SEO 2020: Are you ready for these major changes?
Google is constantly evolving and sometimes it can be hard to keep up with the new trends and algorithms. For 2020, Google’s focus is on becoming the end destination of a user’s journey. This means that when users type a question into Google, they get the answer on the search engine results page (SERP) WITHOUT clicking into any website. This new zero-click strategy is what’s shaping SEO in 2020, with some major changes that your business needs to be aware of.
Aspurian Digital can help to optimise your website, from web design to SEO, to ensure that your business is ranking at the top of the SERPs and getting your business noticed. It’s our job to follow the ever-evolving SEO trends, and here we share some advice about how to keep up in 2020.
Zero-click searches in 2020 SEO
As we mentioned above, zero-click searches involve finding the answer to your question without leaving Google. This has been made possible thanks to several SERP features, including featured snippets, Google’s Local Packs and Knowledge Graphs. This strategy has already been so effective in fact, that it’s been reported that more than half of all Google searches are now zero-click searches.
More often than not, these types of searches are likely to be local ones, such as users looking for the address or phone number of a company, or users looking for a quick answer to a simple question. For these types of queries, there’s not too much chance of a conversion, but what you should do, is identify what keywords can actually bring you clicks, and then optimise them. Think about the queries a customer may search for that includes keywords such as ‘when, how many, what year’ etc.
Local SEO is changing in 2020
This was expected thanks to the zero-click focus as most of these are local searches, where the results are revealed in what Google likes to call, Local Packs. As you should already know, mobile should be a priority in your SEO strategy and in mobile searches, Local Packs can take up an entire SERP on devices, so it’s essential that your business appears on top.
The easiest and most straight-forward way to ensure that your business is appearing in these Local Packs and being as useful as possible to your customers, is by setting up a Google My Business page. Ensuring that this page and all of its information is fully completed and up to date, should cover the majority of searches that contain keywords such as ‘near me, address or phone number’.
Your local search SEO doesn’t stop there though; as customers will likely want to know more information, which could be about your products, comparing them to those of your competitors and finding out detailed information. This is where traditional SEO practices come into play, and you should be analysing your competitors’ strategies and building them into your own. A key area to cover includes building strong, quality backlinks; particularly locally authoritative ones.
Optimise your content for featured snippets
As we mentioned earlier, zero-click searches, which will be prevalent in 2020, are possible thanks to certain SERP features. We’ve talked about Local Packs and now we’re going to talk about ‘Featured Snippets’ and ‘Rich Snippets’.
Featured Snippets appear at the very top of a SERP, in position ‘0’ as some call it. Featured snippets are always in a grey outlined box and have the highest click-through rate. There are three main types of featured snippets, which include information shown within a paragraph, in a list or in a graph.
Rich snippets however, are similar to normal results in a listing, appearing in a normal position and containing the usual title, meta description and URL, but containing enhanced information, such as star ratings or product pricing.
There are a number of things you can do to optimise your content for featured and rich snippets:
- Focus on question-based keywords. Think about the information your customers need to know, and what they’d search to find this information.
- Have a look at what featured snippets are already appearing on the SERPs and what type they are (paragraph, list, graph etc).
- Keep the sentences and paragraphs on your website short.
- Write out the question and answer it as directly and concisely as possible. The FAQ page on your website is a great place for this.
- Use graphs to display data.
- Structure your content in a logical manner (H2, H3, H4 etc).
- Include a summary for longer content – either at the start or the end of the content.
Be aware of Google’s algorithms
Google has been utilising and developing learning algorithms over the years to try and improve the online experience of their users and avoid spammy, keyword-stuffed websites. In 2020, this becomes more important than ever with the introduction of their latest algorithm, known as BERT.
BERT is used to analyse the structure of a user’s search to try and understand the context in which their keywords are used. This is used alongside Google’s existing Neural Matching algorithm, which is used to figure out the meaning of a query. There’s not much that you can do about these algorithms, other than write good content. The third mechanism used by Google, however, is known as RankBrain and utilises data collected about a user’s behaviour to determine how the SERPs should be presented for them. The goal here is to think carefully about keywords, and not just rank for any one that you can. Going into 2020 and beyond, you need to start thinking about a user’s intent. You must monitor the results of the searches you want to rank for, and evaluate what content Google considers to be the most relevant – then create your content around this. If you don’t, you can expect your website to be left out of multiple SERPs.
Just as you thought you were on top of your SEO strategy, another change comes in. But that’s what we’re here for. We monitor trends and results and ensure that we make the most out of our online strategies and get your website performing how it should. If you’d like to discuss your SEO in 2020, head over to our Contact Us page and we’d be happy to help.