SEO is one of the youngest mar­ket­ing dis­ci­plines out there, and it’s also incred­i­bly fast-paced. It looks almost noth­ing like what it did when we start­ed.

While the fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ple remains the same —SEO is about mak­ing web­sites easy to find and under­stand — the tac­tics involved are very dif­fer­ent than they were 15, 5, and even 1 year ago

So what are the most impor­tant SEO trends for 2020 and how can you imple­ment them?

Here’s what you should know for 2020, as well as key steps for imple­ment­ing these trends and tac­tics.

SEO Trend #1: Mobile and Voice Search

We don’t yet know how big voice search is, but we do know that mobile search is going strong, and we have many sources to con­firm that, includ­ing:

  • Back in 2015, Google revealed that more peo­ple were using mobile search than desk­top search in 10 coun­tries, includ­ing the US and Japan
  • In 2018, more than half of mobile traf­fic in the US was com­ing from mobile devices
  • Last year con­sumers spent three and a half hours a day on their mobile devices

Con­se­quent­ly, Google has switched its pri­or­i­ties by intro­duc­ing Mobile-First Index, which means that Google pre­dom­i­nant­ly uses the mobile ver­sion of a page for index­ing and rank­ing. In oth­er words, if your page doesn’t look good on a mobile device, or if the mobile ver­sion has less con­tent, you may lose rank­ings in both mobile and desk­top search results.

Giv­en that mobile device users often use voice search to find answers while on the go, it is safe to assume that voice search is get­ting pop­u­lar, and these two trends are very well con­nect­ed:

  • Both mobile and voice users are like­ly to be look­ing for answers while in the mid­dle of the task (so they need clear, con­cise answers right away)
  • In both of the cas­es, the top result (which is often the fea­tured snip­pet) is real­ly what mat­ters. So we are com­pet­ing for the top result now, ver­sus top 5 posi­tions as we did a few years ago

SEO Trend - Mobile and Voice Search

How to Optimize Your Site for Mobile and Voice Search

  • Obvi­ous­ly, make your site mobile-friend­ly and fast (page speed is impor­tant!)
  • Adapt your con­tent strat­e­gy to catch those fea­tured snip­pet oppor­tu­ni­ties to out­rank your com­peti­tors. Mobile users sel­dom have time to scroll, and with voice search there’s only one result being read to the user. This makes fea­tured snip­pet opti­miza­tion incred­i­bly essen­tial for your online vis­i­bil­i­ty — you are either there or nowhere.

There’s a lot to fea­tured snip­pet opti­miza­tion (which deserves a whole sep­a­rate arti­cle which I already did), but it all comes down to:

  • Research­ing cur­rent fea­tured snip­pets for your impor­tant queries (and learn­ing from them)
  • Struc­tur­ing your con­tent with H2-H3 sub­head­ings that address ques­tions behind queries trig­ger­ing fea­tured snip­pets
  • Pro­vid­ing quick, con­cise answers (no longer than 90 char­ac­ters) below each sub­head for Google to grab and fea­ture.

If you include these steps in your writ­ing guide­lines for your con­tent cre­ators to use, you are halfway there:

  • Use this writ­ing check­list that includes both of the above (and more use­ful) guide­lines
  • Scale your con­tent cre­ation process using Nar­ra­to to build a team of con­tent cre­ators that do a good job fol­low­ing those guide­lines. The beau­ty of this plat­form is that it match­es you to the most suit­able writ­ers auto­mat­i­cal­ly and, after some time, you have a sol­id team that knows your require­ments and cre­ates con­tent fast.

SEO Trend #2: Semantic Search and Intent Optimization

Google moved away from exact-match­ing key­word opti­miza­tion years ago, yet our indus­try is some­what slow to keep up. These days, Google doesn’t use the actu­al string of words that are being typed in the search box. Instead, it looks at the query con­text and ana­lyzes the pos­si­ble search intent to deliv­er results.

You can see this all around the SERPs and even in Google Sug­gest results.

Notice how Google inter­prets the query on the fly to real­ize:

  • You may have lost your cat, but you may be inter­est­ed in pet and ani­mal con­trol cen­ters, not just cat facil­i­ties
  • Your cat may have gone miss­ing in the town of Half­moon but it has legs, so chances are you may be able to find the cat in the near­by towns, includ­ing Clifton Park and Rens­se­laer
  • You may also post on Craiglist or search there in case some­one already found it—which is an absolute­ly awe­some idea!

What does this tell us?

Google has got very good at under­stand­ing searcher intent, and old-school con­tent cre­ation meth­ods that focus on a sin­gle key­word string don’t work.

We need to cre­ate con­tent that solves prob­lems. That’s what Google is after, and so are our poten­tial cus­tomers.

How to Optimize Content for Semantic Search and Search Intent

Sim­ply search­ing Google to get an idea of how it is inter­pret­ing a query is a great first step. Do the same type of research I did with that cat miss­ing query — look for oth­er ways Google is try­ing to solve the prob­lem for the user.

Using seman­tic research tools is anoth­er good idea. Text Opti­miz­er is an intent opti­miza­tion plat­form that helps you clus­ter any search query into relat­ed con­cepts and enti­ties. It uses Google’s search snip­pets to come up with ideas to expand your ini­tial copy to pro­vide more solu­tions and meet Google’s and its users’ needs.

Based on seman­tic research, it will even help you build sen­tences based on com­mon co-occur­rence analy­sis of the terms you select.

If you are using a remote team of con­tent writ­ers or Nar­ra­to, it is a good idea to run Tex­tOp­ti­miz­er before cre­at­ing your assign­ment and pro­vide your writ­ers with the list of con­cepts to cov­er.

