SEO Trend 2020: Race For The Top of Google Search
The year 2020 started on a very unprecedented note — World War 3 ruled social media, an asteroid failed to hit Earth and now there’s a virus spread throughout the world forcing people back to their homes — and it still looks uncertain.
Amidst all this chaos, SEO is changing!
The search trend is changing!
Google has already been pretty harsh on websites with its broad core update — though it leads to more quality results on SERPs. The big picture here; search giant Google is changing the way it used to evaluate a site.
In Google’s Quality Rate Guidelines, it has emphasized the term E.A.T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness). EAT has always been in Google’s guidelines for years, however, never before it was as crucial of a ranking factor as it is now. Meaning Google now wants to rank more reliable sources.
But Is That Good News or Bad?
The new signal has two different aspects:
One, If you’re getting content written by someone random you found on a freelancing site or another place, then you could be losing an opportunity. Instead, you must hire someone with expertise in your niche or field.
For example – if you want content on cybersecurity, hire a writer with a history in cybersecurity or technical background rather than someone who writes travel blogs on Monday, and recipes on Tuesday. God knows what they write on Fridays!
The expertise will lead to more precise and filtered content on your website, increasing relevancy and trust of your site making it a reliable source.
Second, this will saturate the content marketing sector. More content creators or developers will put effort into becoming a niche expert. The competition will demand quality and those who don’t give time in producing better content will have no chance of making it big.
Takeaway – Content from niche expert = Better Ranking in 2020.
The story doesn’t end here!
Next Big Thing is Becoming a Reliable Source
A reliable source provides information, theory or data based on concrete evidence. Now, when it comes to offline sources, it’s easy to figure out. But on the internet, who decides the credibility?
Let’s take a look at an example – Say there’s an upcoming phone One Plus 8 pro. A website in China lists the possible specs and price of the phone. The information isn’t backed by any official statement or leaks by a One Plus employee.
Few days later, GsmArena ran a similar news, only difference is they attached a screenshot of the leaked image or spec sheet. The information may come out to be incorrect when the actual device launches but most readers in the tech side of the world would believe the latter news because of its sheer authority and a track record of serving accurate info. Furthermore, the staff there is an expert at what they do, and that, too, matters to Google.
Apply the same principle for any niche website, you’d know what to look for. That’s why you can’t just claim to be an expert site. Why would anybody believe what your site says?
As far as the expertise goes, anyone can be the so-called-expert. That isn’t going to work for you anymore. However, if your site says a fact, and an external source affirms your claim, then it will strengthen “Your” reputation as a source.
You have to be cited or linked to via other trusted sources. The more citations your website receives, the more credibility it will build. Even simple mentions do a lot of good. That helps more if your website is niche specific such as Medical or Security or Finance.
Changing Search Trend With VSO
With headphone jack gone and wireless charging becoming common, it’s obvious there is a shift in preferences and ease-ability. Identically, searches are changing as well and more people nowadays choose to search with voice commands than type and enter.
According to a Google blog, around 55% of teenagers and 41% of adults use voice search at least once or more in a day. Voice search on mobiles/smartphones accounts for 20% of total searches.
For example, Traditionally, to call Justin, you unlock your phone, scroll through the contacts or swipe to favorite (If you like Justin. I don’t!) and touch call. But instead, because technology has made it possible, you’d command your Google assistant or whatever assistant you got, to Call Justin. How cool is that!
The percentage of Voice search is increasing at a blazing fast speed and during the pandemic, when touching is forbidden, the numbers will shoot up exponentially.
Voice search has loads of potential and that is why visionaries have already started optimizing their content to rank while there’s low competition in VSO (Voice Search Optimization).
It has also been noted that most people use voice search to ask specific questions like: Query: “How far is mars from earth?”
The assistant will look it up on Google and will come out with a result best suited. In this case a result from universetoday.com
Google Voice algo does want to see websites with FAQs. Add it if your site is ranking good, it’s time you optimize it further for the search of the future, that is voice.
Visual Search Uprising
Have you ever used a barcode to download something or to shop? Well visual search is similar to that but with a whole different concept. Here, you use your camera or an image to search for identical items. Another example is reverse image search where a user uploads an image and searches the internet. It could be to find the source of the image or to find images of higher resolution or etc.
Well, Google is taking that to another level. A blog published in December 2018 reported that Google lens has successfully been used over 1 billion times for scanning. Meaning GLens can now recognize more than 1 billion items!
Let’s take a look at a real world scenario. Everyone at some point in their life wanted to copy text from an image and struggled to find the right tools to do so. In 2020, most of the smartphones come integrated with Google Lens that lets you select text from any image.
You can make similar queries with Pinterest. Its application allows you to either search from an image you upload or the existing images on the platform for related items. Pinterest alone gets over 600 million visual searches, on an average, every month.
Let’s take a look how visual search works or look like on Pinterest:
Say you see this image on Pinterest and wants to know more about it or want to find more similar items. You can simply touch the visual search button (the round icon with search symbol at the bottom right of the image).
And you’ll get this. (See image above)
The visual search, however, isn’t as big as voice search or contextual search. It is pretty much in its beginning phase. Yet the search method is super effective for translations, directions, shopping, locating a restaurant and even for food recipes. In fact, it is so fascinating that 62% of Gen Z and infamous millennials want to see more tech associated with visual search.
It may seem interesting and you may want to optimize your site for visual search but until your website is authoritative, Google won’t consider it.
Structuring Your Website Data
Google has shown tremendous favor to semantic data. They even updated their yearly guidelines and added support for various types of structured data and one of them is FAQ pages. Google wants to give users as much information as possible on search, while increasing exposure of the website.
This FAQ schema is interactive as clicking the arrow expands the section with the answer. The structured data of websites is an easy advantage since not many website owners make use of semantic data. Creating a FAQ schema or other schema for a site is not at all difficult, anyone without the expertise can download a schema plugin and create one.
Google's Search Intent
If you think Google prioritizes exact match keywords then you’re mistaken. Google is way past that stage. In fact, the changes brought are so big that it has changed rankings for a keyword.
Search intent can sometimes be hard to understand in your niche but a thorough research should be sufficient to clear the picture. For example, a google search for “golden retriever missing.”
See what Google did there? Now, your dog is missing, so you might be interested in either finding that dog or getting a new pet.
Google also displays results from nearby areas in case your dog ran away there and someone found it and kept it safe until the owner finds it back. The results hint at Google’s comprehension of a searcher’s intent and what they could be looking for.
Backlinko has smartly deduced the strategy and even has written about it in a blog that you can read. They have explained the search intent in an easy-to-understand-way with good examples.
People have already started to optimize their sites to go with the latest trends. Those not updated with latest buzz terms in SEO and what google is looking forward to in a site, are losing to their competitions. Have you begun your race to the top? What strategy are visioning for? Drop a comment and let us know how that’s working out for ya?