SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization. It describes a series of techniques that improve the visibility of a website in search engine result pages. The goal of such optimization is to rank as highly as possible for a certain search query.
This is a trending technology. Thanks to fierce competition between websites it’s become more important than ever for online success.

SEO is one of the youngest marketing disciplines out there, and it’s also incredibly fast-paced. It looks almost nothing like what it did when it first started. While the fundamental principle remains the same, SEO is about making websites easy to find and understand — the tactics involved are very different than they were 1 year ago.

Because of voice-based technology, searches in the form of direct questions will play an even more crucial part of SEO in 2020: “There is an important relation between semantic search and question keywords. Google can identify the entities present in the question keywords with the help of semantic search.”

We don’t yet know how big voice search is, but we do know that mobile search is going strong, and we have many sources to confirm that, including:

* Back in 2015, Google revealed that more people were using mobile search than desktop search in 10 countries, including the US and Japan

* In 2018, more than half of website traffic in the US was coming from mobile devices

* Last year consumers spent three and a half hours a day on their mobile devices

Consequently, Google has switched its priorities by introducing the Mobile-First Index, which means that Google predominantly uses the mobile version of a page for indexing and ranking.

Given that mobile device users often use voice search to find answers while on the go, it is safe to assume that voice search is getting popular, and these two trends are very well connected:

* Both mobile and voice users are likely to be looking for answers while in the middle of the task (so they need clear, concise answers right away)

* In both of the cases, the top result (which is often the featured snippet) is really what matters. So we are competing for the top result now, versus the top 5 positions as we did a few years ago.

How to Optimize Your Site for Mobile and Voice Search:

*Obviously, make your site mobile-friendly and fast (page speed is important!)

*Adapt your content strategy to catch those featured snippet opportunities to outrank your competitors. Mobile users seldom have time to scroll, and with voice search, there’s only one result being read to the user.

* Researching current featured snippets for your important queries (and learning from them)

* Structuring your content with H2-H3 subheadings that address questions behind queries triggering featured snippets

* Providing quick, concise answers (no longer than 90 characters) below each subhead for Google to grab and feature.

SEO Trend #2: Semantic Search and Intent Optimization

Google moved away from exact-matching keyword optimization years ago. These days, Google doesn’t use the actual string of words that are being typed in the search box. Instead, it looks at the query context and analyzes the possible search intent to deliver results.

You can see this all around the SERPs and even in Google Suggest results.

We need to create content that solves problems. That’s what Google is after, and so are the potential customers.

How to Optimize Content for Semantic Search and Search Intent:

Simply searching Google to get an idea of how it is interpreting a query is a great first step.

Using semantic research tools is another good idea. Text Optimizer is an intent optimization platform that helps you cluster any search query into related concepts and entities. It uses Google’s search snippets to come up with ideas to expand your initial copy to provide more solutions and meet Google’s and its users’ needs.

SEO Trend #3: SERP Marketing and Content Diversification:

Google has been taking solid steps to become a destination, not just a discovery project. With a knowledge graph, quick answers, and interactive and visual results, Google is building an ultimate resource that can give comprehensive answers to any query.

Within one search result page, we see:

  1. Google.com/Travel suggestions.

2. Knowledge graph (that includes maps, user reviews, basic facts, etc.).

3. Related videos (This searching element is interactive because you can scroll through the carousel to see more videos).

4.“People Also Ask” results (This box is also interactive: You can click any question to read answers and expand follow-up questions. Interestingly, a question you click determines the topic of further questions that appear. I find this quite eye-opening.).

5. The visual results including more similar destinations, related searches, and more.

6. Organic “text” results are somehow lost in-between.

This is where the concept of “SERP marketing” lies: you need to stop focusing on organic listings and start optimizing for all the other search elements, including videos, images, and “quick-answer” sections (“People Also Ask” and featured snippets).

You need to take each individual search result page as a whole to achieve brand visibility there.

How to Dominate Google with SERP Marketing?

There’s a lot to be done to create an effective SERP Marketing campaign. Here are some steps to get you started:

*Set Up Content Collaboration Strategy: Content diversification brings in both challenges and opportunities. On one hand, you need to continually come up with quality content assets in various formats, which is incredibly hard to scale. On the other hand, you get to leverage more mediums and try more tools and tactics, which is extremely impactful.

*Organize Your Strategy Using an Editorial Calendar: For content collaboration and co-marketing opportunities, consider using an editorial calendar solution that will help you organize your campaigns.

SEO Trend #4: Influencers for SEO

17% of businesses spent over half of their entire marketing budget on influencers, especially those in fashion, beauty, e-commerce, travel, and lifestyle.

So, what’s the relationship between influencer marketing and SEO? Working with an influencer helps you generate traffic, increase your online visibility, and amplify your content reach.

SEO Trend #5:BERT is here to stay

BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) enables anyone to train their own question answering system. This is the first major change Google has made to its search algorithm since RankBrain in 2014.

BERT will impact one in ten queries. SEO marketers who apply BERT models increase their chances of ranking on the first page for featured snippets in Google SERP.

BERT will have the most impact on conversational queries where prepositions like “to” and “for” matter to the meaning of the search query.

SEO Trend #6: Digital experiences

People will want digital experiences- 44% of companies have moved to a digital-first approach to improve customer experience. Whereas, 56% of CEOs said the improvements led to revenue growth.

Page load speed is an important ranking factor. Great content means nothing if your web page doesn’t load quickly or you have a complex user interface.

SEO Trend #7: Video will be the new king of content

Google loves video. It’s a crucial part of your SEO strategy and digital marketing efforts. According to Forrester Research, video is 50 times more likely to show up on the first page of SERP than a web page with plain text. Also, 62% of Google's universal searches include video.

Create helpful YouTube videos that support existing content on your website. It’s not a guarantee for first page results but you’ll enjoy higher traffic when Google indexes your video.

Embed videos on your website to get more traffic. Remember to optimize your video to your blog’s width. Add copy on the page to help Google understand what your video content is about.

SEO Trend #8: Content length will determine search rankings

Only high-quality content can help you beat the competition to page 1 ranking. But you will also have to consider quantity alongside quality.

There’s a lot of arguments around the ideal length of a blog post. Research shows that the average length of the top 10 results is at least 2,000 words. That’s because web pages with long-form, high-quality content enjoy more visibility.

SEO Trend #9: Structured Data

This year has been huge for semantic data, with Google updating their initial guidelines and adding support for new types of structured data, including FAQPage, fact-check, and more. It is clear that Google is very interested in extracting more data from your pages and giving publishers more exposure in exchange.

The good news is that this gives SEOs a competitive advantage over those website owners who are not keeping up with Google’s moves.

BOTTOM LINE

SEO is moving fast — it is a very exciting industry to be in. From the earlier days on, those people who were fast to “get it” found themselves ahead of slower-moving competitors. Use the tools and tips above to get ahead of yours in 2020 and beyond!

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