The way we search is changing.

Today, 31% of smartphone owners use voice technology once a week, and 50% of all searches will be voice-based by the end of next year.

Google is changing the way it displays websites in its search engine results pages (SERPs) and consumers are also moving to other search engines, like Amazon and DuckDuckGo.

But what can we learn from changing consumer search behaviour, and where will SEO end up by the end of next year? To give you a helping hand and help you reach that lucrative rank one (or zero), we’ve put together some search engine optimisation trends to embrace…


Focus on building your brand

For a lot of marketers, SEO is about building links and optimising content for the right keywords. But the truth is that search engine optimisation is about much more than that – it’s positioning and building your brand and proving to Google that you’re a reputable source.

Branding is all about building authority and trust, and that’s what search engines look at when determining whether to rank your content and where. If your brand appears all over the web on high-quality, authoritative news outlets and blogs, then you’re going to rank. Simple.

On Google, brand queries are becoming more important, too.

Search for your brand and make sure your business dominates the first page of the results – and ensure that they’re all positive.

Focus on building links, opening social media pages and reach out to influencers and industry experts. If they share and mention your brand, your authority will skyrocket.

And a final note: not all of those brand mentions need to link back to your website. In fact, it’s good if some don’t, as it shows search engines that brand mentions were acquired naturally.


Aim for the snippets

Over the past several years, Google’s search engine results pages have changed a lot, and whilst it’s good news for the user, it’s bad news for entrepreneurs who have built their brands and businesses through SEO.

Featured Snippets, for example, offer users access to some of the information they were looking for without having to click through to a website or blog.

These Featured Snippets typically appear at the top of the search results, ahead of “Rank #1” and they’re becoming a new aim for SEOs. In order to rank in a Snippet, you need to provide clear answers to commonly asked questions and build your blog page authority.

According to data, 54.68% of clicks now originate from Featured Snippets, so ranking at that lucrative top spot answering a commonly asked question could be great news for your site.


Keep people on your pages

With access to more information than ever before and lowering attention spans, consumers are spending less time on websites.

In the year ahead, we expect to see click-through rates (CTRs) and dwell time (the time a person spends on your site before leaving) become even more important, especially to Google who can monitor this through Google Analytics data.

These two metrics determine user satisfaction – if they’re spending ten minutes on your blog post before they leave, then one would assume you’ve created a super-insightful resource.

If a visitor clicks onto your site and bounces back immediately, search engines like Google will question whether your content is of high-quality, and consider moving you down the list.

Focus on creating quality, “sticky” content that encourages consumers to stay on your site, and to increase click-through rates from search engine results pages, focus on your meta titles/descriptions and make them as engaging and informative as possible to drive traffic.


Optimise your website for voice

Whether you’re a fan or you’re not, it’s hard to deny the growing voice search trend.

Today, it seems like everyone has a Google Home or Amazon Echo in their home, and more of us are using voice to search for things than ever before. Embrace this trend by optimising your website for voice searches, and you’ll receive more traffic (albeit, via smart speakers).

Voice searches can have a huge impact on SEO, and right now, there are major untapped opportunities for businesses to create content with voice in mind.

When you’re looking for advice on buying a dog, you’ll probably ask a voice assistant differently to how you’d type it on Google, so create conversational, targeted content that makes sense when read aloud.

Experts predict that, by the end of next year, half of all internet searches will be conducted via voice, so consider your keywords and think about long-tail, conversational ones you can add to your current roster in order to maximise your chances of voice search domination.


Think about search outside of Google

Though Google is undoubtedly the market leader when it comes to search, there are other options that are growing in popularity, especially as consumers look to turn against Google and its dominance in the market.

DuckDuckGo, for example, answers twice as many search queries in 2019 than it did in 2018, and other search engines should also be targeted.

E-commerce brands on Amazon, for example, should focus on optimising content to appear in their search engine results pages and sell more products.

According to data, two-thirds of shoppers typically start their search for new products on Amazon, and that figure is growing.

Reviews will become more important, too, as consumers seek reputable, trustworthy brands. As well as Amazon, consider third-party review platforms like Trustpilot and FreeIndex.


Influencer marketing through search

As SEO becomes increasingly competitive with brands targeting the same keywords and phrases, companies are turning towards influencers to build rapport and help them rank for new terms. And rather than celebrities, micro- and nano-influencers are the key to success.

Find influencers in your niche with 1,000 to 10,000 followers and encourage them to share your content on social media and write about you on their blog.

This SEO technique is much cheaper than paying for celebrity endorsement and allows you to piggyback off of influencers and their small, loyal audiences, whether you sell makeup or specialist fishing rods.

Remember: influencers should include a mention of your brand (preferably linking back to your site or product pages) and you should monitor engagement and click-throughs as you would with any other marketing technique. Let the data do the talking and don’t overspend on influencer campaigns before you’ve experimented and can prove they deliver an ROI.


Is your business prepared for 2020? If you’re not sitting comfortably at the top of Google for relevant search terms in your niche, reach out to the Dundee search engine optimisation experts at Zudu today on 01382 690 080 to arrange a free audit and SEO consultation. 

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