How Will SEO Affect Startups in 2020

By Eileen Malano

Your startup is doing pretty well this 2019. You have a better grasp of search engine marketing campaigns and currently applying them to get the best out of cost-effective digital marketing.

Everything’s good, right? Think again.

SEO is in constant evolution to bring the best content forward. To help users, coupled with a fast-approaching new year, the season of change this 2020 might come as a double-whammy for startups if you’re not too careful.

What’s the biggest change in SEO this coming 2020 and the following years?

Local SEO is becoming more and more important, making it tougher for local businesses and startups to rank high in search results.

In fact, the importance of local search is projected to increase from the current 46% of Google searches due to the fact that the majority of local search converts into both online and offline sales.

That said, here are the top factors that can make the biggest difference for businesses and startups.

First-rate products and services help you rank higher

Putting your best foot forward makes a world of difference. And in 2020 businesses with the best products or services will come into play, meaning even the best SEO campaigns and a hefty advertising budget won’t be enough anymore.

This is truer as Google’s algorithm is currently undergoing changes that will empower beloved local businesses to rank high in local searches. That means even hole-in-the-wall restaurants that you learned by word of mouth might end up on the first page of search results.

Hence, for startups such as yourself, digital marketing and a solid SEO campaign should help your products and services. This is a much wiser course of action than opting for the underhanded move of buying likes, false comments, and reviews.

“Entity authority” plays a bigger role in SEO strategy

The authority (or entity) of a business is going to be a major aspect of Google’s algorithm, and it’s determined based on these following factors:

Entity popularity

What’s entity popularity? Otherwise known as brand awareness, it’s all about brand mentions. Simply put, it’s about people who mention your business name, your site, or even your business’ location in forums, communities, and articles. The best way to generate brand mentions? Produce high-quality content that is relevant to your target audience.

Entity engagement

Also known as brand engagement, this is where having the best products and services holds a level of gravitas. What do your customers have to say about your products or services? Do they love it? Do they hate it?

When your business gains popularity, you need to make sure that you receive the best audience engagement. To do this, you need the following:


Content is king and, from an SEO perspective, it’s one of the important connections between brands.


This provides a solid connection between two brands. Both brands construct a relationship through a backlinking campaign, a connection between pages on the web.


It acts as a signal for Google search and as a way to manage the weight each signal carries. The SEO weight becomes necessary on this aspect for your website to climb the ranks.

New “engagement metrics”

Search engagement metrics will come to play and have a hefty influence on businesses to rank high, like how many people searched for the geo-location of a business using maps or how many people save the contact details of a business on their phones.

User engagement metrics are tracked by search engine services like Google through a plethora of resources, such as Google Chrome, Android, Maps, Gmail, and Google Assistant to name a few,  to track user data and judge the popularity and reputation of a business.

Essentially, to ensure that you have successful SEO campaigns, search engagement metrics will become more holistic as data from multiple sources will help search engines judge and rank businesses.

Voice SEO will become more prominent

By 2020, 50% of all online searches will come voice-based inquiry. This is in proportion to how users use the technology available to them to search their queries. In fact,  according to a 2018 survey by BrightLocal, 56% of users are using smartphones while the second-highest, using desktop and laptop, comes in only at 28%.

This shows that the convenience of voice-based searches has started to rule. However, this also poses a challenge for businesses, especially for startups, as it will be difficult to rank highly.

But worry not, here are a few steps you need to optimise your business for voice SEO:

Accurate business listing

It’s important for you to have a complete and accurate listing of your business on Google My Business. Accurate brand mentions of your business name in any platforms, complete addresses, and pricing in products and services will help your business rank high in Google. In addition, complete information of your business will make it optimised for voice searches.

Ranking for long-tail keywords (especially for question-based)

Voice searches have long-tail keywords and are often question-based (e.g.what, how, when, where, and which). You can use online tools such as Answer The Public to identify potential question-based inquiries and answer potential questions. Quora can also be of help as it has specific long-tail question-based keywords. In addition, Google shows related searches and more questions.

Get your business listed under the knowledge panel

Google’s algorithm prefers to list businesses that have a knowledge panel. Essentially, it is a complete and accurate source of information for your business. You need to add the proper local structured data on your own website for Google to fetch the details that are related to your business.

SEO is going to be a lot tougher in 2020

No matter how high your SEO campaign costs, the competition is going to be a lot stiffer in 2020 and in the years to come as more and more businesses will try to compete with the more established and well-known businesses. This will make it difficult for marketers to rank high through organic listings.

That said, it’s important to keep in mind the following:

First and most importantly, ensure your business has excellent products or services as SEO is only second to this and functions as a way to get the word out of your business.

Second, entity authority plays a crucial role in SEO, but remember that what users have to say about your business holds importance.

Third, voice SEO can either be a big opportunity or a big challenge. Providing complete and accurate information about your business will greatly help your SEO. Additionally, creating high-quality content that answers long-tail, question-based keywords will also help you rank.

The year 2020 is fast approaching, it’s imperative for you to adapt your SEO campaign to the emerging trends to perform well and rank high.

What’s an expert SEO to rank up your company website without highly-skilled web developers to make it? At Cloud Employee you will find hand-picked tech talents for your team.

Eileen Malano is a Content Writer at Cloud Employee, a UK-managed provider of tech talent in the Philippines. She creates content for Cloud Employee’s blog.

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