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Trends in SEO for 2020: Voice, Local & Organic Search.

Predicting how SEO will evolve into the next decade is not easy. Looking at the last we can see how new emerging technologies are changing the way we search online. 

Some would say predicting the future accurately is more down to potluck or the application of scientific theories. But is it different in making predictions about future trends in SEO? Do they lie between potluck or scientific theories? In this article we take a look at trends in SEO for 2020 and beyond to identify the key drivers in search visibility. 

One trend that seems to be emerging as key for all brands is personalisation. But does this affect SEO and its power over online visibility? The evolution of voice assisted technologies has become mainstream, local search is now becoming the main choice for online search via mobile devices. In order to compete with your competition what strategies must you employ to stay in front and at the top of search? We collected what we think are the main trends that will affect SEO in 2020 and also how these will evolve over the next decade.  

 

Voice, Local and Organic Search.

 

But first lets look back at has happened so far in 2019. 

Google updates that affected SEO rankings.

  • Florida Core 2 Core Update – March 6th 2019 

The broad core update was first launched in 2003 and affected millions of websites especially eCommerce as product keywords began ranking differently. Google’s aim for this update was to alleviate any bad backlinking practices where more genuine websites were trailing due to better ‘white hat’ processes in their search strategy.

Just to note that as search engines evolve into the next decade they will  rely less on backlinks to qualify and rank websites. 

The question remains through… will this mean less need for internal website linking in blog content? 

  • Google de-indexing Issue Leads to Shifts in Rankings – April 7th 2019

This event originally happened on April 3rd but still was not fixed by the 7th as Google had announced it was still having difficulties sorting it out. This de-indexing issue resulted in some websites pages dropping in traffic and losing revenue as a result. Many marketers flocked to search console to resubmit and index valuable website pages that had dropped revenue as a result of the shift.

  • Search Results Shake Up. – May 22nd 2019

Another update was introduced on May 22nd which really only affected new URLs however, with 380 websites being created every minute this could have affected a lot of new websites launched around this time. There was also some vagueness from Google as to what actually happened!

  • Domain Diversity Update – June 6th

This was a minor update by Google which tried to remove multiple URLs showing up for the same website in search results which had little effect. It might have been useful to measure this algorithm update against the June CORE update to see if either had affected ranking and web traffic. 

  • Google Update to Reduce Adult Content – July 16th

There was some controversy over this one, very little time given on the notification side, it didn’t seem to be doing a whole lot at first. Then without any notice large spikes (July 18th) and fluctuations in URLs were being recorded by SERP monitoring software. The result that some sites with good UI and UX were affected in search results and those that were bad remained unscaved by the update. It wasn’t Google intention to ge this result its just what happened…no one is perfect even Google!

  • Google Issue with Indexing New Content – Aug 8th

Launched late in August this year, the new content update seemed to have positive effects from the last one in July. All the main SERP trackers were telling the same story as well; Mozcast , Algoroo , RankRanger , SEMRush

  • Google ‘Unnamed updates’ Sept. 5th, 10th – 13th

The recent unnamed updates from Google targeted certain web content that could affect someone’s happiness like ‘your money or your life’ search topics. It’s a crusade that Google has recently embarked on to lower the rank visibility of some of these types of webpages/topics as they are not ethical in their objectives. Google has a rating system that allows them to classify which are poor and which aren’t. Some of these sites publish topics like health and nutrition, news, sports, shopping and finance which is fine but the algorithm is more targeted towards those more malicious sites that incubate hatred and develop scams were an individual’s wealth can be depleted or exhausted. 

So with all the algorithm updates that were released in 2019…What’s Next for 2020?

Changes in search preferences:

The increased use of voice search and voice SEO.

