Google is trying to be the end goal of their users’ journeys. This, more than anything, defines the most important SEO trends for 2020. The SEO scenery is very dynamic. Some things remain the same: put appropriate keywords in your titles, making it the primary concern to optimize for mobile users, etc.

But other things go on changing in an endless spiral. Now we need to come across the best ways to stay efficient within the structure formed by Google.

1. Zero-click searches are the new standard 

Thanks to such SERP features like featured snippets, Google’s Local Packs, Knowledge graphs, and so on, over half of all searches are at present “zero-click searches.” That means that the user’s inquiry is answered on the SERP itself, without them having to click away anywhere.

What do we do?
  • Don’t fear. Consider what type of searches these are: those are people seeking your address and phone number. Or people in search of an answer to a quick and straightforward question. Those picky clicks perhaps wouldn’t alter anyway, and so shouldn’t be fretted over.
  • Discover that keywords can bring you clicks. Using Rank Tracker in combination with your Google Search Console account, you can evaluate what keywords of the ones you’re optimizing for truly get you clicks. That way, you bank yourself a whole lot of time and attempt. Optimize for queries with keywords, for example, “when,” “how many,” “what year,” and so on.

Those are essential for content, yes, but shouldn’t be the central point of your SEO plans.

2. Try your best to optimize for Rich and Featured snippets

In the circumstance where zero-click searches are so frequent, the information shown on the SERP itself is now more significant than ever. Two great ways to be noticeable is to get Rich snippets or Featured snippets.

Rich snippets — those that, besides title and description, show images, stars for reviews, prices for products, etc. — are simpler to get, but they will also bring lower CTR improvements compared to a Featured snippet. Your result will be more visible, though, even if your place in a SERP will remain the same.

Featured snippets — a whole block of information that is shown at the top of a SERP — bring significant increases in CTR. But getting one is quite a bit trickier.

What do we do?
  • Always remember that nothing, counting ranking first, in fact, guarantees you getting Rich or Featured snippets. Simultaneously, the possible gains are worth optimizing for them.

3. Local SEO is changing 

A vast number of the abovementioned zero-click searches are local searches for which the outcomes are demonstrated on the SERP itself, in so-called Local Packs. A single Local Pack might occupy as much space as a full SERP shown to a user for mobile devices.

What do we do?

You can cover a considerable number of searches, generally, those containing keywords, for instance, “near me” or “address” plus “phone number” in one fell swoop, by making a Google My Business page for your company.

But that should only be the start of your efforts. A considerable number of searches will not end on Local packs. People who want to evaluate products, search for more thorough information, etc. will still go on your website, and that’s where the usual SEO practices become vital.

So, having a detailed backlink profile is supreme. Search for what type of backlinks your competitors get, and aim to get those for yourself. A particular feature of local SEO is that you need to have not just any backlinks, but the ones that Google thinks locally authoritative.

And obviously, keep in mind to track your local ranking performance. Remember that the least alteration in location will persuade the type of results that the user will obtain. To search for rankings for keywords down to a street and a house, you should make use of a keyword research tool like Rank Tracker. For more detailed instructions, look into this local SEO guide.

4.  The machines are here to continue

For years now, Google’s been applying learning algorithms to develop its users’ experience with search and avoid keyword-stuffed webpages. In 2020, this will be essential than ever with Google’s latest algorithm, named BERT.

Now, as much as we know, Google uses three mechanisms: first is Neural Matching, which figures out the meaning of the query. Second is RankBrain, which adjusts the SERP’s depending on the collected data about users’ performance. The 3rd, the newly-implemented BERT, is the algorithm that is used for evaluating the structure of a search to appreciate better the framework in which keywords are used.

What should we do?

As much as Neural matching or BERT go, there isn’t much we can do about those algorithms — Neural matching is Google’s inner kitchen, and BERT indeed requires you to write good content.

However, RankBrain really should be accounted for very cautiously. The objective here is not only to rank for whatever keyword. Currently, and more and more in the future, intent matching is vital for creating flourishing content. Because at present, just ranking without matching intent will cut you off from a vast number of SERPs.

To comprehend the accurate search intent, you need to keep your hand on the pulse of what’s ranking at present. Using Rank Tracker software, scrutinize the results to see what content exactly Google considers related to the searches you want to rank for. After appropriately determining the goal behind the search queries you want to rank for, produce the content to go well with your users’ intent in their search.