At times it seems as if Google’s algorithm has us running in circles. We tweak one thing, adjust another, keep our meta tags in-line, prepare for emerging trends, and the ones we should have optimised our websites for long ago - like voice search. We read SEO guides left and right, but most importantly, we keep on guessing what are the latest SEO trends. To keep this introduction within everyone’s attention span, here’s what to focus on when optimising your website for Google in 2020.
Without further ado, this is the list of 2020 SEO trends you must follow if you want to rank well in Google search results.
Have you heard of Google lens yet? Yes, no? Well, just in case, this Google feature allows you to scan what you see and look up the results. Not only that, you can scan and translate the text, finally find what is the name of that fashion item and where they sell it, just by scanning. Or learn more about landmarks, popular places, identify plants and animals, and whatnot, simply by pointing your camera at the object or being and scanning it.
So far, the Google lens has been used 1 billion times. And how about the increasing use of Pinterest Lens? Now, should we call visual search a game-changer in the SEO field? Maybe not just yet, but according to the numbers, it is bound to take off. Better safe than sorry, right?
In order to successfully optimise for the visual search, your best bet is image SEO. This means that all your alt tag descriptions and your file names need to be creative and keyword-rich.
However, that’s only a part of it.
Use image sitemap on your website. This will aid the indexing process and help Google link your website to the image search results.
Quality of your images is very important. Google always wants what’s best for its users, so high-resolution images coming up in the search results should be no exception.
Don’t forget to compress your images. Yes, it is important to use high-quality images, but large files are known to slow down your website. So, make sure you compress all the images in order to pass the speed test with flying colours!
Put several images of the same product. Make sure there are pictures of your product from different angles since you want to ensure coverage of all the angles a user might take the product’s picture from.
Besides these, Google has stated that it favours the images from the authoritative websites - remember the E-A-T principle? So it is no longer great images and great content that are at play, but rather how Expertise, Authoritative and Trusted your content really is, when it comes to the importance of the ranking signals.
In addition to the authoritative page as a ranking signal, Google’s algorithm will search for the freshest results, images that are central to the webpage and appear higher up on the same, rather than being buried down below.
So, there you have it. Plan the layout of your content wisely!
Unlike the visual search trend, no one can say we haven’t seen the rise in the video content trend. We’ll lead with this, in comparison to a webpage containing text, well-optimised video is 52% more likely to appear in Google search results.
We believe that the importance of the video content as an SEO trend needs no more explaining since 82% of all IP traffic by 2022 will be video traffic.
First things first, where to host your video? Should you choose a third-party hosting site like YouTube or host it on your website? Well, this greatly depends on your goals, and what you want to achieve.
If your goal is to gain brand awareness and potential monetization and maximisation of your views, choose a third-party site like YouTube.
If, however, you would rather like to increase the number of referrals on your website thus increase your website’s traffic, then your best option is to embed the video on your website.
Once you’ve chosen where to place it, how to optimise the video?
Choose a good title and video description - just like you would do with the webpage. Make sure you include the main keyword.
Optimise your video’s URL. Instead of having randomly generated characters, use the title of the video that contains the main keyword, for the URL’s slug.
Upload transcription of the video. Just like Google cannot ‘see’ images, it most certainly cannot watch your video. Therefore, upload the transcript of your video, and make sure that the density of the keywords is optimal - keyword stuffing is a bad option, but don’t underuse it either.
Include your video in the sitemap. If you have chosen to host the video on your website, then it is vital you create a video sitemap.
Keep videos short. In general, our attention span is rather short. We want our information quickly and easily available, so make sure there are no long introductions, off-topic conversations or explanations etc. This will make people stop watching your video and ruin your video’s metrics. The better the video performs in terms of the metrics, the better it will rate on Google.
Promote your video. Once you have created and optimised your video, you’d certainly want for people to see it? We thought so too. Promote your video on your social media platforms to gain higher exposure. Make sure you also embed the video in your blog posts, where relevant, whether you have chosen to host it on your website or a third party site.
