We made it to 2020! That in itself is something to celebrate! But, have you noticed all the search engine changes as we have leading up to this momentous year? What gives? What’s changed?
What can you do to rank higher in 2020?! How is SEO in 2020 different from previous years?! Buckle up, we’re diving right in and going over what you need to know to rank in 2020!
Voice Search, Featured Snippets, and The Power They Hold
Voice search has gotten more popular in the last few years due to Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, and even your smartphone. Just speak into a device and it gives you the answer?! What sorcery is this?! Finding answers and gaining knowledge instantaneously is becoming more and more accessible as technology evolves, and with it, search engine evolution.
Scenario time: You and your significant other are driving to your new vacation spot at the beach. You are driving and you remember that you forgot to pack your sandals!
You then remember that you live in 2020 and ask your smartphone that is hooked up to your car to do almost anything: “Where is the closest store that sells sandals?” BOOM, it comes right up on a map, which gives you directions to the said shoe store.
Businesses need to optimize for this to stay competitive locally, or you need an agency that can do it for you (we can, FYI)! Voice search is becoming more important than ever as technology gets smarter.
This leads us to something we discussed in our SEO podcast: Google is moving towards being more of an answer engine than a search engine. Featured snippets just reinforce this point. By definition, featured snippets are short answers that Google finds relevant to a searchers’ question and find what they are looking for not only from the snippet but on the page itself. I’m sure you’ve asked your voice compatible device a question before, from simple to complex:
Okay, I got you with that last one; but seriously, featured snippets are important to answer questions and gauge user intent. So how can you optimize for them? Well, as I said in the podcast, that’s not something we’ll easily give away, but you can work with us to find out!
Video Marketing to Build Your Brand
For video marketing, nothing is as important as focusing on content. The content of your video must be highly engaging, likable, and shareable. The better your video is received by audiences, the higher it will rank on search engines.
- Craft an engaging title and description for your video – A stimulative and snappy video headline is the difference between a potential lead clicking on your video or ignoring it for the competition. Spend some time brainstorming a few headline possibilities, and elicit feedback from your team members before settling on one. The same principle applies to the meta description of the video. Try to add relevant keywords so that search engines understand what the video is about. This makes indexing easier and should help bring in more relevant traffic to your site.
- Publish on multiple platforms – You may not be convinced about publishing your videos on platforms like YouTube and Facebook, but the fact is that these platforms rake in almost four billion combined users every month. That’s a sea of traffic you can’t afford to lose out on. You might even want to look into some smaller platforms, such as Dailymotion, which still have a significant audience that you can market to. This way, you can capture as much traffic as possible in your video marketing efforts and not lose out on unique visitors that may be using other video sites besides Facebook and YouTube.
Visual Search – Wait Visual Search is a Thing?
Visual search is really new, like brand spanking new. I think the answer to how to optimize this is fairly obvious: optimize your images! This new type of search is useful for shopping, finding information on landmarks while traveling, and directions.
Here is a Google Lens result for the Duncan Yo-Yo on my desk (that I got for outranking a competitor):
Notice the first screenshot is a short product description from the World Market website, and the second screenshot is where you can find and buy similar items. It’s imperative that your site is well optimized for this, not only with the best SEO practices but if you are an E-Commerce website, your Schema data must be correct for every single product on your site!
Keep Writing Useful Content for Users
While you can’t really optimize for the recent BERT Google update, you CAN improve your rankings and follow its guidelines with these tips:
- It probably goes without saying, the piece of content should be authoritative and should be expertly written so that it’s useful in every way to the reader. The reader shouldn’t have to search for more information on the topic, it should all be right there on the page.
- EAT (expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness) is law: Are you an expert in the field you are writing about? Have you been published before in said field? The author’s reputation plays a huge factor in ranking now, and Google is looking at this as a ranking signal.
- Be as honest and transparent as possible. List authors on pages, link to citations, have a terms & service page and have a contact page that’s simple to find on your site.
- BERT was a natural language algorithm update that makes Google smarter at getting the searcher the absolute best result. It will catch on through context, authoritativeness, and relevant content toward the topic you are writing about.
Last but Not Least: Stick to Fundamental SEO
Fundamental SEO is crucial in keeping the house in order, to give Google better-ranking signals, and having a better functioning website. Some fundamental SEO includes:
- Optimizing meta titles and descriptions
- Optimizing page headings
- Boosting Page Speed & UX/UI for Mobile
- Submitting a correct Robots.txt file
- Image Alt Text Optimization
- Repurpose content for search intent
Another thing I mentioned in the podcast was that organic CTR (click-through rate) was down across the board in every industry across the internet because of searchers not having to leave Google to get an answer. So, how do you combat it? C’mon, we can’t give away all of our secrets!