Understanding Google’s algorithm in 2020 (and beyond)


The search engine optimisation landscape is always changing. The speed of change means that SEO strategies can quickly become outdated.

Although yours might still be driving results, it is always worth exploring your options to identify whether a change in approach will drive even better results that will help you to reach both your short and longer-term digital objectives.

Although its complexities are arguably too numerous for a single person to grasp, maintaining a solid base-level understanding as to what’s happening with Google’s algorithm is essential for staying on the right side of Google and building a future-proofed SEO strategy.

So, with this in mind, here are some emerging white hat SEO tips, tactics and trends to keep in mind over the coming twelve months and beyond.

Voice Search

Increasing numbers of users are switching to mobile devices with integrated voice assistants, moving away from the desktop devices we once used so frequently. Pair this with the proliferation of smart home devices such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home, and it’s simple to see why more of us are using voice search for a variety of different queries.

Voice searches differ markedly from traditional typed searches, both in tone and in nature. Continuing to optimise for both is important, but they will need different approaches to deliver

the kind of results that will propel you towards digital marketing success. In terms of voice search optimisation, thinking about local searches and the conversational nature of natural language is key.

It is also worth noting that most voice searchers are not yet in the purchasing stage of their customer journey. So, focusing on optimising content for users in the consideration or awareness phase will likely deliver the most beneficial results. And, of course, you also need to ensure that your website is fully mobile-friendly. If this is something that you have been putting off, now is the time it needs to be addressed.

Featured Snippets and Zero-Click Searches

More than 50 per cent of all browser-based Google searches do not result in a single click

. Why? Because Google is using featured snippets to provide the answers to search queries directly on the search engine results page (SERP) itself, which means that users simply don’t need to click through to find the information they’re looking for.

Although featured snippets may feel like a new addition to SERPs, they have been around in one form or another since 2013. The Google algorithm looks at web listings and selects one to highlight if it determines that it would be of value to searchers. While there is no way to specifically flag your webpage as a featured snippet, there are some measures you can take to increase your chances. Introducing BERT…


The latest update to Google’s algorithm, BERT has been designed to consider natural language and context to deliver highly accurate search results based on user intent. As such, ensuring that you are publishing high-quality, useful content to your website that satisfies search intent is key. This might mean that your approach to keyword research needs to change.

When conducting research for your intention-focused content strategy, in addition to searching for your primary target keywords, it will also be beneficial to look at the “People also ask” feature. Make a note of these questions and aim to address the most relevant queries within your content.

You’ll also want to look closely at how users talk about their needs, problems and issues at each point of the buyer’s journey, including addressing topics that might arise after a sale has been secured. This will help you to optimise for user intent and ensure that you are delivering the most comprehensive answer to each search query.

Omni-Channel Marketing

This year looks set to mark the transition from multi-channel marketing to omni-channel marketing. Whereas a multi-channel approach ensures that each channel has its own dedicated strategy and goals, an omni-channel approach focuses more closely on providing customers with an integrated, seamless user experience across all channels.

Pursuing a holistic approach to managing your marketing channels will ensure that your brand name is mentioned more frequently and your content shared more widely, which will enhance the degree to which Google deems your site to be trustworthy and authoritative. From here, your search rankings will improve and you will be providing yourself with additional opportunities to strengthen your digital presence over the long term.

In Conclusion

Moving forward, it is clear that understanding language and optimising accordingly is going to be integral to search success. Google wants to deliver the best possible content and highlight the most relevant resources for every query. Keeping an eye on emerging trends and tactics will help you to maximise traffic to your more important digital assets, ensure your brand continues to positively stand out from the crowd, and allow you to lead the way within your niche long into the future.