The 15 Significant SEO Trends You Need to Know In 2020
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) continues to redefine the digital world here in Hong Kong and abroad. For your online business to reign supreme, it has to embrace the best SEO practices. Search engines keep changing their algorithms in a bid to offer the best experience to users. So it is imperative to make sure that you continuously follow SEO trends to avoid being left behind.
Mobile-first optimisation is one of the SEO trends that took centre stage in 2019 as more internet users started accessing the internet using mobile devices and apps such as Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri.
Here are the top 15 SEO trends you need to know in 2020 and apply on your website. But before we proceed, it is essential to note that some of the SEO trends are likely to remain relevant even in 2020, and some may fall behind even if they still matter.
Google BERT Algorithm
Google BERT algorithm that was launched in 2019 gained traction across the globe, and every SEO professional spent hours studying how it works. BERT standards for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers). This is a deep learning algorithm that mimics the natural language processing. It helps Google bots to understand the meaning of words used in a sentence and the context.
With this understand, Google is now able to match search queries better and offer more accurate results. BERT also impacts featured snippets and so it important to ensure that your site content is in line with this algorithm to continue ranking on the first page of Google.
Also referred to as Rank 0, featured snippets are better than Rank 1, and this is why every SEO expert in Hong Kong strives to get it. In 2020, you will see high competition for this position as more businesses invest in SEO to boost sales and market base.
The secret to winning a featured snippet is ensuring that your content offers accurate and quality answers to frequently asked questions. Research shows that featured snippets can increase the number of clicks by up to 50%.
Many businesses are now realising that it is more economical and efficient to hire virtual assistants than have in-house staff. This trend has resulted in a rise in voice search. More than half of the searches done in 2019 on Google were done using voice search, and the trend is expected to spill over to 2020 and beyond.
Unlike text queries, users use voice to search for information in search engines. Since the search queries will be significantly longer, websites will need to start investing more time in optimizing their content using long-tail keywords.
This means that you might have to replace short-tail keywords with phrases that Google can interpret and work with to ensure that your site is displayed in SERPs for those keywords.
Research shows that four out of 5 searches conducted on Google are for products and services nearby. Approximately 50% of the searches result in an action such as visiting the physical location or placing an order online. In 2020, this trend will still be relevant and will become more popular.
The success of local search is due to the increase in the use of mobile devices to look for information online. It is easy to whip out your phone and search for a local restaurant then use Maps to find its location and drive to it than using a laptop.
Local searches will also be complemented by reviews and star ratings of products and services.
A research conducted by Bright Local showed that more than 80% of online customers trust reviews posted by other customers as much as recommendations/referrals from friends.
Get ahead of the curve by optimizing your Hong Kong business website for local searches, strive to get as many positive reviews as possible, and make sure the address information in your Google Business Card is accurate. The correct address means that customers will be able to get exact directions to your physical store even without having to contact your customer care team.
Keyword Context and Search Intent
As mentioned earlier, the Google BERT algorithm is meant to prioritize the user’s search intent. The main goal of this algorithm is to help bots understand how human beings speak so that the search results are more accurate and relevant to the search intent.
SEO professionals from all across the globe agree that this will be a big deal in 2020. Search intent is going to create several new SEO trends and strategies that will redefine how keywords are incorporated into the content.
Structured data is a standard format of providing information about a web page and categorizing the page content.
Google has repeatedly revealed that it loves structured data and websites that have it are more likely to rank better than their counterparts. Featured snippets and FAQs are forms of structured data.
If you want to succeed in 2020, you need to make sure that your Hong Kong business website’s structured data is correct. This information will not only help Google to understand what you offer but also assist potential customers to find the information they are looking for conveniently.
The correct structured data will boost your SEO ranking.
Technical SEO and UX (User Experience)
In 2019, a majority of websites invested thousands of dollars in improving user experience. Unlike before, when most SEO practices were aimed at impressing search engines, we are now transitioning into an era where websites will be created to serve the intent of users.
In 2020, we will see a merger of technical SEO and UX practices as websites compete for a spot on the first page of Google. As you plan on improving your site, make sure that you create content that is relevant to your target audience.
Then, go an extra step to perform technical SEO to ensure they have a pleasant experience when navigating your site. As you do that, be vigilant not to fall into the temptations of applying a Black Hat SEO trick – Google bots are now smarter.
A recent study shows that fewer people are clicking on websites listed even in the top 10 on Google’s first page and other search engines. Roughly 40% of search results go to waste as a result of this SEO trend, and the number is on the rise.
Why does this happen? The simple answer to this question is that as humans, we are wired to click on results that we are familiar with as compared to new sites that we have little or no clue about. What this means is that the big brands profit from this trend as millions of people already know about them and what they offer.
