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So you want to grow your business in 2020 and get more traffic from Google organic search?
Here’s a look at SEO in 2020 and what some of the world’s top SEO experts recommend.
SEO in 2020 – top 10 things to focus on this year
- Content and links
- Video marketing
- Featured snippets
- Search intent
- Click-through rates
- Mobile optimisation
- Visual search optimisation
- Voice search optimisation
- Domain authority
- User experience and design
Content and links
Content is still king and link building still matters. Your task this year is simple:
- Create truly excellent content
- Share it
- Attract links
Create articles that are in-depth: you may need to push your word counts up to 2,000 words or more. Remove thin and flimsy content from your site or repackage these into a more in-depth single article.
Think about your audience and create editorial content to develop your brand and focused around:
- Planned editorial for holidays and significant days e.g. Black Friday, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day
- Reactive editorial for breaking news, trends and short-lived events
- Planned reactive editorial for events or themes that are seasonal
Now, as you know, links are super important for ranking in Google. How to get links? You create great content that attracts links!
Once you’ve created useful content, share it to your network. If you mention or showcase people in your content, let them know and hopefully they will share the content to their network and also link back to you. You can do this in a concerted, targeted way which is often called “outreach”.
When thinking about link building, also think about the placement and user experience of the links so that you can drive traffic back to your site and increase awareness for your brand.
Enhance all your content with visuals to reinforce your messaging and the concepts you cover.
Some of the content basics you should have in place include:
- Make sure that your content solves a problem
- Your content should be optimised for search with:
- H1 heading that includes your target keyword
- Appropriate and descriptive H2 and H3 headings
- Formatted for scanning and easy to read
- Meta description that includes your target keyword and sells the article to attract clicks
- Deliver on the promise you make in your headline
- Long enough to fully cover the topic – don’t skimp out or publish weak or thin content
You can find out how to optimise your articles and website for SEO in my SEO for WordPress tutorial.
Video marketing continues to explode – people these days prefer watching a video to reading anything.
This means you need to focus even more on video content in 2020 and publish this to YouTube (and embed it on your own blog).
It’s easy to get into video marketing this year:
- Get a decent camera (DSLR is preferred)
- Get a decent microphone
- Set up a place where you can record your videos (calm, quiet and uncluttered works best)
- Write a script for each video, or at least some talking points you can refer to
- Talk into the camera – practice and practice some more until it feels natural
- Engage with your audience like you do with an old friend: let your personality come across
- Get right to the point and don’t waffle on and on – people are busy!
Once you’ve recorded your video, type out the transcript of the video and turn this into a blog post (with the embedded video). Publish to YouTube – remember, YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine and people are spending loads of their time on YouTube. Be where your audience is.
Featured snippets are the bits of text or images or table of data that Google shows at the top of the search engine results page for certain searches. These snippets of data bring the answers to questions directly onto the search results page so that people don’t even have to click on the website to see the answer to their question.
These featured snippets are often called “answer boxes” and as you can imagine your content should answer a specific question so that it can appear as a featured snippet.
Featured snippets are great because they create awareness for your brand right at the top of the search results and very often people click on the URL to your website, so you get traffic as well.
Featured snippets are generally either Paragraph Snippets, List Snippets or Table Snippets, depending on their format.
You can’t guarantee that your content will appear as a Featured Snippet – that is up to Google. But there are things you can do to make your content eligible.
Do everything you can to get Featured Snippets. Here’s how:
- Make sure you are already ranking on page 1 for the search term
- Craft and structure your content to make it easy for Google to allocate a Featured Snippet: inclue a 40 to 60-word block of content near the beginning of the page
- Format your content depending on the type of snippet you are going for: Paragraph Snippets, List Snippets, Table Snippets etc
- Answer the target question very directly, concisely and simply
NB: the best answer to a question is most likely to become a featured snippet in the search results, so work hard on providing true value to your audience.
Remember to try and think about how you can solve your audience’s questions, and put this into your content. If you do a great job of quickly solving a problem then your content will be valuable enough to appear as a featured snippet.
