We’re a couple of weeks into the new year – for some businesses, it’s a time where goal setting and project planning are top of mind. It’s also the best time of year to rethink and review your digital marketing and SEO strategy.
We’ve reviewed and assessed some of the most important factors when it comes to a comprehensive and successful digital marketing strategy to provide you with an insightful list of the top SEO and digital marketing trends that simply can’t be ignored in 2020.
Featured Snippets and Knowledge Graphs Are Taking Over
Featured snippets and knowledge graphs aren’t new. They are, however, becoming a significant element of a successful SEO strategy. Featured snippets have the power to drive traffic to your site and, in some cases, have been proven to deliver up to twice the click-through rate.
To capture this coveted spot, also known as position 0, you need to be able to deliver clear, concise and informative answers to the commonly asked questions surrounding your industry or product niche. Perform some keyword research to generate questions and provide highly informative answers that are short and sweet.
Featured snippets and knowledge graphs are proving to be a great way for underdog content creators to increase traffic even if you aren’t necessarily ranking in the top position.
Influencer Marketing and SEO
Influencers are somewhat of a newer component of digital marketing. With an increase in competitor ads and users not engaging with ads the way they once did, businesses are trying to stand out among the noise. Influencer marketing is on the rise, and if done well, influencer marketing has the potential to position your business as a trusted entity and increase your brand exposure.
But how does this relate to SEO? Influencer marketing is fast becoming a growing trend in even the most technical SEO strategies. Partnering with the right influencer or brand ambassador can greatly improve your content reach, can increase traffic to your website and can also lead to difficult-to-acquire-but-oh-so-valuable backlinks.
Choosing the right influencer is important. Follower count and popularity will do your brand no good if the influencer isn’t relevant to your industry and demographic. Choosing an authority figure within your industry will garner real results.
When you think of website security, it’s not necessarily something you would initially relate to SEO. However, it’s becoming significantly more important to user experience. It’s obviously an important factor to Google, who has incorporated signals within their Chrome browser to notify users if a site is secure or not secure, depending on if it is HTTP or HTTPS. If a user sees a big red ‘Not Secure’ indicator, they aren’t likely to stick around – let alone process a payment, complete a form or make a purchase. As a result, you’re likely to see an increased bounce rate, which in turn will lead to organic rankings.
Ensuring your website follows HTTPS protocols provides your website with a secure and authenticated connection which is essential, particularly if you’re collecting user data. For Google, providing its users with a safe and seamless browsing experience is key, so websites that follow HTTPS protocols may see a slight boost when it comes to SEO.
Optimizing for Voice Search
The topic of voice search is certainly not something new to the world of SEO. However, voice search is proving to be a growing trend year after year. Recently, the shift towards more natural language content has become crucial in order to target more conversational searches performed by users using Google Home, Amazon Echo and more.
Understanding how to properly optimize your site’s content for voice search is key. There are a number of essential factors involved in proper voice search optimization to ensure that you’re ranking for these long-form questions – the first step is ensuring you’re using conversational language and queries within your content.
Mobile Friendliness and UX has Become More Important to SEO Than Ever
Mobile devices have become the most used tool for performing searches and websites need to support these searches. According to recent studies, 4 in 5 consumers are conducting local searches on mobile devices. Of those searches, 88% percent of them are being performed on smartphones.
UX needs to be implemented across all elements and functionalities of your website. If you’re managing an e-commerce website, great mobile-friendly user experience is essential for all customer touchpoints – from initial discovery to purchase, checkout and confirmations.
Video Content Is Now an Integral Part of a Successful Digital Strategy
If you don’t include video content in your digital marketing strategy, you could very well be missing out on a pretty extensive percentage of your demographic. Video has grown over the last few years and now dominates many digital platforms. According to recent studies, YouTube is the new tv, with time spent watching YouTube nearly doubling year on year. For some, it’s their first choice for search, to get information and content in a more visually appealing and engaging way.
But how does this relate to SEO, you may be asking. Well, just like search results, you need to optimize your video for search to get found by the right audience and stand out from the onslaught of video content that’s out there. Do some preliminary keyword research to ensure that the best terms are used in the description, titles, and tags of your videos, thus ensuring your video is shown to the right audience of people interested in your video’s subject matter.
