Have you noticed Google’s evolution in recent years? At first, Google offered organic search results for keywords. Next, Google added paid listings through AdWords. Now, Google is becoming an answer engine geared towards offering people the info they need with just one click.
Recent patents by Google point to their desire to become a place where people can get quick answers to their every question. This sentiment was echoed by Google when discussing the BERT update in 2019. Even Google’s vision statement makes it clear that they want to "provide access to the world’s information in one click.”
Check out these screenshots of Google searches in 2010 and 2020. Can you see the difference? The 2020 search results show very few organic results. Instead, information is offered on the topic, you can watch videos about the topic, and questions with instant answers are listed about the search topic.
It’s all about easy and speedy access to information. This evolution means your SEO strategy may be affected. How can you adapt your SEO in 2020 to stay relevant and rank on Google? It begins with understanding that in order to become the ultimate answer engine, Google needs you.
Google still needs us to create good content, and they will use the content to inform their smart search elements. The evolution of Google Search does not mean the death of organic search optimisation. In fact, it presents us with the unique opportunity to adapt and rank better by aligning our SEO and content production with Google’s goals.
1. Use Headings in Your Content.
Google is a machine. Make it easy for Google to find questions and answers by using h1, h2, and h3 tags in your content throughout your website. If you structure your website well, Google will be able to understand it easily and extract answers.
2. Research Relevant Questions.
You want to be answering relevant questions that relate to what your website is about. Answer questions your audience is asking. Start by asking a question or typing in a topic that is directly related to your website, like “dogs”. Next, look at the “People Also Ask” section to inform your questions for your content.
You can also use Google’s search suggestions. These will appear when you start typing in the search box. Finally, you can use online tools that explore questions being asked about specific topics like Answer The Public.
The pinnacle of content in 2020 is video Users are more likely to watch a video than to read content. If you want to answer questions and be relevant, video is key. You can create a video that answers specific questions. Google tends to be generous in ranking videos when the video is the best answer to a specific question.
4. Use and Feature Definitions.
Get used to describing and defining things in your content. You can create subheadings and use “what is” to describe specific concepts. This little subsection can easily turn into an answer to a Google search, for example, “What is a dog?”
5. Create Summaries and Takeaways.
Making a summary or using takeaways to summarise the key points in your content makes it so easy for Google to use the information in search results.
Here is a great example of what a summary or takeaway section would look like and how Google would use it in search results:
Not all industries are performing alike online. Food and beverage sales declined by 20.38% once panic buying subsided, while health and beauty sales have maintained an increase of 20.38%. This could indicate that many households are stockpiling or buying larger amounts of necessities in order to go to the store less. In South Africa, food giant Woolworths marked an increase of 27.6% in food sales and a decline of 27.8% in fashion, beauty, and home products by the end of March. Our country’s complete lockdown of all non-essential stores plays a big role in these statistics. Numbers are likely to have dropped severely for non-essential items by the end of April 2020.
6. Diversify Your Answers.
One can never be sure what Google will deem the best type of answer for a question, so aim to answer it in several ways in your content. Combine several formats and give several possible answers to one question. Here is a great example of this concept at work:
7. Use Good Answer Formats.
Think about how each question can be answered in the best way possible. The format should fit into two or three sentences to be easily featured by Google. Price-driven queries should include a clear numeric value in the answer. Data-driven queries can often be satisfied by creating graphs. List-drive queries would best be answered in bullet-point or numbered list formats.
7 Ways to Optimise Your SEO for Google in 2020
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Interested in more Digital Marketing Insights? Read more on our Insights page today. All statistics and information discussed in this article is relevant at the time of publishing and may be subject to change without notice.