Home » SEO » The Future of SEO: What Will SEO Look Like in 2020?

The Future of SEO: What Will SEO Look Like in 2020?

man pointing at search box and seo graphics

There are tens of thousands of searches every second. With so many different websites out there, getting to the first page of the search results is key. That’s where search engine optimization, or SEO, comes in.

The right SEO tactics can help your website rank on the first page of the search results. That makes it more likely that the people searching will find your website and your business.

SEO is always changing, though, so what works today may not help you tomorrow. What does the future of SEO look like? We look at the latest trends that will help you hang on to your ranking in 2020.

Think Mobile First

Google introduced its mobile-first indexing initiative in 2016. That was also the first year that mobile use surpassed desktop use.

Mobile usage has been growing from there. More people using smartphones and tablets to access the Internet. Other gadgets have also been increasing people’s ability to connect on the go.

The move to mobile has pushed SEO professionals in a few different ways. Google’s mobile-first indexing makes having a mobile version of your website necessity.

Mobile-friendly often isn’t enough either. You need a mobile design that’s ready to provide the best possible user experience. With more people going mobile-only, it’s time to think mobile-first for website design.

The other impact mobile has had is actually on the way people search. Mobile is, in some ways, linked to the rise of local search. With a smartphone in hand, a tourist can search for the best places to eat when they visit a new city.

As a result, SEO professionals also need to rethink the way they structure keywords. Targeting local optimization in the mobile world is a smart move. It will continue to impact search results long past 2020.

The Rise and Rise of Voice Search

Mobile and local search stole the spotlight, but there’s another trend SEO experts are watching. That’s the rise of voice search.

Mobile is, again, partly responsible for the emergence of this trend. People on the go may not have their hands free, and typing on a touchscreen isn’t always easy. Many mobile device users are discovering it’s easier to talk to their phones and watches when they need to search for something.

The other major factor in the rise of voice search is the arrival of smart assistants. Sales of devices like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home have been increasing year over year. People who adopt these devices can talk to them, asking them to search for something.

Why is this important to the way you do SEO? Voice search is structured differently than traditional text searches. Voice search often asks sentence-length questions, and natural language is used.

In essence, voice search is more like having a conversation than text searches. If you want to keep ranking, you’ll need to find out which questions people are asking. Then you’ll need to make sure you answer them.

More from Digital Media Thoughts:   How to Get More Local SEO Citations

SEO Trends Focus on Content

Content is still king in 2020. That said, we’re seeing some interesting trends in what kinds of content get the most clicks.

First, SEO in 2020 will finally catch up with the explosion of video content in the last few years. Facebook and other platforms already offer up most of their content as video.

Internet users have embraced video for almost everything, from learning to entertainment. Marketers and business leaders have looked to video as a new way to engage audiences.

Until recently, though, video content didn’t play much of a role in your SEO efforts. Google has started serving up video search results now. That means video SEO has finally arrived.

With so much video content out there, you need to make sure your videos are ranking to be seen. Much as it does with the traditional search results page, SEO will help your videos rank higher and reach a larger audience.

Video optimization includes adding relevant keywords to the video description and headline.

The New Rules for Text

Video may be popular, but that doesn’t mean that other forms of content have disappeared. In fact, text is still important to your ranking.

One of the latest SEO trends for text is a change in the preferred length of blog posts. Google’s algorithm is promoting content that’s longer than ever. Blog posts and other text content perform best at around 2,000 words.

In an era when attention spans are short and video is everywhere, that’s somewhat surprising. Key factors in this trend appear to be long-tail keywords and voice search. Longer posts give you more time to adequately ask and answer the questions people are asking.

One thing that isn’t changing in 2020 is that quality still outweighs quantity when it comes to content. 

The Technical Side of SEO

Another of the SEO trends to keep an eye on in 2020 will be the increasing importance of the technical side of things.

By and large, SEO to this point has been driven by keywords and content quality. Write a few good blog posts, sprinkle in some keywords, and you’re good to go.

Google is increasingly prioritizing website function and performance though. That means you need to focus on the code underlying your content.

Google’s algorithm assesses websites on several technical aspects, including:

  • Page loading time
  • Navigation
  • Structured data and schema markup

Page loading time and navigation are key to your users’ experience on the site. If the page doesn’t load quickly, most users will navigate away.

Navigation is similarly important. A page that’s confusing or difficult to navigate will discourage users. They’ll turn elsewhere for their information.

Search engines like Google want to deliver high-quality results to their users. If your page loads quickly and is easy to navigate, it’s more likely that visitors will have a good experience. If you also provide quality information, Google’s likely to give your page a higher ranking.

More from Digital Media Thoughts:   How Your Blog Fits Into Your SEO Digital Marketing Plan

Structure is Key

Structured data and schema markup are less for visitors and more for the search engine. Structured data and schema are both tools you can use to help web crawlers categorize and index your page. By using them, you make it easier for a search engine to read and understand your content.

That lets Google and other search engines ensure they provide the best search results.

To boost your site’s performance, you’ll want to incorporate structured data and schema. You’ll also want to look at ways to reduce load time, such as compressing and optimizing images. Using a language like JavaScript can also speed up your site.

If you’re not a technical expert, don’t sweat it. The right SEO platform can help you put structured data in place with ease. You can get back to crafting great content and doing keyword research.

AI is the Future of SEO

One of the new SEO trends is artificial intelligence. AI has been a buzzword in other industries for a few years now. It’s only just making its way over to the world of SEO professionals.

So, how do AI and SEO fit together?

Google intends to use it to understand your website and content even more seamlessly. AI will also be used to parse mentions and testimonials. All that information will go into determining your rank.

Today’s AI can collect and analyze data, so you should follow Google’s lead and consider adopting it. AI can be used to collect information about user behavior, such as dwell time or keywords. In turn, that information can be used to make predictions.

AI can also suggest strategic partnerships, such as which influencers you should work with. Using the data provided by AI, you can find the SEO solutions that have been right in front of you.

Google’s Not the Only Game in Town

Another of the SEO trends 2020 will see is the continued expansion of search engines other than Google.

Google controls most of the search market, although other alternatives like Bing and Yahoo! exist. Smaller search engines are gaining ground, though, often through unique promises:

  • Duck Duck Go promises enhanced privacy, which Google doesn’t offer
  • Ecosia donates most of its profits to tree-planting efforts around the world

Some websites have their own, built-in search engines, such as YouTube. Recently, Amazon’s search has become more important to SEO marketers.

While Google is still, by and large, the most important, it’s no longer the only game in town.

Adjust Your SEO Strategy Now

As you can see, the future of SEO is evolving right before our eyes. You can start preparing for 2020 right now by adjusting your SEO strategy. It’s a smart move to incorporate these trends.

Looking for more great advice to help your digital marketing efforts? Take a look around to find more helpful insights.