Pascal Côté, SEO Director: Hi everyone. My name is Pascal Côté. I’m the director of SEO here at Bloom. Again, this year, we’re going to try to predict the unpredictable: Here are five SEO trends for 2020.
Trend 1: Security
Alexandra Buonanno, SEO Analyst: Among the trends that will be affecting SEO in 2020 is to have a secure website with a security certificate. We hear this year over year, however, in 2020 it will be mandatory.
In the past, websites that have not been secured have had a little bit of a disadvantage with regards to their rankings. But in 2020, Google will, at some point, most likely stop ranking websites that are not secure. So, what is a secure website and what is an SSL certificate? It’s a third-party organization that is certifying that the information on your website is secure and that the information is encrypted for your users. Getting an SSL or security certificate is really simple, and you can actually get one for free from organizations like Open SSL. Once you get your security certificate, your URLs will begin with HTTPS instead of HTTP. This ensures that your website is secure and it increases trust with your users. There have been advances exponentially with regard to site security. And this will continue to advance in the future and it will get more simple as time goes on.
But for right now, having a secure website, HTTPS with a security certificate is mandatory for 2020.
Trend 2: Artificial Intelligence
Pascal Côté: The trend I’m going to talk about today is nothing new: it’s artificial intelligence also known as AI. Search engines like Google and being have been investing a tremendous amount of resources in that new technology and we’ve seen the impacts this year, especially if we take into account some recent Google updates such as Bert, which was focused on natural language processing. The thing about these kinds of updates is that we can’t really build strategies around them, we need to adapt for them. We can’t really counter natural language processing, we need to adapt our content and our strategies in order to continue providing relevant content to our users.
Trend 3: Rich Snippets
Jay Arsenault, SEO Analyst: What I think we’re going to be seeing in 2020 is the increased need to have an emphasis on structured data and creating content for your websites. In 2020, Google’s going to be facing more search market competition than they’ve seen in over a decade. We see that Amazon Alexa holds nearly double the market share in smart home speakers that Google home does. And, although still very small in absolute terms, we see new players in the search market like DuckDuckGo, who has doubled in size every two years since 2013. The reality is is that Google’s competitive advantage no longer strictly lies in the accuracy and quality of their search results, but more so in the user experience that they’re able to bring to the table, especially as users move more and more onto mobile devices.
Google wants to keep their user base happy. They want to provide an experience that is as few clicks as possible. And, Google has figured out a way to do this: they take a short summary that describes the answer that users are looking for and they place it right there on the search engine result page. You’ve probably seen plenty of these like quick answers and frequently asked questions.
What this means is that we’re moving slowly into a sort of zero-click paradigm where users make a search and they find the results right there on the search engine result page. I think we’ll see, in the long term, an increased emphasis and interest in creating video content. Video content you can directly monetize on YouTube and you can take that opportunity to again, generate brand awareness and include calls to action to try to entice users to actually navigate to your website and enter the conversion funnel or take that desired action. We could also see an increased emphasis on more rich content in the form of stuff like infographics. While it’s definitely not new, it’s another tool in the content marketers toolbox that they can use to combat the fact that more and more searches are going without clicks in 2020.
Trend 4: Safe & Reliable Information (EAT)
Alexandra Buonanno: Another SEO trend that’s going to be super important in 2020 is not only to make sure that your website is secure, but that the information on your website is safe and reliable. We’re predicting that the quality of your content will be an increasingly important ranking factor. These types of factors are signals that Google is looking for to determine the quality of your website. They are represented by the acronym EAT.
Let’s delve right into what EAT stands for and essentially where it comes from. EAT is described in quite lengthy detail in Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines. EAT stands for expertise, authority, and trust. By implementing several practices and principles represented by the acronym EAT your website can send signals to Google that your website is an authority and an expert in your domain and it holds safe and trustworthy information.
This is most important for websites that are either in the health or financial industry, but it essentially applies to all websites. What’s super important about expertise is that the information on your site is coming from a direct expert and that the information is trustworthy. It’s also important that this information meets the needs of users.
Authority is with regards to how many times people will reference your content from outside sources or other credible sources.
And finally, trustworthiness is really putting a face to your website or a group of people that are representing the expertise in your industry. You should include information about this one person or group of people such as their education, their qualifications, their background and any place where they are on the internet, which shows that they’re a trustworthy source. This is an important thing to do on your website in order to build your website’s reputation.
These are all factors that Google and search engines will use to determine the quality and safety as well as the expertise of the content on your site.
Trend 5: Click-Through Rate Optimization
Jay Arsenault: What we saw in 2019 and what we expect to continue to see in 2020 is organic click-through rate decreasing. A previous trend in this article mentioned that there’s this push from Google to move into a zero-click search paradigm. And, we explored how content marketers can be more creative and create different types of content to try to combat this sort of effect. But, the fact is that some marketers may have more ease transitioning into this new approach than others. And we need to also be able to work with what we already have and try to optimize it. So, the trend here is a heightened focus and emphasis on optimization strategies for click-through rates right within the SERP (Search Engine Result Page) of your traditional organic search results.
We have some tried and true methods which I’m sure are no surprise to anyone but:
- Including keywords right in your URL to send that relevance signal to users right there in the search engine result page
- Using emotional language as opposed to power words in your meta titles and meta descriptions that service a need and resonate with users
- Using effective and enticing call to actions while all sort of leaving something to the imagination. You want to use a cliffhanger to show users that the content they’re looking for is on the other end of this click, but to get the meat, they’re going to have to navigate to your website and enter your conversion funnel.
2020 SEO Trends
That concludes the five SEO trends for 2020. Follow us on social media (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) to see if we’re right or if we’re wrong. Leave us a comment down below with the trends you expect to see in 202), we can’t wait to read yours.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marie-Joelle works at the digital marketing agency Bloom as their Marketing Coordinator. She's passionate about digital marketing tactics (from social media to web design and user experience) for B2B looking to grow their businesses online.