Rankings currently change due to the fast-developing features of search engine optimization (SEO). Every SEO Guide needs to cover up a vast number of SEO updates to help the audience understand.
From the use of artificial intelligence via Rankbrain to the current utilization of Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT), data mining practices and methods are evolving. Both SEO experts and webmasters are, at last, agreeing on creating organic, highly useful, and high-quality content for users.
With all these transformations in the field of search engines and the internet, guidelines often change. Webmasters must be aware of what is SEO? And how to deploy better strategies to survive in the present competitive environment.
Table of Contents
Ultimate SEO Guide 2020
To help start your 2020, I have come up with several SEO techniques and strategies that will convert positive results in your online presence.
Understanding Google’s BERT Update
Google has been at the forefront of the latest SEO strategies. The first of these is the 2019 Google BERT with an update. It is an algorithm that aims to understand our natural language processing.
It gives us better and more relevant searches, with more focus on intent matching rather than strict string matching. No more keyword stuffing and non-relevant search results since it optimizes and understands keywords based on context.
For instance, you search for “how not to fall asleep.” The first search result on Google’s BERT Update is “How to Stay Awake Naturally.” If you notice, the keyword “asleep” does not come out in the first result. But when you study the search, it is what it means. By being awake, you do not fall asleep.
Structured Data is the second strategy. Simply put, it is about meticulously organized data. It is code that provides some detail around and about the content of the page via markup language (or readable, standard words instead of the usual programming syntax).
The coded data facilitates a better search engine understanding of the content of the whole website. It also helps in gauging which part of their site drives more traffic so that a company can effectively adjust their marketing strategies.
Change is constant, and SEO schema markup language is no exception. It adds new types and enhancements done nearly every month. Webmasters need to explore and identify specific properties per type of information given. To code the markup, you can use JSON-LD (which is Google-recommended) or Microdata.
We now go to the third in our list, which is backlinks and branding. Google considers branding as a significant ranking factor. A steady stream of backlinks is the key to a higher search ranking.
How can backlinks improve branding?
A backlink is a web page that links to other pages. When Google sees a lot of backlinks in a site, it considers the fact that the audience finds the website contents attractive. These create more traffic to the site.
The brand becomes more recognized. And when more people visit a site, the brand builds its credibility as an information source in the industry.
Getting a lot of these backlinks makes a page rank higher on search engines. Think of it like election time, where you cast your votes online. The “votes” build the reputation of a brand.
So the more backlinks, the more chances of the brand becoming popular and goes up the search ranks. It also opens up opportunities for the brand to connect with potential customers via bookmarking your site, newsletters, and communication via social media.
Even if you know all about the technical stuff, high-quality content is one thing that is equally essential to SEO. The key to success is writing relevant, understandable, and useful content.
You can create an article or have someone else more knowledgeable on the subject to write for your company. But there is a shift of focus this year. Your content should be more on topics rather than keywords since search engines are now more concerned about user intent page targeting via a single keyword.
It is best to understand what your audience needs and the intent behind the questions they ask. For you to be tagged as an expert in your field, write about research content. Optimize your content for your customers.
Good content, together with brand messaging, makes for being successful and on top of search results.
On-Page & Off-Page SEO techniques
Gone are the days when keyword stuffing in websites was effective in allowing search engine robots to crawl into your website to get into search lists.
Recent SEO trends have proven that the algorithms of today stress the importance of optimizing a site’s pages for the reader. So On-Page and Off-Page tactics help increase organic traffic to your site.
On-Page SEO Techniques
On-Page techniques existed long before SEO became well-known. Keyword optimization, meta descriptions (the short description beneath the URL on a search results page), and alt text (putting keywords on a picture file for image search rankings) are some of these.
Others include title tags (putting keywords in the title to boost searchability), SSL/HTTPS (page security), internal linking, and page performance are some SEO cornerstones.
Off-Page SEO Techniques
Off-Page tactics are actions outside of the website, which have an impact on the search engine results page (or SERPs). Factors include backlinks, domain authority (a grade from 1-100 given by search engines which determines website strength), and social media promotion.
If done wisely, both On-Page and Off-Page practices will improve your traffic and deem your website more credible.
