SEO takeaways from 2020: A review of the most unusual year for search

  • 30-second summary: Google launched over 4,000 search enhancements and new features throughout 2020.
  • Baidu continued to crack down on poor quality sites with its 2020 updates its StrongWind algorithm was presented to manage aggregator material from destructive websites.
  • Bing tried to build on its roughly 2.8% worldwide online search engine market share by including a Bing app to Xbox.
  • Throughout the year, DuckDuckGo added a variety of brand-new features and made updates created to improve the user experience while safeguarding personal privacy.
  • GIPHY now serves more than 7 billion GIFs each day and is seen by more than 500 million day-to-day optimizing GIFs is a fantastic way for SEO to drive awareness and keep people engaged with your website page(s).
  • Throughout 2020 Yandex continued to add more human components into its online search engine.
  • 2020 was a year where search took central stage in digital marketing.
  • Consumer behavior is still set to continue to be unstable in 2021.
  • A list of crucial SEO patterns to watch in 2021– brand-new channels for visual and image search chances, worldwide SEO will rise once again, integrating PPC and SEO, making use of Marketing technology, and more.

Many an SEO will be huddled around the television or computer system screen this year for New Year events, whispering, “Don’t let the door hit you,” as we bid 2020 goodbye. Regardless of the release of numerous vaccinations worldwide, we still find ourselves firmly in the grip of an international pandemic without any definitive end in sight.

In this post, we’ll have a look back at how top online search engine altered the video game this past year, and where online marketers should be looking as we head into 2021 with continuing uncertainty about the year ahead.

Secret search engine updates in 2020

The current figures from Oberlo program that Google reigns as the dominant search engine both in the US and worldwide with 88.1% and 92.3% market share, respectively. Even so, there’s a lot of traffic left on the table if you aren’t enhancing for all of the leading online search engine.

Here are some of the most impactful and significant updates throughout Google, Bing (which also powers Yahoo! Search), DuckDuckGo in 2020.

1. Google

According to Emily Moxley, Google’s Product Management for Search, Google introduced over 4,000 search enhancements and brand-new functions throughout 2020. Among them:

  • Google included the Removals report to Search Console in January, making it possible for site owners and SEOs to briefly conceal a page from Google Search outcomes. In February, they made it much easier to export more information from practically all reports.
  • March saw the launch of the com/covid19 website with country or state-based details, security and avoidance suggestions, and search patterns related to COVID-19. Other pandemic-related features presented in 2020 include the Exposure Notifications API, an SOS Alerts system, and a slate of brand-new GMB features to assist organizations much better interact unique hours, temporary closures, and other COVID-19 information to searchers.
  • In August, Google validated it had made a number of enhancements developed to be “as undetectable as possible” to the Search Console API.
  • In October, the Justice Department took legal action against Google and claimed the online search engine is a prohibited monopoly. Antitrust accusations are not new to Google, and this case could drag on for years.
  • Google revealed in October that BERT language comprehending systems initially introduced in 2019 are now being utilized in almost every English-language query.
  • The enhanced Crawl Stats Report came out in November with brand-new functions consisting of comprehensive details on host status and URL examples showing where on-site demands happened.
  • Likewise in November, Google revealed that voice search had actually ended up being smarter. New language capabilities and the rollovering of context from one voice search to another indicated Google could slowly “discover” more about the searcher’s real intent.
  • Google announced late in the year that it is “refocusing the Structured Data Testing Tool and moving it to a new domain serving the neighborhood by April 2021.” Especially, as soon as this shift is complete the tool will no longer check for Google Search abundant result types.

Significantly, the timeframe for mobile-first indexing was extended from September 2020 to the end of March 2021.

2. Microsoft Bing

Bing attempted to develop on its roughly 2.8% worldwide online search engine market share by including a Bing app to Xbox, adding neighboring product search to regional outcomes, and presenting image-based item search.

Microsoft’s online search engine also developed rapidly to supply COVID-19 info and updates to customers with a tally of worldwide and regional cases appearing in search results page for any Coronavirus-related query.

