If you spend any amount of time working on your business’ SEO, you have probably noticed that Google’s favoured search criteria is consistently adapting to keep up with technological advances and public preferences. While this aids in the accuracy searchers receive, it can make optimising your company’s SEO a struggle.
It is not always easy to spot the next hot SEO trend, especially if you are busy running your business. We have compiled some of the biggest trends you must plan on and prepare for in 2020.
Don’t want to read this entire article?
For a summary of the SEO trends we recommend taking advantage of in 2020, watch the video below.
1. Visual Search
It is practically impossible to overstate the importance of visual search in the online marketplace. Aside from enticing consumers with the newest and the latest products in general queries, visual search is a veritable powerhouse when it comes to giving your customers the information they need with minimal fuss or frustration.
How Does Visual Search Improve the Shopping Experience?
Think about the last time you were searching online for an item that you didn’t know the name of. For example, a stunning lamp your neighbour owns. If you set out on a typical search, even if you know the brand name of the lamp, you will likely need to scroll through pages of the wrong lamp before possibly finding the one you want.
If you happen to have less information, your search becomes more difficult. Now you are trying to describe the lamp. You can type things like floor lamp with a crystal base and onyx inlay. If you are extremely lucky, you might find the item you want; it is more likely you will search dozens of pages with no success.
However, if you are conducting a visual search, using Google Lens for example, you snap a picture of the lamp and tell Google to find it. Not only does this save you time, but visual search also eliminates untold amounts of aggravation.
What is Google Lens?
Google Lens is a recent addition to Google’s repertoire of search methods. The feature depends on AI (Artificial Intelligence) to see what the user sees and find more information about the item.
Often, Google Lens also offers purchase information, as well as similar products at varying price points. Although Google launched this addition to the search family in 2017, with limited availability in the United States, searchers have now used the feature over one-billion times.
While fine-tuning your business’ visual search, a term you will hear frequently is image optimisation. There is much more to image optimisation than loading stock photos onto your website. In fact, dumping several photos on your site can dramatically slow the page which is one of the last things you want to do.
Taking time to optimise your images properly is essential to boosting your SEO. These images will make the site more valuable to searchers. We have all heard the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words; you can be sure this applies to image optimisation.
What Are Some Ways to Optimise Images?
There are a variety of ways to optimise images for your website. These include:
- Properly Tagging an Image – This gives Google the information it needs to decide if your site is useful to searchers. Basically, the better your tagging is, the higher you will rank in visual search. For example, adding good, descriptive filenames (instead of generic ones).
- Use Fresh Images – Technically, there is nothing wrong with using stock images, especially if you tag them properly. However, you run the risk of your site having the same images as competitors’ pages. Taking your own photos and doing a bit of clever editing will put you ahead of your competition and their stock photos.
- Compress Your Images – Compressed images take less space and load faster. Remember, faster websites are better.
- Do Not Neglect Alt Text – Alt text is a great help for sites that cannot render an image. For example, if you have a picture of cupcakes you sell, do not settle for the alt text that reads ‘chocolate cupcake with sprinkles’. Beef your alt text out a bit to make your image more relevant and valuable. Try ‘dark chocolate cupcake covered in fluffy white frosting and rainbow sprinkles.’ Think about it, which cupcake would you rather buy?
- Associate Keywords With Images – This suggestion comes from Google. The more meaningful your content, the higher your Google search ranking.
2. Voice Search
When you are considering SEO trends to watch, voice search should be near the top of the list.
It is no longer emerging technology. Voice search is a weekly part of life for upwards of 31% of mobile phone users. That number will top 50% in 2020, according to projections.
Google Assistant, Alexa, Siri, Cortana, and other voice-oriented assistants are consistently more proficient with their voice search abilities as time goes by and will only continue to improve.
It is important to remember that the space at the top of search engines for voice search is limited. Typically, a voice search nets you the top three results. So, the field is quite narrow when compared to the ten spots on Google’s first search results page.
How Do I Optimise for Voice Search?
It is clear that optimising for voice search is critical for your business’ SEO ranking and success. Here are some key ways to boost your voice search SEO rankings:
- Write Content for People, Not Search Engines – You need to remember that Google still cares about the authority of websites and quality of content. If your content can answer real questions, your value climbs higher. Keyword stuffing will get you nowhere fast.
- FAQs Page – Ask and then answer relevant questions on a FAQ page. This assists Google in finding the questions and answers searchers want. Remember, when composing your questions, consumers using voice search are more likely to ask conversational questions, such as “Where can I get Indian cuisine?”, as opposed to simply saying keywords like “Indian cuisine”.
- Featured Snippets – Featured snippets are the boxes of text Google places above the search results. The information in the boxes comes from the web page of one of the top three ranking sites. Snippets are helpful for voice and mobile optimisation because 80% of voice search answers come from featured snippets. When creating content with featured snippets in mind, be sure to make your information concise and easy for Google to read. Numbered lists and bullet points can help you to achieve readability.
3. Featured Snippets
As previously mentioned, featured snippets are useful and necessary if you want to increase your organic traffic through Google.
How Do I Use Featured Snippets to Optimise My Website?
Keep the following in mind when using featured snippets to improve your SEO:
- Featured Snippets Rank From Content on the First Page (Usually From the First 3 Positions) – This means your first order of business is to see where you rank for a particular keyword. Your higher-ranking keywords are what you should target for featured snippet optimisation.
- Find Your Featured Snippet Opportunity – Many software programs, such as SEMRush, can help you pair the results of where your site ranks and various key terms. The area where you pair is your featured snippet opportunity.
Tip: get your free 7 day trial of SEMRush here.
- Use Snippet Bait – Snippet bait is the block of text designed to rank the snippets. Successful snippet bait typically contains a question and a relevant answer that is between 40 and 60 words long. Subheadings and well-formatted lists are also useful in snippet bait.
Here’s an example of a featured snippet that appears for a client of ours:
4. Video Search
Using video that is quick to load and attention-grabbing is a great way to improve your website. However, right now, the best video avenue to build your ranking is making or upgrading your YouTube channel.
We’re such a big fan of video search that we regularly upload SEO tips, podcast episodes, customer testimonials, website before and afters, and much more on our Digital Hitmen YouTube channel.
YouTube is the second highest search engine, behind only Google. That makes it a major opportunity for those who are willing to put in the time to make relevant and informative videos. Additionally, YouTube snippets are building in popularity with Google and will only become more prevalent.
Here’s a video of ours that’s appearing prominently in Google’s search results:
Two Important Facts About YouTube
- Using YouTube video featured snippets is a growing trend with no foreseeable end on the horizon.
- Google owns YouTube. Making great content for YouTube is going to impact your organic rankings on Google too.
How Do I Make a Great YouTube Channel and Videos?
Want to stand out on YouTube? Here’s how:
- Have a relevant file name
- A naturally flowing key term in the heading
- Optimise your video description; YouTube only displays the first 100 characters unless the viewer clicks to see more. Keep the description catchy and relevant, but not lengthy.
- Categorise your video properly using tags and key terms
- Check the random thumbnails YouTube provides and edit if necessary
- Place your video in the correct category
- Embed your YouTube video into blog posts to help keep viewers on your blog for longer
Maintaining or improving your search engine rank is more important than ever before. The changes and advances in search-related technology we see today are only the tip of the iceberg. That is why keeping up with what is presently important, while looking ahead to future trends, is essential for your business’ success.