Mar 14, 2020 By: Drive Digital

No matter what new technologies come in or what is trending in the digital world, the fight to rank and be #1 is always constant.

The whole game is all about, to be on the first page, be visible to all and beat your competitors.

If we go by the numbers, people conduct around 2.2 million searches in a day. And this number counts only for Google, if we take in all the other search engines, the number will rocket shoot. 

This makes it a little more than difficult to stand out from the crowd and make your self visible. But do you have an option? It is always about survival of the fittest. By hook or crook, you need to figure out the way to outrun everyone else. 

Well, it is not as difficult as it sounds, maybe I exaggerated a bit to build the hype. But still, you cannot take this too lightly. Giving a tough competition to the rest and maintaining your position on the 1st page of the SERP is still a major concern. 

But where there is a problem, there is also a solution to it. You just have to figure it out. 

If I talk about the content and blogs, the numbers say that around 24 blogs are published every second. And this just about the WordPress users. This means that by the time you finished reading this information, already 216 new blogs are out there on the Internet. 

This is literally giving me goosebumps. I mean you cannot even imagine the level you need to be at. 

But all this said and done, there is a way to reach the top. It is not easy but it is not impossible as well. 

No matter how much ever time you spend on making the best strategy and doing the marketing, one of the most important things that you need to really concentrate is SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

As I said, the game is all about to be visible and rank 1st. And this is only possible if you can please the beast – the search engines. Your position on the SERP is going to decide your fate. 

If you have been following the blogs, I am sure by now you know what is SEO. Let us revise it a little.

What Is SEO? And how to do SEO in 2020?

Ok, it stands for Search Engine Optimization. But what is the role of optimization here? What exactly you need to Optimize?

What you should be working on? The design of your website and posts or your content or the links? Actually it is a mixture of all of these but not limited to this. Since we are in 2020, do not be too surprised if one fine day you get to know that, the SEO tactics that you have been practising until now are a thing of the past. 

The techniques and tactics change every second day. So you need to be updated about what is trending and what is new in the digital world. 

Coming back to the point what is SEO. Going by the definition, it is a process of organically (unpaid results) ranking on the first page of the search engine by optimizing your content. 

This is what SEO is. Now let us come to the point…

First Things First, Basics Are Never Out Of Trend:

You can add or remove a few spices, but the main recipe remains the same. So your basics should be very clear and pitch-perfect. There is no magic wand or a lamp that you rub and your wishes are fulfilled. You need to work your way up to reach the top. Like, there are no shortcuts in life, similarly, there are no shortcuts in SEO.

SEO Basics

In a statement, Ryan Stewart, SEO Consultant, and Managing Partner at The Blueprint Training said, “There are no trends. Just do the work and stop wasting your brain space on shortcuts. Too many people in this industry waste time and resources chasing shiny objects. There are no silver bullets, SEO is all about putting in the time and dedicating resources to getting things done. Keyword research, website speed, content generation, and link building are all things that require time and attention. There are no shortcuts.”

In short, make sure your base is strong the building will automatically be strong. Focus on-page SEO, off-page SEO, technical SEO, content optimization, image optimization, etc. If you invest your precious time and hard work working on the basics, it will yield you better results than chasing the shiny objects. There are no silver bullets in SEO. 

Concentrate On Producing Content For Humans, Not Machines:

Everyone striving hard to optimize for the search engine is running after what the search engines would want. Hello…time to wake up. Your target is humans, your audience and not the search engine algorithms or machines. 

You need to understand that it is the audience that is going to come to your site or become your customers. Google or other search engines are not going to do that. They will only give a rank. It is the response of the audience that will be considered as a major factor for the search engines to decide your place on the SERP.

seo trends

So before thinking of trying to please the machines, think about luring your audience. In fact, Google is also changing the way it works. With the new updates of BERT, it is also now focusing on more user-friendly search results. It helps Google to understand the natural language in a better way and helps its algorithms understand the conversational language rather than just the one-word keywords. 

If Google is working for the audience, why are you working for the machines? Focus on the audience.

According to Daria Khmelnitskaya, an SEO Specialist at SE Ranking, “Search engines strive to give users the information they need even before the search query, deepening the interaction between the user and SERP. Google Discover is a great example of this. To get your website featured there, you need your content to be popular and engaging. This means that you should optimize your content not only for search engines but, foremost, for your readers.”

Build Brand Trust, Not Website Trust:

The websites, making a place on the first page with a few links that are dominating on Google to impress the search engines is an old story. This does not work anymore. You cannot fool the beast anymore with a few tactics here and there. 

You need to prove that you are a business for real and for that you need a real website, a real brand with real trust. So it is not just about the website, it is about your brand, your business, your identity. 

brand trust

In order to be a star in the eyes of the beast, first, you need to prove that you are actually genuine. And the process to do this includes, SEO, CRO and UX working together to maximise the website visibility. 

Basically Google now judges the authenticity of your business based on the services you provide and the customer’s response to it. 

