DETROIT – For years, companies have fine-tuned their SEO in the hopes of appearing on the first page of a Google search. Now, it may not matter. The most recent figures show that 61.5% of mobile searches and 49% of all searches end in an SERP with a featured snippet. A Google snippet provides the searched-for information on the SERP, eliminating the need to follow any of the links on the page.
If you want the prestige of your company getting a coveted snippet in a Google search, it’s a combination of adding Schema markup or other structured data to your HTML, plus—according to some—have a good FAQ page, be well-optimized for voice, do extensive long-tail keyword research, and get out your caldron and candles and work on a few a positivity incantations.
On a cautionary note, while getting a featured snippet may look good, a study by Ahrefs found the CTR for featured snippets was lower than non-snippet results probably because searchers aren’t going to visit your website once they have the info they were seeking. Still, no-click searches will be even bigger in 2020 and companies will have to strategize on how to cope with and take advantage of them.
Custom Website Frameworks
We’ve expressed our love for statistics in the past, so here are some stats that may change your marketing strategy in 2020. According to G2:
- 50% of all searches will be voice-based in 2020
- 58% of consumers use voice search to find local business information
- 76% of people with smart speakers search for local businesses once per week
- 41% of consumers will use voice search assistants over apps or websites by 2021
Consumers are no longer entering queries into a Google web page; instead, searches are being done on phones, tablets, or smart speakers. Whether driving or sitting at home, voice assistants are taking over many chores once performed on laptops or desktops. The shift to voice searches will affect businesses in how they rank in a Google search and where they fall on a search results page.
When doing a search, users no longer use single-word search terms such as “dinosaur” and “asteroid.” Instead, Google now looks for keywords that would be expressed as spoken questions, such as “Tell me how an asteroid caused dinosaur extinction.” Users are speaking to Siri and Alexa in a conversational way, and businesses who want to be found in a search need to anticipate the questions that customers might ask, and use long-tail keywords in SEO. If you’re driving and tell Siri, “Give me directions to the closest Italian restaurant that serves steamed mussels,” if your website isn’t optimized for the multi-word search terms in that request, Siri isn’t going to give you a second glance.
The Internet of Things
Being connected everywhere we go has happened so subtly that we don’t even notice. The internet of things (IoT) has also been quietly evolving but is now poised to explode, as shown in this chart from Forbes, which compares spending on IoT in 2015 and 2020:
MITechNews estimates that there are already 20.4 billion connected IoT devices. Exponential growth can be expected in smart homes, wearables, connected cars, smart cities, agriculture, retail, energy, healthcare, and the industrial internet of things (IIoT). Just as past technological changes have touched almost every industry, businesses will have to determine how to benefit from interactions with all the connected objects in our lives.
For marketers, the IoT will provide more previously unobtainable, granular data on consumers than ever thought possible. For example, a simple item such as a smart pillow can track sleep cycles, sleep duration, snoring, restfulness, stream music, audiobooks, podcasts, TV and more. The smart pillow is collecting data on how the user sleeps, whether they snore, what time they go to sleep and what time they awake, what kind of music they like, what genre of books they prefer, and what they like on TV. That’s a LOT of information and that’s just one pillow.
Take the information that can be obtained from the smart pillow, and multiply it by smart refrigerators, smart stoves, smart cars, smart thermostats, and smart lighting, to name just a few IoT products. As big a jump as it was from the pre-internet “spray and pray” advertising that went to thousands of random people in the hopes that perhaps one person might be interested in an advertised product, to today’s specific, targeted marketing, the jump to marketing using data from the IoT will be even bigger.
Expanding Use of Video Content
Do you feel like you’re seeing a lot more online video today than you were a couple of years ago? It’s not just your imagination. It’s predicted that, by 2021, 82% of all IP traffic will be dedicated to videos. Besides videos popularity for entertainment purposes, it’s an extremely effective marketing tool. Sixty-four percent of consumers purchase products after watching branded social video content.
Here are four ways to improve your bottom line with video content in 2020:
- Personalized Email – When going through emails, it’s hard to skip one that pops-up in the preview window and seems to be a video that includes your name. Video email templates pull personal information—first name, last name, company name—from your email database and insert them into a video which the recipient will find engaging and flattering, and with a message they’ll be certain to remember.
- Welcome Video – They say you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, so make a positive impact in the minds of visitors with a video on your homepage that’s appealing, intriguing, stunning or just plain wacky.
- Informational – Video makes it seem as if a company is speaking directly to a single customer. Whether you want to create a whimsical image of your product, show your product’s features, or introduce a service you provide, a well-produced and memorable video can introduce your product to a global audience who will feel an immediate and intimate connection to your company.
- Tutorial – We’ve all read confusing and complicated instruction manuals. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone could just show how to use Excel for something other than making lists? Tutorial videos can be short, yet still be instructional and extremely helpful. An entertaining and easy-to-follow product tutorial video will have your customers thanking you for teaching them about your product, without making them read a boring manual.
Consumers are torn between feeling like companies have too much of their personal information, and wanting their online experiences tailored specifically to them. In the end, the latter seems to outweigh the former.
Information about you is compiled from various sources, including cookies, search data, purchase history data, and profile data. With about 80% of the population using smartphones, data is used to customize ads, send online coupons, and create customer loyalty programs that are all directed to your mobile device. Last year, Taco Bell was able to recognize which apps customers used first thing in the morning, allowing it to improve the placement of its mobile ads for a new $1 breakfast menu.
Personalization doesn’t only apply to online retailers. For brick-and-mortar stores, beacons will connect with your phone while you’re shopping and offer you coupons or other enticements, tailored specifically to your needs.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
We run into artificial intelligence (AI) every day, often without even thinking about it. When you ask Siri or Alexa to find that Cuban restaurant you’ve been wanting to visit, it’s AI that not only responds in a calm, reassuring voice, but also finds the restaurant and analyzes traffic to give you the fastest route. Or let’s say you inadvertently watch a Jim Belushi movie on Netflix or Amazon Prime, and suddenly AI is filling your recommended list with embarrassing selections such as Snow Buddies. Or you make the mistake of doing a search for Nickleback on Apple Music, and now the app keeps urging you to add All the Right Reasons to your playlist.
Ads for things you actually use and enjoy pop up on every website you visit. YouTube pre-rolls are for movies you’d actually see. You use the Starbucks app to order an Iced Blonde Cold Foam Cappuccino on the way to work and a smart, attentive, conversational Starbucks employee gives you the details of when and where to pick up your order. That employee is actually a chatbot utilizing AI.
AI can do what humans do, only it can do more of it faster. That’s handy when you consider the huge amount of useful data your website produces, with no one to analyze it. AI can personalize a customer’s experience by directing website visitors to items of interest, predicting what a customer will want or need in the future, and communicating with customers via messaging or emails.