As the new year is about to start and the time for new beginnings is coming, we are excited to share the marketing trends we think are important for you in 2020. We believe these trends are going to help you in getting more customers and selling your services or products. Our team has been observing and analyzing the industry throughout the entire year, and this report is going to be a demonstration of the most important aspects of marketing we have found in the last 12 months, which is crucial for your marketing strategy.
1. The Best Ways to Attract Traffic to Your Website Are Through Voice Search, Position Zero, and Blogging
We have decided to start our list with Voice Search. It shouldn’t be a surprise that voice search is becoming a more important tool in the lives of your customers. Do you know how many smart speakers like Google Home and Apple HomePod have been sold in 2019? According to a study by Statista, 35.2 million smart speakers were sold in 2019! Voice search is becoming more and more popular, as it is the most convenient way of searching that is available nowadays. In our fast-paced lives, people sometimes can’t find time to sit down and type search queries to get the desired results. With voice search, they don’t need to do more than simply ask a question. Additionally, users do not have to sift through pages to choose the most desirable result. Instead, the voice search gives an answer to a searcher. Uh oh, wait: But what about all the rest of the pages that we usually see on a regular search? What about them? Well, when it comes to voice search, there is only one most relevant answer pronounced, and it could possibly belong to you!
What Is Position Zero (P0)
Position Zero, also referred to as a featured snippet, is the result of a search that appears on the top of the results, below ads, if there are some, and above the list of webpages. Featured Snippet is an answer to a question the user searched for. For example, we have just searched for “How to exfoliate skin” and here is the result:
We got a step-by-step answer to our question, without even clicking any website.
“We display featured snippets when our systems determine this format will help people more easily discover what they’re seeking, both from the description about the page and when they click on the link to read the page itself. They’re especially helpful for those on mobile or searching by voice.” – Says Google.
When your customers use voice search, their device is going to read the featured snippet and send a link to the result, so they can still access your website if they want to. List snippets, just like the one we got above, are becoming more famous on Google. MOZ found that “best” and “how-to” are more likely to have list snippets to provide a step-by-step answer to a question.
How to Optimize for Featured Snippets
Now that you want to rank for position zero (because honestly, who doesn’t want to?), you have to find out what the chances are of your web page ranking in position zero (P0). Not all queries have featured snippets. Google chooses the snippets by looking at the best available results and highlights the answer that will be the most helpful to people.
To analyze your chances for ranking in P0, you can use the Featured Snippets + Tool – it will help you find opportunities on your website.
Types of search terms which often return featured snippets are:
- DIY processes
- “Best” lists
- “Reviews” of products
- Comparisons between 2+ items
- Price/Cost breakdowns
- Definitions for complex terms (an implied question)
- How-To’s & Instructions
- Answers to the 5 Ws (Who, What, When, Where, Why)
The types of searches which rarely return featured snippets are:
- images and videos
According to an analysis by SEMrush, the most common length of content in a featured snippet is 40-50 words, and that’s the length you should be targeting in your responses. If your content does not fit in the length of 40-50 words, then slice up your information by summarizing, creating a list or table for the response. That doesn’t mean that your web page should be only 40-50 words long. It means that you must answer the main question you’re addressing in 40-50 words, and then use the rest of the content to elaborate on your response.
Optimizing for Voice Search in 2020
Optimizing for voice search should be among your top priorities in 2020. According to statistics in 2019, more than 66 million Americans now own a smart speaker, and 50% of all searches will be by voice in 2020.
Optimizing for voice search might be different from optimizing for a regular search. The queries of regular and voice searches differ, and their results are different, too. With voice search, we tend to use longer sentences. With regular search, people tend to type just keywords like “exfoliate, skin, face,” but with voice search, they say “how-to exfoliate the face.” Why? Because they speak to a device. When speaking out loud, nobody is going to randomly throw some words at Google Home, because it would be unnatural. When people use voice search, the way they speak to their device is almost the same as they would ask a question to a human being. That is the reason why voice search queries tend to be longer than typed ones. When it comes to finding content, Google uses keywords to analyze results, amongst other factors. There are the main keywords and LSI keywords. Main Keyword can be “exfoliating skin,” while LSI Keywords can be “dead skin,” “acne,” “skincare,” “facial,” “peel,” “home-remedies,” and others. LSI Keywords are words associated with the main keywords and help Google understand the context of the page. Using LSI Keywords will help you rank for both voice and typed search queries.