Technical SEO is a process that improves the infrastructure of your website by allowing search engine crawlers for proper indexing. It is essential concerning page ranking on SERPs. Indexing is not the only factor in high SERP rankings. Other SEO metrics need consideration, as well.
A famous ranking signal is site speed. When your site loads slow, your readers can bounce and look for other quicker-loading websites. Faster site loading is dependent on your server, image sizes, plugins, and scripts, among other things.
The website structure also allows your page to rank high on SERPs. Once your users get to your landing page, they want to see if it is easy to navigate around your site. Optimize category pages, and expose an archive page if needed.
The modern age is full of new technology, and smartphones are part of the mix. Mobile-First indexing means just that – your website’s mobile version is Google’s starting point for their index. It is the reference point in how they establish SERP rankings.
In mid-2019, Google announced that all new websites would employ this process, but old sites integrated soon after.
Smartphones with a mobile-friendly form get a ranking boost if the website proves to have an enhanced mobile experience. A site with no mobile version may still be in the search index of Google, but lack of it can hurt the ratings. So you need to build a mobile-site first before making them desktop-compatible.
How do you do this? For starters, ensure that your site speed is optimized to load faster. Also, since your website will have a boost, make sure that your web host can handle your oncoming organic traffic. Eliminate screen inhibitors such as popups or plugins.
Your design should be simple enough yet not lacking in content. Your mobile and desktop versions should not look drastically different, so consistency is vital. And make sure that you launch a website that is user-friendly and accessible any time, anywhere.
Google is always on the move in developing new features for both brands and customers. One of these is the Star Trek-inspired Voice Search, which allows searchers to voice out searches instead of typing them out.
If you have ever encountered someone who says “OK, Google,” then that is the one. The results from voice queries are faster and more convenient than when typed. Users want immediate results, so they utilize it everywhere – at work, on-the-go, on a date, and even during private bathroom time.
There are some things you can do to optimize a page for voice searching. Structured data or markup language helps organize content. Most users use Voice Search for local inquiries. Choose the correct category for your company and have a Google My Business listing for easier access.
You should also share your company information in a simple text format in the footer of your site. Lastly, ensure that your website is mobile-friendly. Responsive web design helps you do that.
Targeting Featured Snippets
A featured snippet gives the searcher additional information about the topic while mentioning a website. It holds a coveted spot and wields power to make your site shoot up to the top of the SERPs.
But how can you target one for your website?
First, you need to find out what snippet keywords rank on the first search results page. You also have to know what your searchers intend to do with their search.
So, for instance, if your anchor text is “Christmas cards DIY,” the results page would be more visual than text. To compete with other sites, you need to come up with an image of your own for your keywords.
And also, make available a summarized paragraph about your content to make you rank snippet-wise.
Satisfying EAT Guidelines
You often see E-A-T in an article on SEO Guide. It is an acronym for Expertise, Authoritative and Trustworthiness, and a highly-regarded quality standard for Google. While the subject is up for debate for some SEO experts, Google itself confirmed in 2009 that it is an essential element of their algorithms.
Trained search quality raters measure how well a website performs by checking if it can provide excellent and informative results to its users. It focuses more on page quality and answers three questions.
- Are you an expert in your field? Know your user’s needs and communicate your knowledge in a way that is easy to understand. In this way, you can yield relevant outcomes for your user.
- Does your main content show authoritativeness? Link building demonstrates the topic with authority. Also, being proactive in client reviews show that it is the most powerful influence in a customer’s purchases.
- Can you be trusted based on your content? First off, your company information should be evident in the “About Us” section. A solid terms and conditions page also helps in gaining the trust of your client. And lastly, protect sensitive information (such as credit card passwords and numbers) by using an HTTPS (HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure) system to cement the deal.
E-A-T is related to YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) pages, which have topics on legal counsel, financial advice, and medical instruction, which affects the health, happiness, and wealth of a person. The user feels secure in visiting these sites, and if an inquiry correctly answered, he may become a repeat customer.
As an SEO, it is our job to be on the lookout for frequent search engine innovations. Aside from indexed keywords and traditional search results, the correct information is more important to Google.
These strategies will help create better online results for you, and at the same time, improve your target audience in getting what they need out of you.
Note: This Ultimate SEO Guide 2020 was contributed by Shaik Khaja. If you have an authoritative content to contribute, then proceed to our Guest Blogging Guidelines.