Is voice search here to stay? We are quite sure you already know the answer to this, but just in case you are still doubting the rapid digitalisation process, here are some facts.
On a daily basis, 41% of adults perform at least one voice search. And that’s adults. Half of the upcoming generation, Gen Z who are now teenagers and have the purchasing power greater than the generation before them, performs a voice search every day.
Use conversational language and long-tail keywords in your content. Difference between when we are talking in comparison to typing what we want to find on the internet is great. When typing we lose the natural language and simply type a short string of keywords. When you optimise for voice search use word ‘fillers’ such as the, to, as etc.
Improve the readability of your content. It makes sense that if you want to rank high for certain keywords, your content should be well optimised. Well, this does not only go for the content overall but it also has a spillover effect on optimising for voice search.
Include both answers and questions in your content. Think about it, if you perform a voice search by saying this - ‘Hey Alexa, how to prepare a roast chicken?’ Well, Google will pull out an answer from a website that has this question incorporated into the text.
You need to rank high. Based on research Backlinko has done, to come up as a result in the voice search query, you need to be in the top three results. All the more reason to do your best and make sure your webpages are as optimised as they can be.
Improve the loading time of your website. No one wants to wait for a super slow website to open. What’s more, we have all bounced if the load is any longer than 2 seconds. Google will do the same. To improve the loading speed of your website.
Featured snippets. It turns out that the most common answers from the voice assistant come from the featured snippets. Well, this is not surprising at all, since Google considers the featured snippets to be the best answers to the query. Read up on our trend number 4 on how to optimise your content for featured snippets.
Once upon a time, there were only organic results on Google search results pages. Then, paid search results appeared known as Google Ads and we have adapted. But Google kept 10 organic results on the page, and a few paid results showing up on the top, and later on the bottom of the page as well. Then, featured snippets appeared, and Google users were thrilled since it was easy to find an answer they searched by scanning the page. We called those Zero page results. And that was fine. The webpage that was featured occupied two positions on the page, and no one minded since the Zero position did not count as a result on the page.
But have you noticed that the Zero page result position has been dead and gone recently? No, it’s not a joke. Now, the featured snippet is shown as the number 1 result, meaning you have even fewer chances of ranking high on the first page of Google search results. That is of course if you are not optimising for the featured snippets.
There are several types of featured snippets, like a definition box, a table, a list, etc.
Make sure your on-page SEO is top-notch.
Look for the keywords you already rank well for and optimise that content. Why? Because in the recent study Ahrefs has done, 99.58% of all featured snippets come from the 1st-page results.
Answer each question in a concise manner. Include 40 to 60 words as the answer to the question. You’ll have higher chances of being featured as a definition box snippet.
Make sure you optimise for all featured snippet types. Even though list snippets are not as popular as paragraph snippets, don’t discard these. Where appropriate use lists, and for the name of the list or the question use H2 or H3 subheaders.
Display facts and organise well. Featured snippets mostly display facts. Try googling “What is the biggest country in the word?” for example, or simply choose any other factual type of question.
Make sure that your answer covers a lot of similar questions. Not all queries are made the same or worded to sound equal. Therefore try to cover as many possible questions as you can by using similar wording.
Use eye-catching images for your page. Featured snippets that contain an image that is eye-catching is more likely to be clicked on than those images that are not as sticking.
These are just some of the SEO 2020 trends you have to incorporate into your SEO strategy. Optimising for visual search, video content, voice search and featured snippets should be high on your priority list but don’t forget to perform technical optimisation, develop your off-page SEO strategy, and work on your content. Omitting to cover SEO foundations like site load speed, for example, will not get you very far no matter how much energy and work you put into visual search optimisation, video content optimisation, or voice search optimisation. Google rolls out algorithm features on a regular basis, so you should really make sure you have covered the SEO basics before going on to cover the 2020 SEO trends we have spoken about.
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