Ready to grow with organic in 2020? Our SEO Director, John Morabito, offers his top trends that will shape SEO this coming year. When you are caught up on what’s next, discover more SEO content or explore our SEO team’s process here.ONE: INCREASED FOCUS ON BRAND SEARCH AND BRAND BUILDING
No-click searches have been on the rise since 2016 (more on that in trend four). Not only that, increased competition from large companies—notably Amazon—has made brand building efforts vital. When third-party platforms run unpoliced and products can be mimicked with ease, brands must stand out on their own. SEO professionals optimizing content marketing have not traditionally spent a lot of time on brand building efforts. In 2020, we expect to see a wider range of marketers—including SEO professionals—more focused on building a sustainable, devoted brand following through search. I also expect that my colleagues and I will invest more time in optimizing for branded queries.
TWO: EXPANDED STRUCTURED DATA & PRODUCT FEED OPPORTUNITIES
Each year Google rolls out a number of new rich snippets that are often generated by structured data (schema.org) that brands can control. Utilization of schema is part of what Google looks at prior to creating new rich snippet features. In 2020, SEO professionals will expand their use of structured data to areas previously not seen. For example, changes to the job and travel search vertical have been enormously impactful for people in those industries. We also saw, just this week, Google roll out new changes to product search for clothes and shoes. Additionally, we will see advancements in connecting structured data from disparate site pages. Some of the work that Jono Alderson and the Yoast team are executing will bring a big portion of the web much closer to truly structured data.
THREE: STRONGER COLLABORATION BETWEEN SEO AND OTHER MARKETING CHANNELS
Holistic marketing isn't just a trendy buzz term, it's something critical to our Stella Rising approach, in order to truly realize sustainable success for our clients. In 2020, we expect to see even deeper collaboration between SEO, PPC, brand marketing, and social teams in order to create better synergies between channels. Brand building is an excellent example of this!
FOUR: GROWTH OF NO-CLICK SEARCHES
Whether we like it or not, the growth of no-click searches is a very real trend. According to data from Jumpshot, Q1 of 2019 saw 48.9% of all U.S. Google searches end without a click. This statistic represented an increase of 12% from Q1 2016. This means that more than ever, users are searching and never leaving Google, they are never advancing to a new website. Yet that doesn’t mean that Google’s search experience is worsening; in contrast, the experience is improving…for users. Often users get the answer to their query directly in the search results, resulting in visibility for the brands providing the answer—but no clicks. This year we need to come to terms with the no-click trend and focus on visibility rather than just clicks. The goal needs to be reframed as: are we owning the conversion, clicks or not?
FIVE: GROWTH OF "PEOPLE ALSO ASK"
Those featured snippets that often stop users from clicking onwards—they are on the rise! 2019 saw a massive surge in the number of People Also Ask boxes in search, and they will continue increasing in 2020. This can be problematic because Google likes to vary the websites that provide the answer. Test yourself by searching for your brand’s name. Does it have a People Also Ask Box? Is your brand the one answering those questions?
SIX: IMPORTANCE OF ENTITIES
Being an “entity” is more important than ever. For years, Google has been analyzing and better understanding entities, but now with BERT and Rank Brain, they are able to understand their connections better than ever. With that better understanding, Google is doing all sorts of interesting things like showing “related brands” or “related products” in searches. As an example: if you brand is a protein bar and a known entity, Google may show your brand along with other related entities in the new search feature, such as this one below:
SEVEN: PYTHON AND PROGRAMMING
Largely thanks to the Godfather of Python SEO, Hamlet Batista, SEO professionals everywhere are waking up to the endless possibilities offered by Python, a computing language that is partially well suited for dealing with data and analysis.
EIGHT: GROWTH OF IMAGES IN THE SERPS
In just the last couple weeks, the Mozcast feature graph reports a 23% increase in the number of SERPs that contain image packs. We expect to see this number grow as Google made some significant improvements to the image search vertical.
NINE: RIDING THE GOOGLE UPDATE WAVES
As we know, Google releases hundreds of updates per year, but lately there are bigger, more significant updates more frequently. In 2020 we expect to continue to see a great deal of turbulence in the SERPs. For our thoughts on how to respond, read this or connect with us. We would love to begin a conversation with you.