2020 is touted by many sectors as a visionary year for launching new businesses and startups, for reviving shelved marketing campaigns, or for renewing digital marketing efforts launched and initiated during the previous years.
While some sectors are saying that Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing is dead or has lost its significance, many do think otherwise and firmly believe that this digital marketing tool is evolving into new iterations this year.
As an overview of Search Engine Optimization and Marketing Trends in 2020, brands and businesses should expect an evolution in strategies, moving away from purely text-based strategies, into a totally different marketing ballgame that includes voice, images, video, semantics and a whole lot of relevant and personalized content.
1) The Mad Scramble for Position Zero
Position No. 1 on Search Engine Results Pages is not anymore, the most coveted real estate in Google’s search engine landscape. This distinction now goes to Position Zero, or Rank Zero Snippet, and is considered now as the Holy Grail of SEO in 2020 and beyond.
• The rise of Position Zero to SEO prominence is brought about by the overwhelming popularity of VSEO or Voice Search Engine Optimization, which is practically changing the way SEO works (will talk about this later)
• Zero-Click Search Results is slowly dominating the SEO trend, occupying an overwhelming 62.5% of mobile searches and up to 34.4% of search results from desktops
• A featured snippet of a Rank Zero result is being returned for up to 40.7% of Voice Search results. This growing prominence of Position Zero is changing the way brands and businesses strategize their plans for dominating as much SERP real estate as possible.
2) Voice Search Rises to Prominence
The use of voice assistants was still a novelty item a few years back and was relegated to only a few branded devices and expensive smartphones. The continued rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies however is now helping people get more relevant and more appropriate search information using audio content.
• It is expected that within the year 2020, more than 30% of online searches will be conducted through voice and will not require a screen, according to eConsultancy. ComScore is giving an even more generous prediction, putting this figure even higher at 50%.
• The use of voice-activated smart speakers at home or for personal use will continue to rise in prominence, with as much as 72% who now owns one using these devices on a daily basis. By the year 2022, up to 55% of homes in the United States will have a smart speaker.
• Up to 57% of users ages 18 to 24 years old will use voice search, while 61% of those aged 25 to 64 years old will use their voice-activated devices to make an online search. These devices include:
o Wearables – increased usage by up to 71%
o Tablet – increased usage by up to 64%
o Speakers – increased usage by up to 63%
o Smartphones – increased usage by up to 48%
• More and more brands are using a voice search strategy as an integral part of their digital marketing plan.
• Optimizing for voice search is aimed at giving an optimized customer experience based on value-based content, fostering better brand-customer relationship that drives brand loyalty.
3) Visual Search Will Be Used Much More Extensively
Making an online search not by text nor by voice – but by uploading an image – will be used much more extensively in the coming year.
This is made more evident among 62% of Millennials who prefer the use of Visual Search above other search technologies. Among the more popular visual search tools include:
• Pinterest Lens
o More than 600 million visual searches a month in done on Pinterest
o Pinterest Lens allow a user to search for an item or a similar product by taking a photo of the item and uploading it online
o As much as 2.5 billion objects, mostly related to home and fashion, is recognizable by Pinterest Lens
• Google Lens
o Google Lens is a camera app that functions as Google’s visual search engine
o This camera app can recognize objects, items and landmark which can be used for making an online search
o The returned information after making a Google Lens search will vary depending on the type of object or landmark was recognized
o CamFind is a mobile app that allows users to make a visual search using their phone of anything they can snap a picture of
o Information returned varies depending on the time of objects searched, including the capability to search for similar images, get price comparisons, get information on movies or events, or get information on local shopping
• Bing Visual Search
o Bing’s Visual Search allow users to make searches across Microsoft’s extensive visual database
o Search can be done on full view, or on “detail view” which allows users to make a visual search based on only a part or a specific element within the full image
4) Video Search is Gaining Popularity
The use of video has been a strong element in any Digital Marketing Strategy, and it is now being used as another strong element in search engine optimization and marketing.
The following are video marketing variations which you can use to gain dominance on search engine results:
• Video SEO – optimizing for video search results is gaining popularity and importance. This involves the use of online video on YouTube or any other channel, optimized with captions, descriptions, titles, and text overlays
• 1:1 Video – these are personalized video messages used by digital marketers, brands or businesses in lieu of sending emails or making phone calls
• Live Video – streaming video live is a popular visual digital marketing tool used by brands and businesses to events, promotions, product demos or for interviews
• 360˚ Video – the growing trend towards interactive content includes video, more particularly with the use of video captures which people can manually pan left or pan right for a more exciting engagement and experience with targeted customers.
5) Content Marketing is Still the King of SEO
Despite the emergence of new and innovative forms of content, well-written and highly relevant content is still the king of SEO. It is still a very powerful way to attract targeted customers’ attention, drive them to your websites, and build a stronger online relationship that delivers results.
• Up to 88% of B2B Digital Marketers make use of content marketing to build relevance and credibility among targeted customers. On the other hand, as much as 81% of B2C Digital Marketers make use of content marketing to drive loyalty among their existing clientele.
• The use of natural language for search is an important element to consider when formulating a content strategy for SEO. This is driven by major search algorithm updates included in Google’s new BERT system
• Semantic Keyword Research is likewise an important element to consider when creating content for SEO. The key concept to consider is to keep writing relevant content for people, keeping their intent in mind, and not writing for Google – a strategy still employed by up to 90% of the world’s most successful digital marketers.
The Take Away
The use of relevant content written with the search user’s intent in mind is still the most relevant strategy Digital Marketers should look forward to in 2020.
There are however new and innovative variations expected to gain prominence, like the use of voice, video or images to make a search. Still, it all boils down to giving search users what they want, how they intended their search to be – and in a manner they want their search results delivered to them.
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