When it comes to keywords, there are short-tail and long-tail keywords. “How to exfoliate face” is a long-tail keyword. Long-tail keywords are very useful when it comes to voice search, as we have already discussed longer queries. Just like LSI Keywords, long-tail keywords help Search Engines like Google understand the intent of the page. According to research, the average length of a text search is between 1-3 words, while voice search is usually more than 7 words.
Make your website fast! Page speed affects all kinds of searches, and Google uses it as a ranking factor. Although your content is very important for ranking, you cannot rank for position zero, voice search, or regular search if your webpage takes forever to load. The faster your page loads, the more voice-enabled gadgets will like you. According to Backlinko, the average voice search result page loads in 4.6 seconds, and it is 52% faster than the average page.
According to SEMrush, the maximum volume of the voice search request is constructed with “near me,” meaning people want to find places using voice search. To rank for “near me,” searches target local keywords. To pick the right local keywords, you will need to determine the most commonly used phrases that people use to find your business. Try to imagine if you were a customer: What would you be searching for to find the services or products you currently offer? Most importantly, don’t forget to have a Google MyBusiness page for your company.
How to Get More Traffic by Having a Blog
According to statistics, 77% of internet users read blogs regularly, 55% of marketers say blogging is their top inbound marketing priority.
By having a blog, you have control over the content you create, and you can utilize it in any way you want. Think of what is that you can write about, depending on the product and the services you offer to clients. If you are a company producing granola bars, write a blog about a healthy lifestyle, nutrition, energy food. When people see your content online and they read it, they are going to be wondering about your company. Many of the readers will want to know what it is that you produce, and you end up with more potential clients. Keep in mind that, if your granola bars are produced for gaining weight, before anyone buying it, people will be trying to solve the issue themselves. When they are ready to make a purchase, they are more likely to come back if the content you have offered to them was valuable.
Additionally, having a blog helps you rank on Search Engines. The content you are going to write will have relevant answers to more search queries than the website alone. The more search queries you rank, the more visitors you get. The more people visit your site, the more potential clients you have. Furthermore, the blog helps your website to be fresh. By continuously adding posts to your blog, Google is going to know the website is being updated. Google likes fresh content, and when there are no reasons for updating your homepage so often, the blog is a great place for new content.
Although Google has never officially stated that it is a ranking factor, many SEO experts believe the time people spend on your website affects ranking. The more time users stay on your page, means the more relevant is the content to the search query. By offering them posts, users are going to stay longer to read the blog posts on your page. Remember how we talked about long-tail keywords? Well, how many possibilities are you going to have to target those on your page if you don’t have a blog? Blog posts can increase the number of long-tail keywords and rank for more queries.
Google, among other factors, looks at how many pages link to your page to determine the relevancy of your content. Besides other websites pointing at yours, you can use internal links on your site. If you have a blog, your opportunities for directing users from one of your pages to another, rise, and it’s part of a successful SEO strategy. If you do have high-quality content on your blog, other pages will link to it and this is going to help your website perform better on search queries.
And finally, by having a blog, you have direct communication with your audience. It is the space where, instead of selling your products, you are trying to solve the problems of hundreds of readers. With a successful beginning of your relationship with clients on your blog, you are more likely to do business with them in the future.
2. Have a Unified Message and Brand Identity Across All Platforms
We have seen companies and people who think they need to come up with different marketing strategies for different platforms, and we have to tell them: they cannot be more wrong. You create a marketing strategy for your company, not for the platforms you want to use for marketing. Your strategy should be the same for SEO, Social Media, Blogs, etc. Why? Well, because you cannot target different customers on different mediums. Imagine if you opened the Nike website and it says ‘Just do it,’ and then you open their Facebook page and it says ‘Just don’t do it’ – would you believe that kind of company? Your customers do not change from platform to platform, and neither does your target audience.
