Google SEO Trends 2020
Last year, Google has been updating its algorithm more frequently and noticeably than ever before. Every other week, we saw big movements in the SERPs. Since the search engine ranking criteria are not transparent and change so frequently, it has become vital for us to test more and attempt to reverse engineer Google’s algorithm as much as possible.
Which SEO trends are important in 2020? We have compiled five important aspects.
1) Voice Search – You search how you speak
The craft of ranking websites is all about giving Google the right signals. However, your website should not be optimized for the search engine, but for its users. Google focuses on the user as well.
Millions of people already actively use Voice Assistants in their everyday lives. No matter if Siri, Alexa, Cortana, Google’s nameless assistant or smart helpers, whose names we will only find out next year: Voice Assistant Search will also be one of the most burning topics in 2020.
Since users speak their search query instead of typing it, phrases become longer and more complicated. Anyone creating content today needs to make sure that it contains scalable phrases for search engines. Not too academic, not too nerdy, but also not intentionally wrong. Google understands language and synonyms quite well today, so by incorporating phrases instead of keywords, you give Google more to work with.
But how is a Voice Assistant fed? In Google’s case, among other things, it is fed with featured snippets of the search results. A featured snippet is a highlighted snippet that is displayed above the classic search results and answers a question in a super-impressive way.
But how do you get one of those? The only way to have a chance is to use tables and bullet points on your page, as Google can read them very easily and likes to display it in a featured snippet. That does not mean you are going to get one, but it is the way to qualify for it. Also, make sure you provide content that people find interesting. In the end, it is all about information and answering the question a user might have.
2) Mobile First and Rich Snippets
Yeah, the snippet show goes on. There are not only featured snippets that play a role in SEO, but also rich snippets. We love them! This is what we call small excerpts of the website content that appear on the SERPs.
Rich snippets are not only relevant for voice assistants but also valuable for people on mobile phones. With just a few clicks, important information – such as opening hours – can be displayed on what tend to be smaller devices. Rich snippets are probably not a direct ranking factor, but a part of mobile optimization that is so important for SEO. After all, rich snippets don’t just provide information but also make your listing stand out more and attract more clicks.
Optimizing for mobile devices has been a must for years, but in 2018 it finally became a survival measure to be visible on the web at all. Today, Google only accesses websites as if it were on a mobile device. If your website still isn’t optimized for that, you have work to do. And yes, we still see many websites like that!
Google has thus made mobile performance a ranking factor and is not even setting a trend, but following a development: For 2-3 years now, global mobile traffic has overtaken the traffic of desktop computers.
What’s more, mobile revenues are expected to exceed those of the PC market. The buzzword “Mobile First” remains a huge topic in terms of SEO 2020.
3) High-Quality Content
Content is King and video content has enjoyed increasing popularity for years alongside blogs, podcasts or AI content: products get tested, new employees are found via personnel marketing videos, or a new employer is sought via a self-marketing video. Tutorials teach us how to knit socks, and Persian cats chasing laser pointers make us forget the dreary weather outside. But no matter the content, all videos must be searchable.
On the one hand, it is necessary to tailor your content to the users who mainly consume videos. These users tend to be young, they like it fast and entertaining, but not too obviously trimmed to a young audience. On the other hand, you should use the video sitemap of popular platforms like YouTube and Vimeo to communicate strong keywords and other relevant information in the metadata of your videos.
Et voilà, the “smart tomcat is looking for exciting work” – video at the top, no matter if you are looking for cats or jobs. And how do you find out which keywords are currently strong? Google itself provides a corresponding tool with “Adwords”. The website answerthepublic.com also specializes in this.
4) User Experience and Performance
How do you get users to enjoy moving around online, voluntarily divulging data and ultimately making the pages interesting for search engines? Through a good user experience. User Experience is a huge topic that would go beyond discussing this paragraph.
Search engines undoubtedly incorporate a central aspect of user experience into their ranking: The performance of a page, the speed at which content is delivered. We’re talking milliseconds here! From an SEO point of view, it is therefore also essential in 2020 to build sites that act technically mature and deliver fast, even though fiber optic cables or the 5G mobile network are becoming more and more standard.
People vote with Facebook shares, and they vote by moving around your website. Google can see this, at least if you use Analytics. A website that loads fast, is easy to navigate, clear, and has great content, always goes along with positive user metrics. These metrics help rank your site. We often see spammy sites ranking – and the reason they do is that the user metrics are great. Google won’t knock down pages that people like.
5) Artificial intelligence
In the future, we will let algorithms help us to operate algorithms themselves. Since 2015, Google has been working on a self-learning algorithm called “Rankbrain”, which takes care of search queries that have never been made before – which allegedly accounts for 15 percent of all queries.
In the coming years, we will not only encounter AI in service calls or in the pedicure of old people but pretty much everywhere: The need to collect and analyze user data in order to obtain intelligent proposals for action is and will remain an everyday occurrence on the Internet. It’s no coincidence that Sergey Brin, the mid-forty-year-old co-founder of Google, wrote in the influential ABC Founders Letter at the end of 2018:
“The new spring in artificial intelligence is the most significant development in computing in my lifetime.”
It is, therefore, important to familiarize yourself with the topic of AI as soon as possible and to experiment with it in terms of SEO. We have been interested in AI for many years, and by researching its capabilities we have a much better understanding of how Google may operate and where it is headed. In the near future, it will get even better at reading text, understanding testimonials and taking them into account when evaluating websites.