Content Is Still King
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – one of the most effective and cost-effective ways of engaging with your audience is by creating authoritative, informative and insightful content relating to your industry or services offered.
Paid search and display ads are great for creating awareness and reaching some customers at different levels of the funnel. However, due to the level and amount of competition, they’re expected to become more expensive in the future, and there’s no guarantee that customers will engage and respond to ads.
That’s why content creation and a strong content strategy is an essential element of a successful SEO strategy. Users are turning to Google with question-based queries, and your website should deliver the answers. Unique long-form content that takes a deeper dive into topics and provides users with a comprehensive look at the searched queries is more valuable than thin and repeated content topics. Step out of the box and look for supporting topics and questions that can be answered, making your content a central topic hub.
Create Longer, More In-depth Content
Gone are the days of publishing thin, and more frequent content. Today, long-form content is where you can thrive – delivering all the information relating to a topic from one location. Longer-form content pieces perform better than thinner blogs and pages and, in some instances, studies have shown that pages with 2,000 or more words usually get more views that a content piece with far fewer words. Long-form content might also lend you to rank organically for a wider range of queries.
However, the high-word count isn’t the only considerable factor. Your content needs to be informative, comprehensive and answer natural next questions your users may have. Doing so will increase user’s time spent on the page which may also result in an organic rankings spike.
Continue to publish long-form, high-quality content on a regular basis and evaluate your old content. Are there opportunities to combine older content pieces to create comprehensive guides? Can you add a great deal of new information to older blogs to make them more insightful? Make content expansion an SEO goal for 2020 and see how these important content changes affect your online visibility and rankings.
Provide Visitors with Seamless Online Experiences
We may have just talked in great length about the importance of great content, but great content doesn’t have a leg to stand on if your website isn’t delivering exceptional and seamless online experiences for your users. You can have an abundance of informative, unique and insightful content on your website, but if it’s being published on a website using outdated and antiquated development methods with a page load speed reminiscent of the 90’s, you won’t keep users engaged.
It’s a known fact that page load time can have a direct impact on your conversion rate. In fact, in a recent study, just a one-second delay in your page load speed can decrease your conversion by 7%.
Improving page speed is just one important factor when it comes to modern SEO best-practices. Once you’ve got a handle on page speed, it’s important to look at other elements of UX that may be hindering conversions. Consider the navigation, headings, user flow of your site and look at essential pages with a critical eye. Do users understand the page and purpose of the site in a split-second? Is there a natural flow or are users left with an unsure next step? If not, they’ll likely bounce back to the SERP for a clearer response.
These seemingly minimal factors are a growing factor when it comes to ranking in top positions or not.
Searching Beyond Google: Alternative Search Methods and Discovery Engines
Google may be the original and most used search engine, with over 3.5 billion searches performed daily.
However, a strategic digital strategy should look at all the digital touchpoints your customers may be using. Optimizing for all online platforms will help to increase your opportunities for conversion across all the online entities your customers may be using. Take a good look at your customer journey – are they using secondary platforms within their search journey that you may be forgetting? Platforms such as YouTube, Bing, Facebook, Amazon or even Pinterest?
- Users are using Facebook’s search function for targeting searches such as looking for posts, pages, images, and events related to a specific topic.
- Often considered an underdog social platform, Pinterest is holding strong and is now the third-largest social media platform in the US. Thanks to their enhanced visual search functions, Pinterest is often used during the consideration/ research phase when users are looking for ideas and visual inspiration relating to topics such as home décor, weddings and events, travel and more.
- DuckDuckGo isn’t necessarily a newcomer to the scene; they’ve been around since 2008 but it is quickly growing in popularity. Although we don’t think it’s going to be surpassing Google in terms of daily searches, it’s becoming a contender to keep an eye on.
- Amazon is the eCommerce titan, and, in some cases, users are skipping over Google entirely and jumping onto Amazon to begin their search for consumer products.
Make 2020 The Year of an Enhanced Digital Marketing Strategy
Are you looking to stay ahead of the game and enhance your digital strategy this year? Do more than just rely on vanity metrics and dated strategies. Get in touch with Ontario SEO to learn more about our targeted digital marketing services. We work to create customized digital solutions for your business and industry to help reach your customers – wherever they may be online.