The biggest SEO trends of 2019 vs 2020

By 23 March 2020 SEO
Google-update BERT

In this blog we’ll clarify what last years’ most important SEO trends were and how they compare to what trends we can expect in 2020

The 4 biggest trends of 2019: “The Search Engine understands”

Last year, Google was all about the fact that the Search Engine “understands” what pages are about, so to say. This trend developed thanks to the rapid growth of ‘voice search’. In 2019’s summer, Google introduced the Dutch Google Assistant. The Google Assistant is designed to answer all kinds of questions such as “where is the nearest restaurant?”. Therefore it is important that Google understand that a website is a website about a restaurant. 

In order to understand pages better, a couple of trends developed last year:

  1. Featured snippets
  2. Structured data
  3. Backlinks
  4. BERT-update

Featured Snippets

Featured snippets are highlighted fragments within search results that make sure a question in the Google search engine can be answered. In the following image you’ll find an example of a featured snippet. In this example, we’re asking in “Best events in Amsterdam”. Because there is a a page that contains the correct answer, this content is shown above any other search result.

Featured Snippet amsterdam events

Structured Data

Structured data can help you make your website content be understandable for Google. This is done by coding content on your website and, more specifically, marking the right data in the code. Structured data can be created with verious datatypes and code which can be pasted in the HTML of your website. Different types that can be used are:

  • Products
  • Events
  • Tv-episodes
  • Book reviews
  • Movies
  • Restaurants
  • Job descriptions
  • Datasets
  • Local companies
  • Software applications
  • Q and A page

By using the structured data testing tool it’s possible to check if all data is filled in and if the code has been implemented correctly.

For instance, this is what the structured data of the Hide and Seek website looks like:


A backlink is a link that links from one website to another website. By means of backlinks it is possible to transfer the SEO score of the originating website to the referring website. In September 2019, Google added 2 link attributes to make it easier to tell Google what kind of link this is. For example, first there were the “follow” and “nofollow” links. The “sponsored” and “ugc” have now been added.


When using a follow link, you instruct the search engine that your page may be followed. This helps to increase the page’s SEO score.


The meta tag “nofollow” is an instruction for search engines. When the Meta Tag “noindex, nofollow” is used, it indicates to the search engines that a page should not be indexed and that the links on the page should not be followed.


Using the sponsored attribute you indicate that your link is a sponsored link. This makes it easy for Google to index whether it concerns sponsored, corresponding or compensated links.


Ugc stands for User Generated Content. Using the ugc attribute you indicate that the content on the page has been generated by users. For user generated content, think for example of a forum or a blog with comments.

Google Update BERT

On October 23, 2019, Google released a new major update. This update is now live for 70 languages, and is one of the largest algorithm updates in the past 5 years. BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, and aims to make the search engine more user-friendly.

The Google update BERT is a result of the trend concerning the use of long tail keywords. 70% of all search terms entered in Google are longtail. Long tail keywords are longer searches like whole sentences. For example, a longtail keyword is “What does the new Google update BERT mean?”.

BERT is linked to the language settings, so that certain words in a sentence are easier to understand. With this setting, Google understands the website texts in a better and natural way. In addition, the BERT update will give natural and clear texts priority over automated texts, meaning that it prioritizes a human approach to writing copy.

Google-update SEO trend - BERT

SEO trends 2020, what to expect

The latest Google update BERT already clearly indicates which direction Google wants to go. They want to better understand the website content, in order to better match the results to the ‘human’ search. Since most of us are searching on what exactly we want to find and do not type in just the keywords. In addition to the long tail search terms, this is also important for the new trend Voice Search.

Voice Search

Juniper Research previously predicted that with the arrival of Google Assistant, Siri and Alexa from Amazon, voice search will become one of the largest platforms. Currently, 20% of searches are performed through Voice Search. ComScore predicts that by 2020, 50% of searches will be done using Voice Search. As a result of this trend, the search terms “ladies shoes white” will be replaced by “where can I buy white ladies shoes?”. Naturally, because people speak in a human way and will form full sentences.

Local SEO

In addition to Voice Search and the BERT update, local SEO is also becoming increasingly important. This is partly due to the rapid growth of mobile. We all use the search engine more easily and effectively. We know exactly what to do to find what you are looking for. In the past year, Google said that compared to the past 10 years there have been 350x more searches for “near me” or “near”.

For companies that sell services or products and have a brick and mortar business location, Local SEO will play a greater role in 2020.

The best SEO approach

Do you also want a SEO-proof website? Or are you already well on your way, but do you want to know where the optimization opportunities lie? Please contact us and we can discuss how we can be of service to you.



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