Regarding this, renowned search marketing consultant Jason Barnard, says, “It can be through many channels: activity of the users on Google itself (how they interact with your brand on SERPs), the reviews they give through Google, and even their Android phones. It knows when they go to a business, when they leave a business, and when they don’t go back. So the signals of people going to your store are actually the quality signals of your business to Google.

Make Sure Your Site Is Fast And Safe:

All that the search engines care about is the comfort, safety and convenience of the user. So points like, how much time your website takes to load? How safe it is for the user? How easy it is for the user to navigate through your site? All these will be important in 2020 SEO trends more than ever. 

So make sure you take care of all these points very precisely to the minutest point. 

And when it comes to the ease of navigating through the site, the UX and to some point even the UI, it takes just 3 seconds for a user to decide whether he wants to stick to your site or hop to the other one. 

Remember, you are not the only one and to claim your position you need to give a tough fight. Do not give even a smallest of reason to the user to switch to some other site. 

Safety on the Internet has become a cause of concern. If your website or content is not safe for the users in any possible way, forget ranking, you will not even exist on Google or for that matter any other search engine. 

I am sure you would not want to take this risk. 

Sharing his thoughts on the safety feature, Dan Taylor, an account Director at SALT agency says, “Google already highlights potential phishing and uncommon downloads in Google Search Console through passive scanning of binaries along with speed.”

Get To Know Your Audience Better:

Focusing on personalised results is not new. This has been going on for a while now and is sure going to continue for 2020 also. By personalised results I mean, the results on the SERP should be as personalised or as close to the query of the user as possible. 

The more personalised the result, the better it will rank on the SERP. And to ensure that you are meeting the expectations of your user, you need to know the audience better. 

Know your audience

With the introduction of new technologies every now and then, the user’s behaviour and search patterns are changing. And so is the way Google presents the results to the user. 

For instance, with the coming of artificial intelligence and voice recognition search, it is no longer a one-word search or text queries. It is more of, “Which is the best restaurant near me?”  Rather than, “best restaurant in Jaipur”. The way users are conducting the search has changed. 

You need to understand this change in the pattern, dig in deep to understand your audience, what and how they will search and optimize your content accordingly.

According to Daria Khmelnitskaya, an SEO Specialist at SE Ranking, “Personalization became more relevant long ago, and it will keep trending in 2020. SERPs differ depending on the user’s location, device, history of previous interactions with search and websites. For SEO specialists, this means that you need to better understand the needs of your user and the context in which the user is doing a search, what they expect to see in response to a query.”

Focusing on Featured Snippet Is Worth It:

Trying for #1 is good enough. But what if I say, getting #0 is even better. Yes, you read it right. There is something like this. Being at zero position is like being the man of the match. The entire team wins and claim the prize by being on the first page, but you are on a higher position than them by being the man of the match and claiming #0 position. 

The way SERP’s display results have also changed tremendously over the years. While earlier, it was only a simple list of results. Now it features a lot of other things on the first page of the result page. Like the most relevant single answer, right on the top of the page along with other results. And this single result is the zero position or in more technical terms the featured snippets. 

So, the point is now, you just do not have to aim for landing on the first page but go for the zero position as well. When you reach zero, your click-through rate automatically increases. Because featured snippet is the result that is at the closest proximity of the user’s query. 

Giving an insight on how to reach #0 Digital strategist and brand consultant Shane Barker, advises following the 5W1H formula. He says, “Your content should aim to answer questions that begin with “What, Who, Where, When, Why, and How” in a crisp manner. This tactic can also help you optimize your content for voice searches, another trend that’s going to be huge in 2020.”

Link Building Is Still Important:

For long it is being predicted that link building will not hold the same importance as before. But the truth is, it is not going anywhere. At least, not in the near future. Links are the very base of the Internet world.

But the problem is, link building is often misunderstood. As far as SEO is concerned, the two major purposes of backlinks are: 

link building

They help the search engine algorithms to find the relevant content according to the query and crawl it.
Backlinks help in converting the traffic.
This means that when it comes to building links, do not focus only on getting the links for SEO purpose but also to attract more traffic to your site. But this does not mean you waste time on building junk links, Google will not consider them. Focus on the links that will be good for the optimization of your site as well as bring in more traffic. 

Supporting this, Kaspar Szymanski, an ex-Googler, and one of the Search Brothers say, “It has been frequently predicted that links are bound to lose the prominent role they had in the search for many years. However, links will remain a fundamental factor that is at the very beginning of every SEO success story. That being said, their role is often misunderstood. Backlinks serve two primary purposes as far as SEO is concerned: they help search engines find and crawl content, and they drive converting traffic, directly contributing to the commercial success of a website.”

Be it 2019, 2020, or the coming years, the trends and tricks might change. But one thing that remains constant when it comes to ranking on the SERP’s is SEO. You need to walk the long way to get to the top. If you have paid a little attention and read whatever I wrote, I am sure by now you know that there are no shortcuts for ranking. 

You cannot fool the beast, so why even try wasting time doing that. Follow these trends and tips to master your SEO techniques and rule the first page of SERP’s in 2020.

If you wish to learn more about SEO and its best practices visit Drive Digital and have a look at the best digital marketing services that we offer.

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