“50% of all searches will be conducted through voice search by 2020″

First introduced by Google in 2007, this voice search technology has revolutionised SMART Home products like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home. There is no doubt that voice search has steadily become the most dominant choice for local searches. Its popularity is due mainly in how adaptable it is for home use, controlling room temperature, ambient lighting, music and of course voice shopping. This technology has long moved to mobile as well with Google Assistant and iPhone’s SIRI voice assistant Apps, which has allowed for even more exposure in everyday life. By 2020, 50% of all searches will be conducted through voice search and with this projection more than likely becoming a fact, businesses are more than ever in need of digital marketing strategies to compete in a race to dominate local search listings.  

 

According to Google…

“72% of people who own a voice activated speaker say that their devices are often used as part of their daily routine”

So you will want to know… 

The 5 most important steps to get your brand to the top of a voice search

  1. Webpage speed – keep your website load speed fast, load time for voice searches is 4.5 seconds so your site will have to be optimised to adapt and compete.
  2. Be specific on what answers you want to provide, keep them short, simple and user friendly so Google will understand clearly – elocution is key!
  3. Execute a social media strategy that aligns with your brand and commercial goals. High visibility in voice search results is guaranteed with strong social media content and user engagement.
  4. Ensure you use a secure HTTPs URL for your website rather HTTP as the later ranks lower as Google does not trust them) in voice and normal search. Over 70% of voice search URLs are HTTPs so if you haven’t made the switch – do now!
  5. Leverage your FAQ database (if you have one) what are the most common questions that you get asked about your business’s products or services. 

“31% of Irish Internet users are now using voice commands in regular searches.”

Changes in search results: 

More search queries displaying ‘Google Knowledge Graph’. 

When was the last time you looked at your analytics and checked what percentage of your web traffic was generated organically? Well just so you know 80% of web traffic starts with a search query. Google right now is starting to integrate Knowledge Graphs in search queries to enhance the search experience for its users and reward businesses for optimised web content. This infobox allows users to review information about your business before they even click on your website. It was launched in 2012 by Google and collates information about places, people and companies in a tidy summary box with associated thumbnail images for visuals. 

Trends in SEO for 2020: Voice, Local & Organic Search.

The Knowledge Graph is a user-centric tool that allows users to review information from searches in a handy information card. It’s great for brands that want to rank well using website content that is optimised for Google to read and display for search queries. This feature has adapted well on the ‘Google My Business’ platform with the local business knowledge panel. Showing hours of operation, contact information and key features of a business whilst also providing location and direction details.  

Getting your brand and business on either the knowledge graph or panel in search results drives credibility with reviews and ratings from clients and customers. It also has other features very useful in driving business authenticity like company updates and more information on products and services. 

Key Benefits of Knowledge Graph & Knowledge Panel.

  • The Knowledge Graph works slightly different to the Knowledge Panel, it evolves with more relevant information about a brand as time goes on.
  • It creates a more enhanced search experience for users with key information being displayed about a brand or company with one search query.
  • The platform works great for increasing web traffic to your brand, reading positive reviews can do nothing but add to more visitors wanting
  • to know more about your business and travelling to your website.

Trends in SEO for 2020 & Beyond: Voice Search, Local SEO, Organic Search.

Courtesy of Google Search 2019.

Get in front.. Stay at the top!

What steps to take so your business can remain highly visible in search results.

  •  Keep your content strategy vibrant and create for search relevancy and personalisation. Does your content answer a question, before you start to write do some research on the topic you plan to create. Create content that will best answer a user query, approach the topic in a personalised way, analyse for search volume at the top of the SERP’s make sure there is enough search interest. 

 

  • Try to craft your website content in conversation style format. People think like that and search by phrases or long-tail keyword strings, so its best to adapt your headings <h1 Tags> and sub headings <h3 tags>  accordingly.  

 

  • The Meta Data on your webpages is vitally important, be sure to tag with search intent in mind, ask yourself the question how would you like people to find your business products or services? Product page meta tags and content are vital in order to rank your eCommerce store in organic search. Ensure you spend time researching keywords that are highly searched and relevant to your brand. Try also to gather ones that reflect and fit with the product page and the product description to maximise search visibility and drive traffic to your online store. 