SEO Trend #3: SERP Marketing and Content Diversification

For years now, Google has been tak­ing steps to become a des­ti­na­tion, not just a dis­cov­ery project. With knowl­edge graph, quick answers, and inter­ac­tive and visu­al results, Google is build­ing an ulti­mate resource that can give com­pre­hen­sive answers to any query.

With­in one search result page, we see:

  1. Google.com/Travel sug­ges­tions
  2. Knowl­edge graph (that includes maps, user reviews, basic facts, etc.)
  3. Relat­ed videos (This search ele­ment is inter­ac­tive because you can scroll through the carousel to see more videos)
  4. Peo­ple Also Ask” results (This box is also inter­ac­tive: You can click any ques­tion to read answers and expand fol­low-up ques­tions. Inter­est­ing­ly, a ques­tion you click deter­mines the top­ic of fur­ther ques­tions that appear. I find this quite eye-open­ing.)
  5. The visu­al results includ­ing more sim­i­lar des­ti­na­tions, relat­ed search­es, and more
  6. Organ­ic “text” results which are some­how lost in-between

This is where the con­cept of “SERP mar­ket­ing” lies: you need to stop focus­ing on organ­ic list­ings and start opti­miz­ing for all the oth­er search ele­ments, includ­ing videos, images and “quick-answer” sec­tions (“Peo­ple Also Ask” and fea­tured snip­pets).

You need to take each indi­vid­ual search result page as a whole to achieve brand vis­i­bil­i­ty there.

How to Dominate Google with SERP Marketing

There’s a lot to be done to cre­ate an effec­tive SERP Mar­ket­ing cam­paign. Here are some steps to get you start­ed:

Analyze Your Current Opportunities

At IMN, we are build­ing an ulti­mate SERP mar­ket­ing tool that helps you deter­mine all impor­tant con­tent for­mats that needs to be cre­at­ed to dom­i­nate your tar­get queries.

The tool uses your cur­rent rank­ings to show where you are miss­ing out. Use this tool to under­stand your cur­rent oppor­tu­ni­ties bet­ter and opti­mize for those.

Set Up Content Collaboration Strategy

Con­tent diver­si­fi­ca­tion brings in both chal­lenges and oppor­tu­ni­ties. On the one hand, you need to con­tin­u­al­ly come up with qual­i­ty con­tent assets in var­i­ous for­mats, which is incred­i­bly hard to scale. On the oth­er hand, you get to lever­age more medi­ums and try more tools and tac­tics, which is pret­ty awe­some.

Con­tent col­lab­o­ra­tion is the tac­tic that can solve many issues and empow­er your mar­ket­ing with more ben­e­fits, includ­ing nat­ur­al back­links, trust and shares. And the good news is there are great projects that help you build con­tacts to co-cre­ate con­tent and scale it.

BizSwipe is one exam­ple that allows you to eas­i­ly build B2B con­nec­tions for con­tent co-cre­ation and mar­ket­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion. You can use advanced fil­ters and easy con­nec­tion tools to find part­ners and influ­encers who can help you diver­si­fy your con­tent strat­e­gy.

Organize Your Strategy Using an Editorial Calendar

For con­tent col­lab­o­ra­tion and co-mar­ket­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties, con­sid­er using an edi­to­r­i­al cal­en­dar solu­tion that will help you orga­nize your cam­paigns.

Con­tent­Cal is a mar­ket­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion plat­form that can help you orga­nize your omni-chan­nel con­tent mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy and boost its effec­tive­ness.

Use its “Con­tent Cam­paigns” fea­ture to sched­ule your upcom­ing con­tent assets and put all the ideas, goals and tasks in each cam­paign brief.

Cre­at­ing a cen­tral dash­board for all your con­tent plans to be vis­i­ble for your whole team is key to con­sis­tent and effec­tive con­tent strat­e­gy. With Con­tent­Cal each team mem­ber respon­si­ble for a sin­gle piece of the puz­zle will be able to see and con­tribute to the whole pic­ture.

At the end of the day, con­tent diver­si­fi­ca­tion lies at the foun­da­tion of omnichan­nel mar­ket­ing that has mul­ti­ple ben­e­fits (includ­ing cross-device com­pat­i­bil­i­ty, smoother shop­ping expe­ri­ence, cre­ation of more mar­ket­ing chan­nels and more). So you may want to start work­ing on it whether you are wor­ried about your search vis­i­bil­i­ty or not.

SEO Trend #4: Structured Data

This year has been huge for seman­tic data, with Google updat­ing their ini­tial guide­lines and adding sup­port for new types of struct­ed data, includ­ing FAQ­Page, fact-check, and more. It is clear that Google is very inter­est­ed in extract­ing more data from your pages and giv­ing pub­lish­ers more expo­sure in exchange.

The good news is that this gives SEOs a com­pet­i­tive advan­tage over those web­site own­ers who are not keep­ing up with Google’s moves.

As an exam­ple, here’s what FAQ­Page schema looks like in search results once you imple­ment it.

This search snip­pet is inter­ac­tive — you can click any ques­tion to unfold the answer, and from there, even get to the site for more answers.

Conclusion

SEO is mov­ing fast — it is a very excit­ing indus­try to be in. From the ear­li­er days on, those peo­ple who were fast to “get it” found them­selves ahead of slow­er-mov­ing com­peti­tors. Use the tools and tips above to get ahead of yours in 2019 and beyond!

SOURCE: Con­vince And Con­vert