The world of digital marketing is constantly growing and changing, and quite frankly, can be hard to keep up with. In the past, Google rolled out algorithm updates about once a year. As time has gone on, and marketers have gotten smarter, Google has made more frequent updates to make its standards stricter.
These algorithm updates affect marketers as often as every few months nowadays, leading marketers to pivot strategy in order to provide clients with the most up-to-date practices. Here is a compiled list of the most important digital marketing trends to watch for in 2020.
#1 The featured snippet
The first thing marketers should be aware of in 2020 is how important the featured snippet is becoming. Because featured snippets usually appear before the #1 organic search result, they are highly valuable to rank for. Featured snippets are essentially 40-60 words of text, usually placed near the top of a page that concisely answer search users’ burning question.
Google has a way of determining which featured snippet gets boosted to the number 0 spot (before the #1 organic search result). This is likely dependent on quality, how many keywords match, and trustworthiness. To give yourself the best chance of ranking for the featured snippet, write a snippet of information that matches the search intent you wish to rank for. In this example, you can see the article titled What Shows Up on An Employment Background Check ranking as the featured snippet for the search query “what shows up on employment background check”. Bolded in black you can see how the author uses the keywords various times in different ways throughout the snippet and answers the query within the word count.
#2 Voice search
Another very important change in the digital marketing world you can expect to see in 2020 is the increase of voice search. Data has shown that by 2020, 50% of all searches will be performed by voice search. So, how will this affect marketers? Well, for one, you’ll need to know how to rank for voice search.
In order to rank for voice search, you will have to be one of the featured snippets. This means ranking as a featured snippet is doubly important for digital marketers to consider going into the new year. Here you can see the same article from above, ranking for both the top featured snippet on the SERP as well as the top result for voice search.
#3 Reviews and customer engagement
Going into 2020, Google has announced that active brand engagement will somehow factor into SERP ranking. This means getting reviews across several platforms, especially Google, will become even more important than before. Additionally, how companies respond to reviews, both bad and good reviews, will also factor into their rankings.
Google will asses how a company engages with its users via comments across social platforms and responses to reviews. Google wants to see that a company cares about their customers’ experiences and will award them for doing so. This is important for brands to consider in the new year as they may consider hiring someone full-time to be their social media engagement manager.
Here you can see a local restaurant receiving a bad review from a customer about the restaurant’s customer service. This customer has yet to visit the place of business but already has a negative view about it. Instead of trying to turn this person’s view of their business into something positive, like offering them a gift card to get them in the door, the owner responds in a completely unprofessional and childlike manner.
Alternatively, you see that Mint, a large national company takes the time to respond in a very professional way, even to their negative reviews. If you look at their reviews across any social platform, they respond to almost every review or customer that tags or comments toward them. This consistency and professionalism is something that Google is looking for when responding to customer engagement.
There’s been a lot of talk as to whether Google will take mentions of brands into consideration when determining its rank. All signs point to this being a ranking factor come 2020. It’s hard to say how Google will filter out unnatural or spammed mentions of a brand opposed to natural mentions on social media from real users. Regardless, it will be a huge help to brands in terms of SEO as getting mentions of your brand to help boost ratings is easier than asking for unlinked brands to be turned into a backlink.
This is an important ranking factor for digital marketers to consider moving forward. This could cause companies to pivot their marketing strategies in a huge way. For instance, brands may consider spending less money on paid advertising online and more money on creating publicity around just simply getting their brand mentioned online. An example of this is having a brand build a huge statue in the middle of a city to take pictures with. This will cause people to naturally mention the brand across the internet, and eventually lead more people to want to see it for themselves.
#5 Domain Authority 2.0
The release of Moz’s Domain Authority 2.0 for 2020 has brought about many changes in terms of digital marketing. While domain authority historically focused on backlinks to account for DA score, domain authority 2.0 will be comprised of three measures: EAT, or expert, authority, and trustworthiness.
To become an expert, a brand must have a copy on their site that proves they are an expert in their field. They can write a blog themselves or hire an expert copywriter to pose as an expert in the field. Either way, the writing needs to be relevant to the brand’s field and be very informative, rather than just fluff. Google is cracking down on who can write what now without specific credentials, so make sure you hire someone with experience writing about the field, especially fields like medicine, nutrition (food and drug), etc.
Authority consists of how users and Google view your expertise. Gaining authority means getting glowing endorsements from those in similar fields as you in the form of backlinks from their site to yours. If you are a realtor and a contractor refers to your site on theirs, this is a great way to build authority. In terms of building authority, quality is much more important than quantity.
Trustworthiness means building a site that is user-friendly and looks trustworthy. Building a clean site that more importantly is secure for users will help your site look trustworthy. Users want to feel that a site is trustworthy before giving a site their personal information such as their email address, address, and especially their credit card information.
Samantha Rupp holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and is a contributing editor for 365BusinessTips.com as well as a marketing expert for an online faucet supplier. She lives in San Diego, California and enjoys spending time on the beach.