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The world of SEO is constantly changing. Yes, there will also be things that stay the same. For example, putting keywords in your title and making sure your content is mobile-friendly will continue to be important.

But other things are changing on an almost daily basis. In 2020 Google’s big focus is on the user journey and making sure that the journey ends with them.

This will easily be the biggest, and most important, SEO trend of 2020.

Here are the 5 things you need to understand if you want to remain effective in this new world of SEO.

Zero Click Searches Will Be More Common

A zero-click search means the user does not have to click away to get the answer to their query. The answer will instead be shown right on the search engine results page, also known as SERP.

These types of searches have become extremely popular thanks to features such as Google’s Local Packs and featured snippets.

What You Need To Do-

First and foremost, avoid the urge to panic. Most zero-click searches are from people who are looking for an address or phone number. So even if they did click on your website, they more than likely wouldn’t convert.

Your job is to figure out which keywords will bring you the most clicks. This can easily be done inside your Google Search Console account.

Within the Console you will be able to analyze which keywords you have optimized your website for, are actually bringing you clicks.

Knowing this information will prevent you from optimizing for queries that don’t produce real results.

Featured Snippets Matter

Being that zero-click searches are becoming the new norm, the information being shown on the search results page is extremely important.  This means featured snippets, and rich snippets, are more important now than they have ever been before.

Rich snippets show product images, prices, stars for reviews, and much more. And while they are easier to get, they don’t produce the same click-through rates as featured snippets.

Featured snippets are a block of information that shows up at the top of the search engine results. These snippets tend to get a very high click-through rate.

However, the problem is, getting one can be a little tricky.

What You Need To Do-

The key to getting a rich snippet or featured snippet is to make sure your data is properly structured.

Use a website auditor to check if the data on your website is structured. If it isn’t you will need to get it structured. Here is a guide that shows you how to do that.

Next, you will want to use Rank Tracker to see which keywords your competitors have featured snippets for. Those are the keywords you want to go after.

Even if you are able to get your content ranked on the first page of Google, please know this will not guarantee a featured or rich snippet.

Local SEO Has Changed

Many of the zero-click searches will be local searches. On mobile devices, these searches take up just as much space as an entire search result.

What You Need To Do-

The first thing you should do is create a Google My Business page. But your efforts shouldn’t stop there. Many searches won’t end up on Local packs. For those searches, you will want to make sure your website is employing the right SEO practices.

When it comes to local SEO, having a solid backlink profile is extremely important. The key is to get backlinks from websites that Google considers locally authoritative.

Learning Algorithms Aren’t Going Anywhere

When we say learning algorithms we are talking about Google AI. As previously stated, Google is putting a lot of focus on the user journey.

For the last few years, they have been using learning machine algorithms to enhance the overall user experience. Thanks to BERT, Google’s latest and greatest algorithm change, learning algorithms will be extremely important in 2020 and beyond.

Based on our research, there are three key mechanisms Google uses when deciding which search results to show. The first is Neural Matching, the second is RankBrain, and the third is BERT.

What You Need To Do-

When it comes to BERT and Neural Matching, they are really out of your control. You just have to write really great content and hope they like it.

RankBrain on the other hand, you can do something about it. When creating your content, focus on intent matching. You can do this by monitoring the search results for the keywords you want to rank for.

Once you determine the intent of the search queries you want to rank for, create content that matches that intent.

Brand Is Everything

Long gone are the days of organic social. These days it’s all about the brand. Yes, paid advertising still works, and will continue to do so.

But with so many companies now using it, the ROI is constantly decreasing. Even still, paid ads are here to stay. And they will continue to get more and more expensive.

The only way to combat expensive ads is to build brand awareness.

What You Need To Do-

2020 is all about social media listening. This means you should be monitoring what is being said on social media about your brand, products, and services.

You will then be able to directly engage with your potential customers. As a result, you will start to build brand awareness.

Vadym Kevin Zyabkin, founder of SERPNINJA, once said, “The rules of SEO are going to constantly change and evolve. But the one thing that will never change, is Google’s love of great content.”

This is something all businesses should remember. While you will need to make adjustments to ensure you are giving Google what they want, at the end of the day it will always be about great content.
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