“Technology is rapidly changing.” These words are so often said that the caution they should carry has lost its potency.
However, by taking things as they are, we often miss the preparations needed to stay ahead of the pack. For businesses, it’s not unusual for owners and executives to think of marketing as the main thing they should be aware of and prepared for. “Social media,” “virality,” “eyeballs,” – yes, while these may be integral, are you aware of how search engine optimization or SEO will be rapidly changing by 2020?
SEO is the quiet unassuming aspect of your website that leads people to stumble upon it. It’s the Google search that leads your audience to your product page or article. However, the act of Googling words will be impacted by the change in algorithms in the coming years.
Here are some of the changes in SEO that your business should be prepared for in 2020.
As early as 2018, experts have been warning marketers of the incoming shift from text to voice search. This is because of the increase in mobile phone usage and the birth of virtual assistants such as Alexa, Siri, and Google Home.
By 2020, it’s estimated that 50% of searches will be done verbally. This means the practice of searching via keywords and designing websites to resonate based on keyword matches will be greatly complemented in the coming years.
For this reason, SEO specialists are advised to design websites and pages based on long-tail keyword queries. It should also match more natural phrases and language. Think of people structuring their search in questions such as “where is ____” rather than “____ address.”
Local searches are increasing. In fact, 46% of all searches are now local. This means if you want to be the business or service that gets the most traction online, you have to work at increasing your popularity both offline and online.
On ground, you have to encourage your customers to leave you good reviews online. There are reports that Google is developing its algorithm to favor top-ranked businesses.
Online, a business should also make sure that they have accurate listings. This means one’s business name, address, images, videos, and even operating hours are in sync across platforms and websites.
From here, you can work on building your popularity among social media mentions and engagement. This way, your business will be the first to pop up in case someone in your vicinity searches something related to your brand.
If you’ve ever Googled a question before, you might have noticed how Google provides a small box where your query is answered via text or an image. This is called Google’s Featured Snippet.
In a way, this may remove the need to click out to see the results of a search. However, brands may still take advantage of this, as for longer searches (e.g. “how to” questions vs. “what is the capital of”), Google doesn’t give the entirety of the information.
So how do you find yourself inside the snippet? Similar to designing your keywords for verbal search, try crafting your page tags to fit longer more question-based searches. Also, to optimize your SEO, design your headlines to match the exact questions people may search for.
Lastly, if you’re doing a listicle, FAQs, or the type of article which answers smaller questions within it, try to provide succinct answers. 40-60 words paragraphs work best. This may lead to your piece being featured in a snippet, and in turn, lead to readers accessing your whole article.
Even if your SEO is good, search engines like Google are looking for unique, engaging, high-quality content.
For one, your brand might want to look into diversifying beyond the usual blog-type content. Videos are getting more engagement these days. A recent study by Cisco showed that projected that video traffic will take up 82% of all consumer traffic by 2021.
Aside from that, younger generations are consuming memes, GIFs, and infographics rather than reading. Boosting your site portfolio in these areas will help your site’s ranking.
For user experience (UX), loading speeds will now be a factor for Google indexation rankings. This ties into a greater call for prioritizing user-centric search results. As a brand, you should work at building your site to be easy to navigate.
It should also be mobile-friendly, both in design and content. Make your design responsive, and your content easy on the eyes with short 2-3 sentence paragraphs and bullet points. You can test out how fully optimized your site is for mobile via Google's Mobile Friendly Test.
If you want your brand to get the most exposure online, then it’s time to focus on the little things you may haven’t paid much attention to before. Technology is rapidly changing, and more and more of the little things will be a factor in how people search. Be prepared as it’s vital to be ready for what the future of SEO has in store.