In May, Bing gave us a look under the hood at its AI abilities and experiences, mentioning that:

“Over the previous few years, Bing and Microsoft Research have been establishing and releasing big neural network models such as MT-DNN, Unicoder, and UniLM to take full advantage of the search experience for our customers. The best of those learnings are open-sourced into the Microsoft Turing language models. The massive, multilingual Natural Language Representation (NLR) design serves as the structure for numerous fine-tuned models, each powering a different part of the search experience.”

Examples of AI at scale in Bing consist of Yes or No summaries to simple concerns in search, the expansion of smart answers to more languages, and a new NLR-based model for understanding complex or ambiguous inquiries.

3. DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo’s intense concentrate on personal privacy makes it harder to enhance for, as user information is not tracked. Nevertheless, 0.5% of the global search market share (and 1.7% in the United States) still makes it one of the world’s leading search engines.

Throughout the year, DuckDuckGo included a number of brand-new features and made updates designed to improve the user experience while safeguarding privacy. In October, DuckDuckGo introduced private walking and driving instructions powered by Apple’s MapKit JS structure

In October, we saw the punchy small online search engine take a direct chance at Google in regards to its antitrust claim. In an open letter, DuckDuckGo pointedly asked,

“So, Google, considered that you’ve frequently stated competitors is one click away, and you’re aware a complicated procedure reduces competitors, why does it take fifteen+ clicks to make DuckDuckGo Search or any other option the default on Android gadgets?”

4. Yandex

Yandex, Russia’s biggest search engine announced early in 2020 “Vega” as its brand-new algorithm. This consisted of 1,500 enhancements to Yandex Search. Throughout 2020 Yandex continued to add more human components into its search engine.

Andrey Styskin, head of Yandex Search, specified, “At Yandex, it’s our objective to assist organizations and consumers better navigate the online and offline world. With this new search update, users throughout the RuNet are helping us do simply that”.

According to research study from Mikhail Volovich and Olga Yudina of Ashmanov & & Partners and reported by Dan Taylor differences in ranking factors in between Yandex and Google include;

  • Lesser effects of links within Yandex compared to Google
  • “On mobile, website speed seems more important to Google than Yandex, however in Yandex, the number of Turbo pages has increased significantly (outside of the leading 3 results).”
  • The research study also predicted mobile search will see a boost in both AMP and Turbo pages.

5. Baidu

The leading online search engine in China, controls over 74% of searches, and ever since the 2017 release of the ‘Hurricane’ algorithm continues to focus on content quality.

As it continues to crack down on poor quality sites with its 2020 updates its StrongWind algorithm was introduced to manage aggregator content from destructive websites.

Baidu SEO 2020 update, the material has actually become king in the Baidu algorithm. The Baidu spider focuses on boosting the user experience. Like Google, Baidu has actually intensely diversified, and provides lots of services from maps to cloud storage– and its search engine supports the whole community.

SEO patterns to watch in 2021

SEOs take heart! Google released a brand-new blog site series in 2020 designed to display the value of SEO to organizations. The very first post was an overview of how a Korean company used SEO to double its web traffic. While Google has traditionally shied away from association with the optimization of sites for its search algorithms, it seems SEO is no longer a filthy expression. Let’s hope this pattern continues.

Here are some other locations to watch in 2021 and beyond:

1. Brands adjust to quickly shifting consumer habits

The first pandemic experience of our lifetimes has actually altered the method individuals search, store, communicate, and work. Just for how long these modifications will hold or how customer behavior will develop over this next year is a giant enigma on company and marketing prepares the world over.

Here’s what we do know: stress and anxiety, tension, and public health concerns drove massive modifications in customer behavior in 2020. We saw significant shifts in search interest and conversions, with very different impacts throughout verticals. And in the absence of historic data to direct marketers through such an event, insights from search information became our closest approximation of real-time voice of the customer.

While we do not know what 2021 has in store for us, it’s clear that the very best location to track consumer habits modifications as they occur remains in your search information. Magnate will be aiming to SEOs to bring them these insights in relatable, understandable ways that can be used instantly driving intelligent organization decisions.

2. Core Web Vitals acquire importance

As Google discussed its April 2020 Web Vitals explanation, “Core Web Vitals are the subset of Web Vitals that apply to all websites, ought to be measured by all site owners, and will be surfaced throughout all Google tools. Each of the Core Web Vitals represents a distinct element of the user experience, is measurable in the field, and reflects the real-world experience of a crucial user-centric result.”

