May 21, 2020
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is one of the best ways to get visitors to your website and boost sales in 2020. That’s because more than half of trackable website traffic comes from organic search.
But you might be wondering how you’re supposed to stand out from the crowd now that everybody and their grandmother is optimizing their websites for search.
Unfortunately, Google’s frequent search algorithm updates make it difficult to keep up with the best tactics and strategies. And with SEO becoming a standard part of digital marketing strategies for most businesses, competition is fierce.
In this article, we’re going to help improve your SEO performance for 2020. You’ll learn several up-to-date best practices for crafting an effective SEO strategy for your business. Use these modern practices to reshape your SEO game and propel your business to the top of the search engine results page.
Content is the backbone of a successful SEO campaign and the heart of on-page SEO. But you can’t just pop some content on your website and expect it to pay out SEO gold continuously.
You have to update it. Like, a lot.
The reason for that is simple. If you want to drive increased traffic, you have to drive repeat traffic (new and returning visitors). You have to give people a reason to come back.
And Google knows this. Regularly-updated content is essential to scoring big with the world’s largest search engine.
But the content also has to be good.
When we say quality content, we mean a few things:
It’s also a great idea to repurpose old content, updating it as things change in your business and your industry. Just make sure you’re updating and not repeating. Google hates duplicate content.
When marketing to your audience, you have to understand how they think, how they shop, and, most importantly, how they search.
You should be able to understand what your target demographic is searching for on Google. That way, you can optimize your pages for those specific key terms.
Using an SEO tool like Google’s Keyword Planner will show you a list of relevant and high-volume target keywords.
Of course, much like the quality content you’ll be writing, the terms that you chase have to be relevant to your business.
Stellar user experience is essential when trying to get your website ranked highly on Google.
Think of it this way. Google is one of the most trusted, known, and respected companies on the planet. When you type a search into Google’s search engine, you’re getting a series of recommendations from Google.
If Google’s number one recommendation was a site that was lacking in content and not user friendly, then Google’s reputation just took a small hit. That’s why Google vets the sites that it lists so thoroughly, taking user experience into account.
So, how do you improve your user experience in a way that will impress both Google and your potential customers?
Your site has to work for mobile devices.
That’s not an opinion; it’s a fact in 2020.
To illustrate, in 2019, 63% of Google’s U.S. searches were done on a mobile device. That means the bulk of searches on the largest search engine in existence are done on phones, tablets, and other mobile-ready devices.
According to the social media tool HootSuite, mobile internet use has been steadily increasing over the last five years.
As such, you must optimize your site for mobile users. Failure to do so will lose you some significant points with Google.
A lack of mobile functionality is a severe blow to the user experience, which we already covered in the previous section.
You want to make sure that when someone stumbles upon your listing on Google, they’re going to click on your link and follow it to your site.
There are a few ways to ensure that your click-through rate improves.
For starters, you should be writing titles that stand out and make the user want to follow your link. A compelling description and meta description also go a long way toward making a user click on your link. You have to draw them in with compelling optimized copy.
The trick is writing compelling content with limited space. You only have 65 characters for your headline. To make it compelling, you need to:
A backlink is a link featured on another website that links back to yours. It is one of the most critical aspects of Search Engine Optimization, and it is where most SEO campaigns fall apart. Another term for backlinks is inbound links.
A backlink is only useful if it comes from a credible source with good standing on Google. But, it also has to be relevant to your industry. If you’re a plumber and you get a backlink from a video game review website, it’s not going to help you.
One of the best ways to create backlinks is to write blog articles about your industry that contain links back to your site and shop those articles around to different sites.
Another way to go about it would be to create linkable assets, something that a person would use as a source when writing an article on your subject. A great example of a linkable asset would be something like an infographic.
You also need to have several internal links on your site. These are links on your site that connect to other pages on your website.
Because Google is recommending you to its users, it wants to ensure that you are an expert and that your words have weight and legitimacy.
Google’s algorithm heavily focuses on an acronym called E-A-T. That stands for expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.
You can demonstrate your expertise in a lot of ways. One of the most effective ways of showing that you’re an expert or an authority in your field is by creating blog content. If that blog ends up becoming a linkable resource for others, that works out even better in your favor because it shows Google that other movers and shakers in your industry value your opinion.
