While search engine optimization (SEO) may be one of the newer marketing disciplines, it’s also one that changes rapidly. It can be difficult to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and changes to Google’s algorithm. However, if your brand wants to stay relevant and visible in today’s busy online marketplace, then it’s essential that you work to optimize your website and content for the search engines. We’ve put together a list of the top 8 SEO tips your business can use to improve visibility and drive more leads in 2020.
1. Make sure you are creating high-quality content.
One thing that won’t be changing in 2020 is the need for businesses to create quality content. Search engine users want content that is relevant, timely, and helpful. That’s why Google prioritizes this type of content on its search engine results page (SERP). If you are not creating content that can help answer your customers’ questions or solve their problems, there’s a good chance that you won’t be seeing the type of search engine traffic you’re hoping for.
To improve the quality of your content, work on creating a content strategy around topics that are most relevant and useful to your target audience. Avoid using overt sales language, and instead, focus on writing informative content that is easy to read and understand. To improve the readability of your content, use sub-headings, bullet points, and bolded text to make your pages easier to skim and comprehend.
2. Focus on intent optimization.
Google and other search engines have moved away from exact-match keyword optimization. Instead, these search engines look at the context of the search query and consider the possible intent in order to deliver better results to the search engine user. That means that companies need to move away from creating content that revolves around a specific SEO keyword and move toward creating content that focuses on providing information and/or solving problems.
To optimize your content for intent, consider why the search engine user may be making a certain query and develop content around that topic. A good way to get started is to search for your keywords and phrases on Google to see how the search engine is interpreting the query. Then, use this information to improve your content.
3. Take advantage of structured data.
Search engine algorithms still need a little help understanding the context of your pages and how each page relates to others on your site. That’s where structured data comes in. It lets you publish content with context to help search engine algorithms deliver your content to the right people. When Google understands the content of your page, it can enable rich features for your page in search results such as direct answers, knowledge graph panels, or snippets.
This year, Google updated guidelines by adding support for new types of structured data like FAQPage, fact-check, and others. Your business can take advantage of the different types of structured data to provide more context for search engines with the goal of expanding reach.
4. Create content ideal for Google featured snippets.
Google uses featured snippets to provide a better search experience for its users. These results typically appear above the number 1 organic result, also known as position 0. They provide clear answers to commonly asked questions, allowing searchers to get the answer to their questions quickly and without a bunch of clicking.
To try to take advantage of snippet opportunities, start by researching the current snippets for relevant queries and take notes on what others have done. You should also structure your content with an H1 title (that specifies the issues) as well as H2 and H3 sub-headings that address important questions your leads might ask. Then, provide concise answers to these questions directly below each subhead, keeping the content down to 90 characters. It is also important to use the correct markup that will allow the search engines to present the result as a snippet in the featured position.
5. Optimize your content for mobile search.
In 2018, more than half of website traffic in the U.S. came from mobile devices. So it should come as no surprise that Google has begun to prioritize a mobile-first index, which means that the search engine uses the mobile version of pages for indexing.
Search Engine Indexing
If your website is responsive, you’ll be in great shape for search engine indexing. This is due to the fact that the same content is available on any device/platform.
Search Engine Ranking
Ranking is based on what is in the index, and factors about how well your indexed content answers the search query. Ranking for mobile depends on many of the same factors as desktops. It also has ranking factors that don’t apply to desktops.
The Effect of Mobile-First Indexing
If you have a separate version of your site for mobile devices, however, and you actually have less content there, then less content will end up in the index. This will affect ranking on all devices. So it is highly recommended to move to a responsive site or otherwise guarantee that all content ends up in the mobile version.
The first step is to make sure that your website is mobile-friendly and fast. As for content, you’ll need to make sure that it’s easy to scroll through and skim. Adapting your content strategy to capture those featured snippet opportunities we talked about earlier is a great starting point for optimizing your content for mobile users.
6. Prioritize voice-search optimization.
With the rise in popularity of voice assistants like Amazon Echo and smart TVs like Samsung, voice search has become a popular way for consumers to get the information they need online. In fact, it’s estimated that by 2020, more than 50% of all search engine queries will be voice searches. This has impacted SEO trends because voice searches tend to be more targeted and conversational than the typical typed query.
When prioritizing voice-search optimization, you will need to create content that is easy to read for users who are on-the-go or listening to a response from a voice assistant. Take advantage of opportunities to capture the featured snippet position by providing clear and concise answers to commonly asked questions. Also, focus on more SEO keyword phrases (called long-tail keywords) that match the conversational tone of voice search users.
7. Leverage influencers to improve SEO for Google.
Today’s consumers can begin to feel overwhelmed by ads. When looking for information they can trust, they will often turn to influencers for authentic product reviews. That is why influencer marketing has become a popular option for brands that want to connect with consumers by leveraging a relevant influencer’s following and reach.
How does this relate to SEO? Well, after you build relationships with influencers, and they agree to create content promoting your offerings, these influencers will include backlinks to your site within their content. These backlinks not only amplify your reach and drive more traffic back to your site, but they also help you boost your search engine rankings by building quality backlinks.
8. Don’t forget SEO for Bing and other search engines.
While Google is the most popular search engine available, your business should still aim to bring in potential customers from other search engines like Bing and sites that are often used as search engines like YouTube and Amazon. While SEO for Bing is not much different from SEO for Google, it’s important to understand the factors that impact your search engine ranking on this site so that you can optimize your content for Bing as well.
Similarly, sites like Amazon and YouTube will require you to optimize the content you post there based on their unique standards. Get to know best practices for each platform that you use, and take some time optimizing your content based on the requirements for these sites.
Need help navigating SEO trends in 2020? Colling Media provides search engine optimization services to help your business improve visibility and drive more leads in the new year. Get in touch to learn more.