Your content should thoroughly answer the question related to the search term.
Doing this in a concise and logical way (with between 40 and 5o words) makes it easier for Google to display your content as a featured snippet.
The recent BERT Google algorithm update puts more focus on user intent. You need to become highly skilled at understanding keyword intent and creating content that matches the keyword’s intent. You should go back to older articles and rework them for the target keyword intent.
Search intent is the objective of the search: why are they searching and what are they looking for? Searches are classified as:
Google wants to please people who use Google – this means serving up the best possible search results that match the search intent. Google is getting very good at identifying the best pages that meet search intent and this means better search results for everyone.
Your content MUST satisfy user intent for it to rank.
Increase the click-through rates for your search results by including your target keyword in the URL of the page or article, use words that trigger interest or emotion and also create descriptive and appealing meta descriptions to encourage the click.
Here’s how to increase your site’s organic click through rates:
- Be aware of your current click through rates by looking at search console data in google Analytics or in Google Search Console
- Optimise your content: rewrite titles and meta descriptions to be more appealing and to sell your content
- Appeal to people’s emotions and deliver on your promise with great content
- Use descriptive URLs
Did you know that URLs that contain keywords get 45% more clicks compared to URLs that don’t contain keywords? This is according to an extensive study by Backlinko of more than 5 million Google search results.
According to the same study, sites in the number one position on the search results get an average CTR of 31.7%!
And, according to research done by Moz, many people searching Google click on the 1st result in Google and there’s a significant drop off for position 2.
Do you know what the click-through rates are for your search results?
Think mobile first – your site won’t rank if it isn’t optimised for mobile.
Your audience is increasingly spending time on their mobile devices. Google has found that more searches are performed on mobile than any other device – and if you dive into your Google Analytics you’ll probably find that most of your traffic comes from mobile.
Mobile optimisation is therefore SUPER important to Google and it should be your goal to optimise for mobile in 2020.
How to optimise for mobile
Your site must be built with a mobile responsive template – and if you’re using a modern WordPress template this will be the default.
Your content should also be created with mobile in mind:
- Ensure images and video content are made for mobile
- Make content scrollable instead of multi-page – people prefer scrolling to tapping on mobile
- Use short, concise paragraphs that are easier to read on mobile
When it comes to building your site, follow these guidelines:
- Avoid Flash and stick to HTML 5 for those cool effects
- No pop-ups on mobile
- Remember that people have different sized fingers – keep big fingers in mind so don’t make your buttons too small
- Don’t use font sizes that are too small
You can test to see how mobile-friendly your site is by using the Google Mobile-Friendly test tool.
This tool analyzes your site and then makes recommendations for how to make improvements.
Visual Search Optimisation
Have you ever played around with Google Lens? More and more people are using this tool to identify objects and find related content, shop for the item or even translate the wording on the object. Visual Search Optimisation is growing and should certainly be on your radar in 2020.
Voice Search Optimisation
More and more people are using the voice search option on their mobile devices. In order to rank in voice search your article should in general be ranking well – particularly in the top 3 search results. Include a question and an answer in your content (this is why FAQs do well for Voice Search).
Increase your domain authority by implementing EAT:
- E = expertise (make sure you are an expert in your field or hire an expert to write for you)
- A = authority (create content as an authority – don’t simply hire a random freelance writer)
- T = transparency (ensure you have a well-written About page, easy to find contact info and any other elements that create trust and credibility)
Your domain increases in authority when you are mentioned in association with a specific topic. Be an authority and get mentioned online – this is a business and marketing challenge which has an impact on SEO.
User experience and design
Your content should create a good experience for your visitors. Focus on the principles of good design and user experience
- Easy to navigate
- Tasteful and elegant design
- Well-structured content that includes headings, sub-headings, paragraph breaks, bullet points, pull-quotes and other elements that make the content easy to scan
- Fast-loading pages and images
- Visual appeal through embedded video, featured images and imagery that enhances the feel of the page
Over to you!
What do you think is going to help your SEO efforts in 2020? Which of the tips above are you going to implement first? Let me know in the comments below.