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Where is SEO Going in 2020?

Hello, and welcome back to another episode of The Defiant Business Podcast. I’m your host Ruthie Bowles, owner of Defy The Status Quo, a content marketing firm that works with consulting firms and service providers. Today, in episode 9 of season 3, we’re talking about where SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is going. 

Here’s the episode:

SEO Is An Ever-Evolving Monster

When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), so many people have been left in the dust. I’ve been trying to bring some of my clients up to speed on the current standing of SEO because some of them are still stuck on the concepts of SEO as it was 3 – 5 years ago. The problem is that SEO is an ever-evolving monster. Where is the SEO monster going in 2020?

In 2018 alone, Google made 3,200 changes to the search systems. Some of those were small, and some of them were huge. What matters is that they made this number of changes because SEO is obviously a high priority for Google.

Google still has about 90% of the search engine market share. We’ve got Bing and DuckDuckGo go and some other search engines, who are trying to get in there, but once “google” became a verb, it was almost over. 

But of course, technology is constantly evolving and with the current privacy issues, I think we’ll see more search engine market share shift to search engines who can play in the weaknesses of the Google search engine. 

Ads vs. Organic Listings

For example, one of those things is that Google recently made a change to the way that the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) are presented and these changes further chipped away at the perceived difference between an ad and an organic listing on the page.

Google changed the display of ads, and it’s harder to distinguish between ads and organic results.

Now you have to be careful, especially on desktop, which was where the primary changes were made. Although I did read an article just this morning that Google is rolling back some of those changes due to user complaints. 

So you’re going to have to be more careful about that, because ads are paid spots. That means that the content behind it may not actually be the most valuable content out there. That’s why organic listings are so important. Most people don’t knowingly click on an ad, unless the organic listings are weak. 

Two New Rel Tags for Link Identification

So I think for SEO, we’re going to see more careful consideration of link-building. This is evidenced by the fact that Google has added 2 more rel tags for backlinks. Rel tags are meant to tell search engines more about the relationship between you and the sites that you’re linking to. 

Before, there was follow and nofollow. Follow links are what you get when someone links to your website in their content, for example like a source, or when you do an interview. In my case, they typically link back to Nofollow links are what you get when they actively choose to tell search engines to ignore the link. Usually, blog comments with links will be nofollow. 

I don’t know why I still get so many spam links on my blog, since it doesn’t do anything for your SEO. Although Google did recently say that they can choose to ignore nofollow rel tags, so we should still be vigilant and get those spam comments off our websites. Google’s now saying they’re going to take nofollow tags as hints, and they may choose to still follow that relationship. 

Sponsored Content and UGC

In terms of the new rel tags, we have sponsored and user-generated content. These are UGC REL tags and sponsored tags. Sponsored links are now supposed to be used for any paid links that you have on your site. 

What About Event Sponsors?

I have to wonder if this includes when you have a landing page for a business event, and you have sponsors for the event listed on the page. Part of the offer for the sponsors is that you’ll market them as a sponsor of your event, and this typically includes a link to their website. So does that mean that this link should also be tagged as sponsored? Perhaps. Better to be safe than sorry. 

User-Generated Content Rel Tags

UGC is just the tag you use for user-generated content. So if you like to embed social media posts, then those links may need to be tagged as UGC. If you like to use user-generated photos/videos in terms of looking at testimonials or things like that, you may need to tag those as UGC. 

E-A-T: Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness

Another thing that I think is going to continue to be on the rise is the EAT: expertise, authority and trustworthiness. Did you know that Google has people perform spot checks on websites? They performed an update in 2016 that hit medical and financial websites pretty hard. 

Google wanted these websites to focus on E-A-T. Google wants to serve up the correct content, not just popular stuff. And the reason why they focused on the medical and financial industries is because those industries impact people’s health, wellness, and life. Your money and your health are two very important things, in terms of your happiness. 

This means that who is writing the content (at least the purported author of the content) has become more important in those industries. 

Spreading to Other Industries

I think this importance will continue to spread to other industries that impact people’s livelihood or happiness, if it hasn’t already. 

Building Expertise in a Niche

This is great for content producers, people like me who work with other businesses, because I focus on a specific niche. That’s business content. That could be things like supply chain, management consulting, corporate wellness, etc. Any of those topics that impact how a business is run. And people will read blogs on those topics to look for advice. 

Because I focus on those niches, I’m building up a brand, and Google can see it. They can see it in the pattern of my content, where my name appears, where I guested, and where I contributed to different articles. 

Google has the capacity to put all of that together and determine how much of an expert I am on those topics. This can be a marketing angle for any type of content creator who specializes in an industry that can become a marketing angle when you look at how it contributes to SEO. So I really do think that the importance of this will continue to spread. 

SEO in 2020? Still for People

Something you should never forget is that search engine optimization is for people. A specific group of people; people who use the search engines. It is to help people find the content that makes them happy. That’s SEO in 2020. That’s where Google has always been trying to get to. Happy customers.

The site visitor is Google’s customer. Google does not care about you. You are not entitled to great search engine results. You’ll have to fight, and your weapon of choice should be amazing content

All right, that’s all I’ve got. While I could probably go on about SEO, that’s all I’ve got for now. I want to keep this focused and give you something to think about. So that was episode 9, season 3 of The Defiant Business Podcast. I’m your host Ruthie, and I look forward to seeing you in the next episode.

Be sure to leave any comments, wherever you heard this post. If you want, you can come onto the site and leave a comment on the blog! I love having these conversations. Where do you think SEO is going? I look forward to your comments.