In recent years we learned that change in the field of SEO is actually the only constant. Google’s algorithm is getting smarter and simple tricks to score higher no longer work. That is of course a good thing too, because Google is succeeding more and more thanks to the rise of AI and improvements in the search algorithm to provide users with the most suitable search result. And be honest, that is ultimately what it is all about. But how do you ensure in 2020 that Google sees your content (or that of your customers) as the best match? SEO (Search Engine Optimization), or in other words Dutch: search engine optimization, is a form of online marketing where everything revolves around the highest possible score in search engines. In practice, that also means optimizing for search giant Google, which with a market share of almost 96% is and will remain the absolute winner for the time being. Although … What about the rapid rise of anonymous browser DuckDuckGo ? Is that a threat to sites optimized for Google? Does link building still make sense? And how on earth do you score within an exponentially increasing number of competing pages with similar content? Better still: what do you have to do in 2020 to score better than your competition and to end up as high as possible in Google, or even to achieve that coveted first position? Reason enough for us to ask eight experts in the field about the SEO trends that they believe will make a real difference in 2020. Jorg van de Ven , Joep Franssen , Martijn van Tongeren , Niels Tukker , Romano Groenewoud , Annemarie ten Brinke , Nils van der Knaap and Steven van Vessum give us their vision of SEO in 2020 in 11 trends, packed with tips to stay ahead of your competition . Use it to your advantage! Content: Is SEO dead in 2020? Trend # 1: Take Google BERT into account Trend # 2: User Intent Trend # 3: Voice search Trend # 4: Bet on featured snippets and zero click searches Trend # 5: Domain authority 2.0, EAT Trend # 6: Short loading speed and technical optimization Trend # 7: Research content in combination with backlinks Trend # 8: Standing out in Google is becoming increasingly difficult Trend # 9: Further rise of Visual Search and structured data Trend # 10: The importance of the user experience is increasing Trend # 11: More focus on data-driven SEO Conclusion Is SEO dead in 2020? Despite some predictions that the field of SEO and search marketing would be extinct by 2020, the opposite is true: a high-quality SEO strategy really takes you further. By also responding to new developments, you hold the key to success and you stay ahead of your competition in 2020. SEO specialist Romano Groenewoud has a clear opinion about it: “No, SEO is not dead. Like every year, there will undoubtedly be parties that predict that the field of ‘search marketing’ will die out and that AI will make all SEO specialists unemployed. I totally disagree with that. Anecdotally speaking, I notice that I have only gotten it busier in recent years! There are specific situations where I would say that SEO is not that useful anymore. For example with local keywords: if your law firm is not actually in Rotterdam, it is virtually impossible to score organically on ‘Rotterdam lawyer’. ” Trend # 1: Take Google BERT into account Source: Search Engine Roundtable According to most of our experts, an important trend to take into account is the Google BERT update, the largest algorithm update in 5 years and by many people even the most important update ever. Why is this BERT update so important? Google uses AI (artificial intelligence) to show better results with more complex searches based on millions of searches. Annemarie ten Brinke therefore advises to take BERT into account: “BERT is a neural network-based technique from Google for pre-training of natural language processing.” Eh… Sorry Annemarie, can you explain that? “BERT helps people understand searches better, the way people do. With the rise of BERT, Google understands the words in the searches better and it is possible to match this with more relevant results. ” Romano Groenewoud adds: “Thanks to the application of AI, Google continues to improve the quality of its search results. Like no other, Google will understand the search intention of searchers and match it with the right search results. Especially in this area, Google makes an (even) bigger gap compared to other search engines. ” Steven van Vessum also sees that Google is investing enormously in understanding texts (NLP). “That shows the most recent BERT update. Based on this, they can understand subtle nuances in content much better, which means that they can better assess content – and the extent to which it is relevant and answers questions. ” A few facts about BERT: BERT was first rolled out for English-language search results. Dutch will no doubt follow this year or in 2020. BERT is a neural network, trained by texts from Wikipedia. Unfortunately, proactive optimization for BERT is not possible, except that the