On its face, Google’s CWV update is a reinforcement of what we already understand to be finest practices for user experience. If you want to take a much deeper dive into the research and methodology driving this update, Defining the Core Web Vitals metrics limits by Google software engineer Bryan McQuade is a great read.

Google likewise assures that the meanings and thresholds of Core Web Vitals will be stable which marketers will have previous notification of updates, which will have a foreseeable, annual cadence.

3. Image and visual search

As brands complete for consumers’ attention and as image and visual material optimization continue to get SERP real estate, new channels are opening up beyond just YouTube. Brands, aiming to stand out in 2021 should be making use of combinations of videos and images to notify and inform customers as they spend increasingly more time online. Beyond Google specific niche (non-traditional) vertical optimization opportunities might just be opening up.

Below are 2 short examples.


According to Cisco, video will make up 82 percent of all internet traffic in 2021. While YouTube still dominates more and more platforms are opening up, providing more chances to optimize content.

Vimeo, the video-sharing platform originally produced by filmmakers is developing a large community of imaginative online marketers producing material. Although opportunities to rank are less there are still opportunities for marketers in this specific niche.

“In the last seven months we’ve invited over 30 million brand-new members, seen over 60 million new videos produced and uploaded, and powered countless live occasions that went digital for the very first time– more than the prior 3 years integrated,”

Vimeo CEO Anjali Sud.

No doubt COVID-19 has actually fuelled the growth in need for more imagination in video production and as IAC (its owner) wants to spin it off as a standalone public business in 2021 time will tell where and if this fits and sits for SEO.


Everyone likes a good image, specifically if animated. Facebook (Instagram) owned Giphy is permitting a growing number of marketers opportunities to make their material engaging. This is especially true with more youthful generations. A search engine in its own right, optimizing for Giphy presents brand-new opportunities to enhance for intent and rank on their own website.

Now serving more than 7 billion GIFs per day and seen by more than 500 million day-to-day optimizing GIFs on Giphy (and in general) is an excellent method for SEO to drive awareness and keep people engaged with your site page(s).

For SEOs, basic image optimization finest practices can work well on Giphy, but the competitors is extreme, and optimization subtleties exist. For brand name marketers (in particular) Giphy and GIFs can be an awareness channel in itself.

4. Pay Per Click and SEO converge

In progressively rich and varied search results, it is crucial that online marketers have a strong grasp on how their paid and organic search methods work in tandem to accomplish the best organization outcomes. As the lines between paid and natural continue to blur, it makes less and less sense to have these 2 channels as unique departments or teams completing over budget plan.

Successful search groups will collaborate more flawlessly in 2021 to keep an eye on both paid and organic outcomes, figuring out from a more holistic point of view where the brand name’s biggest chances lie– and which method is crucial to attaining the greatest presence and conversion from search. Together, paid and organic teams will plan how to use tools like Dynamic Search Ads and Discovery Campaigns, bidding automation, and AI-driven content optimizations to drive brand awareness and material promotion in both kinds of results.

5. Brands need ROI and mastery of martech services

2020 offered us “The Great Pause”, actually stopping the world in its tracks. It offered us an opportunity to slow down, take a breath, and take a vital take a look at what’s working– and what is not. Even prior to the pandemic struck, it was clear that stacks cobbled together of point services not developed to incorporate were bothersome, but the complete level of their shortcomings became clear this year.

Consumer behavior changed so rapidly, and entirely that real-time insights rose from “nice to have” to life or death. Brands that only knew how to depend on the efficiency of previous months or years found themselves doing not have a sense of direction and unable to pivot. Moving forward, brands are searching for platform options that not just automate however do so intelligently with AI and machine learning. They are looking for agile marketers capable of getting the finest possible output from these martech services.

What does 2021 have in shop for business world? Only time will tell. SEOs are among those best-positioned to lead in the face of unpredictability and must anticipate stakeholders across the company to look to them this coming year for assistance. This is true both regionally and internally as interest in International SEO rises once again.

Now is the time to ensure you’re set up with the right tools and abilities to deliver.