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5 SEO Content Trends for 2020

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is like a game where Google keeps changing the rules whilst the rest of us try to work out what they are!

From my understanding, there are four main factors which affect your ranking in a Google search, these include:

  • Search data – the prominence and usage of keywords throughout your site which were included in the original search string that was entered.
  • Backlinks – how often your site is linked to from other trustworthy and reputable sites
  • Web analytics – the amount of traffic which your site has (in comparison to others)
  • Crawler requests – measured by site speed, image download speed and how quickly and easily items related to the search string can be found.

Remember there are two sides of SEO. There is the very technical side which includes using Google Analytics effectively,understanding SERP (???), uploading site maps regularly, using particular plug-ins and ensuring your metadata is fully optimised…and probably more. Eeek!

The other side is where I am more comfortable! It is about writing high quality content to ensure users have a good experience, can clearly understand what you offer, show off your expertise and authority, are encouraged to stay on your site for longer and visit regularly…as well as ensuring keywords are included where relevant opportunities present. This is very much what I will focus on in my 5 recommendations for 2020. If you need more technical support (and I highly recommend both) then speak to an website technical expert.

1. High quality content

Yes, number one…front and centre…high quality content will remain a key factor for determining search engine ranking in 2020. It makes my heart sing! This is what I am all about…it is what matters to me. Helping you to create good content for your website, because I want you to represent your business well. The wonderful thing is this continues to be one of the best SEO tools for 2020.

Google will continue to evaluate your website based on your content – the words on your pages – and as Google’s bots develop it is evaluating this content based on E-A-T. This stands for expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness. 2020 is not the time to fake it on your website, to take shortcuts or avoid sharing your expertise and adding depth.

Google is actually checking company information and comparing to external sources, so now is a good time to make sure you are consistent. Do you include company information on social media platforms, online directories, other people’s website? If so, then check these for consistency. Make sure everything you state on your website is accurate and good quality.

Consistency also raises the issue of what digitaldoughnut.com calls ‘off-page SEO’ which relates to branding and consistency across all of your business communication.

Write well. Write accurately. Write proudly. It’s time to be genuine.

2. Mobile friendly

Over 50% of internet browsing now happens on a mobile device. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly then you are doing the very opposite of SEO! Correcting this does fall in to the more technical side of things but I have found a really simple tool to check whether individual pages are mobile-friendly. Visit: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly and you’ll get a simple ‘yes or no’ answer. You do have to put in a unique URL for each page.

Check how mobile-friendly your website pages are with this quick Google test

Again it is more of a techincal issue, but I know with WordPress templates most of them are responsive and will reflow text and reposition images depending on the device being used, so it may be a simple resolution of updating your theme, if you haven’t for a long time. If not, then it’s time to call in the experts and re-do your website. You can’t afford not to be mobile-friendly – trust me.

You may be wondering why I have included this as my 2nd ‘content’ SEO trend. The reason is that being considered mobile-friendly is directly related to the copy you write as well. What looks like barely a page of text on a desktop screen can make your thumb ache when it comes to scrolling through it on a smaller phone screen! If a user sees lines and lines of text, with no let up, this is going to increase your bounce rate and decrease the amount of people spending time on your site. This all counts against you when Google works out its rankings. Therefore, it is vital to write copy with the mobile phone user in mind:

  • Ensure paragraphs are short
  • Use regular headings and subheadings
  • Check images and caption stay together (and are placed sensibly) when text is reflowed
  • Make sure the size of your fonts is legible on all screen sizes

You have a phone, no doubt, so have a look at your website on it regularly and check tablets, various sizes of phones, different browsers and operating systems too.

3. Questions and answers

I’ve already discussed high quality content and showing off your authority and expertise…well here is another good SEO chance…offering questions and giving good quality answers will be vital for SEO in 2020, to get your website noticed.

I am sure if you have done a recent search you have noticed how Google offer two (of many) things on the results page – one is a ‘snippet’ which is a preview of the text on the webpage it thinks you are interested in and the other is the ‘People also asked’ list of related questions.

Taking a step back…when you did a recent search did you type it or did you speak it? Voice activated search is growing a crazy rate – whether it is from people speaking in to their phones or smart speaker. More and more searches will be activated by “Google – Where is X?” or “Siri – When is Y?” Even though they could, people do not say as often “Google – Chinese Restaurant London”. Because it is speech (and not typing), we have gone back to the long form of asking questions rather than just using keywords. You need to reflect this in your content. Your heading needs to ask the question, i.e. “What is the best Chinese Restaurant in London?” And the paragraph directly below needs to immediately and succinctly answer the question i.e. “Our award-winning {Name of Chinese Restaurant} on Winchester Road because…”. These questions become the Google result or ‘what other people asked’ results, potentially, and the answer is the snippet. Therefore, your answers need to be accurate and precise. They are a great place to focus on long-tail keywords too.

Whenever you create a piece of content, think about the questions that your readers may have and include these in your heading. Think about how you can pose these naturally and how you can answer them demonstrating expertise and authority. Reflect the phrases used in voice searches in your content.

4. Video content

I said it for 2019 and I’ll say it again for 2020, video is becoming more and more important! It has to be part of your content strategy generally and in 2020 it has to be part of your SEO plans too. You may have noticed that video results are now appearing as part of Google searches and they are taking precedent over text-only based results.

Videos on your website are also really important for increasing ‘dwell time’. As has been the case for a long with SEO, the amount of time people spend on your website affects how Google ranks you. The more time people spend, the more your website is considered trustworthy and authentic. It suggests users have found exactly what they were looking for…importantly…exactly what they expected… and so stay t satisfy whatever was there need or whatever they were looking for.

Most website visitors will assess a pages’ content within seconds, however, video catches people’s attention for that little bit longer. Users are more likely to give a video 10-20 seconds and so essentially they will be spending longer on your website.

For 2020 your goal must be to create video content worthy of placement on your website – it can be simply embedded from Vimeo or YouTube. It is certainly one of my SEO content goals!

5. Social media traffic

So, I’ve saved the most controversial one until last!!! However, backlinks remain a really important SEO tool. As mentioned above one of Google’s assessment criteria is trustworthiness and if people are linking to your website then this is a good sign to Google that your website is trustworthy and recommended.

However, I write my blog for you, the small business owner and fellow blogger, and I know that it is not easy to get backlinks. Therefore social media remains one of the easiest ways to add our own backlinks and to drive traffic to our website.

I know many of you are screaming , “..but, Kate, every time I include a link to my website in a Facebook post its reach drops. Facebook hates it!” It is true and I can’t deny it…however, I am not suggesting every post includes a link, only some. And you can try all of the tricks too like putting links in the comments and deleting the preview.

It is not just posts remember and it is not just Facebook! Are you on Instagram, LinkedIn and now You Tube after my recommendation above? For each of these, you have your profile where you can include a link to your website. You can also link to your website when commenting on other people’s posts, when and where relevant. Social media platforms continue to grow so they have to be part of your SEO content strategy. You spend a lot of your time no doubt on these platforms so you have to make them do a little work for your website too..

Start your SEO audit now

It is easy to apply new trends or recommendation to new content – however, remember to set aside some time to go through existing content. A good website audit and update is always a good idea and works as an SEO tool of its own – Google loves to crawl for new stuff! Why not spend some time over the holidays and get your content optimised for the new year.

References and Research

I couldn’t have written this blog without the help of the excellent articles I found online to guide me…and by starting with a Google search! These articles belpe are the ones I read. All appeared on Pg 1 following my search of “SEO tips for 2020”, so I figured they might have some idea! 😉

Image credit: Image by Diggity Marketing from Pixabay

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