content you offer is as clear as possible. But should we also be concerned about content generated by AI? Not according to Annemarie ten Brinke : “No, content is king is still on. Nothing is so important for SEO and basically everything that you do in marketing. ” Does writing really good (SEO) texts cost you too much time and effort? The solution starts with one click: CopyRobin – copywriting as a service! Curious for more information about the update? Read more about Google BERT or watch the video below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=higVjMylvd8 Trend # 2: User Intent Source: Pixabay According to Martijn van Tongeren, user intent is and remains one of the most important SEO trends in 2020: “Google’s goal has been the same for years: show our users the most correct and relevant information as quickly as possible. By optimally arranging your website and pages on your website for the intention of a visitor, there is a good chance that you will score high on relevant searches. With the arrival of Rankbrain and BERT, you see that Google is mainly putting their resources into better understanding of searches, so that they can show the best results in a fraction of a second. ” Joep Franssen even thinks that in the long run Google will make a greater separation in the type of search results presented to children and adults: “These different target groups look for information in different ways and want to be served in their own way (including in different language use) ). I expect that the Google search results will be personalized even more. ” Reading tip: Artificial intelligence and SEO: the impact of Google Rankbrain. Trend # 3: Voice search Source: Pixabay Jorg van de Ven notes that 50% of the searches will soon be voice-driven. Something that was seen as futuristic and future music a few years ago, broke through hard in a short time. “It is important to create question and answer driven content around your brand, products and industry. Fulfill the needs of your client or searcher and do not focus too much on the keywords. Search Engine Land, an authority in the field of SEO, reports in their Periodic Table that Voice is an emerging phenomenon and should not be ignored. ” Martijn van Tongeren also sees voice search as an important trend: “It may feel like something that is still ‘far away’, but it is getting closer and closer, among other things through Rankbrain and BERT. Google learns super fast through machine learning and therefore delivers better search results via voice search. You can see from the growth of Google Home in the Netherlands that voice is also becoming more prominent here. It is therefore best to start working on optimizing for voice search. On the one hand you do that by optimizing for user intent, on the other hand you do that by already starting to rank for featured snippets. 40.7% of the answers given with voice search come from featured snippets. ” Nils van der Knaap sees that voice search is being used more by the arrival of devices such as Google Home, Alexa and IKEA Smart Home products. “According to Google research, 55% of teenagers and 41% of adult voice search use more than once a day. Because voice search is on the rise, Google is adapting the algorithm accordingly. ” Trend # 4: Bet on featured snippets and zero click searches Everyone who uses Google and asks a question has consciously or unknowingly seen a featured snippet. It is a search result on the first page that answers your search query without clicking. Featured snippets appear in the form of text, lists, images and graphs. These ‘highlighted search results’ stand out well and provide many clicks. Bizz wrote Iphone Copy Robin texts aimed at scoring featured snippets. Here is a good example. Annemarie ten Brinke is convinced that Google will exhibit even more featured snippets: “So get involved with content that answers questions that are asked in the search engine and with which you can get a featured snippet. Use a tool like Rank Tracker to find options for featured snippets. Search not only for the keywords with which you are already organic, but especially for new keywords. Also take a look in Google yourself which questions are asked about your company and offer and which competitors score on it. ” TIP: Discover the pecking order of featured snippets There are several featured snippets for a specific question, but often only one is shown. There is a pecking order. Romano Groenewoud has a good tip to discover this pecking order: “Ask Google a question, for example” What is Alzheimer’s? “. The first organic search result will be a featured snippet from alzheimer-nederland.nl. Then reset the same, but add to the search query, a minus sign and the website of the current featured snippet, so: “What is Alzheimer’s? -alzheimer-netherlands.nl “. You will then see the following featured snippet in the ranking. Continue until your website is shown or Google no longer shows a featured snippet. ” How do you get a featured