Google Search Console adds Product result filters to performance reports and a major SEO trend for 2020 indicates that search engines are aiming to be the final destination of their users’ search journeys.
“Good SEO work only gets better over time. It’s only search engine tricks that need to keep changing when the ranking algorithms change.” – Jill Whalen
In this article, we’ll cover the following most recent search engine news:
- New reporting for Products Results in Search Console
- SEO trends for 2020
Let’s dig in.
New Filters to the Performance Report within Google Search Console (GSC)
Google announced they’ve added new filters to the performance report within GSC in order to show you how well your product results are doing in search. Google now captures and displays click and impression data when rich results display based on your use of product rich results markup.
The data can be found under the performance report by clicking on ‘search appearance’ and then on ‘product results’.
Ah, if you are wondering what product rich results are – they typically show product ratings, price, availability and some descriptive information. Note that product rich results are not new, just the report in GSC.
Why should you care? The more data the better not only for publishers but SEOs, too. This gives more granular data on the impact of users adding product rich result markup to their pages. According to Google, this will show you how much traffic comes from experiences with rich data like price and availability and how shopping traffic changes over time.
2020 SEO Trends That Will Influence Your Work
The SEO landscape is dynamic, we all know it. Sure, some things stay the same – put relevant keywords in your titles, make it a priority to optimise for mobile users, etc. However, other things continuously change in a never-ending lemniscate.
This year, Google along with the other major search platforms are increasingly trying to be the final destination of their users’ journey. This, more than anything, defines the major SEO trends for 2020. More than 50% of all search queries no longer producing a click-through to the search results displayed with search engines endeavouring to increase this worrying trend, keep this in mind when reviewing your search engine strategy for next year.
1. Zero-click searches = the new normal
Thanks to SERP features such as featured snippets, Google’s Local Packs, Knowledge graphs and so on, more than half of all searches are now ‘zero-click searches’. That means the user’s query is answered on the SERP itself without them having to click anywhere.
What should you do? Identify what keywords do actually bring you clicks. Using an SEO tool in conjunction with your GSC account will help you analyse which keywords that you’re optimising for actually bring you clicks. In that way, you can save yourself a whole lot of time and effort by no longer optimising for queries with keywords such as ‘when’, ‘how may’, ‘what year’, etc.
2. Optimise for rich and featured snippets as best you can
In cases where zero-click searches are so prevalent, the information shown on the SERP itself is now more important than ever. Therefore, in order to stand out, there are two great ways – get rich or featured snippets.
Rich snippets are easier to get, but they will also bring lower CTR improvements compared to a featured snippet. Your result will be more prominent, though, even if your position in a SERP remains the same.
Featured snippets bring great increases in CTR. But getting one is a lot more tricky.
What should you do? Getting both types of snippets requires – most of all – that your data is structured. You can use SEO auditing tools in order to check if the data on your website is already structured or not. Also, always keep in mind that nothing – including ranking first – actually guarantees you getting rich or featured snippets. At the same time, the potential gains are absolutely worth optimising for.
3. Local SEO is changing
A huge number of the aforementioned zero-click searches are local searches for which the results are shown on the SERP itself, in so-called Local Packs. For mobile devices, a single Local Pack might take up as much space as an entire SERP shown to a user.
What should you do? You can cover a vast number of searches, mostly those containing keywords such as “near me” or “address” and “phone number” in one fell swoop, by creating a Google My Business page for your company.
But that should only be the beginning of your efforts. A large number of searches will not end on Local packs. People who want to compare products, look up more detailed information, etc. will still go to your website, and that’s where the traditional SEO practices become important.
So, having a solid backlink profile is paramount. Look up what kind of backlinks your competitors get, and try to get those for yourself.
4. The machines are here to stay
For years now Google has been using auto-learning algorithms to improve their users’ experience with search and help avoid keyword-stuffed webpages. In 2020, this will be more important than ever with Google’s latest algorithm named BERT.
As far as we know, Google uses three mechanisms: first is Neural Matching, which figures out the meaning of the query. Second is RankBrain, which adjusts the SERP’s relying on the collected data about users’ behaviour. The third, the newly-implemented BERT, is the algorithm that is used for analysing the structure of a search to better understand the context in which keywords are used.
What should you do? As far as Neural matching or BERT go, there isn’t much we can do about those algorithms – Neural matching really is Google’s inner sanctum, and BERT requires you to write really good content.
But RankBrain really should be accounted for very carefully. The goal here is not simply to rank for whatever keyword. Now, and certainly more in the future, intent matching is paramount for creating successful content.
Because right now, simply ranking without matching intent will cut you off from a huge number of SERPs.
5. Brand building should be your priority
One noticeable trend for any marketer working today is that organic social is pretty much dead. While paid advertising still works brilliantly for social, the fact that more and more companies are doing it creates a real trend where ROI for paid ads will decrease.
It’s obvious at this point that paid ads will become more prevalent and expensive for everybody who wants to grow through that channel. In these conditions, brand awareness and brand building come to the forefront of digital marketers’ efforts. On the other hand, linkless mentions are becoming more and more important, with Google and Bing confirming those are used as ranking signals.
What should you do? First and foremost we need to go and build relevant mentions. And for 2020, we need to pay as much attention to building quality link profiles, as well as handling and managing linkless brand mentions.
Utilising what is called social media listening, for example, will allow you to monitor every mention of not just your brand, but even the type of service/product you provide.
That allows you to, first of all, engage with your customers directly. Secondly, it’s giving you an opportunity to build brand awareness by publicly providing customer care.
Do you have any suggestions or ideas which search engine news topics you’d like us to look out for in the future? Write your requests below. We’ll keep an eye out (or two) so you don’t have to – and all for FREE, of course.
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