What are the SEO trends in Thailand? Knowing the answer to this has become even more valuable, thanks to the dramatic jump in the number of online businesses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s call for people to stay at home and various other campaigns such as Thai Airways giving frequent flyer miles to people who stay at home meant that more Thais than ever before are now shopping from home. This has spurred on the growth of e-commerce in the country.
In this blog post, we’ll be listing the top SEO trends in Thailand in 2020 that can help businesses succeed in this ‘new normal’. We will discuss the following:
There are a handful of things you need to know SEO-wise, so this post will be quite long. I recommend that you bookmark this page so you can continue reading it if ever you need to take a breather (away from other people, ideally).
Let’s dive right in!
Effects of the Pandemic on the Economy of Thailand
The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated international markets, leading to the projected global GDP for this year dropping from 3% to 1.8%.
Thailand's GDP forecast for 2020 plunged from the previous 1.8% to a worrying -0.3% (that negative sign is not a typo). A main factor for this is the country's heavy reliance on tourism and exports. Thailand’s tourism services, hotels, and air transportation are the most affected sectors of its economy.
In spite of Thailand being cited as a success story for successfully containing the virus, the Thai economy is expected to have the worst contraction in Asia this year, and its currency and stock market have also been one of the worst performers in the region. As of July 21, the Thai baht had lost about 6% against the U.S. dollar while the benchmark stock index, SET Index, has dropped by around 13% so far this year – and multiple economic advisers in the country have even resigned.
The Bright Side for Businesses in Thailand
Despite the challenges currently faced not just by Thailand but nearly every other country in the world, there’s great news for businesses in Thailand.
E-commerce in the country, which has seen 8-10 percent growth in recent years, has grown even more as the threat of the coronavirus encouraged more people to shop online. Online sales are projected to reach $49 billion in 2020 (a huge jump from $33 billion in 2017), based on estimates by the Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA).
Thanawat Malabuppha, President of Thailand e-Commerce Association and chief executive of Priceza, estimated that the country's e-commerce can reach 25% of total retail, a figure at par with China’s, in just 5-10 years.
Best SEO Trends in Thailand This 2020
With all the challenges as well as all the potential for businesses in post-pandemic Thailand, it’s important to know which search engine optimization (SEO) trends can bring value to your business.What are the SEO trends in Thailandthat you should know of this year? Here are our top four:
1. BERT and Optimizing For Intent
Short for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, BERT is the first huge change that Google has done to its search algorithm ever since RankBrain from 2014. BERT allows anyone to train their own question answering system, and will affect 10% of queries.
With this breakthrough in Google’s ability to process natural language, SEO will be less of a balancing act between making both people and search algorithms happy. Instead, there will be a single objective: to give what the user wants, because it, too, will be what the algorithm wants!
Let’s marvel at Google’s phenomenal ability to detect user intent and provide the best results: If you search ‘New York weather’ (or any city + weather), Google assumes that you're in the Big Apple and displays the current temperature and forecasts for the rest of the week.
Then, simply add any upcoming month (e.g., ‘New York weather December’), and you will be served with a set of results that comprise more of travel-related links such as airline portals, hotel chains’ websites, or even Airbnb listings – but most likely Google’s own flight and hotel booking results will be there.
Applying BERT models will enable SEO marketers to boost their chances of ranking on the first page for featured snippets in Google SERPs. Unfortunately, although Google uses it to improve its understanding of natural language, you cannot optimize your site for BERT.
What you can do is optimize for the intent behind search queries since intent matching is indispensable when it comes to producing optimized content. How can you adapt to this SEO trend in Thailand?
Prior to working on the copy, take a look at the top ten results for that query, and determine the type of user intent they address. Based on that, you can proceed with producing content that aligns with users’ intent.
The most common types of search intent are the following:
Navigational: This is when the user is simply looking for a certain website or app. Searches under this category include ‘gmail login,’ ‘amazon,’ and "facebook messenger."
Informational: Most search queries fall under this type, in which the user wants to find specific information. It might be a simple search that can be instantly answered like ‘when is thanksgiving?’, or something that will require more time to read such as ‘effective social media marketing strategies’.
Commercial: This is when the user is searching for a specific product but has not yet arrived at a final decision. Example of such searches are ‘best gaming laptops’, ‘most effective face masks’, and ‘best toys for toddlers’.