snippet? Romano Groenewoud also gives some good tips to get such a coveted featured snippet: ‘Reverse engineer’ the current featured snippet. What could it be that Google likes the current answer? In which points can this answer be (even) better in your view? Structure the content correctly by stating the question in an H2 or H3 heading. Answer the question directly below in a text of 40 to 60 words and do not use a table or bullet list. According to Annemarie ten Brinke , featured snippets are linked to zero-click searches in Google: “Google is an information source. Many users therefore find the answer IN the search engine. Thanks to excerpts, knowledge diagrams and, for example, the featured snippet, more than half of all searches are now ‘zero-click search ‘. This means that Google already answers the user’s search query within the results page, without the user having to click away. Jorg van de Ven sees this development clearly and even increasing: “With the recent BERT update from Google, the search engine becomes (even) better at recognizing the intention of your search. As a result, the search result will match your search even better in the future, with an expected increase in the number of zero-click searches. ” How do you stand out organically in 2020? According to Annemarie ten Brinke , it will become increasingly difficult to stand out organically: “The possibilities in Google Ads are expanded with, among other things, images. Organic is thus pushed even further down. The art is no longer so much to come to # 1, but to actually be seen there! ” “The art is no longer so much to get to # 1, but to actually be seen there!” Annemarie ten Brinke The time of ten blue links is over Nils van der Knaap also sees that the time when Google only gave ten blue links as search results is really over: “The search results are getting busier, including Featured Snippets, a Local Pack, Google Shopping, Knowledge Panel, Top Stories, Instant Answers , People Also Ask, Google Images, Video (YouTube), Reviews and even Tweets. Only 2% of the search results have no special features . ” According to Nils van der Knaap you stand out more by offering various forms of content, such as a definition-like description, videos, images and reviews. Jorg van de Ven sees video primarily as an emerging phenomenon in the SEO community: “With video, images and other multimedia you not only become visible in a search engine, but also on other platforms, such as YouTube. Reading tip: What are Google Rich Answers? And what do they mean for your SEO? Trend # 5: Domain authority 2.0, EAT In the past year a lot has been written about the abbreviation EAT in the SEO and content marketing world. For people for whom this abbreviation is still unknown: E stands for expertise. A for authority. T for trust. The bottom line is that – especially for terms where there is a lot at stake – the health or finances of the searcher, for example, would prefer Google to only show sites that score highly on expertise, authority and trust. For keywords related to nutrition, for example, Google likes to show a party like Nutrition Center. The reason? This scores high on the above three points. But yes, not everyone is a Nutrition Center in terms of expertise, authority and trust. As an SME or content specialist, how can you still work on this? Romano Groenewoud explains it to us: “Regarding expertise, it is important that the person who writes the texts for the website has in-depth knowledge of the relevant field or product. Does that person not really have talent for the written word? Have this person proofrea the text before being put on the site. The ‘A’ of authority is mainly about the link profile of the website and often follows automatically. Because when a website publishes in-depth content, other authorities often refer to it. This is how you build authority. Trust is probably the most complex part of EAT, because Google does not want websites that mislead visitors high in the search results. A website that shares this type of information can have life-threatening consequences for the seeker. That is what Google wants to prevent at all costs. ” Tips to increase reliability Nils van der Knaap has a few more tips: “Google wants to show results from reliable sources. Therefore, include the information who wrote it and the relevant background of this person. Other things that help are a good ‘about us’ page, an easily accessible contact page and a page with the privacy policy and the terms and conditions. Google also checks whether the website is recommended by other websites with authority, by means of listings and links. ” Trend # 6: Short loading speed and technical optimization Source: Unsplash Joep Franssen is clear about it: page speed first! “I expect that loading speed will become an even greater ranking factor in 2020. This is a development that is already clearly visible and announced, because browsers such as Chrome mention a warning about slow-loading websites. In the same