The practice of search engine optimization (SEO) lies somewhere between marketing science and nuanced art. SEO professionals work in an ever-changing landscape, as search engines alter their requirements and users change how they search.
We expect many Google search trends to remain static this year – like Google dominating the search engine field – although we do also see a few new other search trends emerging.
Indexing rule changes, advancements in handheld devices, the expansive rollout of 5G internet and changes in user behavior can make SEO overwhelming, even for experienced marketing professionals.
Direction is here to help! From zero-click results to quality content, to Google’s E-A-T concepts, we’re going to forecast some of the hottest Google search trends of 2020 here.
As always, if you have questions regarding Google search trends beyond the scope of this blog, or if you need help reaching your target audience with organic search results schedule a Discovery call. We’d love to help!
Meanwhile, enjoy our forecast and discussion of emerging Google search trends in 2020.
Google Search Trend #1 – 2020 Users Rely on Zero-Click Results – PPC Campaigns Need Revision
“Zero click searches” or “zero-click results” describe instances when users search for information on the web without clicking on a result. Consider these common examples:
- When searchers speak into a device for a query, asking “Hey Siri…” or “Okay Google…” the response required zero clicks, and lands zero traffic on your website.
- Sometimes data appears without any query at all – like when gas stations and restaurants appear on a navigation screen unprompted, no traffic is recorded on your website.
- If a query can be answered simply, without a visit to any website – “how many feet are in a mile” type searches – lead to zero-click results.
As we can imagine, audible responses and navigation prompts may lead to a decrease in pay-per-click results for keywords that mattered in 2018 and 2019. Furthermore, users in 2020 will search less for “restaurants in X city” and more for “restaurants near me” or simply “restaurants” as localized search results evolve.
How does this Google search trend affect your SEO strategy?
- Businesses should be looking closely at the return on PPC campaigns from 2019 and early 2020, and revising their purchased keywords and SEO to reflect changes. (This should be done a few times annually, anyways.)
- Brick-and-mortar shops and restaurants that rely heavily on foot traffic should turn their SEO goals to ranking in specific neighborhoods, near landmark locations, and in relation to busy interstates and highways.
- Street addresses and maps will become more valuable for these industries.
If you’re struggling to rank in location-based searches, contact Direction today. We’re ready to help!
Google Search Trend #2 – Google Actually Cracks Down on Unsecured Sites – SSL Certificates Matter in 2020
This is old news in the SEO field, but it’s beginning to have an impact in search rankings and traffic.
- Back in 2017, Google warned us they would stop indexing and ranking unsecured websites. But we didn’t see an immediate change. After an initial panic attack in SEO offices around the world, things quieted down. Nothing seemed any different.
- Then in 2018, Google’s Chrome browser began alerting users when a connection is unsecured. While these pages were still reachable from Google, users were far more likely to use the back button immediately, “escaping” the perceived danger.
- As of 2020, we finally see the results in terms of indexing and ranking.
Unsecured sites are dropping out of the front page rankings, and the traffic to unsecured websites is tapering off further.
What does it mean to SEO professionals?
- All web pages will need to be secure (with an SSL certificate) to be indexed by Google.
- Even static websites that promote services will need SSL certificates (as opposed to only e-commerce sites that took payments via credit cards requiring them).
- Outbound links – even from casual blogs and content – must also be secure if the content is to rank well.
- Falling out of Google rankings will eliminate or reduce page presence on other search providers too. It’s no secret that search engines are always crawling each other’s results.
Ultimately, every website will need an SSL certificate to achieve any traffic from search engines or related links.
- Current content will need to be edited, and even user-generated content (like product reviews and ratings) needs to be addressed.
While this looks like a hefty job for large, complex B2C e-commerce sites, it means better positioning for web pages that play by the rules. Older pages that aren’t updated will drop out of the rankings. Current, updated pages are likely to rank higher and perform better in terms of organic traffic.
Google Search Trend #3 – Content Remains King & Video Content Becomes the Queen
In the game of chess, your King is the ultimate piece, the one that defines the winner and loser. But the Queen is mobile, agile, and the most threatening piece to your opponents.
Have no doubt that unique, high-quality text-based content is the King of SEO trends in 2020. Outstanding content will help you you achieve first-page ranking in search engines. It also endears your brand to the audience and builds your reputation as a reliable source. When it comes to good content, more is better – both in terms of word count and the number of posts.
Another consideration is Google’s E-A-T requirements for SEO, and we’ll look at that in-depth in a moment. For now, know that:
- Research shows that the average length posts in the top 10 results are often 2,000 words or more.
- Blogs boasting long-form, high-quality content enjoy more visibility in search engines across the board.
- Your ROI – or more accurately your Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) – on superb content that answers questions thoroughly will make your content investment worthwhile for years to come.
- For SEO purposes, the keys to quality content are that it is unique, thorough, and stems from a legitimate source.
To put it another way, the best content for SEO trends in 2020 will comprehensively answer a question the user asked, or respond to the search performed. It can propose other questions related to the main search query, and it should link to reputable SECURED sources.
- Know that lengthy, readable articles increase the time users spend on your website.
- Search engines recognize this, and it boosts your position in search engine rankings.
- Great content builds the relationship between your audience and your organization.
Beyond reading and research, quality video content can also create a tremendous boost to your website traffic in 2020.
- As it stands now, some sources claim more than 70% of all the search traffic on the web pertain to videos.
So how can we implement modern SEO techniques to video? Without getting too technical, know that search engines understand the text on a website, not the video or audio playing. Therefore, to help search engines understand the value of video content, SEO pros will focus more on:
- descriptive page names, URLs, titles & video names
- word-for-word transcripts
- relevant text content elsewhere on the page
- quality links to related content
And content authoring by respected individuals – as it pertains to Google E-A-T.
Google Search Trend #4: Search Engine Optimization that Focuses on Google E-A-T
According to Moz.com; “Each year, Google makes hundreds of changes to search. In 2018, they reported an incredible 3,234 updates — an average of almost [nine] per day, and more than [eight] times the number of updates in 2009. While most of these changes are minor, Google occasionally rolls out a major algorithmic update… that affects search results in significant ways.”
We believe E-A-T will become a significant aspect of search engine rankings and organic traffic results in 2020. So what is Google EAT?
- “Google’s E-A-T” or “Google EAT” stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.
We’ve touched on this a little already, above. E-A-T (part of a 2019 algorithm update) describes requirements Google will be using to ensure the content that ranks well is answering the pertinent questions asked by users and comes from legitimate industry experts. In the broadest sense it’s manifesting like this:
- Medical queries will pull up genuine doctor’s blogs, medical facilities, and published medical research.
- Content that contains product reviews and ratings will only appear when a user searches for “Product X Reviews.”
- Specific industries, particularly those that fall under “YMYL” or “Your Money Your Life” are under closer inspection and even human review.
In other words, in 2020 and beyond, the content that ranks well – especially in regards to health and wealth – will be thorough, and authored (or ghost-written) by legitimate industry experts.
Make The Discovery Call
Capitalizing on monetization of Google search trends through search engine optimization, inbound marketing, and organic traffic growth are our specialties here at Direction. We work organizations of any size to create engaging digital experiences for your customers, and earn you more business through digital advertising and world-class SEO.
We are committed to helping your business overcome the challenges of an increasingly digital world. We partner with hard-working business owners and marketing departments to help you improve your online presence, and ultimately drive more organic traffic, leads and sales.
Find out how you can generate more phone calls and close more sales in 2020 through professional SEO and digital marketing. Reach out to us today!