2019 was an eventful year in digital marketing, with several significant Google updates, keyword ranking fluctuations, and search result volatilities as Google continues to refine its algorithm to provide a better user experience.
With 2019 in the rear-view mirror, our latest SEO webinar, presented by Amanda Haxton, Fiona Riedel and Chris Herbrand, discussed some of the biggest changes coming to the digital landscape in 2020.
Popular Products Carousel
One of the key webinar topics was the organic Popular Products Carousel that Google debuted 2019 to help users find highly relevant products at the top of their search results. Mimicking a paid ad result, this feature will be crucial for e-commerce retailers in 2020. “It’s very handy when the SERP is being increasingly dominated with intent-based SERP features,” Amanda said.
Specific, Relevant Content
With an increasingly cluttered SERP, Amanda believes brands must also utilize long-form content (with a clear path to purchase) to compete with the e-commerce giants like Amazon and eBay. Although long-form content is nothing new, Google’s Diversity update provides small brands the opportunity to win various search integrations. However, the content used should not be siloed and divert traffic away from key converting pages.
Content must be highly relevant and needed, Fiona added, as the rise of zero-click searches continues to hurt click-through rates into 2020. However, using targeted, relevant content pre-qualifies site traffic that is more likely to buy.
Understanding the intent behind a search will allow brands to appear for a featured snippet or any other Google search integration. “You won’t be visible for a featured snippet if you’re not answering the question within it,” Fiona said.
The Role of Technical SEO
Finally, our SEO experts gave predictions of where SEO is headed in 2020, and shared actionable items to implement. One of the key predictions was the growing impact artificial intelligence and machine learning will have on SEO. According to Chris, this technology will deprioritize the role of technical SEO practitioners in 2020 as Google’s ability to parse and understand content without structured data improves.
“Our role is evolving into becoming more shepherd-like to make sure everything is going the right way,” Chris said. “Things like page speed and creating an image alt-tag can be machine deployed. That’s where we’re going to be at moving forward in 2020 and beyond.”
Instead of deploying resources on technical SEO specialists, brands will be able to divert resources into creative SEO initiatives like content writing, web development, and UX/UI behavior analysis.
Want to learn about more 2020 SEO predictions? Listen to our webinar here.