Are you looking for the best SEO advice in 2020 to boost the rankings of your website?
SEO is a constantly changing arena, and it is essential to stay informed of the latest trends.
Some may say, "the more it changes, the more it is the same"! There is some truth in that adage, in the sense that old well tested techniques keep on working year after year. And some parts slightly change over time as well.
To avoid any confusion in the vortex that is modern SEO, we will summarize fundamental aspects to stand out and optimize your visibility in 2020 and beyond.
Respond to the intent
Remember, Google is trying to satisfy the user and to provide an answer to what they are looking for.
Given the niche you are working in, and it does not matter what niche as the approach is the same for all niches, you need to determine the queries users type in google, so you can create the content that can best answer their questions.
It is commonly accepted that there are three main types of search queries:
- transactional search queries: this is when the user wants to make a purchase, like in "best sunglasses online",
- informational search queries: this is when the user is looking for specific information, like in "most visited country",
- navigational search queries: this is when the user wants to browse a given site, like in "CNN".
The key to success is to offer answers to both transactional and informational search queries. You need to find the right balance between both.
If your pages are mostly landing pages trying to reply to transactional search queries, then google may consider the site to have thin content or be a pure affiliate site, which they do not favor.
If your pages are mostly deep content information pages trying to reply to informational search queries, then you may rank well, but the site will not convert enough sales.
That's why it is necessary to have both types of pages which can answer both kinds of queries. This way, Google will treat your site as an authority site in your niche, as well as a good and trusted provider of services or products.
Master your keywords
The first operational phase of your SEO strategy should therefore be to create an outstanding keyword list.
There is nothing new in talking about keywords as they have been used since the beginning of SEO. The novelty is that you must pay considerable attention to your keywords and make a better keyword list than your competitors.
Part of this work involves reverse engineering your competitors. Some SEO tools such as ahrefs enable you to uncover which keywords your competitors are ranking for. Let's say you make a list of your top ten competitors (or even top 20 or more); then each website will rank for different keywords in your niche.
This way, you can identify all the questions users may search for answers for, both informational and transactional.
You should also study how difficult each keyword is, as SEO tools provide an SEO difficulty metric that tells just that. Some long-tail keywords will be easier to rank for, and you can target these terms initially before attacking harder ones.
Write beautiful content
In the past low-quality content could rank well even for competitive terms. But with the passing years, this is less and less possible.
Probably because competition for page 1 spots has become more intense over the years, it is notable that the content of the top pages is getting better and better.
Exceptionally well researched in-depth articles are getting more and more common. The long-form, i.e. materials of a few thousand words in length, are appearing more regularly as well. This type of high-quality presentation includes beautiful images, well-presented charts, industry research, related videos, all this in a fun and entertaining way.
Internet users love to read new and relevant content. They prefer interesting, appealing content in a well designed enticing modern looking website, rather than dinosaur looking websites, which are a thing of the past.
Sometimes a touch of humor or a sharp pen will allow you to anchor your editorial line and give an identity that is your own.
Provide information that your competitor failed to provide, offer more diverse content with videos, images, quotes and provide real actionable tips,
Give priority to pieces that go to the essentials without the fluff. This way, you can also attract more inbound links than your competitor from reference sites impressed by your content.
Grasp technical SEO
On a separate note, you need to also pay close attention to the crucial technical SEO aspects of your website that are required to rank high.
Here is the checklist of the leading technical SEO elements needed to belong to the top-ranking sites:
- improve site speed
- proper page title/URL
- simple navigational structure
- optimized internal links
- use compression techniques
- use rich-snippets
- share on social media
- only use necessary plugins
- run regular SEO audits
- use SSL/https
Technical SEO can be time-consuming, but these checks must be performed regularly to make sure your site runs at its best.
Here again, because more and more sites are competing for the same keywords, the bar is moving higher and higher. Nowadays, you have to have excellent technical SEO parameters to be a serious contestant in the SEO game.
Let's not make SEO more complicated than it is. By just using the simple tips presented above, you will already be one step ahead of most webmasters.
SEO can be perceived as difficult or confusing because of its aura of secrecy. Unlike most other skills that can be learned, this is not a skill with a ready-made handbook, as Google's algorithm is a well-guarded proprietary technology.
But with the help of the SEO community at large, one can learn the simple best practice techniques that will make your site appreciated by Google and the Web users.
Remember to (1) respond to the intent, (2) master your keywords, (3) write beautiful content and (4) grasp technical SEO aspects. These are the foundations any webmaster needs to get started or to get better at SEO.
- This article was written by a contributing author or freelance journalist.