It has been known for quite some time now, but now, it is a sure thing – SEO and algorithm changes rolled out by search engines can spell a huge difference among companies and their performance. With more marketing efforts now being implemented online, digital is not just an afterthought or a value-added service, but a crucial factor that has separated more successful companies from the struggling ones.
This was proven true in 2019 when ASOS went from being one of the most profitable online fashion websites to experiencing close to a 90% drop in profits after launching a rousingly wrong move in digital marketing. The company in April 2019 launched 200 versions of its website to suit the shopper’s location. While this move was seen by the company as positive as it was supposed to make the visitor’s experience more customized, it clashed with Google’s efforts to combine its display results. Users did not also appreciate their time in their localized sites, causing them to spend only a short amount of time in them, which in turn, also made Google rank ASOS sites lower in their results. This should serve as a lesson to websites to be keen in the direction Google takes.
For 2020, here are some developments digital marketers should pay close attention to:
Mobile pages need to speed it up
Searches done on mobile devices have reached peaks of popularity. Most internet users do more searches with smartphones and tablets compared to laptops and desktops. This shift in popularity may also be attributed to Google’s push to improve the load speed of mobile sites. Thus, it is expected that page load speed’s significance as a ranking factor will continuously rise in 2020.
Page load speed is a Google ranking factor – and since it’s using a mobile-first algorithm, we know that mobile load speed is what matters.
It’s important, but note that your page load speed is really only going to affect your rankings if you’re in the bottom range.
Do you know BERT?
Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, otherwise known by its acronym BERT, uses machine learning to improve Google’s comprehension of the what the user thinks of when he or she does ambiguous or complex queries to the search engine. BERT went live in October 2019 in the US and will be rolled out to other areas and in other languages in 2020 and is expected to have an effect on page ranking and other items such as the quality of snippets, excerpts, and other information that is displayed on Google’s SERP. BERT is set to benefits websites with high quality, detail-rich content of their products and services.
Currently, BERT only analyzes search queries, not websites. However, the update may have a major impact on how your site ranks for certain keywords. Because the algorithm is better able to understand the specific meaning of each word in a search, the top results will be closely related to the intent behind the search.
SERPs to be more important
All companies in the know have been trying to beef up “dwell time,” or the time visitors spend on a particular platform. With so much content offerings and diversification, some of the internet’s biggest names such as Google and Facebook have made drastic moves to ensure that their users can get whatever it is they look for on their sites and never leave. But then, Google is at an advantage in the sense that since everyone wants to rank on their site, it can dictate and implement its whims to the sites that do not have much of a choice but follow.
Since 2019, Google has tried to integrate more third-party content directly in their search engine results pages (SERPs). While it used to be that simple links appear in the results pages, there are now maps, snippets, graphs, videos, and images as well. This has resulted in users not having to click on through a website of a brand, as they may have already seen what they’re looking for in Google’s SERP.
The SERPs determines how your site appears on Google’s first page.
For example, let’s say you rank your site on the first page of Google for the keyword “how to start a website”.
That’s great… until you see that SERP features push the #1 result to well below the fold.
Does your website EAT?
Finally, E-A-T, which stands for Expertise-Authoritativeness-Trustworthiness is also expected to play a bigger role in search engine ranking. With the ongoing evolution of Google’s core algorithm, websites that involve content from experts with the greatest authority will surely be highlighted by Google as those that will satisfy the needs of the user the best.
Google uses a variety of signals as a proxy to match what humans are looking for, and in that regard, E-A-T is a ranking factor, Slegg said. However, Google does not assign pages an E-A-T score — it is simply a term Google created to teach quality raters what to look for
If your company needs support in rolling put effective SEO strategies, All Systems Go Marketing provides solutions to all your digital marketing challenges. Get in touch with us about your digital marketing strategy today.