line you see that Google is increasingly base its rankings on user experience. In short, not only the loading speed, but the entire technical optimization of a website in terms of user experience is becoming more important. ” Choose WebP images in 2020 Regarding technical optimization in 2020, Romano Groenewoud has a good tip: “Also pay attention to file formats: Switch to the new WebP image format. WebP was developed by Google itself and is much smaller in size than older JPG, PNG and GIF. WebP is superior, it’s smaller and better quality. ” Trend # 7: Research content in combination with backlinks “Link profiles that were not naturally obtained that some websites are still unjustly pushing up in the search results, will fail in 2020 against on-page optimized websites with strong content. Data such as bounce rates, average time on page and demographic data are leading in this, “says Joep . Backlinks in 2020 Annemarie ten Brinke sees that in order to obtain a solid domain value, backlinks will also remain indispensable in 2020. “As much as Google wants, they cannot ignore it. It is not really a trend, but you certainly should not follow the messages from panic mongers about stopping links to obtain. Backlinks / referring domains are still an important ranking factor that will become even more important in 2020! ” The value of links can even increase Annemarie ten Brinke continues: “From March 2020, the use of nofollow links will also change. Now you can only indicate nofollow. This was invented by Google to prevent content spamming, but from March you can also mark a link as sponsored (rel = “sponsored”), user generated content (rel = “ugc”). Handy for forums or comments on blogs! The normal nofollow will of course continue to exist (rel = “nofollow”). Backlinks get a different value with this. This is still about quality and not quantity. ” Because of these refinements in the nofollow designation, Romano Groenewoud thinks that nofollow links can actually increase in value in 2020: “I suspect that ‘regular’ nofollow links become more valuable. Many large sites such as CNN in America use (wrongly) the nofollow tag for all outgoing links. When it comes to a recommendation, these links should actually provide value. I think that is why Google has come up with these new tags. User generated content and paid links should never, and therefore never , give ranking advantage. But in some cases links that have been wrongly made nofollow should be able to provide link value. ” Research content But, we wonder, how do you get backlinks and attention in a natural way in 2020? Annemarie ten Brinke knows: “A good way is to create so-called ‘research content’. That is content that shows that you are the expert. Everyone loves data and statistics. How often do you use an argument that goes into percentages and others that do it or use it that way? By creating content that matches your business and services or products, you are recognized as an expert and the backlinks come naturally. ” Isn’t that a lot of work? “Yes, it’s a chore, I know that all too well. But linked to social media marketing you can then showcase yourself with a content item that entertains and informs. That ensures a good distribution of your article automatically for attention and backlinks. If you do it right, the extra effort will pay for itself completely in Google. ” Does ‘link building’ still make sense in 2020? Source: Pixabay Although all experts believe that a good link profile is important, Romano Groenewoud has a clear opinion about this: “I consciously call this link profile development. For me there is no more annoying word in the SEO industry than ‘link building’ at the time of writing. Reading tip: Link building: 8 safe ways to get better links to your site. It may seem like a semantic issue, but for me link building really indicates artificial link creation to manipulate search engine results. For example creating websites or articles yourself, with the sole purpose and right to exist to help other websites in Google. In my opinion, in 2019, Google will be perfectly able to completely ignore references from such websites. In my opinion, this will also be an activity without any added value in 2020 and the coming years. ” Romano Groenewoud also has a strong opinion about link metrics: “I notice that many SEO parties and other webmasters still attach great value to specific metrics such as Moz DA and PA. In my humble opinion this is not helpful. Anyway, I think Moz’s link database is a joke, especially for the Dutch part of the web. Certainly when you compare this with an SEO tool provider such as Ahrefs . Those metrics are easy to manipulate, to increase artificially. I therefore hardly pay any attention to it when considering whether I want a referral from a certain website. ” “Different webmasters adhere to different metrics, almost like a belief. There are webmasters who swear by Majestic Trust Flow. Still others Ahrefs DR, or so in my opinion the worst of all, Moz