In the dynamic digital marketing world, staying current with the ever-changing SEO landscape is a full-time job for some of us.
What Worked So Far, What Lies Ahead
With each passing year, this space continues to evolve, usually to play catch up with Google’s algorithmic updates. Since these changes directly impact your website’s ranking and business performance, let’s take stock of the year gone by, and determine how to equip ourselves for the months ahead.
Read on to know more about the SEO trends that worked, predictions that failed, and ideas that may be met with more enthusiasm in 2020.
Hits and Misses in the 2019 SEO Landscape
Google’s effectiveness in being the end destination of user journeys plays a defining role in setting the SEO trends for each year. Here are some of the 2019 SEO practices that gained acceptance and showed results.
1. Building Buyer Personas: Building buyer personas has emerged as one of the most critical aspects of developing the right SEO strategies. Knowing your target audience and their content type and consumption preferences helps focus on user intent during content creation. This not only enhances the audience journey, but also earns you brownie points from Google, and increases your chances of conversion.
The overall goal of this activity is to better understand who your target audience is and how you can apply your marketing strategies to intercept their daily actions and provide value to their lives whilst promoting your business. The better you understand your customers, the better you can help them.
2. Extend your Winning Streak with On-Page and Off-Page Optimization: Staying competitive in your on-page SEO tactics and content optimization continues to deliver incredible SERP results. From page titles, meta tagging and meta descriptions, to body tags, keyword density and internal linking, simple steps help direct more organic traffic to your site. For off-page SEO, nothing is as critical as backlink building. Other effective measures include:
- Creating shareable content
- Using influencer marketing
- Improving your social media engagement
- Submitting blog posts, articles, images, infographics and video to relevant sites
3. Zero Click Searches Are Here to Stay: 50% of all searches are already ‘zero-click’ searches. Those who have capitalized on this opportunity have done so by:
- Identifying critical keywords
- Factoring in CTR and CPS
- Optimizing their content for rich, featured snippets
4. Voice Search is Rapidly Gaining Ground: While a plethora of digital assistants have created a paradigm shift in voice search, Google Voice Search alone has grown over 3800% in the last 10 years. Getting ahead in this arena involves:
- Optimizing your content to align with typical voice search queries
- Researching long-tailed keywords
- Structured data optimization
- Prioritizing long-form content and making sure your pages load quickly
5. The Death of SEO is a myth: The only failed prediction so far is about the death of SEO. Despite such assertions made by black hat SEO gurus, if you follow your SEO tactics with integrity, authenticity, and care for your audience, they will continue to be a game changer for your web-driven business performance.
Key Trends for SEO in 2020
1. Tap into Video Conversions: The more you engage your viewers, build trust and hold their attention, the more you can raise your rank with Google’s points system. Essentially, you need higher retention, lower bounce rates, and longer time spent on-page. Incorporating videos on your website, especially on your landing pages, could help increase your conversions by as much as 80%.
2. Boost your Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness (E-A-T): Enrich your content by leveraging data from known entities or hiring experts to author your content. Give credit and credentials to both and ensure appropriate affinity to the brand you are promoting. The more authentic your content, the better your ranking.
4. Mobile UX will Heavily Influence Your Ranking: Mobile devices, excluding tablets, already account for 48% of webpage views worldwide and this number is growing rapidly. In fact, 4 in 5 consumers conduct local searches using mobile devices. Without a mobile responsive or mobile adaptive website, you may lose most of your users in the coming years. It is all about creating attention grabbing, easy-to-read interface, along with content that answers questions, entertains users, or services your customers.
5. Address some of these areas for making a significant positive impact to your SEO strategy:
- Kill the low-quality pages, such as duplicate content, outdated posts, or aging press releases that are bloating your sitemap by setting your results page to ‘no-index’.
- Build on topic clusters, instead of keyword clusters. The hub and spoke model of pillar pages and cluster pages will align with what the search algorithms favor.
- Adopt machine learning to develop unique content for SEO.
- Emphasize analysis and reporting to test existing practices and new strategies, including real-time performance measurement and improvement.
- Continue to recognize the role of user experience to improve your audience journey and increase their investment in your site.
Excited about designing your 2020 SEO strategy? Can’t wait to explore the new possibilities in this space? This New Year elevate your SEO game to the next level by leaning on the experts at WSI eStrategies in Ottawa. Book a no-obligation consultation and let’s discuss ideas and execution strategies that can boost your SEO goals.