Not Your Mom’s SEO – Search Engine Optimization in 2020

Search engine optimization will continue to rein supreme in 2020 as search is the #1 marketing tool for most businesses. SEO is more than just marketing metrics and online exposure, it’s how your company stands out and competes against others in your industry.

We could practically write a novel on the foundations of SEO and every minute detail that is required in order to succeed, but we don’t want to bore you to sleep. Instead, we’re highlighting 6 major strategies to implement on your digital platforms to get ahead of the game.

Search Engine Optimization has changed drastically in the last 10 years.

The way SEO worked in 2010 and the way it works in 2020 are completely different. From high quality content creation to the rise of technology and mobile phone usage, SEO has a multitude of algorithms behind it and depending on the search engine, is constantly changing. 

Google for example, has only been around for about 21 years, and in 2018 they reported 3,234 algorithm updates – an average of almost 9 per day. Even minor changes in an algorithm update could send your website into a dark abyss. Could you imagine having to check and update your website 9 times a day just to keep up? We can barely keep up with checking our emails.

Updates have ranged from making page speed a ranking factor for mobile results to updates warning visitors of websites with unsecure forms. There are no exact instructions on these algorithms and how to beat them, but by studying previous trends in the past we can offer a few tips and tricks to prepare for SEO in 2020.

6 strategies to improve your search engine optimization in 2020: 

1. Go Mobile

Mobile first indexing has become a huge determinant of ranking for SEO. Google, as well as many other search engines are ranking and considering mobile friendly websites first when deciding ranking content. 

Now, this doesn’t mean if you have a desktop version of your website you won’t pop up on a search engine. This simply means that consumers using their phones won’t see your brand and content due to this algorithm compared to other brands who have both a desktop and mobile friendly version of their websites. It all depends on your audience and the type of platforms they’re using.

Ensuring your website is mobile friendly is vital in today’s digital world. In 2018 mobile phones alone accounted for 52.2% of web traffic worldwide and is expected to increase exponentially in the future. 

2. Be Versatile

It seems as though every time you’re with your friends and trying to think of something, someone always says “Just Google it.” Although Google has the majority market share in search engine platforms, this doesn’t mean you should limit yourself to just focusing on the SEO strategies and algorithms for Google. 

Having the adaptability and versatility for various search engine platforms will increase your likelihood of standing out amongst the competition. Anticipating the questions and keywords for users from various platforms is vital as SEO continues to evolve. 

SEO isn’t limited just to Google and its counterparts. Depending on your company and market, your audience may be searching somewhere else. When you are looking for a specific podcast, do you search on Google or do you search on the Podcast App where the ranking and quality of podcasts come into play? Ranking is more than just websites, and companies need to be versatile and multifaceted in 2020 and the years to come. 

3. Content and Copywriting for SEO

High-quality content and SEO friendly copy are key factors when it comes to ranking in search engines. Content is like the backbone of your website, and it makes it worthy of a search result position. High-quality content comes in all forms: video, photo, and copy. The way in which you communicate with your audience depends on their wants and needs. Do they need more visuals or copy do they need a combination of both?

SEO friendly copywriting is simply quality writing, and it’s a technique that determines the ranking of content. The more quality, depth, and detail in your content, the more organic traffic your website will receive. SEO friendly copywriting contains key phrases and words that your target consumers are searching for. Using these specific key phrases and words to anticipate and satisfy consumer’s needs is what truly will make you stand out.

And then there’s BERT.

SEO friendly copywriting is more than just quality writing, its conversational, straightforward, and easy to understand. Google for example just recently released a new algorithm update, BERT, that will affect 1 in 10 search queries. What is BERT? It is Google’s neural network-based technique for natural language processing. BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers.

BERT aims to better understand the nuances and context of words in searches and better match those queries to more relevant results. With this new update, Google will be able to process and understand a query more like a human, therefore the content and copy on your website needs to be high level content that anyone, even BERT, can easily understand.

Many SEO algorithms on Google and other search engine platforms are looking for specific high quality content that fulfils what consumers are looking for. High quality content must be relevant, authoritative and informative. Simply put, you want your content and copywriting to attract the right audience. 

4.Research and Identification

Research desirable keywords and search phrases that are relevant to your business and market. Keywords are stressed and overemphasized for a reason- it’s evolved over time to cover the topics and give answers consumers are looking for. This ties into high quality content creation, you want your website to contain the information consumers are looking for. Remember that one time you were looking for a specific little black dress for a wedding? And it so happened to pop up within the first page or two of your search. 

There are many helpful websites with tools that generate titles and popular keywords that will optimize your search. Wordtracker, for example, takes competitor’s keywords, SEO insights, and data from Google to showcase the most popular keywords and phrases your company should be using. The more time spent on research and identification, the more desirable and popular your website and content will be for consumers on search engines. This does not mean you can overcrowd and bombard your consumers with repetition and fillers. Remember, quality content is key.

5. Technicality and Structure

It seems like something so simple that everyone should have down pact but you’d be surprised. The structure of the website and data also come into play when it comes to ranking and impressions. Having certificates and codes implemented on your site will help search engines recognize you.

It’s 2019 and many websites and businesses fail to have SSL certificates. What’s an SSL certificate you ask? It’s basically a security certificate that gives validation to your website as a secure, trusted site. This in turn gives consumers piece of mind, and lets search engines know you’re legit and worthy of higher ranking. We’ve all been there before where we stumbled across a website that seemed sketchy and ill prepared for the digital world, instantly giving us jitters and a feeling of frustration. In order to avoid this, many certificates and codes come into play to save the day.

As websites become more advanced and continue to evolve, the technical aspects of the site also need to keep up. Having an XML sitemap will help search engines navigate each individual page and understand the build of your website. XML sitemaps contain useful information such as how frequently a page is updated,  and when the page was last modified. Google for example and many other search engines are rewarding sites for speed. The faster your website and content loads, the easier it’ll be for consumers to navigate your website. Remember, the more responsive, the more impressions.

6. Voice Search and AI

“Hey Alexa, what’s the best marketing agency around?”

With the increasing amount of smart home products such as Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa, it’s becoming much easier to search online without picking up your phone. In 2020 it’s expected that more than 50% of all internet searches will be initiated through voice. What does this mean for your online business? Don’t forget what we mentioned earlier – that keywords and content are key. But with the increasing presence of voice search and AI, keywords and terms need to be more conversational and less choppy to adapt to voice search recognition.

Having a complete and accurate listing of your organization online is the first place to start. With Google, having the accurate listing of your business such as the type of business, location, services and hours will help smart devices rank and identify your business. Google takes into account metrics such as reviews, ratings, and mentions into account, so next time you ask, “Alexa, what’s the best sushi restaurant near me?” She’ll know.

How to be effective:

If you’d like to optimize your online presence with voice search and AI, you need to research long-tail keywords and phrases that consumers might ask to find your business. A lot of the questions asked start with what, who, where, how, etc. therefore increasing as much detail and keyword specific information on your website and Google listing will help increase your search and engagement. A great tool to use is Answer The Public since it identifies and generates possible question based queries that relate to your specific business and how you can answer these voice search questions.

It’s imperative that search engine optimization strategies and algorithms will continue to change in 2020 as they have drastically changed in the past. The only way to get ahead and stay afloat in this digital storm of search pages is to constantly adapt and update. SEO is not a “one and done” process. It’s a constant cycle of recognition, adaptation, learning, adjusting and updating. Getting into and keeping up with this cycle will protect your future campaigns and maintain your well-earned ranking spot on top.

Ready to rock and roll your SEO strategy in 2020?    Write great SEO copy

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