Hello, and Happy New Year!
In my columns last year, I explored artificial intelligence
and online reviews
, among other topics.
In this first column of the new year, I want to look at SEO.
SEO, as I am sure the majority of you are already aware, stands for search engine optimization, the methods used to make your store or brand rise to the top in online searches.
Here are three trends in SEO I expect to emerge in 2020.
1. Intent Matching Over String Matching
One of the biggest achievements bringing us into 2020 is Google’s development of BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers), a technique for natural language processing, or NLP.
Simply put, NLP is the process of programming computers, like chatbots, to sound more like humans when they “talk” to us.
Instead of using various NLP solutions that all cater to a specific niche, Google’s BERT acts as an all-purpose solution.
While BERT is far from being able to understand language and context like the human brain can, it’s effect on the relationship between words is here to stay.
BERT’s revolution is its comprehension of intent, of having the ability to look at a random compilation of words and understand context in search queries. As BERT develops, it’s expected that search engines will drift away from keywords and closer to understanding intent.
Partly because you cannot optimize for BERT, ranking will be dependent on the quality of the content, which leads us in to No. 2.
2. Emphasis on Content
As we get closer to formatting our search engines to understand us and the context of our searches, more emphasis will need to be placed on a company’s understanding of their users.
This is where quality content comes into play, as that is the only true need of a user.
Companies will need to also understand the intent of their users and provide them with the content to do so to assure that they still match up to Google’s new understanding of search queries.
As Google comes to rely more on context than keyword, it will increasingly be the case that the route to higher ranking is based off the relationship between customer and company, and the mutual understanding of customer need and company offering.
3. Mobile SEO
With the wide introduction of 5G (the fifth generation of wireless technology) this past month and its revolution in mobile connectivity, the increase in network performance is also expected to create an increase in mobile usage.