Happy New Year! The new year brings a new set of guidelines from Google for SEO marketers. SEO will be one of the biggest ways for companies to get their website to be at the top of Google search results. Read about these 2020 SEO trends in order to be prepared for what the year will bring!
1. Domain Authority 2.0
In the past, domain authority (DA) was determined by how many sites link back to yours. The more links you had back to your site, the more popular you must be, thus the higher your score. In 2020, Google will take much more into account when determining domain authority. Google wants to see what sites are trustworthy, authoritative, and experts in their field.
Domain Authority is a score that predicts where a site will land on the search engine results page (SERP). It is used primarily to compare how competitors, Papa Johns and Dominos for example rate in search results. Because it is difficult to determine how Google ranks search results, Domain Authority can offer a clue.
This year, Google will be cracking down on SEO marketers who are using any blackhat methods, such as keyword stuffing, invisible text, doorway pages, adding unrelated keywords to the page content or page swapping (changing the webpage entirely after it has been ranked by search engines), to boost site ratings. These are also annoying to readers, so it is best to avoid them in any case.
At the beginning of Domain Authority 2.0’s release, domain authority for sites will drop.SEO marketers should scrape link building tactics and other blackhat methods in hopes of regaining some authority for the site.
For more information on Domain Authority and how it works, please see: Moz on Domain Authority 2.0: How SEOs should (and shouldn’t) use it.
2. The Featured Snippet
Another SEO trend to be aware of is the featured snippet. According to MOZ, Featured snippets are selected search results that are featured on top of Google’s organic results below the ads in a box. These are the “answer boxes” that appear at the top of a Google Search Results page.
Many searchers are looking for quick and easy answers. So, in the future, Google is going to put more importance on the featured snippet.
The on-page copy of a site’s page must be optimized to be shown as the featured snippet in order to increase visibility and in turn, it will drive more customers to your site.
You can optimize for the featured snippet by writing a 40-60 word-block of text that answers searchers burning questions. It’s a best practice to include this snippet above the fold on a page and to reiterate keywords throughout the rest of the webpage.
There are three major types of featured snippets:
You can see in the example below that for the search query “how do I streamline my small business recruitment process?” a blog post by ShareAble for Hires is shown as the featured snippet for giving a concise answer with a title and keywords that match user search intent.
3. Voice Search
Because it’s expected that nearly 50% of search queries will be voice searches by the end of 2020, Google is putting a bigger emphasis on voice search. People already use voice commands with digital devices (e.g., set an alarm, call Mom) and now there’s a lot of growth potential for search marketing as well. The increased accuracy of voice recognition has allowed people to get answers faster and allows them to multitask.
Therefore, optimizing for voice search will become very important this year.
Typically, the voice search featured snippet is the same as the featured snippet chosen by Google. Therefore, you should first place your efforts on optimizing for the featured snippet before even beginning to worry about optimizing for voice search.
Next, keyword research for voice search changes a bit. Think about what you would search for when talking versus typing a query. People might type out a keyword, such as “kung fu schools in Seattle”, but in a voice query they might as “what are some kung fu schools in Seattle?”
Use AI research tools, such as Answer the Public, when looking for voice search keywords to see what the top search keywords, phrases, or questions are and what people are searching for find your page specifically.
When searching via voice users are hoping to find one of these three categories:
• Informational intent
• Navigational intent
• Transactional intent
4. Engagement and Reviews
Another change in terms of SEO for 2020 is placing more emphasis on how companies engage with their users. Think about how you are interacting with your customers on your website or through social media platforms:
• Do you respond to every comment on their posts?
• Do you facilitate conversation and engagement with and between their customers?
Companies that engage new current and potential customers online and on social media show Google that they care about their customers and that they are an active business.
Reviews will be an important indicator of trustworthiness and ultimately affect domain authority. Additionally, how companies respond to reviews will become important. This will be analyzed by Google to again affect trust flow/DA as well as boost your local rating in the SERP.
Here you can see a local business owner responding negatively to a negative review, while Mint takes the time to address the customer kindly and offers to help.
Which do you think got a better result from the customer? Which company do you think helped boost their DA? Customers expect quick if the not immediate response to their post on social media from a company. While they might not expect a positive interaction with a complaint, it would improve their impression of the company and it would certainly look better to others who see that post.
Start updating your SEO strategy for 2020!
There are many things to consider when planning your SEO strategy for 2020. Make sure to use SEO keywords when building your webpage, but don’t overuse them so much that they become meaningless and annoy customers.
Also, consider how you can take full advantage of the featured snippet and voice searches to drive customers to your site. Finally, try to make all your interactions with customers online positive, even if it just on your end. People want to work with a company that acts professionally. Fighting with an angry customer will only drive people away from you.
Don’t forget to read up on these four very important trends that will affect SEO rankings this year.
Samantha Rupp holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and is a contributing editor for 365BusinessTips.com. She lives in San Diego, California and enjoys spending time on the beach, reading up on current industry trends, and traveling.