2020 is coming at us, whether we like it or not.
To stay ahead of the curve as knowledgeable marketers and website owners, what are the most important factors you need to know about content and SEO trends?
As it turns out, a LOT.  ?
As fast as technology changes, content marketing changes, too. What was relevant, best practice, or trendy last year may not hold water in 2020.
Read my blog today on what I consider next year’s major SEO and content trends headed our way. ? Don’t let your content and SEO fall behind.
top seo and content trends

5 SEO and Content Trends That Will Be Worth Your Time & Focus in 2020

1. Amazing, Niche, Expert Content Which Meets or Exceeds Google’s E-A-T Standards

2. Content Optimized for Voice Search

3. More Long-Tail Keyword Searches and More Content Targeting Them

4. Richer, SEO-Ready Imagery in Content

5. Interactive Content

As content marketing continues to evolve, we find ways to keep our content relevant and ranking. ? So for 2020, why not go further and create better, unbeatable content? ? @JuliaEMcCoy reveals 5 upcoming SEO and content trends. Click To Tweet
5 SEO content trends for 2020: ? 1. Niche Expert Content 2. Content Optimized for Voice Search 3. More Long-Tail Keyword Searches 4. Richer Imagery See all 5 from @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

1. Amazing, Niche, Expert Content Which Meets or Exceeds Google’s E-A-T Standards

Content continues to amaze and astound us on the regular. It can do SO much for small and large brands alike.

  • It taps into the major traffic potential stemming from Google search (70.6% of ALL web traffic originates there, according to Backlinko/Sparktoro).
  • Publishing strategic content generates 67% more leads than NOT publishing strategic content, says a HubSpot study.
  • Meanwhile, 71% of B2B buyers read blog content during their buying journeys (3-5 blogs is the norm).

If you’re on the receiving end of those stats, ready and waiting with amazing content, the rewards are huge. More people are getting wise to how well it works, and so we’ll see more content from more brands in 2020.
The word to focus on, however, is “amazing.” Without that qualifier, you don’t have a chance.
In 2020, it’s not just bad content that won’t cut it. Even mediocre pieces will fail to land, including “not bad” and “good enough” content that makes you shrug halfheartedly after reading the first paragraph.
To rank with Google and readers, your content has to go far beyond “not bad” and inch into “exceptional,” “amazing,” and “wow” territory.
The only caveat? The bar for amazing content keeps rising. Marketers who have been doing content forever know this beyond a doubt, so they’ll up their game in response.
The result: Content in 2020 will be better than ever – especially from major players!
How can you keep up to rank in 2020? The shortlist:

  • Hit Google’s definition of quality. Over and over, in their Webmaster Guidelines, the search engine references helping the user, being useful, and including the words for which users are searching in your content.

From Steps to a Google-friendly site

From Webmaster Guidelines

  • Prove you’re an expert in your industry/topic area. Google highlights the importance of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T) in its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. Google itself called these guidelines a good indicator of how they define high-quality (and low-quality) content. That hint is from an article published in August 2019 on the Webmaster Central Blog.

  • Create & publish amazing-quality content consistently. Inconsistency in content is a recipe for catastrophe. Failing to update your content regularly (whether that means tweaking older articles or pages or posting new ones), as well as failing to maintain your quality standards, will ultimately hurt your search visibility.
    • At Express Writers, we consistently rank at the top of Google because of our commitment to consistency and quality in content.
    • Case in point: For 8 years (yes, years), without missing a beat, we published one blog/week. We stuck to this rigorously, and it has paid off. Today we rank for over 23,000 keywords in Google, and 99% of our prospects come to us through organic search.

Summing up, content isn’t going out of style. (Never.) Plenty of great content is going to come out of heightened knowledge and a better understanding of what it takes to rank in 2020.

Need help learning how to write SEO content that meets the tried-and-true fundamentals of ranking in Google and earning your reader’s attention? Grab my free SEO cheat sheet below. ⬇️  

seo cheat sheet
If you've been following Google's E-A-T standards, good work focusing on useful content for online readers. If you're not sure you're updated with the latest guidelines, check out @JuliaEMcCoy's quick 3-item checklist. ? Click To Tweet

2. Content Optimized for Voice Search

Is anyone surprised this is a 2020 trend? Me neither.
Voice search is continuing to grow, both in usage and popularity. According to the Smart Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research, 16% of Americans owned a smart speaker as of January 2018.
One year later, that number shot up by 78%.

