As 2020 kicks into gear, it’s time to consider what will change in the digital marketing ecosystem this year and how it will affect you.

Given that the digital marketing domain is constantly getting revamped with social media, SEO, content marketing, and PPC as the major players – it’s hard to keep up with all of the changes.

So, if you are anxious to know what is in store for you with SEO in 2020, here are few trends we’d like to throw limelight on :

1. AI – The buzzword taking the SEO landscape by storm

First in the list of interesting SEO trends that will emerge in 2020 is linked to the path-breaking concept called Artificial Intelligence(AI).

AI is expected to revolutionize the way in which internet users conduct online research using keywords. AI will dictate the future of SEO by providing a number of personalized experiences teamed with automation. Automation is expected to come in as an important element to save time in digital marketing, in addition to introducing the concept of Machine Learning.

Through Machine Learning, digital marketers can automate a number of everyday SEO tasks like reporting and data analysis. Thus Machine Learning will be able to improve the abilities of SEO so that it can yield efficient and quick responses to online searches.

Since AI, in the recent past, has been enjoying an all-pervading presence in the world of business, SEO experts are expected to step up their approaches to be in sync with the new format of searching and browsing the internet.

2. Voice Search to gain further patronage

Drifting away from typing keywords in the address bars of search engines, 2020 is expected to wake up to the popularity of voice search.

Voice search will soon become the order of the day, posing a major challenge to SEO experts. It is common for voice queries to be entirely different from the ones that are keyed into the search bars of browsers. It is for this reason SEO specialists are urged to come up with results based on the long-tail keyword queries recited by internet surfers as part of the voice search string.

Research suggests that by 2021, voice search will account for close to 50% of the total number of searches. In line with this data point, it will definitely surprise you when you are told that about 40% of adults are already using voice search over normal keyed-in searches. This trend calls for SEO’s to think and speak the language of their online audience to come up with matching voice search strings.

3. AR and VR becoming commonplace

Google’s organic search algorithms will witness a significant change prompted by Augmented Reality(AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). These two modern technologies are all set to alter the manner in which links are built, leads are generated and how users engage with compelling content. With AR and VR gaining ground, it is up to content creators to tap into their potential.

With AR and VR catching up, it will not take long for Google to slightly alter its algorithm. The day is not far when Google will come up with an exclusive VR/AR search engine section just like the Google images that are currently being displayed.

4. Blockchain to be teamed with SEO

Blockchain and SEO seem to be two completely different strategies. If you are wondering about the commonalities between these two, you need to read this section further. For all you know, blockchain is about transacting in cryptocurrencies, also called digital coins. On face value, the blockchain concept simply involves buying and selling of digital coins. However, this concept has a background story to it.

Blockchain does not involve any sort of regulatory sanctions from authoritative 3rd parties like banks and financial institutions. The transfer of cryptocurrency happens through a secured network consisting of bits of information called blocks. However, this transfer can be successful only after completing the validation process of both the buyer and the seller. Once the validation is complete, the digital money can be transferred from the real seller to a genuine buyer.

If you have to link blockchain to SEO, you should imagine the transactions of digital coins as Google Docs. A blockchain can be set to record any type of information just as in a Google Docs spreadsheet. Once this information is recorded, it is made fool-proof for the general public to access it without any hassles.

5. BERT & User-Focused Optimization

In 2019, the launch of Google’s new BERT algorithm got a lot of attention. Naturally, every SEO professional wants to learn how to optimize for BERT.

Well, rather than focusing on how to optimize for that specific algorithm, take a page from Kelly Stanze, Search Strategist, Hallmark, who will be focusing on user-focused optimization and the technical delivery of content.

In short, that means reassessing user access points to search and aligning content with that.

“Look at the mechanics of how something is crawled, indexed, and served in a variety of different search settings,” Stanze said. “With users having more options than ever in how they search for things, it’ll be even more important for SEOs to bear in mind the fundamentals of clean architecture and content delivery.”

With the incorporation of BERT this year into the ranking and featured snippets algorithm, Google has taken a huge leap forward into making search really about intent matching rather pure string matching, according to Eli Schwartz, Growth Consultant and Advisor.

“Content will truly have to be written to user intent rather than just strings that a user might search,” Schwartz said. “Keyword research tools may even become less relevant with the primary dataset for content creation coming from suggested queries. In 2020, the really smart SEOs will get up from their desks to talk to customers so they can find out what their audience really wants from them.

6. Visual Search offering an exciting way to find information

When you hear of Voice Search, you should not be surprised if you hear something like Visual Search. Visual Search is the new-age concept to conduct a search through images and data gathered from a camera.

As this concept catches up, the day will come when users click a picture of an object on their phone and upload the image to the browser. They can then say that they want the article which is featured in the image and will order it online. This is expected to happen in 2020.

7. UX will call the shots

User Experience (UX) is expected to become a crucial element of SEO in 2020. With umpteen changes taking place in the domain of Google rankings, Google will start attaching higher rankings to links that deliver user-centric and personalized search results. That means that e-Commerce stores will have to concentrate on delivering a higher level of user experience if they want to maintain their search position.

It is only through a superior user experience that visitors will patronize sites. It is for this reason that websites with a better user engagement factor will be preferred over the ones which are abandoned by visitors within seconds of viewing the home page.

8. Mobile-First Index to dictate the health of your website

With more and more users relying on smartphones to browse the internet, it becomes necessary to cater to the browsing needs of this ever-expanding pool of customers and users. This sets the stage for the next important SEO trend of 2019 which comes in the form of Mobile-First Indexing.

For all those who are wondering what this index is all about, it is nothing but a measure of how well your blog or website is optimized so that a superior mobile version is delivered. Google is expected to measure the optimization of your blog/site on mobiles. It will check the extent to which your web content meets the mobile display standards.

That means that this year all blogs and sites will be ranked by Google based on the Mobile-First Index. Additionally, Google will attach numbers to important factors like formatting, the speed with which your site loads on mobile and the width of the mobile content. Based on the results, Google will come up with a health report for your mobile-driven online content.

9. Web content still reigns as the undisputable king

The commonly-used maxim in the field of digital marketing is ‘Content is King’. Given that the success of an e-Commerce business relies majorly on the quality of web content, only those e-Commerce sites that show up compelling and informative content will be in a strong position.

When one says that ‘Content is King’, it is not about pasting lengthy blog posts on your web pages. It is all about showing up relevant and factual information that primarily satisfies the intent of the user. Content also deals with hyperlinking your online information with external links that further explain a particular topic so that more and more visitors visit your site.

10. Video content getting more prominent

Given the affinity of the online audience towards videos, it comes as a wise move to plug-in interesting and informative videos on your web pages. This common practice is expected to continue in 2020 as well. Statistics suggest that videos have the power to increase user engagement by a stunning 80% when compared to simple text or audio clips.

With so much in favor of video content when compared to text content, 2019 will see search engine algorithms crawl audio-visual (AV) content directly avoiding the crawling of exclusive text content surrounding the video.

The above-described 10 SEO trends that will catch up in 2020demand one important thing from SEO specialists. And that is to have a well-planned SEO strategy so as to be in line with these upcoming trends. Such a strategy will enable SEO specialists to provide better search results to users. Hence, to make the most of these upcoming developments, SEOs in 2020 should be on their toes.

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