The difference between Social Media and website lies in their techniques for promoting your products. If Search Engines rely heavily on keywords to find your website, on social media, you still use keywords so that users find the content, but hashtags tend to be more important. We are not going to dive into this any deeper. What we try to convey is that your company needs a unified message it will deliver on all of its platforms, although the techniques of delivering might differ on each one of them. If you have consistency in the visuals, mood, feel, language, it is going to help you maintain solid relationships with your customers.
Let’s say you create a granola bar, and on Instagram, you share it as ‘the most nutritious bar for gaining muscle.’ You should keep the message consistent and carry the same message. Otherwise, consumers will be confused. Why do you say it’s “the most nutritious bar for gaining muscle” on Instagram but “an excellent choice for losing weight” on Facebook? The bottom line is that you cannot create separate marketing strategies for the separate platforms you use for your products. Instead of doing so, research who your clients are and create the tone of your brand.
Creating Marketing Personas for Your Business
For a successful marketing strategy and for creating a unified message, you should have marketing personas – also referred to as buyer personas. Those are fictional and generalized characters who represent your ideal customers. Having marketing personas help you not only in marketing (as the name suggests), but also in developing your services and products. Once you know who you are creating for, you know what you need to create. You are not going to tell someone ‘Just Do It’ if you know their goal is to avoid every possible discomfort in their lives.
How Do You Create Buyer Personas?
To create buyer personas, you should discover trends about the customers who are consuming your products. Collect information about your customers. To do so, interview them either in person or over the phone and find the reasons they like your products or services and why they keep coming back. Find both happy and unsatisfied customers to find patterns that are going to help you in creating and understanding your personas. In addition, interview your potential customers to find out how they are likely going to use your products and services and what it is that they like about your company. Ask them to refer you to their friends and family members that might be interested in participating.
After you gather the information, find the most common answers you have received during the research. These might be the details you are going to use later in communicating with them. At this point, you should determine demographics, the way they use your product or services, their skill level, and what challenges they have – so you can be on target to solve their issues with your products.
You are not creating just one persona, but buyer personas, and that’s why you should group people based on the common challenges they have or the goals they share, and put them in different categories.
To go back to the granola bar, you might have customers who want to gain weight and customers who want to lose weight.
At this point, give your personas names. This can be Annabelle who is a middle class, middle-aged, single woman trying to lose weight. Once you pass this step, you can start delivering personalized content to your buyer personas. Perhaps you have a granola bar for Annabelle, who wants to lose weight, and then offer a different bar to Brad, who wants to gain muscle. Have a unified message on all platforms, but use different solutions for different personas.
You can send emails to your customers with those personas in mind, and they are more likely to engage with this kind of email as they will be more relevant to their needs. Having your buyer personas in mind will also help you create engaging content across all platforms. That will increase the demand for your products and services.
3. Your Website Loading Speed Should Be Under 3 Seconds
We cannot put trends together for the coming year without including site speed on the list.
In 2019, the new page speed performance report made its way to the Google Search Console. Now, if you visit the Google Search Console and monitor Google Search Results data, in addition to URL inspection, performance, Coverage, Sitemaps, and mobile usability, you can see a speed report, which is now in the experimental stage.
Page Speed is among the few ranking factors that Google confirmed twice – in 2010 and 2018.
“You may have heard that here at Google we’re obsessed with speed, in our products and on the web. As part of that effort, today we’re including a new signal in our search ranking algorithms: site speed. Site speed reflects how quickly a website responds to web requests.” – wrote Google in 2010.
Although the speed of a page became a ranking factor in 2010, it was only for desktop searches. 8 years later, Google wrote:
“People want to be able to find answers to their questions as fast as possible — studies show that people really care about the speed of a page. Although speed has been used in ranking for some time, that signal was focused on desktop searches. Today we’re announcing that starting in July 2018, page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches.”
