Major Changes for SEO in 2020 (Thanks, Google!)
Keeping abreast of the changes in search engine optimization – specifically those relating to search engine algorithm adjustments -is crucial for any brand, blog or business. Each year, search engines like Google and Bing tweak various components, with the long-term goal being to ensure user intent and search results are perfectly aligned.
With a new year comes a new series of changes. This year has actually led to many transformations in how Google displays results and how websites should be targeting them. To cover the tweaks and changes Google has unveiled, we’ll discuss a few today that may require some major adjustments in your current strategy.
Shifts Away from Longer Content
For years, the length of content has become a major concern for blogs and websites alike. The average length of a page in the top result of a given SERP has climbed from a few hundred words to around 1,500 over several years. Yet with changes to Google’s algorithms aimed at further refining the user experience, content length is now becoming less important.
Simply put, pinging your website with long-form content will increasingly fail to deliver results if that content is not also aligned with user intent. Thanks to recent changes in the form of an update known as BERT, many websites have already felt an impact in their rankings. This will continue to affect factors for individual pages, with content length being a factor that is no longer as strongly correlated with SERP performance as in previous years.
Implementation of BERT
BERT, as we mentioned, is a broader update to Google’s algorithms. Designed to better understand the intentions of individual search users, the rollout of BERT has already impacted more than ten percent of websites – and will inevitably grow to impact more in the months to come.
Used currently across all languages, Google’s BERT is in its initial stages. However, as optimizations to it continue and it begins to better understand the nature of what people are seeking, content that does not adequately address user intent will have an even harder time competing in key SERPs. This is the biggest factor behind the most recent drop in rankings at the beginning of this year, so expect more changes to come throughout 2020.
Increased Effects of Internal Links
For a long time, many SEO gurus have encouraged the use of internal links as a way to help ensure every nook and cranny of a website is crawled and indexed. While there may have been some direct value with regard to improving SEO outcomes as well, 2020 appears to be a year where the value of this practice will accelerate.
Even a basic network of internal links can help dramatically improve performance in a short period of time. They also help make navigation and finding related topics/posts easier for your visitors, keep people on your website longer and even help spread around the SEO clout of your best-performing pages.
With a new year comes new changes to SEO. Before you start pinging your website with content optimized in the same fashion as before, be aware of these Google changes so that you can best configure your pages, links and content to perform at maximum capacity in search results.