SEO In 2020: What To Expect For The Year Ahead

At the close of the decade and the start of a brand new year, I have taken some time to reflect on SEO trends that emerged in 2019 and those that I believe will define the year ahead.

SEO is one of the most exhaustive topics in the world of digital marketing, and there are a plethora of sources promising the latest information regarding updates to Google algorithms and the dynamic nature of consumer practices. The best advice I can offer is this: Find an in-house digital marketing expert or hire a third-party company that proves to be forward-thinking. When it comes to hiring an SEO expert, look for someone who demonstrates an understanding that trends are constantly changing and is committed to staying on top of the latest updates. SEO techniques from the previous decade will be wholly insufficient in the roaring ’20s ahead.

Did you know that Google, the most popular search engine in North America, updates its search algorithm, on average, 500 to 600 times per year? Your SEO strategy should follow a similar trajectory if you want to have the best rankings. Let’s dive into the most important aspects of SEO and what trends to expect in 2020.

Organic SEO

Organic SEO is a marketing approach that focuses on improving online visibility. While the term is widely used, it is also commonly misunderstood. When it comes to SEO trends to watch for in 2020, one of the most significant for organic SEO is the importance of advanced links.

Advanced link-building strategies can increase your website’s Domain Authority (the score given to your site between 0 and 100) and thereby improve your overall visibility online. Advanced link-building goes beyond establishing generic directories and includes guest blogs, paid links and web 2.0 blogs. Each of these strategies involves placing content on third-party sites with links back to your website.

The more websites that point to yours with a substantial DA, the more visible your website will become. If you’re looking for a digital marketing company to promote your brand, ask about their network of partnerships, websites and forums that they use for guest blogging and paid advertising.

Local SEO

Local, or map search, SEO has emerged as a distinct form of SEO over the last few years. Through internal research, our company found that 30% to 40% of customers, on average, now find local companies through maps. As such, strong map visibility is crucial.

Instead of a website, local SEO requires that your Google My Business (GMB) profile be optimized with keywords and links. The strategies for improving local SEO include NAP (name, address, phone number) consistency, link-building, image geotagging and further engagements with your GMB profile (such as reviews).

This year, SEO experts and digital marketers will need to be extra diligent in ensuring consistency and giving the appropriate time and energy to local optimizations, especially for small businesses and local service providers.

Content And Blogging

If one thing is for sure, Google’s updated deep-learning algorithms are getting smarter and smarter. Some experts believe they will soon surpass human understanding in terms of natural language processing. In recent years, Google’s algorithms have been placing more and more emphasis on well-written content, encouraging strategies such as natural language keywords and quality over quantity; 2020 will see this emphasis continue to rise. Google is becoming more sensitive to the nuances of language with a focus on understanding search query intent. Thus, in 2020, content should be concise and informative as well as targeted. As always, content also needs to indicate expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness.

While my team has always helped clients by creating consistent content to add to their websites, our research has found that guest blogging, and building links with additional high DA websites, is even more effective. I would recommend a shift in strategy to include more link-building supplemented by high-quality content that focuses on specific query topics. Answering questions clearly and concisely will go a long way for any SEO strategy (especially with voice search optimization on the rise as well).

Pay Per Click (PPC)

Pay-per-click advertising includes Google AdWords and social media advertising. Pay-per-click ads get your message in front of already-interested consumers. Depending on your industry and budget, getting to the No. 1 result on Google organically isn’t always possible. Utilizing PPC allows your company to show up at the very top, regardless of your organic ranking.

In the field of remarketing, I anticipate two trends to be of special significance in the year ahead. Due to the Rule of Seven, a theory developed by marketing experts that states customers require seven touches with your brand before making a decision, remarketing is gaining traction within the marketing world as a necessity for some industries. If your business is highly competitive with a mid to long sales cycle, a remarketing campaign will effectively follow consumers around the internet until they’re ready to make the decision.

Advertising promotions are also a great way to convert customers. As the economic downturn continues, consumers will be looking for any way to save a few dollars. A marketing company may help determine and implement effective promotional offers and supplement any existing advertising efforts to increase awareness and conversion.

I believe 2020 holds the potential for innumerable growth opportunities for both marketing companies and their clients, so long as the right techniques are implemented, maintained, and adjusted as needed. Link-building, visibility, and user experience (especially for mobile) will continue to be areas of focus for my team, along with professional, well-written, informative content.

SEO and digital marketing are exciting fields, precisely because they are constantly changing. As you strive to find a balance between upholding consumer trends and maintaining relevance with search engine updates, I wish you a prosperous 2020.

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