Posted at Jan 16, 2020 5:26:00 PM by THAT Agency | Share
The nature of SEO is elusive—or is it? While it does continue to evolve, there are major themes to focus on in 2021. it's a race against competitors to pick up new traffic searching in new ways. Where should you put your investment? Read on to find out how to fully take advantage of Google search engine optimization techniques in 2020 and beyond.
1. More Than Half of All Searches are Zero Click
Zero clicks = zero page views.
Thanks to search engine results pages (SERPs), searchers aren't clicking through to content or web pages. Instead, they find them right there on the SERP. Most of these searches are made in search of fast answers rather than a product or service, so the increasing habit of zero click searches isn't taking much from your brand.
More than half of all searches are answered on the search engine results page itself.
However, there is a lesson to be learned here: more than ever before, you must be measuring the effectiveness of your keyword use. Keywords and key phrases are what bring clicks through to your website, so questions beginning with, “how many” and “when will” can be answered with numbers and easily displayed on the SERP without the need to click through. This used to hurt your SEO, but now, it actually helps it.
Ranking for zero-click search results does help with your SEO, however, if you're searching for qualified traffic and conversions, consider optimizing your website and content with keywords that do can achieve that.
This is a panicking idea, right? Those searchers aren't clicking through to content or web pages.
2. Quality vs. quantity
Think about the ways that you engage with content online. What happens if you click through and find the content isn't edited? The presentation is messy? The content itself is broad and unresearched? It's clickbait that actually fails to deliver any information.
When this happens to you, it's frustrating. It's a waste of your time. Rather than investigating the site more, you click away and choose a different piece of content under your search results. This is how everybody treats content. The content must be engaging. It must teach something and be worth someone's time.
Watch this video for Tips on Creating Quality Content through storytelling:
All too often, content is treated as an afterthought rather than as something to provide value. You may be able to trick your audience, but you can't trick Google. (Can we trademark that?)
You want to invest in content that is:
Your clickbait won't get ranked by Google, and even if it does, the user will click away searching for a more engaging and intentional piece of content.
Lastly, don't present content as a sales pitch—especially for Gen X or Gen Z consumers.
The ideal content length is between 2,350 and 2,500 words. A big part of this is that readers feel they're getting full value out of the piece. They feel the piece is well considered and well researched. They don't need to go to other sources out there (i.e., your competitors) to learn more information. It's all there, in one place.
Another part of this is how Google interprets the time spent reading longer content. If users spend more time on a page, they'll drive more organic traffic to it. As mentioned, this is becoming even more central to Google rankings because of the increased focus on dwell time.
There's still an argument to be made for writing shorter, punchier pieces. You want to serve customers who don't have all day to read an article. It gives you more opportunity to hit a larger range of keywords. It avoids putting all your eggs in one basket hoping something goes viral. Perhaps a topic doesn't need that many words to be described, in which case you want to avoid wasting readers' time. That's all legitimate.
The point isn't to make all your content longer just to make it longer. The point is to regularly make some content that reaches the 2,000 word mark so that it gets higher engagement, increases dwell time, and can take advantage of Google's increasing focus on time spent.
4. Dwell Time
When you create with SEO in mind, envision the dwell time (the length of time a person spends on a webpage after clicking the link) a user will spend engaging with your content. Longer lengths of time spent on a page helps increase Google's SEO rankings.
Dwell time is becoming more central to Google's SEO rankings.
While you still want to serve customers who are looking for fast and easily digestible content, spicing up your editorial calendar with long-form content will help you take advantage of Google's focus on dwell time.
Influencers invest care, attention, and trust in their content, naturally encouraging people to engage at higher rates. Of course, this affects Google search engine optimization. Here's why:
Influencer promotion can elevate your own content's reach and it drives more traffic your way. More importantly, they provide backlinks to your content. These are factors that Google treats as crucial when ranking a web page.
Save time on linkbuilding. Watch this video to learn how:
An influencer's content should link back to a high engagement page of your own. When done consistently, this will help boost your Google SEO rankings. Remember to choose influencers who have a deep slice of your target market. Larger influencers may have an audience that's less specific and less likely to engage. Partnering with smaller influencers whose audiences are naturally aligned with your brand is often a more effective use of your marketing budget.
Speaking of which, backlinking is a staple year in and year out for a strong search engine presence. Paired with useful content, relevant and industry-specific backlinks are one of the main components search engines use when dissecting the authority of your site. Continually growing the backlinking portfolio of your site will pay dividends in ranking your content. Here are some ideas for backlinks that you may have left untapped.
7. Voice Search Optimization
Smartphones and device assistants like Alexa can run a voice search quickly without a user needing to pick up a phone or look at a screen. People often have a different way of speaking when making a voice search.
Where once they would have typed out, “pizza Miami,” they'll now say, “Alexa, what are the best pizza places in Miami?” That whole phrase becomes the search. It's conversational and includes a lot of extra language. Some searches will still be able to key on phrases within the larger questions. Others will draw that extra language into the search itself.
It's new territory. You can still rely on your past keywords in prior content being effective. Typed searches aren't going anywhere. There's simply a new opportunity when it comes to voice searches, and to get that traffic you'll want to add voice SEO to appeal to it. New content should take advantage of using more conversational key phrases.
With more than half of all internet searches becoming voice searches, voice SEO is one of the largest trends for 2020. [Click here to tweet this.]
8. SSL Adoption (HTTPS)
If you are unaware of Google webmaster tools warning to site owners of non-secure sites to be flagged, check out this recent Google Search warning. In short, sites without an SSL will have warnings to users when forms are present on a page. This will have an immediate impact on site leads, conversions, engagement stats and debatably even search engine rankings. The good news is you still have some time to implement as this hasn't taken full affect quite yet, but it is on the way as Google warned the implementation will begin in October 2017.
9. U/X AND AMP
User experience is a factor of SEO, overall site health, and lead nurturing—especially in terms of site speed and mobile responsiveness.
Did you know that nearly 60% of all Google searches are on a mobile device and over 53% of mobile users leave a site that takes longer than three seconds to load?
If you haven't tested your mobile site speed score lately, it's probably time to do so with Google's free tool. If you are unsatisfied with the results, you should consider the implementation of AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages). AMP pages load instantly within Google search rankings, here are the factors allowing quick loading. According to Tech Crunch, Googles AMP now powers two billion mobile pages and over 900 thousand domains.
10. Search Intent VS. Keywords
Keywords were once king, but now search intent also plays a factor in the results! The most common intents of a Google search are to:
-Make a purchase
-Shop and compare products
-Get to a certain website
Having this in mind when crafting content will drastically effect your ranking on search results pages. That being said, you'll want to answer the questions already being asked rather than recreate the wheel.
Did any of these 10 SEO trends stand out to you? Tweet at us @THAT_Agency and tell us what you'll be implementing in 2021! #MarketingTwitterContact THAT Agency today at 561-832-6262, and be sure to click the button below to get your free copy of our 2020 Digital Marketing Trends Report.