Google loves to see that you have images, but unfortunately, that’s all it can see.
By that, we mean that Google’s search bots can’t actually see the content of an image. They can see that an image exists, but they can’t look at a photo of a firetruck and say, “that’s a photo of a firetruck.”
It’s up to us to help them by optimizing images to tell Google’s bots precisely what is on your page. Every image should have a title tag and an alt tag. This is an opportunity for you to write a brief description of the image, featuring a target keyword or two.
You’re going to need more than just fancy pictures if you want to improve your SEO ranking. There’s a ton of awesome media that you can incorporate onto your site. Google will reward you for it.
Video content should be a central focus of your site. A massive 92% of marketers who are using video on their website say that it is an important part of their overall strategy. What’s more, it’s estimated that by 2021, the average internet user will spend more than 100 minutes per day watching videos online.
Google owns YouTube, which is the world’s most popular video sharing service. They make it very easy to incorporate YouTube videos onto your site and will reward you for doing so.
There’s also audio content. Consider starting a podcast and featuring it on your site. Podcasting is a valuable medium that people enjoy. Associating your product and page with a podcast will help your brand both with customers and with Google.
When you use outbound links on your site, you’re able to increase your credibility because you’re citing sources.
It’s one thing to make claims on your site, but it’s another altogether to back them up with facts.
If you were just to say that Barry Bonds has the most career home runs in major league baseball, that’s all well and good. But, if you were to say that Barry Bonds is the all-time home run leader with 762 home runs, backed by a link, you’ve proven yourself more credible.
Google looks for outbound links in your content because they want to make sure that you’re double-checking all of your facts and offering valuable and accurate information to its users.
Google doesn’t like to see broken links. They can seriously hurt your SEO score.
One of the best ways to ensure that you’re featuring strong links is to only link out to authority websites. These don’t tend to go anywhere. However, it is still possible that an article or infographic you’ve linked out to might be taken down, leaving you with a broken link.
It’s important to do periodic link audits on your entire site to ensure that all of your links are live. But that doesn’t mean you have to go page by page clicking on every link.
The website Dead Link Checker works well to check either your entire site all at once or just a single page. What’s more, it’s a totally free service.
By keeping track of your links and making sure that they’re all in working order, you should have no problem avoiding a potentially disastrous SEO pitfall.
Sharing is caring, especially when it comes to your website content.
You need a social media presence in the modern business world, and social media is built on the idea of content sharing.
However, social media can also be one of the most significant SEO ranking factors. If people share links to your site on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, your organic search traffic and SEO ranking will go up.
The content that you post, whether it be an infographic or a blog post, should have some kind of social sharing icon included.
It can also help to incentivize sharing. Do some kind of contest where entry requires each participant to share a link on their social media pages.
If you’re trying to improve your local SEO, it’s important to set up a Google My Business page. This is especially true for businesses that have a physical brick and mortar location.
It only takes a few minutes to set up. You add information on your business, including contact info, images, and more. People can also leave reviews for you there.
You need to know how your SEO ranking is doing if your campaign is going to succeed. That’s why we recommend performing an SEO audit and SEO analysis regularly.
It’s important to check your SEO analytics regularly because that’s the only way to know if your efforts are paying off.
If you check your analytics and you’re getting no movement, then your current strategy is not working, and it’s time to try something new.
If you see that you’re steadily rising through the ranks, it means that what you’re doing is the right thing and to stay the course.
One of the best ways to do this is by using Google Analytics. It can quickly become one of your best SEO tools.
By utilizing these proven modern SEO tips and best practices, your business will be able to compete more effectively on the SEO battlefield and drive more traffic onto your website from Google.
Search engines can be a powerful tool for a business, but in order to use this tool, you have to know how it works.
Spend some time implementing the action items on this list. These are proven strategies — ways that businesses like yours are already succeeding. When implemented correctly, they can help land your website at the top of search results. The first step is an SEO audit to understand where you currently are and how you can improve.
If you’re still unsure where to start or all of this sounds like a bit too much to handle on your own, take a look at some of the SEO services we have to offer at Higher Visibility and how we can help improve your website’s SEO.
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