We know that keeping up to date with SEO is a full-time job. To make it easier for those who are not experts in the field, we present the important trends and advice to grasp.
Google Prioritizes Credibility
Domain authority (or thought leadership) previously has mostly been about links to a web page from other relevant sites. But a few years ago, Google added more criteria to the evaluation. Essential qualifications were assembled in the abbreviation E-A-T — expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. This means that in addition to rating popularity, Google also bases its results on how credible the websites are.
Optimizing for E-A-T
You should let experts be a part of the content creation. All companies have experts in different fields. If you are reading this, you are probably on the marketing side, while your colleague has expertise in the product or service you supply. Sit down for a short interview and fill up the company blog with the help of your shared knowledge. The E-A-T guidelines are particularly important for health care sites.
Google also wants to see companies with a thorough grasp of the subject they bring up. In practice, this means that for you to appear professional, the entire website should be about a specific topic. So try not to be too scattered in what you are trying to communicate. Find your niche and produce content around it.
Last but not least, — be transparent. Who are you? Add some extra info to the About Us section that explains who you are and what you do. It should also be easy for the visitor to find the contact page.
Image Search Is Gaining Momentum
Visual search has rapidly grown in popularity in recent years. With the help of new technology, Google has gone from matching images with keywords or uploaded images to interpreting what you see through a mobile camera.
You may have heard of the Google Lens app. No? Then you’ll have something fun to try out tonight. With this app, you can scan your surroundings and get answers instantly. Google Lens can already recognize and interpret over 1 billion objects.
Someday, your kid will point to some other child playing with a ride-on motorcycle and say that he wants exactly that toy. Instead of typing up mini cars for kids, all you’ll have to do is point a camera at it.
Optimizing Image Search
Optimizing images is all about matching them with relevant keywords. This is done by being careful with file names, and adding an ALT (alternative) text — it’s the text that appears when the browser fails to load the image. Linking the keywords with the pictures using these methods helps Google’s Spiders interpret the content correctly.
Additional factors that you should be aware of are when the images were last updated and their placement on a page. Google prioritizes new pictures that have a central place on the website.
Last but not least, the quality of an image is important too. The pictures on the website give visitors a first impression of you as a company and the product or service you sell. A well-placed image is also an effective organic advertising tool, and can, for example, drive traffic to you from platforms, like Pinterest.
Video Continues to Grow — and YouTube Is on the Frontline
In just a few years, video has gone from being an arbitrary activity to something that holds a firm position in every company’s marketing strategy. Over 55% of Google’s search results show at least one video, and YouTube presently has the world’s second-largest search engine. But it doesn’t stop here, on the contrary. According to Cisco, the world leader in IT and networking, video will account for up to 80% of all online traffic by 2021.
More evidence of the demand for video is seen in Google adding video in the featured snippets. If you have a website with a high rank, consider whether the content can be conveyed through video.
Optimizing Video Content
Google spiders interpret the content of the video by title, description, and tags. So make sure the keyword or search phrase you want people to see is present in these parts. To make the video more searchable, you should also upload it on YouTube. Don’t forget to add a thumbnail that attracts clicks. An extra measure you can take is uploading a transcript of your video. It ensures that the search engines understand every word in the clip.
Voice Search Is Set to Be the Next Big Thing
Voice search is also on an upward trajectory. Everybody uses it on smartphones, where every fifth search is done vocally. And with ever-increasing access to digital assistants in our homes, usage will only continue to rise. A ComScore study predicts that half of all inquiries in 2020 will be made using this feature.
Optimizing for Voice Search
Pages ranked from the first to third in the Google results page have the highest chance of being read. Being listed in a so-called featured snippet also helps. The formatting of the content also plays a role. For example, FAQs are perfect for voice search because they resemble a conversation the most. Also, an important detail is that the average length of the digital assistant’s answer is about 29 words. Try to add some of these short explanations to your content.
Search intent was the belle of the ball in SEO in 2019 — and rightly so. Google has been using RankBrain for quite some years now, which is based on machine learning. And something the algorithm has been extra focused on is the ability to identify the intent behind the search, not just what has been written or said. The consequence of this is that content that does not link intention with the search phrase winds up not ranked. For us, content creators, this means that we need to think a little harder when optimizing landing pages, blog posts, and articles. Before we start writing, we must get a whiff of what the user wants to know or do.
Optimizing for Search Intent
Firstly, it is essential to find out the intention behind the keyword or search phrase. Start by Google searching, and see what results appear on the front page of the wording you want to optimize for. It’s no coincidence how pages get to be featured here, so what trends are you seeing? Is it, for example, informational posts, product comparisons, or guides? The formatting also has some significance, so you should find out which format has a better chance to be seen.
The next step is to create content based on what you found out, but with your approach and unique style. Of course, it works not only for fresh content — updating previously published materials and blog posts can be effective too.
Content and Links Remain the Foundation of SEO
It’s time to round off our SEO trends for 2020, but before we do, we just want to add that the process will not change drastically. Those who only recently optimized their websites or completed an optimization course do not have to feel that it was all for naught.
On the contrary, good content and links from other relevant sites are still the cornerstones of the SEO strategy. Without interesting and thoughtful content, no one will want to link to your website. And without links, it’s hard to convince the algorithms that you have a reliable source that belongs on Google’s front page. But once you have the foundation in place, it’s time to experiment with new strategies and techniques.