Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has long been an arduous process. It’s filled with patience, content, page speed, backlinks, and tirelessly checking the competition and their place in the SERPs.
At the end of the day, still about the same thing. The goal is to be higher than the other companies or services offering similar products when someone searches for it. You want them to click your link and buy from you other than the other guys.
Even though that may be the case, SEO can be a bit of a moving target, especially considering semi-frequent algorithmic updates from Google that are hidden behind lock and key. Still, we generally have more than enough information concerning what may and what may not be important.
This is no different in 2020. As such, we’ve amassed 10 of the most important Search Engine Optimization tips for this year and beyond.
1. Medium Tail Keywords Improve User Experience
The term “user experience” has been used so much in marketing that it almost becomes an undefinable word, but we’re finally seeing tangible evidence as far as SEO is concerned. We’ve heard it from Google themselves that they’re going to take RankBrain to the next level. The machine learning system monitors how users interact with a certain results page, and from there, determines which is more relevant.
For example, if a user were to visit a site and quickly leave it, there’s a good chance that the website wasn’t exactly what they were looking for. RankBrain would then push that website down in favor of a website where that same customer would spend more time.
To take advantage of what RankBrain does, it’s highly advisable for you to use medium-tail keywords, that is a keyword that is composed of 2-3 words containing the keyword. If you optimize for the medium tail, you can rank for that term and possibly thousands of other keywords.
2. Lights, Camera, Action!
Let’s face it, there are still far too many SEO pundits who aren’t taking advantage of video, though we think that will definitely change in 2020. After all, Google owns YouTube, so it only makes sense for people to finally give it its due.
If you’re going to make the best out of any Search Engine Optimization pursuit, you’ll want to go where the people are, and video will make up more than 80 percent of all online traffic in the next year.
Optimizing for video shouldn’t be that difficult for most who work in SEO, although the video content itself may be another story. In any event, be sure to title videos to be easily searchable through its title and description. Also, make a video content plan for your website and optimize the video’s audio, video, graphics, and images to be as pristine as you possibly can.
After all, a lot of people are much more willing to watch a one minute video than a one-hundred word article. For search engine optimization purposes, this should be in your tool bag.
3. Get In-Depth and Authoritative Content
SEO has long been trending toward longer and longer content for authority’s sake. In short, Google considers long-form to be filled with more information, thus, more relevant to the interest of the reader. Well-written search engine optimization should be about 2,000 words with plenty of extensive links, as well as LSI keywords to boot.
It should be said that long-form content should be evergreen, as you want people to be searching for it throughout the year, not just seasonally. Don’t hesitate to update the content as needed should the information fall out of favor or the information drops in relevancy. This way, there’s a better chance that it’ll gain and keep traction through links and shares.
4. Voice Search for SEO
Proponents of search engine optimization have been doing their best to get ahead of voice search for a few years now and their efforts will continue to pay off in 2020. Imagine how many times you’ve been driving and have used a voice search to find a restaurant or bar and found it without having to go to the results page.
Admittedly this is more of a local SEO pursuit, service-area business or those who have audiences predominantly geographical locations can make hay on video search.
For many, the potential here is huge because there still doesn’t seem to be that many SEO agencies who are handling it properly. To take full advantage of voice search, the best advice is to rank for both questions and answers. Voice optimized FAQs will always play well on posts.
5. SEO Mobile
Search Engine Optimization has been trending to mobile for quite some time it’s finally arrived. We have it on good authority that Google considers the mobile site to be your primary site. As such, if you’re going to make the best of your SEO efforts, you should be much more concerned about the look, feel, and optimization of your mobile site.
Mobile-first indexing should be taken seriously, and if you don’t quite yet have a website that’s tailored for viewing on smartphones, you’ll see a definite rankings hit. This is due to the first point, user experience. We all know that desktop versions of websites don’t quite appear right on smartphones. This is counter-productive, so assure that you’re in compliance.
Build mobile first.
6. Technical Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization is turning to speed. While it has always been somewhat important, technical SEO is crucial these days. Page and site speed may be a bit tougher to tackle than a lot of the entries on this list, but there are more than enough resources to help reduce the time it takes for a website and its individual pages to load.
Google has recently rolled out slow-loading badges for websites as a beacon for Google itself, the user, and the developer to curtail it. If you can, try to condense and reduce as much as you can. Be as lightweight as possible in this search engine optimization or you very well may be left in the dust.
7. Optimize Your Medium Performing Pages
A lot of the time search engine optimization is about reworking something that is almost there and just needs a little more to get over the edge. In this case, you’ll want to find the pages that may be stuck on the second or third page for given keywords. The goal here is pretty simple; you want to find these pages and pretty them up a little.
It’s not particularly difficult to do this. Most people fill out these pages with images, quotes, statistics, links, and virtually anything else that makes it more informative for the user. Another thing people like about this is that you get to use your keywords more and text length, making it possibly evergreen and more authoritative as you’re doing it.
8. Brand Building
Search engine optimization these days is much more about building a brand than just building a great SEO website. This customer-focused approach kind of goes against just acquiring backlinks and having them come to you naturally, provided you write the right content.
Journalists have been doing this for years, and it can work to your advantage if you consider things like planned editorials or reactive editorials.
Planned editorials are those that, as the name suggests, happens just about every year. Consider holidays or anniversaries of an interesting event.
Reactive editorials are the opposite.
They focus on more of the things that are happening now, such as current events. Both of these can aggregate top tier links that other companies actually want to link to because you’re providing something of actual value, not just hunting for a backlink.
9. Dedicated Search Engine Optimization Programming
SEO will almost always work at a snail’s pace, so having some of that free time to focus on some of the harder elements will be a godsend. It also allows you to focus on the essentials of marketing as a whole, not just search engine optimization.
10. Structured Data
While algorithms are getting better each day, they still need some help here and there as far as context is concerned. These hints will help the algorithm understand what your website is about based on the intent of the searcher. Structured data has to be marked up in a way that not only tells the algorithm what the page is about, but how the different elements on a page interact with one another, and ultimately how all of the pages interact with the rest of the website.
Schema markup is a great start but doesn’t really tell the whole tale. Search engine optimization and schema are always changing and improving upon itself, so you’re not getting its full power if not aware of the changes.
In fact, there may be penalties for those who just trust in outdated plug-ins to handle all of the data.
It’s integral that your brand is well-represented online in 2020, as you want to assure that you’re the most authoritative in a particular niche. Often times, this means being found first. Failing to implement these new trends and tips this year will have you falling behind the pack and off the first page.