Naturally, with more people owning and using smart speakers, it follows that more will be using voice search to ask their devices to find information.
The data backs this up: eMarketer predicts by 2021, over one-third – 36.6% – of the entire U.S. population will use voice assistants.

What this means for SEO and content is pretty big.
Content optimized for voice search must be (and will be) on the agenda for most content marketers.
What does this look like? Short answer:

  • A bigger focus on long-tail, question-and-answer, and phrase keywords with natural language (that means weird, unnatural-sounding keywords are out)
  • Careful formatting of these keywords within the content (bullets, short paragraphs, bolded text, and other signifiers that tell Google, “Hey, this is important”)
  • More marketers optimizing their content for SERP features like Featured Snippets and People Also Ask – because voice search pulls from these spots! (Specifically, SEMrush found that 70% of answers returned from voice search came from SERP features, and 80% came from the top three results.)

In 2018, there are 118.5 million smart speakers in US households -- a good reason to start optimizing your content for voice search. How do you do this? @JuliaEMcCoy has a few key tips for you. ? Click To Tweet

3. More Long-Tail Keyword Searches and More Content Targeting Them

So, more long-tail keyword searches are coming from voice search in 2020. Along with that, we’ll also see more people generally using long-tails in an attempt to cut through the noise and get closer to specific results in Google.
If you target long-tail keywords in your content and nail the user intent behind them, you’ll appeal to people looking for better, more relevant search results.
That will be big in the year ahead – those who focus on the long-tail will bring in more conversion-ready prospects and will pull ahead of marketers still putting all their eggs in the broad, “head” term keyword basket.

4. Richer, SEO-Ready Imagery in Content

Gone are the days when you could slap a semi-relevant stock photo in the header of your blog post and call it done.
In 2020, relevance and usefulness will be key – not putting images in content just to have them, but putting images in content to deepen meaning and facilitate understanding of the content’s topic.
That means the relevance of the images to the textual content will matter greatly as well as the engagement factor. (If you took away the images, would your readers be more, less, or equally engaged with the content?)
Useless stock photos of random people typing on computers aren’t good enough anymore. Content in 2020 will call for richer imagery that adds to a piece’s usefulness and interest for readers.
In addition, this imagery will be SEO-ready, meaning:

  • Smart marketers will make use of alt tags to describe their images with relevant keywords.
  • They’ll name their files logically, including focus keywords.
  • They’ll choose the best file format for the type of image (i.e. JPEG for large photos, PNG for images with transparent backgrounds, etc.)
  • They’ll reduce their images’ file sizes for faster loading.

5. Interactive Content

A focus on better images in content brings me to interactive content – specifically, interactive imagery and infographics.
According to a 2017 study from Ion Interactive and Content Marketing Institute, 87% of marketers either “strongly agree” or “agree” that interactive content grabs readers’ attention better than static content.
Plus, interactive infographics were the top type of interactive content that year, with contests and calculators following close behind.

For example, look at this infographic from Goldman Sachs. Parts of it are animated, and as you move down the image, you get various opportunities to click on buttons and text to reveal deeper data about Millennials.

In 2020, more marketers will be getting creative and innovative with imagery like this. Additionally, they’ll be looking for fresh ways to engage audiences with short attention spans without resorting to video content, which involves a slightly higher investment in time, equipment, and money.
A key question for next year: How do we engage readers better in our text-based, written content? Interactive content represents just one solution.
?SEO and content trends to follow in 2020: niche and expert content that meets Google's E-A-T standards, voice search optimization, more long-tail keywords, more SEO-ready images, and interactive content. ? Click To Tweet
5 SEO content trends for 2020: ? 1. Niche Expert Content 2. Content Optimized for Voice Search 3. More Long-Tail Keyword Searches 4. Richer Imagery See all 5 from @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet
top five seo and content trends

Content & SEO Trends in 2020 Are All About the User

Did you notice another trend within the trends we discussed? (#inception)
Every single one of them focuses on our users and readers.
We might as well go ahead and dub 2020 “the year of the user” – that’s how much they matter now and in the future of content marketing.
If you want to grow online with content, you have to forget about your brand in that equation. Instead, you have to focus on how users can benefit from your expertise. Give away your knowledge, treat it like the renewable resource it is, and, in the process, give your readers the value they crave.
The side effects of that approach, as all of us in content marketing know deeply, are incredible for growing a business.
So, with 2020 in our sights, if you haven’t yet, it’s time to pull up a chair to the table and grab a slice of that content pie. It’s best served warm, so get it while it’s hot.

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