SEO in 2020: 3 Trends Marketers Can’t Ignore in the New Year

SEO requires a long-term mindset, and sometimes it’s better to ignore the daily noise and shiny new SEO objects. Of course, there are some trends you can’t ignore, and in this article I’ll highlight three important ones that will impact your SEO efforts in 2020.

Keeping up with changing SEO practices can seem challenging, because every day there’s news about a new tweak to the search engine algorithm, a new must-have tool, or some new technique to be mastered. SEO in 2020 will require knowledge of these three trends.

Just remember that SEO requires a long-term mindset, and sometimes it’s better to ignore the daily noise and shiny new SEO objects. Of course, there are some trends you can’t ignore, and in this article I’ll highlight the important ones that will impact your SEO efforts in 2020.

1. Use UX Design Principles to Improve Your Mobile SERP Rankings

Combining UX with the best SEO practices gives businesses a powerful combination to work with, when it comes to the mobile experience. SEO helps put your information in front of visitors when they are looking for the services you offer. Using UX design principles in the layout of your mobile site encourages visitors to “stick” on your site, rather than bounce.

Some ideas to keep in mind when it comes to UX include rearranging the site structure for more straightforward navigation, making the design clean and simple, and putting the essential information about the user’s interest above the fold. That means it should be front-and-center, as soon as they navigate to your mobile site.

Do not let a focus on logos and flashy advertising overwhelm the information your visitor wants. Make sure the font is large enough to be read without straining. Finally, optimize (AKA, resize) images so that they do not impact your mobile site speed. Your visitor does not want to watch a spinning icon for ages while your pictures struggle to load.

2. Capture User Attention Using Snippets

Zero-click searches have taken off over the past few years. Featured snippets and rich snippets on the front pages of Google make it possible for a user to have their question answered without having to click anything. In 2020, focus on making this new trend work for your business.

Optimize your website information by making it appear as featured snippets or rich snippets. Featured snippets are results that show up as a block of information at the top of SERPs, and rich snippets are enhancements to search engine listings, like business reviews, ratings, product prices, etc.

To get your webpage information to appear as a featured snippet or rich snippet, you should add structured data. Structured data is code that you can add to your website that tells search engines like Google exactly what is on your webpage. For example, you can use structured data to specify business reviews and ratings and product prices, as mentioned above. You can also use structured data to specify your business location, which helps with local SEO.

Long story short, add structured data to your site to improve your SEO in 2020.

3. Make Security a Priority When It Comes to Collecting Visitor Info

One of the hottest topics in 2019 was security, and this trend is not going away in 2020. Everyone is concerned about data security.

Many businesses fail to realize that attacks from hackers have an impact on how search engine bots access a website. Assaults on your site cause it to slow down and even prevents your page from showing up in search engines like Google. Visitors instead get a 404-error page, because the search engine can’t reference your page.

Monitoring for attacks, data theft by automated web scrapers, and other cybersecurity issues should be considered as part of your SEO strategy for 2020.

Summary of the 3 Important SEO Trends in 2020

SEO and UX are merging and both need to be considered, especially with your mobile website. Featured snippets and rich snippets continue to gain traction on Google’s first page and that means businesses must add structured data to their websites. Last but not least, website security should be a top priority in 2020, if it’s not already.

Want more tips to improve your SEO? Click here to grab a copy of my “Ultimate SEO Checklist.”

 

 

SEO: A Changed and Changing Discipline

SEO should play an important role in the marketing department; however, the death of SEO is frequently decried and its obituary written. This is because its role and fit in the overall marketing mix has changed and evolved. Once viewed as a technology play, organic search is often still considered the province of technicians, and is separated from the strategic marketing effort. Given that search often provides the tip of the spear for getting new business, this separation is a huge mistake. Today, SEO must be aligned with and guided by the overall marketing goals. This alignment can be best achieved when the SEO expert is part of the strategic marketing team.

SEO should play an important role in the marketing department; however, the death of SEO is frequently decried and its obituary written. This is because its role and fit in the overall marketing mix has changed and evolved. Once viewed as a technology play, organic search is often still considered the province of technicians, and is separated from the strategic marketing effort. Given that search often provides the tip of the spear for getting new business, this separation is a huge mistake. Today, SEO must be aligned with and guided by the overall marketing goals. This alignment can be best achieved when the SEO expert is part of the strategic marketing team.

SEO itself has changed. Once upon a time, SEO experts were characterized as techies focused on how to beat each new search engine algorithm change. As they say, that game is over. Google claims to have more than 200 ranking elements in play. No matter how good the SEO expert is, accurately determining all 200 elements and interpreting the valence given to each is in the realm of fantasy. Gone are the cat-and-mouse games. Today, SEO is real roll-up-the-sleeves marketing.

Technical SEO still exists, for a site must be found in the search indexes for it to drive traffic from search. Today, technical SEO experts are expected to identify what is preventing a site from being indexed. It may be as simple as a situation that I encountered where a site had been pushed live from the development environment with a robots.txt file still in place that directed search engines not to index the site. Once this block was removed, the site performed just fine. Most situations are far more complex. These are puzzles that require the SEO expert to review the site’s code and understand the total technical environment in which it runs. Given the complexity and technical depth required to do this, it is tempting to consider the SEO expert a technician, but this is just one area of SEO expertise. Today, some SEO experts do nothing but audit sites and troubleshoot what is creating problems.

Organic SEO experts are often characterized as keyword manipulation specialists. Once upon a time, this was a big part of the SEO toolkit. Today, as Google’s processing technology has shifted from keyword matching to a more sophisticated interpretation of the query and how it relates to the user’s intent, the SEO expert has had to look beyond keyword matching. Because Google no longer provides keyword data in the analytics, the SEO expert has to take a different approach. Searchers still use words in their queries, so keywords are far from gone as part of the discipline. Interpreting page and content relevancy are replacing the more simplistic keyword approaches. The SEO expert has evolved into an expert on online user intent: “What did the user really want to find with that query, and is the site relevant?”

With the explosive growth of social media and the realization that users value the opinions of peers more than marketers, the search engines have added elements to their algorithms that allow them to determine whether one site is more trusted and trustworthy than another. This is a potential game-changer, because bad reputation and negative customer ratings are not just an SEO problem. The SEO expert is expected to understand how to enhance the positive and deemphasize the negative. Poor reputation is a marketing problem.

Gone are the days of the SEO expert as just a technician and a traffic driver. Today’s SEO practitioner should be a valuable part of the total marketing team and a key player in the development of the marketing strategies and tactics that will lead the business to success. Is your SEO expert still waiting for an invitation?