If you just started venturing into the online space or want to get more results, you need to start acting like the big brands. A professional branding is no longer an option, but a must in SEO. Otherwise, you will not get tangible results from your SEO and digital marketing campaigns.
Backlinks are Still a Potent SEO Ranking Factor
Steer clear of any SEO professional who says backlinks are no longer critical. Google and other search engines still consider sites with a good backlink profile as an authority in their respective niches and consequently award them with a top position on the first page.
As you plan to do more SEO in 2020, you need to come up with a robust backlink strategy. This off-page SEO strategy pays the highest dividends compared to some of the on-page SEO strategies. Online business owners have put aside a considerable chunk of funds for this and so should you if you want to remain relevant.
Knowledge Graph Optimisation
Information is the primary thing that searchers are looking for when they open their browsers. With Google bots becoming more smart and efficient, we are seeing previously top 10 search results being pushed back and to pave the way for sites that have information that is more relevant to the people.
Knowledge graph optimization will be an integral part of SEO. Most of the franchise brands are using knowledge graphs to increase traffic and improve their site ranking. We will see cut-throat competition for top positions in SERPs using knowledge graphs.
More Digital Marketers Will Hire Influencers for SEO
Last year, 17% of online businesses spent more than half of their annual marketing budget on influencers. This statistic cements the potent power of influencer marketing, especially for companies in niches such as:
One of the main reasons why influencer marketing is so powerful is because online users are bombarded with thousands of ads. They gravitate towards authentic sources of information that they can trust, such as product reviews by influencers. They are more likely to trust such a review and take the desired action than an ad.
So, what is the relationship between SEO and influencer marketing? Simple, hiring an influencer will help boost traffic, especially from social media platforms, boost your brand’s online visibility, as well as increase your content reach. It is recommended to hire influencers who are already engaging with an audience in your niche.
It is also important to note that the backlinks you accrue from influencer sites will show Google that you are an authority and consequently enhance your SEO efforts.
People will Yearn for Digital Experiences
44% of companies have transitioned into a digital-first approach in a bid to offer the best possible customer experience. As a result of this transition, 56% of CEOs confessed that they noticed a significant improvement in revenue growth.
One of the forgotten ranking factors that are very important is page load speed. Having excellent content is useless if the page does not load quickly or does not have a user-friendly interface.
The most successful businesses in Hong Kong and abroad understand that establishing a long-term relationship with clients is based on customer experience. Customer experience affects search ranking because only web visitors who have excellent expertise navigate the site will stick on it.
In 2020, I strive to provide the best digital experiences. One of the sure ways of achieving this goal is by putting yourself in the shoes of a potential customer to identify roadblocks that could ruin how they interact with your site. Otherwise, a high bounce rate will affect your SEO negatively.
Video Will Become the Most Preferred Form of Content
It’s no longer a secret that Google has a high affinity to video content. In 2020, you should incorporate as many videos as possible in your SEO strategy. A research conducted by Forrester Research showed that a video is more likely to be displayed on the first page than a webpage with plan text.
If you don’t have a YouTube account for your business, go ahead and create one and start uploading videos that are related to your industry. Well, there is no guarantee that the video will help you get to the first page of SERPs, but you will enjoy a heft amount of traffic if Google indexes the video. Go the extra mile and add some of the videos on your site to get even more traffic. Be sure to optimize the video by adding a meta description and title with the target keywords.
Length of Content Will Determine Ranking
In 2020, your best bet to surpassing your competitors and getting to the first page is by only publishing high-quality content Unlike in the past, you not only have to consider quality but also the quantity of your content.
A lot of debate has been going on about the ideal length of an article/blog post. A look at the length of blog posts listed in the top 10 results shows that each is at least 2,000 words. This is one of the reasons why web pages with longer content that is of high quality enjoy more visibility.
The content needs to comprehensively answer the questions asked by the target audience/searcher. So, you need to do extensive research to find relevant questions and answer them in your copy.
Users will spend more time reading the post if it resonates with their search intent. Longer dwell time will tell Google that they do enjoy your content, and in return, it will increase your ranking.
In 2020, mobile search will dominate and you won’t get many results if your site is not mobile-friendly. Optimize your website for voice search to get more mobile traffic. Modify the structure of your content, include more long-tail keywords, and embrace technical SEO to improve its representation.
Just when you think you know everything about SEO and your site is fully optimized, Google introduces a new algorithm that forces you to go back to the drawing board. Nonetheless, that should not deter you from investing these top 15 SEO trends and strategies to stay ahead of the competition. Remember that SEO is a long-term strategy that is meant to complement your online and offline marketing strategies.
Which SEO trend would you like us to add on this list? Tell us about it in the comment section.
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