DA. In any case, Google does not have a subscription to Majestic, SEMrush or Moz. Google does not use these metrics. They have their own metrics, which they do not expose to the outside world. ” “I therefore believe that webmasters should start to lose faith in this kind of metrics in 2020. Of course it is nice to have a quantifiable metric to fall back on. And you can use the metrics as a second opinion or additional background information, but it should certainly not be your main motive for entering into a partnership with a third party or not. ” “Google does not have a subscription to Majestic, SEMrush or Moz. Google has their own metrics, which they do not expose to the outside world. ” Romano Groenewoud What should you pay attention to when referring in 2020? Romano Groenewoud , on the other hand, sees salvation in more subjective matters: “Does the website that you want to receive a referral look legitimate, reliable and lively? And if metrics need to come into play to quantify this, then look mainly at how much organic traffic that website receives from the Google.nl search results. This should primarily weigh. You can look even more specifically at what the website itself rank for. Are there top positions for keywords with a lot of search volume and competition? Then this is probably a website that is well received by Google, a site that Google trusts. I would like to receive a referral from such websites. ” Shorten your title tags Romano Groenewoud recommends at least under 60 characters when formulating title tags: “The title tag limit has been shortened this year. Could title tags previously consist of around 70 characters, now and in 2020 only around 55 to 60 characters (spaces included). Google also looks at pixels, not characters. But characters are of course easier for us webmasters to work with. I feel this is part of a trend that has been going on for some time: Google wants to see more and more dedicated pages tailored to specific topics. That includes shorter title tags. ” Write blogs tailored to the seeker Romano Groenewoud sees Google becoming more and more an answering machine in 2020, for which keyword research can be useful: “Tools such as SEMrush and Ahrefs have a function to expose keywords with a specific questioning intention. Can’t afford your tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs? Then use the Ubersuggest tool from Neil Patel. It is my experience that these types of keywords have reasonable search volumes, but are not yet as competitive as the obvious catchwords. It pays to write blog posts purely and only to answer the searcher’s question. ” At the beginning of this article, we already briefly mentioned the increasing market share of DuckDuckGo as a potential threat. What do you think of that? Romano Groenewoud : “In my eyes, DuckDuckGo is a serious threat. Privacy will continue to be an important topic in 2020, on which there is a lot to be noticed at Google. DuckDuckGo will undoubtedly steal more market share from Google. DuckDuckGo is currently around 0.4% worldwide market share. I predict that this will grow steadily in 2020 to around 1%. Bing will remain more or less the same. Vanishing review stars In addition, Romano Groenewoud notes that many sites have lost the organic yellow rating stars. “Google no longer wants to show self-serving review rich results. This means that if you use, for example, a third customer review party such as a Kiyoh or Trustpilot, you can no longer use it to get ‘yellow stars’ in organic search results. Unfortunately! Google even stated in a blog post that webmasters can report it to Google when a site still has yellow asterisks. In short, it seems that Google definitely wants to get rid of companies that mark reviews about themselves as structured data and thus obtain yellow stars. So it is not a good idea to invest more time and energy here in 2020, because you can be ‘told’ by competitors. Then you still lose your yellow stars. ” Trend # 8: Standing out in Google is becoming increasingly difficult Source: Pixabay Annemarie ten Brinke sees that it will become increasingly difficult in 2020 to stand out: “Just go and look for ‘running shoes’. In my case I first see Google Shopping results. Below that I see a number of ads in Google Ads, with the reassuring message that if the size is not right, the running shoes can be returned for free. Below I see Google Maps, so that I can walk directly to the store (running?) And fit the running shoes. Nice, this piece above, but what I want to say is: do you see the organic results somewhere? To get to the organic results, I literally have to scroll twice already. So you not only compete with others to be at the top of Google, you must first ensure that someone sees your results. That certainly has an impact on what you should do about SEO in 2020. By the way, don’t just hold on to 2020, because 2021 and beyond will come! But how do you ensure that your information is seen and clicked? “Consider what kind of