When did your business last update its SEO strategy? If you’re still playing by last year’s rulebook, or going back even earlier, it’s likely that you’ve seen your results slipping in 2020, where it takes a lot more than keywords to get your website noticed.
Google has made some major changes to its search algorithm over the past couple of years, which have sent ripples across the industries. Many websites that were previously performing well are now finding themselves falling behind or even getting penalised for following outdated techniques.
If you handle your SEO campaigns yourself, it’s vital to have some idea of what’s happening in the industry and how to keep up. Whether you’re just starting out with a business website or you’re updating your digital marketing strategy for 2020, these are the five big changes in SEO you should know about. Click through the links to find out more about each topic.
Google introduced mobile-first indexing for websites in 2018, prioritising how well a website performs on mobile devices rather than desktops. Since July 2019, new websites are indexed for mobile by default. Older sites are evaluated for mobile readiness on a case by case basis and indexed once they’re found to be up to scratch.
Google’s artificial intelligence system RankBrain was introduced into the search algorithm in 2015 to help refine search results, but it wasn’t until last year that its impact became undeniable. Google says that RankBrain is now its third most significant ranking factor. The system ranks pages based on a number of factors, including contextual keywords and user experience.
Google’s featured snippets provide a sample of a website that could answer users’ search queries without them having to click through. Since their introduction, featured snippets have been a major change for SEO, as they come above the search results themselves in ‘position zero.’ This year has seen further changes to featured snippets, which now update more frequently and no longer duplicate the original search result.
Voice search is forecast to account for half of all searches in 2020. With voice search soon to be the default, it’s important to make sure your website is geared towards voice queries as well as text, using more long-tail keywords and conversational language.
Is your website still on HTTP? Switching to HTTPS encryption will make your site more secure and you’ll be viewed more favourably by search engines and users. Google announced that HTTPS encryption was a ranking factor in 2014 and there’s been an undeniable rise in HTTPS sites since.
With SEO always evolving, optimising your website isn’t a one-time project. Follow the Civic Web Media blog to stay up to speed with the latest changes and read tips for keeping your site up to date.