According to Google, this update will affect only the slowest experience to users in a very small percentage of queries. It says in the blog on Google that the intent is still a very strong signal, so a slow page can still rank highly if it has great and relevant content. However, we think if the search query is very competitive to rank for, and there are hundreds of other relevant results, a slow webpage might not rank well. If the webpage is amongst very few relevant results, we understand the speed will not matter as much as the intent.
“The average time it takes to fully load a mobile landing page is 22 seconds, according to a new analysis. Yet 53% of visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes longer than three seconds to load. That’s a big problem.” says Google, according to the article published on hobo.
When we talk about a page loading, we should keep in mind that loading a page is not a single moment in time but multiple moments that, as grouped, might take much longer than 3 seconds to complete.
First Contentful Paint (FCP) measures the time from a request to the time of the first rendered bit of content by a browser. This is a very important stage in loading the page, as the users get the information that the webpage is actually loading. It can be any render – even just a change of color in the background. Besides FCP, there is FID – First Input Delay, and it measures the time from when a user first interacts with a site to the time when the browser responds.
Both First Contentful Paint and First Input Delay are the core metrics of the new page speed performance report. Those indicators are not new, as we have seen them on PageSpeed Insights. Those are important metrics to know to be able to monitor the first experience your customers are going to have with your company and make sure your page loads fast enough for them not to abandon it.
4. Include Live Videos, FAQ Videos, and Visuals in Your Marketing Campaign
If you are wondering whether or not to invest in videos and visuals for your marketing strategy in 2020, let’s have a look at the numbers we have collected from 2019. According to statistics, 85% of all internet users in the United States watched online video content monthly on any of their devices. 54% of consumers want to see more video content from a brand or business they support, and 87% of marketing professionals use video as a marketing tool.
In 2016, there was an article published on Quartz with the headline – “Facebook is predicting the end of the written world.” Wait, you said the end of the world?! No, end of the written world! – A Facebook executive predicted that their platform would be all video and no text by 2021. Now it’s 2020, and we still use text, but according to what we have seen in the last several months, the demand towards visuals keeps growing.
According to the research, more than 60% of millennials say they understand information faster when it’s communicated visually, versus just 7% who don’t. As the millennials are becoming consumers of your product, offer more visuals to them, and instead of telling them, show what you’ve got.
By creating visuals, you become free to be creative in the ways you show your product to the audience, instead of telling them about it. Visuals should be on every platform you use – your website, blog, Facebook. When people search for information on social media, they scroll through hundreds or even thousands of posts, and a typed text has way fewer chances to get anyone’s attention than something visual.
Additionally, visuals help you define the tone of your brand and the style. By having consistency in your visuals, you convey a message you want to deliver to your customers. There should always be something special and unique about every picture or video you post. If you own a company producing hats, the visuals you create should have something in common. It can be about location – maybe you take every picture in a forest, so customers know it’s designed for outdoors. Or maybe all your models are twins, dressed in the exact same clothes, and the only difference they have is the hat – so maybe the hat makes people unique? Anything that is consistent and makes your brand stronger. By looking at your visuals, people should be able to tell it belongs to your company. Just like by looking at Salvador Dali’s works, you know they belong to him.
You should make visuals not only for promoting the products and services you offer, but also to answer questions from your potential or existing customers. For a successful marketing strategy, you might want to have FAQ videos. Those videos help, as they are engaging and customers can ask questions as the video keeps going – meaning they feel part of the process as it keeps progressing. Again, you are not trying to sell anything here but are just helping your customers. Customers who are happy keep coming back, and that’s what we want.
By using visuals, you should also be thinking about showing how you contribute to the community around you. Your clients will be happy to see you attending a charity event for breast cancer, an orphanage, animals, the homeless, wildlife, climate change – you name it. Your social media is going to be a great place to share it. And here, you won’t be just typing about it, but putting pictures, videos, or other visuals from the event. Not because you want to brag about it, but if your customers know how you spent revenue from selling products, they will trust you more and feel they are contributing to the charity themselves.
