Next year will be 2020 already so it feels redundant to even say this but it’s worth repeating: optimizing your website is one of the most important things you can do for your business. Your site is your brand’s introduction, it can lead to new customers and sales, it can provide more business opportunities and keep you in touch with your clients. But for that to happen, you need people to find it!
1 – Optimizing for voice search
We’ve come a long way since the days where the only way to find something online was to type the exact thing into the search box. Today, search engines are capable of understanding human language and detect intent to provide the most precise answer in the shortest time possible. The latest in search evolution? Doing so through voice.
Virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa have put people in more control than ever. Now, it’s enough to wake up the assistant and order what you want to get immediate results. So, you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that adjusting your site for voice search will become a huge priority for businesses of all sizes. In fact, there are predictions estimating that voice search will account for half of the total searches by next year.
2 – Preparing content for AI-based algorithms
The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to power up search engines isn’t new. In fact, Google has been using it since 2015. But as it happens with everything AI-related, search engines are becoming increasingly sophisticated in using this technology. This leads to better searches based on past searches and user interactions through the web. It’s almost as if the search engines know what you are looking for before you begin searching!
AI in search engines has become so good that is now capable of separating valuable content from rehashed or poor quality content. This has had a strong impact on searches and will continue to do so in the coming year, as AI gets better and more experienced.
In other words, that means you’ll have to focus on creating high-quality content and learn from experience. That implies the creation of content following the latest trends that adheres to the highest quality standards imposed by Google itself. Good content will just not pull the trick anymore—you need the best, especially on your website.
3 – Paying attention to mobile UX
People are increasingly using their mobile devices to search and browse the Internet to the point where smartphones have become the dominant devices. Recent research has found that around 2 billion people access the web only using their smartphone and estimate that 72.6% of users will do so by the year 2025.
This basically shows that the user experience (UX) your site provides in its mobile form is crucial for your success. And that goes beyond just having a mobile version of it. There are other things to pay attention to, including loading times, accessibility, ease of use, look and feel. Taking your desktop site and rearranging it to fit smaller screens is certainly not a winning strategy anymore.
4 – Increasing your users’ safety
Malicious actors don’t seem to slow down, especially in the last couple of years. That’s oh-so-true for small businesses, that are seeing that 43% of cyber attacks are targeting them. So, if you’re among those businesses, it’s better to be safe than sorry and invest in some high-level security. And your website is the best place to start!
You know why? Because regular users are aware of the online dangers that abound on the Internet and are quick to dismiss anything that resembles a potential threat. That’s why it is so important for you to make them feel safe on several levels. You need to offer them a better way of handling their data, especially when dealing with payment gateways.
5 – Using video in your website’s spotlight
To say that videos are a trend would be to outright lie. Videos have become a marketing staple some years ago and their power doesn’t seem to be dwindling down any time soon. In fact, some studies show that 6 out of 10 people would rather watch videos online than watch TV. That’s especially true for younger audiences but it applies to all kinds of audiences as well.
This simply means you should be using video on your website right now. Videos are capable of boosting your traffic, increasing your session average duration, improving your engagement, and even helping you increase your sales. That’s because Google has taken video as some serious indicator of the quality of a site.
So, embedding the best videos you can create on your website should get you all of those benefits. You can start doing that today, but it will become mandatory in 2020 when 82% of all web traffic will come from people watching videos.
6 – Thinking about other search engines
Whenever web developers work on a new website, they are always thinking about Google when it’s time to optimize it. It makes sense—Google is the most used search engine in the world by a large margin. However, this doesn’t mean you can (or should) forget about the other search engines. In fact, optimizing your website to fit those alternatives workings can bring you an audience that might be neglected by your competition.
There are traditional search engines like Bing, DuckDuckGo, and Yahoo that have their own way of ranking websites and that could provide you with some suggestions for optimization. But there are also other search engines you might not consider as such that could also open some unexpected doors. Giant sites like Amazon and YouTube aren’t precisely search engines but people are using them more and more to find stuff.
Taking those search engines into account can bring you a good competitive edge come 2020. Not everyone is looking to please them and, while it’ll take some extra effort for you to fit into some of your content to those sites’ standards, the increase in your reach will make it worthwhile.
7 – Putting out comprehensive content
Not so long ago, every article you read online about marketing would have “Content is king” in them. Fortunately, those days are behind us—but that doesn’t mean that content isn’t reigning supreme anymore. In fact, high-quality content is a ranking factor that has a deciding impact on how your website ranks for a certain set of keywords.
Usually, people thought about quality content as a replacement of the old way of doing things, where quantity trumped over quality. However, times have changed and creating suitable content won’t be good enough, especially in 2020. You’ll have to make it as comprehensive as possible, which means that content will have to be deep, insightful and, well, long.
Updating your site regularly with well-developed pieces about your products, services, company, or industry will become a must for everyone that wants to rank properly on Google. Of course, writing good blog posts won’t be enough either. You’ll have to work on an overall content marketing strategy to combine the benefits of articles, ebooks, emails, videos, and copy.
Summing all up
2020 will see the rise of some disruptive practices that will forever change how we search for things on the Internet, namely voice search and AI-powered algorithms. Though they aren’t precisely new, both of these technologies will have a deeper impact on our digital culture, so businesses should prepare accordingly to meet that demand.
Additionally, some of the things that already work right now will combine in new ways to define over ranking factors. Video, mobile UX, content depth, and even other search engines will all come into play to determine whether your website is worth or not for end-users to see.
Founder Dinis Guarda
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