SEO in 2020: 7 Updates You Need to Know

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SEO in 2020 is changing. Maybe your SEO campaign worked last year, maybe it didn’t. Either way, like most technology, SEO is shaping up to look vastly different in 2020.  

SEO experts understand the intricate challenges associated with updating SEO strategies and staying on top of search engine algorithm changes.

Just as your business changes, so too does search engine optimization, and that’ why you need to stay on top of emerging trends and updates.

Google, which represents nearly 80 percent of all search engine traffic, incorporates more than 200 factors in its search engine rankings.

These SEO factors are not static, search giants are constantly making tweaks … and you should, too.

Here are 7 updates you need to know for SEO in 2020:

#1 Mobile is King

Yeah, we know, this is not news. But mobile optimization is growingly one of the most important SEO tools available and deserves the top spot on our list. Mobile searches officially surpassed desktop searches and show no signs of slowing.

Here are some interesting data points from Stone Temple comparing mobile usage in 2018 versus 2017:

  • The percent of visits from mobile devices grew from 57% to 63%.
  • The percent of time on site from mobile devices grew from 40% to 49%.
  • Mobile Bounce Rate dropped from 52% to 47%.

The study highlights a faster-than-anticipated shift from desktop web usage to mobile web usage.

Mobile users are also spending just as much time on site as desktop users.  The bottom line is, if you’re not paying attention to the level of traffic coming to your site from mobile, you really should be.

SEO in 2020 centers on mobile and your strategy should, too. You can test your website’s mobile-friendliness here:

But remember, there’s much more to mobile SEO than a mobile-friendly website.

#2 Voice Search

Search will never die but it will evolve. With personal assistants, such as Siri, Alexa, Cortana and Google, becoming more prominent, voice search is more important now than ever.

Voice search will influence SEO in 2020 significantly. Consider for a moment that Google receives 6,500 search queries every second. Since the data were first recorded in 2008, voice searches have increased by nearly 4,000 percent. The potential here is endless.

And since internet users can now conduct search queries from virtually anywhere, by simply speaking into their phones or other connected devices, voice search is the next frontier.

I mean, who wants to type a search when they can just speak it?

Google, Apple, Microsoft and others are constantly improving the listening and AI capabilities of their respective personal digital assistants to improve search accuracy and user experience.

By enhancing your website specifically for voice search, which is typically done in the form of a question, businesses can increase their likelihood of showing up in rich search results or answer boxes.

It is projected that by next year, voice search will represent 50 percent of all search engine traffic. If that doesn’t motivate you to improve your SEO in 2020, nothing will.

Savvy marketers are already adjusting strategies to focus on voice search.

Longform keywords, or keyphrases, are replacing costly and hard-to-rank-for single-word keywords.

During the keyword research phase, look for conversational phrases. Incorporating these into your web copy and other content is a great first step. Think of how customers ask questions in real life.

For example, instead of optimizing your website for the phrase, “best hiking boots,” try a full question, something along the lines of, “what is the best hiking boot store in Irvine.”

You can use a couple of different free tools to keep track of the longtail keywords customers are using to search for your products or services, such as Pro Rank Tracker and SEO Book Rank Checker.

#3 Security, security, security

Cybersecurity is no joking matter.

Even if you don’t sell products or services directly on your website, it needs to be secure.

Missing SSL security certificates are not only worrisome to users, but search engines will also penalize your search rankings.

Ensuring your website has an HTTPS version, and that the old HTTP version automatically redirects to the HTTPS version, is integral to your success.

HTTPS has been a function of Google’s algorithm since 2014 and it’s only become more important since. Simply moving your website to HTTPS can help your search engine rankings almost instantly.

#4 User Experience

User experience, also known as UX, needs to be included in your SEO strategy.

SEO does not work in isolation. Your entire website, including its design, plays a role. Google makes it clear that web pages should be designed with the user in mind.

UX impacts search engine optimization in a number of ways, including:

  • Content Consumption
  • Engagement
  • Backlinks
  • Page Speed

Google and other search engines use all of these factors when determining which websites to display on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page).

In other words, your focus should never be solely on search engine optimization or solely on design; your focus should always be on the user and usability.

#5 Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

AMPs help enrich the mobile experience by loading pages for mobile instantly while still offering a smooth, compelling experience.

As I mentioned above, as the number of mobile users continues to increase, so do mobile searches. Ten years ago, less than 1 percent of web searches were done on mobile. Today, that number has surpassed 50 percent.

AMPs benefit SEO by increasing page load times and reducing bounce rates. AMPs are also important because Google News easily picks them up, giving your site another SEO boost.

#6 Structured Date is Key

Structured data is more important today than ever before. You should be using structured data on your website to communicate with search engines every chance you get.

As Google puts more emphasis on artificial intelligence and mobile, structured data will help your website stand out.

Structured data tells search engines what is the most important information on the page (i.e. a cookie recipe). In order to use structured data effectively, you need to understand search intent and user behavior.

Understanding and using structured data, schema and active and passive search behavior is a critical trend marketers need to focus on in 2019.

Most content management systems, including the uber-popular WordPress, have already incorporated structured data into their systems. In addition to creating new content, optimize your current content for structured data as well.

#7 Create Exceptional Content

Ultimately, good SEO in 2020 comes down to creating good content. Google and other search engines have made a concerted effort to display and promote exceptional content.

Algorithm changes for 2019 focus predominately on quality content, including the depth and breadth of webpages.

At the Lorem Ipsum Company, we monitor the performance of the content we create closely. In general, in-depth content, such as whitepapers and long-form blog posts like this one, performs much better than lighter content pieces.

We’ve seen a trend in Google rewarding websites that produce high-quality, content-rich webpages.

As Google continues to fine-tune its algorithm to focus on quality, exceptional content will have a huge impact on SEO in 2020.

This means you can’t just create content for content’s sake. Don’t just write a blog post to keep your blog active, write a blog post that will have meaning and impact for your audience.

No more keyword stuffing or bulk content creation around a specific set of keywords. Google is on to you and will punish your website rankings.

ALSO READ: If you’re not solving a problem with your content marketing, you’re creating one.

Your content should educate, but it should move and motivate your target audience. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your time. If you need help creating quality content, give us a call.

A Bonus: Boost SEO in 2020 with Reviews

One last thing to consider is reviews.

While more than 80% of consumers say they do not leave reviews, they still rely heavily on them for purchasing decisions.

Google and other search engines have also signaled that reviews play a role in search engine optimization, especially when it comes to Google Maps.

Focusing on reviews can have a powerful impact on your SEO in 2020.

Conclusion: SEO in 2020

This day and age, anything that boosts your search engine optimization is worth looking into. With so much content crowding the web, any advantage you can give your business is worth it.

This blog post barely scratches the surface of what SEO in 2020 will look like. For more information on how you can improve your SEO in 2020, contact us today.

Jeramy Gordon is the founder and Chief Content Officer at the Lorem Ipsum Company. He has been creating successful content strategies for almost two decades and believes in the power of high-quality content. He lives in Orange County, California, with his wife and two children.

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