Transactional: This is when you know the user is ready to buy and has already decided to purchase a specific item. Sample search queries here are "buy macbook pro," "order pizza nyc," and "order ppe suit online".
Among the best practices in SEO is creating content that matches the search intent of your target audience, so if you want to rank for ‘best gaming laptop’, note that the search intent is commercial, not transactional.
Hence, you should not optimize your gaming laptop’s landing page with those keywords. Instead, it will be more effective to create a useful blog post that compares different gaming laptops.
2. Voice Search
In this world of smart technology and productivity-boosting gadgets, it seems like a no-brainer that the demand for voice search just keeps on growing.
As early as 2016, ComScore predicted that by 2020, half of all searches will be by voice. In 2016, 13% of all U.S. households already owned a smart speaker, and this number is expected to reach 55% by 2022. In January 2018, there were already an estimated one billion voice searches performed every month.
Google itself noted that 41% of adults perform at least one voice search every day.
It’s not surprising that Google is deeply involved in studying the trends in voice technology; after all, Google and Amazon account for a whopping 94% of all smart speakers in use. Google itself reported back in 2017 that its Assistant is already available on over 400 million devices.
Being the tech-obsessed nation that it is, Thailand welcomed Google Voice Search in Thai language way back in March 17, 2014. It was the 47th language supported by Google Voice Search and took four years of development.
What exactly makes voice search so captivating? Besides the hands-free convenience, it seems that people also like its personal vibe: Google reported that 41% of people who own a voice-activated speaker claimed that it feels just like they’re talking with a friend.
Google also reported that nearly 3 in every 4 people who own voice-activated speakers use their devices as part of their everyday routines. We can expect this number to keep growing as one of the SEO trends in Thailand and the rest of the world.
So how can you use this SEO trend for your business in Thailand this 2020? There are several ways.
First, you need to know that Google prefers to get voice search answers from the top three search results (38.29%, 22.24%, and 14.40%, respectively). Hence, the usual techniques to rank high for keyword-based search apply to voice search as well.
Second, keep in mind that most Google voice searches are long-tail search terms (e.g., “where can I buy an oximeter in Los Angeles”). Users who search for such long-tail keywords have already moved past the “discovery” or “informational” stages in the buying journey – they are now seriously planning to purchase.
Therefore, if you want to capture voice searches, you need to optimize your website for hyperspecific and hyperlocal search content. Those will help you get a higher rank for search phrases that have a high chance of converting.
Third, being in Featured Snippets helps: 4 out of 10 voice search results actually come directly from those. (To learn how to improve your chances of having a Featured Snippet, keep reading below.)
Lastly, connected to having long-tail keywords, having both the question and answer in your content can also help boost your voice search ranking. Most voice searches are typically in the form of questions (“how do I do a burpee?” or “who played harry in harry potter”?).
Because of this fact, Google usually prioritizes pages that have both the question and the answer. This is why FAQ pages (which usually follow a question-and-answer format) can greatly help with your SEO.
3. Zero-click Searches
Did you know that in June 2019, more than half of all searches in Google yielded zero clicks? In short, 1 in every 2 users already found the answers they’re looking for right there on the results page, and didn't have to open any of the results.
People love convenience, and they want to find what they need (both offline and online) as quickly as possible. This is why zero-click searches are increasingly growing in popularity and is one of the leading SEO trends in Thailand.
For Google, this means it’s doing a fantastic job at giving the world the information it needs. For businesses, this means you have to rethink your SEO strategy: even if your website ranks high, users might not even visit your page.
Claim Your Knowledge Panel
This makes taking control of your Knowledge Panel an important ingredient in harnessing this effective SEO trend in Thailand. Although Google launched it back in 2012, the Knowledge Graph’s continuous development is a sign that it will remain a powerful element of SEO this 2020 and in the coming years.
Related to featured snippets and rich results, Google recently started letting entities claim their own knowledge panel, providing access to edit and manage the information shown to users in SERPs. Entities can now make specific requests, such as changing the featured image, panel title, and social profiles listed in the panel.
Besides the extremely valuable effect of giving users immediate access to your website and controlling the information that’s displayed to them, claiming your knowledge panel will also enable you to show your trust and authority ratings.
If you’re considered an eligible entity, you can manage your business’s knowledge panel by simply making sure that your website is verified in Search Console. Then, suggest a change to Google to update your panel.
However, unless your business is a large, international entity, it might be a challenge to claim space in the Knowledge Graph. Having a well-written Wikipedia page can help, but more effective would be growing your brand mentions and your name’s authority over time.
