SEO has changed a lot in the last 2 years. E-A-T has us all focused on reputation-building and search and social are becoming more and more connected.
Even just within the last few months, we’ve seen some pretty big updates from BERT to new ways to create Google Actions to Facebook search ads.
So, what does this next decade have in store for SEO?
Here’s a look at what I think will be big as we head into next year and beyond.
1. Content Marketing that Scales
Embracing content marketing isn't exactly a novel idea at this point. In 2020, however, brands need to start thinking about developing content at scale.
Think about how you can create one amazing piece of content and build a whole strategy across multiple platforms. Think--turning blog posts into podcasts, videos, and countless social media posts.
As it becomes increasingly important to create a seamless, on-brand story across all channels, you'll get organized about how you approach your content strategy.
Refresh or Rewrite Old Content
Everything on your site should be up to date with the latest and greatest information. No page should be more than six months old, however, rather than get rid of old content, refreshing allows you to hang on to the domain authority, valuable links, and SERP ranking-- instead of starting from scratch.
Use a tool like Screamingfrog or DeepCrawl to run regular audits on your content to help you ID SEO issues, thin content, and those items past that six month expiration date. As you refresh your content, you’ll want to consider how closely it matches the search queries that send traffic to your page.
Sure, YouTube might be the second largest search engine, but as the SEO landscape changes, it’s becoming increasingly important for brands to take the channel seriously. YouTube feeds into Google Discover, the Google Home Hub, and it stores all of your video content.
From there, you can easily upload YouTube content to other channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and so on.
3. Facebook Search
Facebook recently added a new advertising format to their existing ad stack, and I think it’s going to be big. Facebook search ads allow advertisers to target search terms with commercial intent.
The key benefit to advertisers is, they now can use Facebook ads to drive conversions and capture leads in a more direct way. Additionally, the new format allows brands to target spaces that are less saturated. The current targeting options rely on Facebook to choose the keywords.
4. Professional Link-Building
Backlinks are another staple of classic SEO.
Backlinking, as we've come to know it, shows Google that other websites are willing to vouch for your credibility. According to a recent study, backlinks have a significant impact when it comes to ranking for competitive search terms.
In 2020, the goal is less about collecting as many backlinks as possible and more about identifying the right opportunities.
Promote one or two pieces a month to people who care about this topic. Think industry publications and other channels that have a similar audience.
Schema.org just got SO important. Schema now feeds information directly into the Google Assistant, this way, when someone performs a voice search, the information they need comes right back.
While not an official ranking factor (yet), schema does open up more opportunities to increase your SERP visibility and drive more traffic to your site.
6. SEO in 2020: Google Actions
Google Assistant is everywhere, including everyone's phone, and it's having a major impact on SEO in 2020 and beyond.
Google Actions allows users to create an app for the Google Assistant. Depending on the type of content you’d like to create, Google offers a variety of tools to help you get your Action up, running, and in the Google Actions Directory. Looking forward, I anticipate that optimizing the directory will become a bigger part of the SEO landscape.
As it stands, your directory page is important, as it helps people discover new actions. However, it could be the next app store.
7. International SEO
Now is the best time to do international SEO, as it’s currently not super competitive. You can easily translate content into another language by adding hreflang tags and rank in that other language.
Done right, international SEO presents a great opportunity to rank in other languages and break into new markets with your existing solutions. Keep in mind, you may need some help from a native speaker when it comes to things like keyword research and content creation.
Hreflang tags offer a direct translation of your site, so it’s not the best representation of the kind of content potential visitors want to see. Remember, high-quality content and E-A-T transcend borders.
8. Technical SEO in 2020
Today’s website shouldn’t have technical issues, but they still happen. In 2020, small technical issues could threaten your position, something you don’t want to risk given today’s competitive landscape.
Things like security and speed are still a big deal. Slow speeds lead to lower SERP rankings, as users often bounce away in frustration. Mobile page speed should be over 70, desktop, over 80.
It’s also worth mentioning, the Google Search Console reports can help you quickly spot all kinds of issues from schema errors to bad links. Here’s a look at Google’s current GSC report lineup.
E-A-T isn’t an official ranking factor, but the quality rater guidelines come highly recommended by Google's Danny Sullivan, who points toward the 167-page document as a framework for keeping pace with Google's changing algorithms.
E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness.
How can you help your readers win? Google’s ultimate goal is to find valuable information on the platform and keep coming back. Consider where you can add unique insights and actionable information.
10. Voice Search SEO in 2020
By 2020, 50% of all searches will be converted to voice searches. That stat has been floating around the web for what feels like five, six years. But, as we’re staring down the new decade, that prediction has already become reality.
Now, there’s a guide to every, single thing that creates a featured snippet from FAQs to how-tos. And not only that, I have a guide to everything that creates a voice response.
Moving forward, brands need to build a framework around that, then applying it to your business goals is going to be really important, here.
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is an open-source project designed to help publishers develop fast-loading mobile content by stripping the page code down to a simplified HTML format.
Though AMP is not an official ranking factor, page speed is, making this an important consideration for publishers optimizing for mobile.
AMP about more than speed, users can apply schema markup to AMP content so that it shows up as a SERP feature and as a Google Assistant result.
Essentially, schema gives Google permission to use a specific piece of content. As a result, companies are starting to develop policies around what people share and don’t share with Google. And, in some countries, like France, this type of markup isn’t even available.
Other AMP innovations include AMP for email, which brings fast-loading multimedia into the inbox. There’s also AMP Stories, a new tool that allows users to build AMP landing pages for their ad campaigns, as well as Google’s version of Instagram Stories and the like.
12. Invest in Building a Brand
When you build a brand, you're building trust and authority, both essential pieces of an EAT-friendly SEO strategy.
Branding also matters to the end-user who travels a non-linear, multi-channel buyer's journey. Today's buyer looks toward YouTube, social media channels, review sites, and more to learn about products, so maintaining consistency anywhere you have a brand presence is essential for building trust and awareness.
Events, social media, press releases, and so on, all of these things come together to build a brand people recognize and trust.
For example, look at a brand like Bank of America--that online presence extends to their physical location, social channels, and so on. So, if I see that signature red branding and logo, it represents something familiar that I can trust--at least at the base level.
At a glance, SEO in 2020 is a complex beast, with enough moving parts to make anyone's head spin.
That said, there's a ton of overlap, here. From building a brand to embracing new platforms and learning how to use schema, key themes keep appearing: user-friendliness, high-quality content, and consistent branding.
The point is, in 2020, the SEO end-game isn't all that different than it was a decade ago. Today, SEO means proving to users, over and over that your brand is trustworthy, operating with their best interests in mind.
Author: Maria Harutyunyan
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