searches these are. These are generally people who are looking for an address and telephone number, for example. Or people who are looking for an answer to a quick and simple question. Those specific clicks probably do not lead to a purchase or request. By smartly focusing on this and actually mapping out questions and answering them on your website, you profile yourself even more on the results page. ” Trend # 9: Further rise of Visual Search and structured data Annemarie ten Brinke also predicts that the importance of Visual Search will increase in 2020: “Google Lens has since been used more than 1 billion times. Pinterest has more than 600 million visual searches every month. The technology keeps getting better. Thanks in part to Google Lens, which can now recognize more than a billion objects. ” Remember in particular that ‘convenience’ plays an increasingly important role. Why would you search through Google with ‘a vague description of a plant’ (or a garment)? If you can just take a photo and Google shows you the right plant within two seconds? Including, by the way, the places to purchase these. Image SEO is therefore becoming increasingly important. Use the correct alt texts and descriptions, add a good file name and use high-quality visuals (which of course are yours or copyright-free, check Unsplash or Pixabay ). In addition, authority plays a role, Google checks whether the image has been placed recently and looks at the position on the page. ” Structured data Annemarie ten Brinke continues: “The way in which images become part of the search engine is related to the roll-out of structured data. For example, structured data is a search result that includes a FAQ block. It is hopefully clear that in 2020 SEO goes far beyond links and optimizing your website. Google scrutinizes every website to see which website best matches the search query. ” “In 2020, SEO goes far beyond link building and optimizing your website. Google scrutinizes every website and checks which site best matches a search query. ” Annemarie ten Brink Trend # 10: The importance of the user experience is increasing Source: Unsplash Steven van Vessum anticipates that the role that user experience (UX) plays within SEO will increase considerably in 2020: “Google wants us to focus on the bigger picture; create a website that answers the user’s query quickly and efficiently and offers a good user experience. This includes creating good content that really answers users’ search queries. Niels Tukker thinks that SEO will remain enormously important in 2020 for indexing the search engines. “It is important that you move with the wishes that are set for it. I do think that UX and customer journeys threaten the importance of SEO. Ease of human interaction is an increasingly important factor. ” “The user experience and customer journeys threaten the importance of SEO. Ease of human interaction is an increasingly important factor. ” Niels Tukker Trend # 11: More focus on data-driven SEO Steven van Vessum also sees that more and more tools are coming on the market that provide SEO specialists with a lot of data about: the competitive landscape; the search intent behind queries; which queries have featured snippets, and so on. “SEO will be more data driven. Nowadays, doing keyword research is much more than just looking at how much search volume and competition there is on a query. Take a good look at the question behind the question. How is the search result page structured? Do you have a chance to score there? ” Conclusion SEO trends in 2020 Whatever happens, Google always tries to provide the best answer to the user’s question in the search results. Therefore, in everything you do, ask yourself if it is of added value for the visitor to your website. Jorg van de Ven concludes and notes that SEO seems to be more of a branding channel than a “ranking” channel. Google probeert de behoefte van een zoeker te voldoen door het juiste resultaat te tonen bij de intentie van de zoekopdracht, maar houdt ook rekening met zoekhistorie, locatie en het moment van zoeken. Wat betreft locatie geeft Annemarie ten Brinke aan dat je niet moet vergeten dat jouw bedrijf het verdient om zichtbaar te zijn in de zoekmachine: “Daarbij is lokale SEO onmisbaar. Zoekopdrachten worden nu al sterk gebaseerd op je locatie en dit blijft toenemen. Zorg ervoor dat jij jouw locaties op de website communiceert, maar ook dat je dit binnen ‘Google mijn bedrijf’ op orde hebt.” De basisprincipes van SEO blijven ook in 2020 relevant. Zorg ervoor dat je website technisch goed in elkaar zit en kwalitatieve content bevat. Zo help je de bezoeker vooruit en bouw je vrijwel automatisch autoriteit en betrouwbaarheid op. Zorg natuurlijk ook voor een prettig en snel werkende site – op alle devices. Begin vandaag al met je goede voornemens! Neem contact op met CopyRobin en laat ons je tekstueel verrassen. CopyRobin – copywriting as a service Let’s block ads! (Why?)

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