The SEO gang and I put together our best insights and tips for where the industry is heading in 2020. What I loved about this article is that many of us talk about search intent, content quality, and Page 1 analysis: Google’s language understanding is getting better and better. Google does not read but it is starting to understand the context of keywords and the relationship and hierarchy between them. Something I have talked about a lot in 2019.
So you are invited to level up your understanding of natural language processing (NLP). Study how to create content, context, and relevance by leveraging long-tail keywords, entities and search intent. And then follow Matt’s advice:
Do all the things.
SEO will never be simple anymore.
The algorithm updates will never be simple anymore.
We’ll never see simple updates that just focus on one small thing.
This article features Slawek Czajkowski from SurferSEO, Gael Breton from Authority Hackers, Matt Diggity from Diggity Marketing, Nick Eubanks from Traffic Think Thank, Josh Hardwick from Ahrefs, Karl Kunger from Smash Digital, Johnathan Kiekbusch from SEOButler, Kyle Roof from Page Optimizer Pro, Jarod Spiewak from Blue Dog Media, Ryan Stewart from The Blueprint Training, Matthew Woodward and many more.
Is bigger still better?
I love Slawek Czajkowski’s nuanced perspective on content creation. Meeting search intent in the first paragraph is something I have discussed at my presentation in Budapest extensively (slides and audio recording here). Here is what he says:
From the users’ point of view, the skyscraper article is not always attractive.
In many cases, finding specific information is easier when you don’t have to go through 10k words.
Thanks to NLP, the user intent can be evaluated much better.
Google puts information in front of the user based on the purpose of the search.
Therefore, keyword research becomes the most crucial part of the article’s planning.
Find the right keywords and make sure you understand what searchers want to achieve with them.
Analyzing the top pages from the SERPs is a good place to start.
Here are my thoughts on SEO in 2020
To improve your SEO performance in 2020, you’ll want to leverage one main thing:
SATISFYING SEARCH INTENT
Without getting too fluffy about it: Satisfying search intent is about giving people what they want — and terminating their search.
We (and Google) know that our answer is relevant if their click on our search result is their last click for that specific search query.
If a user searches for “most famous techno club in Berlin”, reads our article (Spoiler: The club is Berghain), and then moves on to search for “green juice recipe” we have done a great job.
Now, when most SEOs think about search intent, they think about keywords and their personal interpretation of them: e.g., This is a “how-to” keyword, this must be an educational/ informational search. I should write a blog post or guide.
And while this might be true in some cases, you want to think about search intent by taking Google’s perspective.
Understanding search intent is first about understanding the type of content Google would like to serve.
We, as SEOs, are invited to make a mindset shift.
Our job is no longer to rank written content in the Top 3.
It’s about winning real estate on Page 1 and being truly relevant.
And relevance in 2020 might mean content other than a blog post.
Analyzing Page 1 and understanding content type, content length, media elements, and context is crucial in 2020.
Move away from what your gut tells you to write — look on Page 1 and make a data-driven decision on what content to create.
This will allow you to truly terminate a search, satisfy search intent, and win Google’s heart.