Anyone who deals with SEO knows that changes can come in quick and heavy. Just as you finally nail your SEO techniques, Google goes and switches things up throwing you back to the start. 

But Google is not doing this to annoy you. Just as eBay favors the buyer over the seller, Google cares very little about your SEO pains and is much more focused on the user. 

So as you have now come to expect, you need to be one step ahead of the game to succeed. And this means switching your focus toward the search engines motives instead of your own.

And the only way that you can do this is to be armed and fully prepared to go to battle with your competitors by using newer techniques.

Today we are going to look at the future of SEO and what is expected to change in 2020.

Out With Keywords – In With Phrases

This is something that horrifies many SEO marketers. But it is something that is happening… and at a pretty quick pace.

Smartphones and Amazon Alexa are changing the very ways that search engines discover and present content. It is estimated that by 2020, approximately 50% of all internet searches will be performed on voice-activated devices.

This means that you are going to have to incorporate completely new strategies into your content creation with voice search SEO. While those ever faithful 1 to 5 word keywords will still play a role, the future is all about natural language.

As screen searches start to give way to voice searches, text links and unnatural sounding language will fall to the wayside. Trying to stuff in unnatural sounding keywords just isn’t going to cut the mustard in 2020.

As an example, voice search will favour:

Ten of the best hotels to stay at in Sydney” over “10 best hotels Sydney

But why? It’s all about the user experience. Voice search intends to deliver the most natural-sounding speech possible. This means that phrases that are missing conjunctions, articles and correct structure will most likely be skipped.

Using links to provide further information by directing the user to another page is also going to fall out of favour. Voice assistants cannot read beyond the link. So you are going to have to answer the questions in detail on one page.

Writing for machines is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Adopting a conversational tone that is friendly and informative will far outweigh the benefits of using unnatural sounding keywords.

Local SEO will Continue to Grow

Currently, local searches make up 46% of all searches. And the focus on local SEO is set to grow. 

Much of this ties in with the growth of voice search. This is because voice shirt tends to be a much more specific and focused on the local area.

So what do you need to focus on to improve your local SEO? The following are things that you don’t want to overlook.

Non-traditional Keyword Queries

Non-traditional keyword queries cover the card like results displayed by Google. Of course, there are many other search engines out there but Google dominates and it makes sense to focus your efforts toward the giant.

Along with your Google My Business listing, non-traditional keywords include the most important information, such as:

  • Hotel near me
  • Crowne Plaza
  • What time is check in open?
  • What time is check out?
  • Crowne Plaza phone number
  • Distance to Crowne Plaza
  • Room rate today

Focus on Geographic Keywords

Crowne Plaza have hotels located around the world. So for local SEO you need to include geographic targeted keywords. Let’s say that we are focusing on Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley. What types of geographic (service in location) keywords could we use?

  • Crowne Plaza in the Hunter Valley
  • Hotel rooms in the Hunter Valley
  • Meeting rooms for hire in the Hunter Valley
  • Hotels for couples in the Hunter Valley
  • Accommodation in the Hunter Valley
  • Suites in the Hunter Valley

Google Autocomplete

What better way to get keyword recommendations then from the giant itself. Whenever you perform a search on Google, it provides you with the autocomplete function.

And this autocomplete function goes much further than just finishing your search term. It provides LSI keywords (latent semantic indexing) that help provide context to your content.

Along with that, it will give you some awesome suggestions that you may not have thought about. You can also scroll down to the bottom of the SERPs for the “people also search for” section for more inspiration.

As an example, when you type in Crowne Plaza Melbourne you will get the following suggestions.

  • Crowne Plaza Melbourne restaurants
  • Crowne Plaza Melbourne address
  • Crowne Plaza Melbourne casino
  • Crowne Plaza Melbourne gym

This gives you some pretty useful keywords to weave into your content. Of course, you need to remember to make them sound as natural as possible. So use them as sentences that ask or answer questions in a friendly and personable tone.

Revving Up for Reviews

Everything from your business service to engagement and popularity are taken into account. And this is set to continue well into next year.

It’s reported that Google is working on a system that is favoured toward highly rated and ranked businesses. This means that quality customer reviews about your products, services or brands are now more important than ever before.

Audience engagement is also taking a leading role with the way that businesses communicate with their customers. Providing content of value that answers the question can go a long way with helping.

Whenever your business is searched for directly or reviews are left, Google is taking note. The more engagement your business has, the more popularity it can achieve.

And popularity is another thing that the search engines look out for. This means that you need to focus on creating a solid reputation on social media. Getting people talking by generating a buzz around your brand, products or services may actually have an impact on your search engine ranking success.

SEP (Service, Engagement, Popularity) is definitely something you want to try to achieve whenever possible. Don’t just start the conversation, aim to become a part of it to generate a stellar online business reputation.

Final Thought

We can only go on current trends and historical changes to guess what will happen with SEO in 2020. But looking at the way things have been heading over the past 12 months, voice search is almost a dead cert.

The rise of mobile devices and voice-activated assistants are changing the very landscape of SEO. Ensuring that your websites are responsive and focus on providing the best user experience possible are also driving forces behind the upcoming changes.

If you only start focusing on one thing today, we recommend natural language and a conversational tone. If voice search continues to grow at its current rate, screen search could be almost obsolete within the next 5 years.

It’s all about finding that perfect balance between what currently works and what looks set to lead the way. Why not check out our blog for more today.