Remember that the objective is to make Google recognize your business as notable enough to be featured at the top of the SERP.
Get Featured Snippet
Another thing you can do to optimize your website for zero-click searches is get it up on the featured snippets. These are bite-sized summaries of articles that are shown at the top of Google SERPs, and can boost total traffic volume compared to high-ranking content that don’t have a featured snippet.
So how do you make your site land as a featured snippet? It’s not so straightforward. First, you need to already be on the first Google SERP by having high-quality, valuable content with lots of high-authority domain backlinks.
In addition to that, you must directly and clearly answer the search query in the first 55-70 words of your article. By doing so, you can increase your chances of having Google publish a direct quotation from your article in the featured snippet.
To help you do so, you need to implement structured data on your website by labeling and organizing the information in your pages. While structured data does not directly improve your ranking, it will make your site more readable for search engines, so their crawlers can process it faster.
Schema markup is the main tool for performing structured SEO and uses three formats: Microdata, RDFa, and JSON-LD. Google prefers that websites use JSON-LD for structuring data because its scripts are the easiest to update compared to the other two formats.
Here are other useful tips: make sure to include your business name in your meta tags, especially in on-page blogs, to improve brand recall. Remember that featured snippets bring the highest number of clicks, attracting about 50% of traffic.
A final trick, based on SEMrush's analysis of almost 7 million Featured Snippets is to keep the paragraph you’d like to be featured within 40-60 words, which is the average length of the vast majority of Featured Snippets.
4. Image Search
Rounding up our list of top SEO trends in Thailand in 2020 is image search optimization. The launch of Google Lens in September 2018 is considered as the greatest change in image search. Featured videos started being shown, and AMP stories and new ranking algorithms and tags were also released by Google then.
However, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller revealed in a Webmaster Meetup in New York last year that there upcoming huge changes in image search this year. Instead of simply looking at images, users can soon use it to meet objectives such as buying items and finding new information.
It’s also worth noting that a large number of young consumers (62%) want to do more visual search. People use it for shopping, recognizing landmarks, recipes, nutrition information, directions, local business reviews, translation, and many other needs.
What do you need to do optimize your site for image search? As is the case with regular SEO (which is text/ keyword-based), you can optimize your website for visual search by using descriptive file names and writing alt texts for all of your images.
Google has always reminded businesses to properly optimize and mark images, so make sure you’ve got that part down. Many search phrases nowadays return universal results, which include images, videos, news, maps, and shopping results. This is why you need to correctly tag and mark your images: your text may not appear among the top results, but your image just might.
Here are a couple of other tricks to rank high in image search:
- Build your website's authority. Google prefers to feature images from authoritative pages.
- Regularly update your content.
- Position the images that you want at a high and center part of the webpage.
- Reduce the size of your image files so your pages can load faster. Remember that the slower your page loads, the higher your bounce rate would be. You can use either image compression tools or plugins to get this done.
- Use the right format for your images. PNG, GIF, and other formats besides JPEG can help in optimizing quality, managing transparent elements, lowering file size, or adding animations. Mix it up and you just might see better image rankings!
How SEO Agencies in Thailand Can Help Businesses
With those four huge trends in SEO in Thailand, there’s plenty of opportunity to increase your online ranking and make your business succeed in these otherwise challenging times.
There are many world-class digital marketing agencies in Thailand that have the SEO expertise and experience to help you grow (or move) your business online. Such Thai digital ad agencies serve not just local businesses but even foreign companies that cater to the Thai market.
More importantly, because of Thailand’s lower cost of living, these digital ad agencies charge much lower fees than those based in Western countries while providing excellent service and demonstrable results.
The Value of Using Customized SEO Trends in Thailand
Every business is different, and while most businesses face the same opportunities and challenges at this time, their long-term objectives and circumstances are likely to be unique from one another. Each business requires a customized SEO plan that takes all factors into account.
We at Marketing Ignite would be happy to help your Thailand- or overseas-based organization face this ‘new normal’ and grow your online business.
We’ve been providing digital marketing services since 1998 and continuously update ourselves with the knowledge and skills to successfully promote businesses in the digital arena.
To know how SEO and digital marketing can help your business, call us at +66 (0)118-0427 for a free consultation.
Now we want to hear:
Which of these SEO trends in Thailand for 2020 are you planning to use for your website?
Let’s talk about it by commenting below!
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