Driving organic traffic to a website is one of the biggest challenges modern entrepreneurs face. The online search ecosystem changes at a rapid pace and keeping up with these changes can be difficult. Staying "in the know" regarding marketing trends is crucial when trying to create a competitive edge for your business.

Google is responsible for approximately 94 percent of all organic traffic. Failing to keep an eye on the changes this search engine juggernaut is making to its algorithms will come back to haunt you. Here are some of the most important marketing trends you need to embrace in the coming year.

The BERT Algorithm Upgrade

Google crawls millions of websites in an attempt to answer search queries consumers input into its system. This search engine uses a very sophisticated algorithm to both crawl websites and ranks them based on the content they contain. While most marketing professionals and tech-savvy entrepreneurs are familiar with Google's algorithm, many of them fail to realize it has undergone a significant update recently. The Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT) helps Google understand search queries better.

In short, BERT provides guidance when it comes to interpreting nuances of the written word. So, what does this mean for business owners and marketing professionals? Basically, this algorithm update will force entrepreneurs to focus less on keywords and more on creating custom content for their target audience. Google will use BERT to better understand the content on your website and how it relates to a consumer's query.

The Power of the Featured Snippet

Answering consumer questions quickly and correctly is the basic mission statement of Google. When questions are asked in Google Search, a featured snippet will usually pop-up. This snippet is a block of text that appears above the search results. Getting your website in this coveted spot will require you to adopt a new approach to how you devise content.

When trying to land in the featured snippet spot, you need to answer the questions consumers have about industry-related topics. There are four basic types of featured snippets:

·         Videos from YouTube

·         Paragraphs of text

·         Tables

·         Numbered or bulleted lists

Approximately 99 percent of the featured snippets you see on a Google search engine result page will be websites who rank on the first page for the keyword. This is why anticipating the needs of your audience and writing content to meet these needs is so crucial to your continued search engine success in 2020.

Multi-Channel Marketing

The journey consumers take to reach your website vary based on several factors. Your main goal should be providing a comprehensive and consistent multi-channel marketing experience for consumers. Engaging with your audience on social media, via email and on their mobile devices is a wise idea. By creating a multi-channel marketing strategy, you can grow the size of your sales funnel. This will also help you to increase the number of valuable leads you generate via your online marketing efforts.

Information is Power

Now that you know more about the marketing trends set to take the world by storm in 2020, it is time to take action. If you want to find out more about BERT and how Google is shaking things up this year, be sure to read this article.

Published on: Jan 9, 2020
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.