A tremendous amount of effort goes into establishing authority in search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo! After all, it’s the first step in the buyer funnel and plays a significant role in the end goal of an eventual conversion or engagement. The stakes are high, and building a brand as an authority takes perseverance, determination, dedication, and, sadly, there are no shortcuts.

One of the most critical components is search engine optimization and, with so much on the line, it is essential that organizations understand the basics of SEO and which SEO strategies will most likely propel your website ranking in the engines.

Well, what are the methods that will yield the best results? It’s the tactics that no one’s using yet. So, get ahead of the curve with our list of the newest SEO trends that will have big impacts in 2020.

Featured snippets are position #0

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Google is continuously evolving and improving its search experience for its users―one of its newest features is the use of featured snippets. Featured snippets appear in position 0 of the search engine result page, just above the first organic result. Recently, featured snippets have been generating more clicks, and it seems that they are here to stay.

54% of Google clicks originate from featured snippets. 

To use the featured snippets to drive more traffic to your website, your site must provide answers to questions that are commonly queried on Google. Then, if you’re lucky enough for Google to choose your answer as the best fit for their users, they will highlight your featured snippet and boost it.

Note: featured snippets generate organic traffic to your site even though you’re not ranked in the number one position. It’s huge.

Using influencers for SEO

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According to U.S. marketers, the most effective influencer content comes from marketing within Instagram.

Influencer marketing is going to play a crucial role in 2020 and we forecast that it will have a breakout year. Customers are much more likely to trust and engage with well-known and respected influencers rather than generic advertisements.

Video ads will begin to drop off, as web surfers are now growing less tolerable of intrusive video pop-ups. Media companies and digital marketers are now investing more in influencer marketing, and they are generally trendsetters.

But how does influencer marketing impact your search rank? Hiring an influencer to plug your website can increase your content reach and generate more traffic and visibility, which, in turn, will inevitably help with building backlinks―a significant factor that Google considers when evaluating a website’s rank. 

When using an influencer marketing strategy, it’s recommended that you partner with relevant industry influencers that your audience can relate to. Also, the content they’ll be creating is crucial for backlinking (if they are authoritative figures with a strong online presence, each backlink is a golden nugget).

Security is priority one

A lesser-discussed SEO trend heading into 2020 revolves around user-safety. Although it’s not the sexiest of topics, it’s vital for a great user experience—if you’re not able to guarantee the safety of your visitors, they’re very likely to bounce off of your page in a hurry. They might not even make it to your homepage, once they notice the dreaded “not secure” warning.

Note: high bounce rates will negatively impact your ranking. 

People that use the HTTPS protocol might have a slight SEO boost, as Google is trying to provide a secure browsing experience for its users. It’s your responsibility to protect your visitor’s privacy, especially if you’re collecting their personal information, or they are making a financial transaction on your site.

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Source—ITRC 2018 End-of-Year Data Breach Report, page 23 [idtheftcenter.org]

The reported number of data breaches continues an upward trend, and the number of records exposed within the United States is at an all-time high—446.5 million data records were exposed in 2018 alone.

Every website has a voice

Keywords were born from imputing words into search engines, but with the evolution of smartphones, the use of voice searches have become a common trend. Today, voice searches aren’t executed on phones alone; they are also used in home voice assistants such as smart TVs, Amazon Echo, Alexa, etc. So, conversational search should be a consideration when optimizing your website for search ranking.

Note: by 2020, it is estimated that over 50% of internet searches will be initiated by voice search.

With this in mind, the use of short, choppy keywords will no longer be king—long-tail keywords are going to set the pace and, to stand out in this new search trend, your content must adapt to the conversational tone of voice searches.

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Source—Voice Shopping Set to Jump to $40 Billion By 2022, Rising From $2 Billion Today [OC&C Strategy Consultants]

Mobile UX is important!

Mobile has been an ongoing trend for a few years now, but it’s so essential that we had to give it an honorable mention here. Websites that are not mobile responsive will be at a considerable disadvantage. The use of smartphones and tablets to browse the web is now the norm and, with more infrastructure being built around this, the numbers should continue to climb.

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Source—Infographic: The Mobile Takeover Continues [statista.com]

In the chart above, we see that the % of time spent on smartphones to navigate digital media continues to rise while desktop usage has declined.

Studies also show that 4 in 5 of those surveyed use their mobile devices to conduct searches on search engines, and the current device split is 72% for mobile and 28% for desktop. However, it isn’t enough to have a simple mobile website; you also need to have a user-friendly interface that’s easy to read and navigate.

Conclusion

Search engine optimization isn’t just a craze or trend, and it’s not going away anytime soon―it’s something your website needs to focus on currently and in the distant future.

If you’re just now starting to realize the importance of SEO, you’re a tad behind, but it’s certainly not too late to apply the strategies we just summarized.

Don’t overwhelm yourself. Start with one of these low-hanging SEO strategies and move on to the next one once you’re comfortable. Also, always monitor your results by tracking your web traffic and search engine ranking to validate your SEO strategy.

Who knows? Maybe, once you’ve got the hang of things, you might even be able to claim that number one spot

Soon enough, you’ll be making your way toward the top search results on Google and, who knows, you might even be able to land that number zero spot!