It is becoming more and more apparent that Google is aiming to no longer be the middleman in user searches but rather the end destination. That that and other changes that occurred this past year, here are some trends for SEO that are likely to affect rankings in 2020.
Don’t Freak Out About Zero-Click Searches
Since the deployment of featured snippets and elements such as Google’s Local Packs, nearly 50% of searches are considered “zero-click” because the user found the information they were seeking without clicking through to the site. The majority of these searches are users looking for opening hours, addresses and phone numbers so they would not have converted anyway, these are usually people looking to make a purchase in person. Instead, concentrate on the development of keywords that do convert and optimize for those searches.
Optimize for Google’s Featured and Rich Snippets
Since zero-click searches are gaining strength, it is a good idea to optimize your website to appear in the SERPs. Rich snippets show stars for reviews, images, and other information about your business. While they are definitely helpful, the real boost happens when your data becomes a featured snippet. This snippet is an entire block of information from your website featured at the top of a search query and tends to increase your CTR. To get featured, you need to have your data correctly structured.
Local Pack is Changing Local SEO
Another way to appear in searches is to embrace Local Pack. Make sure your website is optimized to answer queries such as “near me,” “address” and “phone number” – this can easily be accomplished by completely filling out a Google My Business page for your business.
Optimize for Search Engines
Google’s learning algorithms get more complicated with each passing year, and 2019 brought us BERT. There are three essential features to optimize for:
- Neural Matching – assumes what the search query is about
- RankBrain – adjusts the search results based on the user’s behavior
- BERT – analyzes the structure of the search to understand the context and intent of the keywords used.
If you don’t already, write excellent, unique, detailed content.
Brand Building on Social Media
With Instagram eliminating the visibility of Likes and Facebook updating their algorithm for Page visibility, changes have to happen in social media sharing for your brand. Organic social is limiting for a brand unless the posts get viral-level engagement. Paid advertising still works well for spreading a brand message. Linkless mentions of a brand are still a quality signal that both Google and Bing confirm are part of the ranking signals equation.
Social media listening is vital to success in this arena so you can like, respond, and engage with anyone mentioning your brand, product, or service.
Because the algorithms are evolving, so are the actions marketers need to take to stay on top of search results and get found. Use these tips to create a site that is a great user experience for searchers and optimized to catch the attention of the search engines.