Now that you’ve had a chance to get your feet firmly established in 2020, what are the most important SEO trends for 2020 and beyond that you need to pay attention to?
In this post, we’ll share our thoughts on six SEO trends that you should pay attention to in the new decade.
Let’s get right to the trends…
1. Blockchain Timestamps Will Prove Ownership and Authenticity
Content ownership and verification is going to be an increasingly important part of search engine optimization.
For example, if someone copies your content, how do you prove that your content is the original and those other websites copied it from you?
Obviously, Google does its best to figure this out and the rel=canonical tag can help avoid some duplicate content issues.
But what about malicious people who don’t want to give you credit? This is where the blockchain comes into play. Yes, that “Bitcoin thing”. Via hashing, you can create a unique timestamp in the blockchain that offers irrefutable proof that you published this exact content as a specific time.
Though it doesn’t currently exist, Google and other search engines could adopt these blockchain timestamps in structured data to easily verify content ownership on the web and build trust.
This can also help you build authority, which is another increasingly important part of SEO that you’ll see later on this list.
If you want to learn more about the concept of blockchain timestamps and how it could apply to SEO and structured data, check out this post from Sebastiaan van der Lans.
2. Video is Getting More and More Important
Here’s an interesting statistic that was generated in 2019:
For the first time ever, YouTube surpassed Wikipedia to achieve the #1 overall search visibility.
Back in 2017, Wikipedia was almost twice as visible in search engines as YouTube was. Over time, that gap has significantly lessened, with YouTube officially overtaking Wikipedia in late 2019.
Wikipedia is probably the biggest repository for text-based content, while YouTube is the same for videos. So in a way, you can kind of look at this as a proxy battle between video and text-based content, with video starting to win out.
Now, that certainly doesn’t mean you need to throw your text content to the wayside to match SEO trends! After all, I’m sitting here writing these thoughts in a blog post.
But it is a sign that maybe you should start incorporating video into your SEO strategy, because Google is increasingly showing its love to video content.
3. BERT and AI Will Keep Making Search Smarter
No, I’m not talking about the guy from Sesame Street. In this case, BERT is short for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (now you know why I just said BERT).
In a nutshell, BERT makes Google a lot better at understanding the meaning beyond how people actually speak (or type, in this case).
For example, consider the following example query:
“2020 brazil traveler to usa need a visa”
To a human, this query is asking “Does a Brazilian citizen need a visa to travel to the USA in 2020?”. But before BERT, Google would usually provide search results for the opposite – USA citizens traveling to Brazil.
BERT is helped in large part by machine learning and AI, which will continue to play a role in driving Google’s understanding of the web.
What does this mean for SEO in 2020 and beyond? Well, I think we’ll see less of a reliance on exact match keywords as Google gets better at discovering the context and meaning behind a query.
Basically, create content for humans, not robots…because Google’s robots are getting a lot better at thinking like a human!
4. Google Will Keep Adjusting SERPs (Be Flexible)
Remember back when Google’s organic search results were just a list of clearly marked ads and organic search results? Those were the good old days.
Now, the line between ads and organic search results gets ever thinner and Google has filled up its search results page with featured snippets and other tools designed to keep visitors on Google’s search results pages.
Of course, you could probably put this on every year’s SEO trends post. But changes like adding favicons to desktop search results pages can play a role in how you focus your strategies.
Google is also increasingly focusing on entities, so you’ll also see entities increasingly gain prominence on the search results pages. Search Engine Journal has a good intro to entities for SEO.
So – keep your eye on those changes and be ready to adjust accordingly, because they’re certainly coming.
5. Google Will Keep E-A-T’ing
E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness. It’s especially important for Your Money or Your Life queries (YMYL).
Basically, these are topics that could impact a reader’s happiness, health, safety, or financial stability.
While we think WordPress is pretty important, WPLift is probably not an example of a YMYL topic.
For these important topics, Google wants to showcase only the most authoritative results. For example, there’s a reason why you see WebMD at the top of pretty much every health query (and if you’ve clicked on one of those results recently, let me remind the hypochondriacs among us that you probably don’t have cancer).
If you want to go after these topics in 2020 and beyond, you need to send Google the right signals to boost your authority and trustworthiness.
So how can you do that? Check out this article from Moz for some tips.
You can also consider implementing the blockchain timestamping that we mentioned earlier to establish your authority, transparency, and trustworthiness as a content source.
6. Voice Search Will Keep Growing
It wouldn’t be a post about SEO trends without a mention of voice search. But there’s a reason why pretty much every SEO trends post includes a mention of voice search:
Voice search, and personal assistants, are continuing to grow in popularity. As of early 2019, 42% of all people had conducted a voice search within the past month, either on their mobile phone, computer, tablet, or another device.
Additionally, Statista predicts that the number of digital voice assistants in use worldwide will grow by more than a billion per year going forward, so those numbers will only continue to grow.
So…how can you optimize your WordPress site for voice search SEO to get your share of these queries?
First, make sure to implement structured data, as the existing structured data properties will help voice assistants understand your content. There’s even a new Speakable property that identifies specific sections to be read aloud by smart speakers, though it’s still in beta.
You can also write your content in a way that it answers popular questions in clear, bite-sized chunks. Basically, think about the question that someone might ask their voice assistant and try to answer that in under 50 words.
Here’s to Better SEO in 2020 and Beyond
And that wraps up our thoughts on the most notable SEO trends in 2020 and beyond.
What do you think? Have you noticed any of these trends in your day-to-day SEO life? Or do you think we missed something big? Let us know in the comments!