When it comes to posting about news, a study you have been working on, or statistics, it’s always a good idea to create graphics to illustrate the idea of the post. It will help your content stand out, and customers will get the idea and the message you want to deliver to them more easily. You don’t even need to be a graphic designer or a pro to create nice visuals for a social media post. You can use one of the several available free online tools, such as Crello, Canva, or BeFunky.
And finally, nothing can compare to live videos. Live videos unfold in front of viewers, and they know they are part of an authentic experience. They feel more engaged and connected. Creating live videos is a great way to build authentic relationships with your clients. According to Cisco, live internet video will account for 17 percent of internet video traffic by 2022. Live video will grow 15-fold from 2017 to 2022. Think of a live-streaming campaign you can make for your firm. It can also be events you attend or something you protest. It can also be from your office, introducing your employees, or a sneak-peek after creating a product. The statistics in 2019 show that Facebook Live Videos produce 6 times more interactions and 10 times more comments than regular videos.
5. Optimize Your Content for Relevancy to the Topic
Sometimes we think the most important part of creating a website and a marketing strategy is creating content. Content is important – that’s correct, but creating it is just a step in the process. Things change, the industry changes, there are lots of discoveries made every year. The content you created in 2012 might not be relevant in 2019. If you let this kind of content stay on your website, your potential customers are going to doubt your competency in the field. If your potential customers do not trust you and your website, they are not going to do business with you.
Additionally, you might have long pages of content about a topic that used to rank well years ago, but we highly doubt that it will still rank high in 2019. On the contrary, the long pages of content confuses Google, and your ranking might be stagnant. If a search engine sees many different pages related to the same topic with similar content like “treating acne scars,” it will be confused – which page should it use to rank your content?
Consolidating and Updating Content
To get rid of excessive content, go through pages and find the most relevant information and the pages with the strongest content. If you see there are other pages repeating the same information, get rid of them. But be careful not to delete pages that rank well on Google. Consolidating content is a process which requires an investment of energy, but is very effective in the process of optimization.
Once you have up to date, high-quality content, it’s best to tell Google it’s fresh by adding 200-300 words every three months. That way, Google is going to know you are monitoring your page, and the content you have is current.
What about SEO? Well, high-quality content is crucial in the process of optimizing your website. High-quality content means up to date information and relevancy, among other factors. Google, several years ago, relied heavily on keywords to find content and give the best results to its users. It used to look at the number of times a specific keyword was used on the page to determine its relevance. But Google changes its algorithms to find information sometimes several times per year. Most of the time, changes occur because Google is trying to understand the intention of a user better, as well as the pages it provides as an answer to a query. If search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing do not understand the intention of a search query, it’s very difficult to provide useful results.
In October 2019, Google announced its first major update in several years – BERT. An algorithm that is aimed towards a better understanding of the natural language that we humans use to communicate. Google once again is trying to put more emphasis on the intent of a search. With BERT, Google will understand longer queries better as well as prepositions in a search.
Among other techniques of discovering information, Google uses LSI keywords – Latent Semantic Indexing keywords. Those types of keywords are connected to the main keywords semantically. As we have discussed at the beginning of this report, LSI keywords are associated with the main one. If the main keyword of a search is “Sea Resort,” and you own a hotel on a sea resort you want to rent out, LSI Keywords can be “vacation,” “guesthouse,” “rentals,” “holidays,” or “bedroom.” Consider using LSI Keywords on your page, so you help Google discover your content when it’s relevant to a searcher’s intent. With the new algorithm, the importance of LSI Keywords rises, and it’s something you should definitely keep in mind for 2020.
We hope the above-mentioned trends and reading this report will make you feel more confident about your plan and optimistic about getting positioned in the desired search query results. As an American writer, Carl Bard used to say, “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” We wish you luck with your new strategies and new beginnings in the marketing of your company.