 

  • Keep your business profile / Knowledge panel accurate, your business title, address, contact details and business products and services should reflect what you do and where you are located. Remember the likelihood of you appearing in a local search will most likely be triggered by a voice search. So keywords and relevancy are key. 

 

  • Your content structure is also important, search engines prioritise with well laid-out content. Your content should always have a beginning, a middle and an end. 

Follow these three rules of content writing. 

  1. Tell people what you are going to talk about. – The Introduction 
  2. Talk about it. The Main Body
  3. Tell people what you talked about. The Summary or Takeaways

Take the time to develop your content with meaning and above all with the ability to answer a search query efficiently. 

What will Local SEO look like in 2020?

Local search is already highly attracted to local business listings, especially with voice search and its compatibility to mobile. This is only projected into 2020 with an expected increase of up to 50% of all searches conducted through voice. At present 46% of all searches on Google  are conducted with local search intent. With the focus and popularity on local search and the advantage of having an optimised business listing the competition in topping local search will only become greater into 2020 and beyond. Google have been rumoured to be releasing a premium ‘Google My Business’ service that will offer additional features to provide local businesses with even more ability to reach local search queries from customers. 

Tip: If you are currently running PPC campaigns you should consider adding a ‘location extension’ to your campaigns ad copy. This provides a clear location address for your business and will boost your ‘Google My Business’ profile on map views as well.

It will only get tougher for businesses to compete so social proofing will be key to appear higher in local searches. 

Customer reviews will play an important driver in local search result positioning, the better your customers reviews the higher Google will rank your business profile listing. (This will be a massive factor for years to come, higher rated businesses with exceptional service or products will rank higher by Google). Which is a good thing so no brand with a large advertising budgets can swamp local search listings allowing a level playing field for all. 

Brand Popularity & Engagement  is also going to be a key factor in local search ranking. Producing content that is locally relevant to your brand and community will have very positive effects on consumer engagement. This will not go unrewarded by Google, going forward brand value and the impact of consumer engagement with your brand will seriously reflect on your on local search rankings. Community forums, social media mentions and engagement will all play a part in determining the value Google places on your brand.

Optimise your content for Local Search For local search using the term ‘near me’ can help in search rankings “[Business Type] near me” will give you better search visibility in general and local search results. For example “best shoe shop near me” is far more relevant for local search than “best shoe shops in Dublin”, in this instance the search will provide the best shops based on customer / Google reviews as the query is asking just that. 

Other keyword research.

Try to develop your content in a way that will match long-tail keywords strings, it’s nothing new but think about what questions will be asked by users to generate visibility for your businesses products or services. Question based keyword strings will normally start with which, what, how, when, where. FAQ pages are really helpful in generating website search results and a good element to have on your website. If used alongside a chat bot or live chat facility they can really boost search relevancy identifying the most frequent questions asked and deploying the right answer via a website URL. 

Summary. 

Predicting how SEO will evolve into the next decade is not easy. Looking at the last we can see new how emerging technologies are changing the way we search online. One thing is certain though and is more prevalent than ever and that is personalisation. Developing your SEO strategy to match every possible search query is impossible, but providing the best possible answers to stimulate more interest is key. Questions need answers and search queries are no different so remember, adapt for voice search, develop your listing on Google My Business and research for highly relevant keywords for content on your website. 

At izest Marketing we drive relevant traffic to websites. Our technical experts specialise in analysing and collecting keywords and other metadata for your web platform that result in high volume search queries on search engines. We understand the importance of having a competent local search strategy and how mobile can be leveraged to get your business listing in front of the right target audience. We also design our own websites with a fundamental focus on the end user in developing mobile responsive websites. We design our websites architecture to be search engine friendly ensuring maximum visibility in search results along with a contemporary design and modern feel. 

Why not contact us if you are experiencing issues with your existing website or plan to develop a new modern one for the decade ahead.