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Each year, SEO professionals take a look ahead to predict the top SEO trends and get ready to hack SEO in the year to come. 

What are the major changes affecting SEO in 2020? 

What does it take in 2020 to reach the shiny first place on a SERP?   

These are the questions we asked ourselves. Keep reading if you are interested in getting the answers too.   

SEO 2020: Some Old News

Some SEO tips are definitely old news today. But let us quickly remind them for those who landed from the moon directly into the 2020 SEO.  

Fix technical issues

SEO optimization starts with updating broken links, increasing loading speed and fixing other on-page SEO issues like inconsistency in headings or absent tags. Leaving these technical issues unaddressed makes it difficult to push through to the first positions. 

Write great content

You must be aware of the fact that plagiarism-free content based on well-researched SEO keywords is good, but it’s no longer enough to score high in SERP. You need to produce GREAT content – pieces people will actually want to read. And telling your writers that you expect great content is not enough here. Great results come when you go beyond words and allocate a decent budget, carefully draw up a content marketing strategy, assign employees to consult writers, and use analytics to increase the effectiveness of each piece of content.  

Grow a loyal audience

three men laughing while looking in the laptop inside room

Yes, SEO is about getting organic search traffic. Still, when your loyal social media audience or subscription base read, share and comment on your website stories, they grow in SERP too. Thus, increase the number of your followers and share your content with them regularly.   

Optimize for mobile. At last! 

Google has been continuously emphasizing the importance of optimizing for mobile. Now, when Google has finally moved to the mobile-first index, it has become a must. To get started, use Google’s tool to see if your website is mobile-friendly. Make sure you have a responsive theme, the mobile loading time is acceptable and navigation is easy to use. 

Although you might be hearing these same tips over and over again, two things are undeniable about them: 

  1. These tips still work. More than that, using some advanced techniques without taking care of these basic things first will not take you anywhere. 
  2. Everyone else is doing this too. If your niche is competitive, you definitely need more SEO hacks to get to the top of the search results.   

How to Hack SEO in 2020

Although some of the following 5 SEO trends originated earlier too, they are shaping the fight for SERP domination in 2020. Focusing on the tips for each trend, you will be able to beat the competitions and get access to better ratings, which, in the modern world, equals more clients and higher revenues.     

#1 Domain Authority and E-A-T

Domain Authority will continue to be a significant factor in determining the website’s position in SERP. But domain authority is not only about backlinks anymore. Google is increasingly looking at the brands’ overall reputation and E-A-T (expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness). 

This means Google now takes into account the company’s feedback, reviews, and mentions, as well as the background and mentions of individuals that write content for the company. It also expects companies to be transparent regarding who manages the company and produces content. 

The tips to remember here: 

  • aim at backlinks from trusted websites relevant to your topics
  • if there are any negative mentions about your brand – engage in reputation management 
  • hire experts to write content (especially if you are working in a health and wellness niche) 
  • provide contact details and maintain a thorough about page

#2  Voice Search Optimization 

grayscale photography of condenser microphone with pop filter

Voice search optimization is the next big thing in marketing. 41% of adults perform at least one voice search a day and the number of voice searches in Google increased 35 times since 2008. Although there are no proven ways to optimize for voice search, the largest voice search SEO study to day carried out by Backlinko says high ranking for voice search correlates with:

  • high desktop ratings (75% of voice results comes from top 3 results for a written query) 
  • appearing in a featured snippet   
  • maintaining a question-answer format 
  • simple, easy to comprehend content (average result for voice search in Google is written at a 9th-grade level) 

#3 Visual Search

Visual search is still an emerging trend but this is the beauty of it – you can start optimizing for visual search before anyone else does. Now when  Google Lens can now identify 1 billion objects and 62% of consumers seek more visual search capabilities, it is clear the trend is here to stay. 

Visual search happens when people scan objects or landscapes around them. Thus, it is an excellent solution for shopping, getting directions, getting information about the landmarks, reading local business reviews, accessing nutrition information and recipes. But what pages does Google serve first in the Google Image results? 

According to Google, these are the results:

  • from authoritative web pages
  • that were recently updated
  • that have the image as a central element of the page or at the top of the page    

#4 Structured Data 

For outstanding SEO in 2020, you should think about both how to deliver great content to users and how to serve this content to algorithms. You can hint search engines what your page is about by formatting content as structured data (also called schema markup). 

Neil Patel calls schema markup one of the most powerful yet the least utilized forms of search optimization. And in 2020, there will be even more emphasis on it. One sure sign of it is that Google officially announced it would no longer support schema and sent notices to Search Console users to migrate to 

If every piece of important information is not yet formatted as structured data, you should better give such a task to your SEO specialist right away. Things to highlight may be: 

  • lists, 
  • FAQs, 
  • address and a phone number, 
  • product information, 
  • reviews.            

#5 Optimize Your CTRs. And Get Ready to See Them Drop Anyway

Optimize Your CTRs. SEO trends 2020

If your click-through rates have been dropping lately, you are not alone. Google has started serving people the content they need through embedded video results, featured snippets and People also ask tab. As a result, 50% of all Google searches now result in a no-click.

How it is possible to survive this major disruption? 

  • First, calm down and do SEO. You might be getting fewer clicks, but it is not always a bad thing. The quality of the leads coming to your website should increase, as these will be people who need or want more than a snippet can serve. The bounce rate should go down too.  
  • Rethink your SEO goals. CTRs used to be important metrics. Now, when you have a schema markup, people can actually call your company or go to the landing page without clicking on the search result. This calls for reconsidering SEO analytics and goals.  
  • Optimize your CTRs. Now, when so many users do not click any result at all, there is even more emphasis on making it an irresistible copy. Thus, write meta descriptions for each page, include keywords in the title and description, intrigue, highlight value, delight – get them to click. 

Concluding Thoughts

There are some major changes in Google algorithms and consumer search behavior and, sooner or later, you will have to learn to adapt to them doing your homework with mobile optimization, quality content and technical excellence too. What is vital here is to approach SEO as an element of a marketing strategy, not a goal in itself. If you need a marketing consultancy to help you see the larger picture and optimize for fine details, Rioks is here to help.