Successful SEO strategies in 2020 look very different from previous years. Some of these changes include shifting consumer buying patterns and changes in the technicalities of search engine optimization itself. Google and other search engines are evolving. And this requires your search engine optimization strategies in 2020 to evolve, as well.

The first step to ranking your website at the top of Google is to understand what the SEO landscape looks like now.

So, to prepare you for your journey, brace yourself for the new realities of 2020 and the SEO practices that you need to battle them! 

What’s New with SEO in 2020

The Rise of Voice 

The biggest change to SEO in 2020 is the rising trend of voice searches. Studies revealed that 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020. Why do you need to care? Because in the next two years, it’s estimated that 55% of all households will have Smart Speakers.

Here’s how it changes everything. 

In contrast to text searches, where being on the first page is what mattered, in voice searches through smart speakers only one result will be dictated. If that result is not your website, you have already lost the battle.

There used to be a lot of space on the front page for you and your competitors. But with voice SEO, now there’s only one spot. 

Scared? You should be. But let’s see how we can optimize your website for voice searches.

The area that requires your attention most is  Google’s Featured Snippet. This is how Google responded to the increase in voice searches. It’s easier for someone to squeeze their Google Pixel and ask it a question. In return, Google provides them the answers to their queries in the form of a “Snippet”. 

To show you a featured snippet in action, here’s what Google showed me when I asked it if SEO is worth it:

And that’s what you should aim for. Optimize your content in such a way that you become the selected website that Google displays. Keep reading to learn how you can achieve that.

The first area that we should look at is how Voice Searches are different from regular searches. You probably would have noticed the difference yourself. The nature of voice searches tend to be more of an inquiry– a question.

So, to continue with my example, I used Google Home to inquire whether or not SEO is worth my time. Google chose this website as the result to my inquiry because of 3 factors:

  1. Its relevance to my question
  2. The use of long-tail keywords
  3. If it can answer my question directly in 42 words

This is also how I designed this article. The title predicts the inquiry while the very first paragraph briefly answers it. So, there’s a chance that the next time you use Voice Search, this article is what you will come across. 

Next, let me drive your attention to another rising trend– hyperlocal inquires. This is especially important for business owners. According to Social Media Explorer, local searches account for 46% of all searches

Offline and Online Factors on SEO

To facilitate these inquiries, Google has launched a new algorithm called BERT. What BERT does is provide the most credible links that are near, relevant, and most prominent. 

Let’s say you are a business that’s looking to raise your profile in the neighbourhood. You’ll have to work on both your offline and online presence. You can boost your offline presence by asking customers in person to leave good reviews about your product or service. This will increase your credibility while increasing your chances to be identified by BERT. 

The next aspect that you need to work is your online presence. Make sure that you use accurate information about name, addresses and hours etc, on all of your platforms. Facebook, Instagram, your website, any online directories– the key is to be as credible and prominent as possible across the web. Leave no stone unturned.

Don’t take this lightly as a single mistake can make you lose customers! Imagine the horror if a person searching for you ends up on your competitor’s page because its just in more places than your are. It’ll be challenging for you to regain those lost customers. Google’s launch of BERT has made it essential that you’re credible across the internet.

Design for Mobile First

In 2020, I want to remind you to focus on mobile-friendly user-interfaces. I know, you’re probably thinking “We already know that” but this is more important than ever as mobile searches account for 80% worldwide! This means that 8 out of 10 consumers will interact on your portal using a mobile phone. So, it becomes absolutely essential for you to build a responsive website.

To aid you in this process, Google provides you with a Mobile Friendly Test. This will help identify areas of your site that you need to work on. The second thing that you can do is to have Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMPs for short. You can learn how to do AMPs here. Or you could hit up DxM Creative for a hand.

Branding Plays a Big Role in SEO

Now coming on to the final aspect of SEO in 2020 that you absolutely need to incorporate. And that is the concept of Branding.

Remember our discussion on BERT? Becoming a credible website does not only mean good reviews and accurate information. If it really were that simple, then everyone would do it!

Branding is the ultimate weapon that will allow you to cut through the immense competition and withstand all the new algorithms to become the winning search on your consumer’s device. But you might be thinking, “How exactly do we become a brand?”. 

Although you can find tons of definitions, branding relevant to us is how the BERT algorithm distinguishes a brand from a generic webpage.

To get identified as a brand by Google’s algorithm, you need to have different social forums all talking about you. So, in 2020, a highly optimized website won’t cut it. To become the winning search, you need to have credible presence on other different platforms using similar type of keywords and having the same type of quality reviews. Only then will BERT identify you as a Brand.

And this is not just to optimize for BERT, but relates to all the above points. Your branding is what will ensure your position in Google’s Featured Snippet. Branding is how local consumers will identify you. A good user-interface is what consumers expect from your brand. 

Following these SEO tips will help your website reach a ton of new customers in 2020.

But search engine optimization is just one part of doing well online. Here’s what it takes to build a successful website.

Daud Zaidi

Author Daud Zaidi

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