning your location naturally across your site.
6. The Fight for the Snippet
You’ve probably noticed that, for certain kinds of search, Google offers a preview of the top-rated page, followed by a list of related searches. This is called the Snippet. Check out the example below if you’re not familiar with this.
This is a hot real estate.
Over half of all organic traffic from Google comes from Snippets. Naturally then, the competition for this position is fairly stiff.
The first step to getting this coveted status is understanding which kinds of searches offer a featured snippet. Most often, these are what’s called an informational search. That is, the user is looking for a certain piece of information.
Again, look at our example. How to… searches generally result in a featured snippet. So do other searches featuring questions, as well as product comparisons.
The next step is to create the best content which answers these questions. You then need to signpost the credibility of this content by building a strong backlink profile.
You can also help your chances of getting the snippet spot by optimizing your webpage’s metadata to with appropriate keywords.
6 SEO Trends to Watch in 2020
We all know that to stay ahead of the competition, it’s vital to keep up to date with the latest trends in SEO. While there are many of these in 2020, the core of all of them is offering the most value to your users.
There are a lot of ways to achieve this, from creating longer, better content, to making this as accessible as possible across a range of devices.
This is the basis of a future proof SEO strategy.