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Originally Posted On: https://search-recon.com/best-seo-plan-for-2020/
12+ Key Strategies For SEO Growth
SEO seems to get more complicated as the years go by, and 2020 is no different. To stay ahead, you need to keep track of the changes, while understanding the foundational SEO building blocks. Today we’ll go over the basics, the latest strategies and what’s to come in the world of SEO.
WHAT WE’LL COVER:
- What is SEO & How It Started
- 3 Basics Steps of SEO
- What People Are Searching For
- 6 Key Areas of On-Page SEO
- 6 Strategies For Off Page SEO
- New Frontier of SEO in 2020
- Googles BERT Update
- The Future King of Content
- A Holistic View To SEO
- Persistent SEO Growth
WHAT IS SEO AND HOW DID IT START?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, and when it started, it was all about ‘tricking’ the google algorithm. People used link-farms, blog syndicates and ‘backlink services’ to boost themselves up the rank. Now, it’s much harder to game the system.
SEO in 2020 all about giving Google, and the searchers, what they want. You need to provide value, while understanding how that fits into SEO. Googles mission statement is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”, so as you read this post, try to think about SEO in that context.
3 BASIC STEPS TO SEO
At its core, SEO fits into three basic categories. We will cover these each in this blog post, so don’t worry if you don’t understand them just yet.
You need an ongoing technical optimization of your website, so that google can read and define what your site contains. The way Google works is by scanning (i.e. indexing) websites to see what they are about. They look through your Meta descriptions, content, link structure, search abilities, and every element of your website to determine your rank. Things like page speed, mobile optimization and even how you name your images, all play a part.
Another way Google analyse websites is to track the links that point to it. The reason these “backlinks” are so important is because they tell Google who is relevant, and important. If your website has 500 links from Wikipedia, and another handful from Government websites, then google will consider it more ‘important’. Google will also index those pages that link to you and confirm that the content is similar and therefore relevant.
On your website you should include content on your industry, products and services, and every topic related to your niche. Your blog is the perfect place to add content, and it’s so important because content is the way google reads what your site is about. The more content you have about your niche, the better. You should link this content together naturally, so if you contain a phrase in one post or page that connects to another, then connect them with a hyperlink to build the strength of your site.
If you keep up with the right on page optimization, Google can read your site and score you high for your primary topic. With plenty of outside content and links pointing to your site, Google see you are relevant for your area. Use a continual content strategy, and Google sees you as the expert in your field, and they will rank you at the top of google.
WHAT ARE PEOPLE SEARCHING FOR?
A key understanding of how this all works is understanding keywords. When people search for something in google, they are using a keyword. There are many millions of keywords they could use, and your job is to find the best ones that most represent your market.
Short Tail Vs. Long Tail
You can split “keywords” up into two categories. Short tail keywords are your main keywords of 1-3 words long. Keywords like “Florida Hairdresser” or “Mens Barber shop” would be “Short tail” keywords. The “Long Tail” keywords are keywords like “Florida hairdresser near me” or “barber shop in Miami Florida” or other longer phrases that make up 3+ words long.
You should have a list of short tail and long tail keywords to optimize your website. You should also look for related keywords in your niche, so you can compile content on every topic that connects to your niche. Following the ‘hairdresser’ example, you may look for keywords like “Best haircut ideas for 2020” or “how to style my hair”. These keywords could have blogs written on the topic, or be added to certain pages on your site.
Keywords play an enormous part in your SEO strategy, so we included the concept at the start of this post so you can understand when we use them later.
Now you have an overview of how SEO works, let’s dive into the basics and start going over all the strategies you can implement to rank higher on Google.
THE BASICS: 6 KEY AREAS OF ON-PAGE SEO
Google needs to know what your site is all about, so they can rank you for the keywords you want to rank for. You can tell google everything they need to know from just a few areas in your site.
Add meta descriptions and titles to every page using your top keywords. Use these top keywords in your page titles, headlines, and meta descriptions. When google index your site, this is what they will look at first. The Home page meta description will often be shows in the Googles search ranks, so make sure it’s written well for a human reader and contains all the relevant keywords.
While google are getting much better at knowing what’s in an image, their deep learning algorithms are far from perfect yet. One thing you can do is to name your image file names and add meta tags to every image using your main keywords. This will tell google that your images relate to your content, and your site will increase in relevance for that keyword.
You need plenty of content on your website. The more your subject is covered, the better. Words are the way google reads what your site is about, keep a blog where you can update it with new related content, and add website pages that cover every area in your niche.
Google now give your website a rank based on the loading speed, so compress your images, remove any unwanted plugins or code, and do a speed test to make sure your site is running fast. The average person spends less than a minute on a website, so improving your page load speed not only helps you rank in google, but also helps your visitors to enjoy staying on your website longer.
About 50% of all internet traffic comes from mobile devices, so it’s no surprise that Google have made this an important part of being optimised. If you’re optimised for mobile, not only are you making Google very happy, you’re also making it much easier for your customers to find you and sign up to what you’re offering.
Google loves seeing how sites interlink with other sites, and they also like how your site links to itself. When you have menus on the top of your page and in the footer, this is an example of interlinking. You can include links within your blog posts and general site content, by hyperlinking certain keywords and phrases that link to other parts of your website. It’s important to pay attention to your keywords here and link certain keywords with relevant pages.
If you can focus on these six key areas of on-page SEO, then your site will have a very good chance of ranking in Google. This is an ongoing process, so there’s never enough you can do. For now, let’s move onto the next area of SEO, Off-page optimisation.
THE BASICS: 6 STRATEGIES OF OFF PAGE SEO
Off-page SEO relates to things that happen outside of your website. This means getting links from other related websites or blogs, sharing content on social media, and linking back to your website. Before we dive into the methods you can use, first let’s go over why ‘backlinks’ are so important.
A ‘backlink’ is any ‘link’ that points from another webpage, social media post, blog comment, or any source online, ‘back’ to your website. Google also rank the source of the backlink, so a link from Wikipedia will be higher ranked than a link from a blog comment on a random site that gets no traffic. It’s social proof in the form of hyperlinks. The more high quality links you have, the more important Google thinks you are. If you don’t have any links then you’re like the guy at the party that nobody knows.
Here are some of the top ways you can get high quality backlinks to your website, to kick-start your off-page SEO.
If you haven’t already noticed, google loves written content. If you create blog posts for other blogs in your niche, and link back to your website, this is a way to get relevant high quality backlinks to your site. To find these opportunities, search your niche in google and add “guest blog” or “write for us” in the search. You’ll find thousands of potential blogs that will accept guest content.
Press releases posting
Has your business just launched, you have a new logo, a new customer review or any excuse for a potential news story? It’s time you posted a press release. You can make a press release on anything that resembles news, and share it among the thousands of press syndicate sites. If you have a powerful news story, then you could post it to big websites like Huffington Post. These are harder to get published, but if you do, you’ll have one of the highest quality backlinks you could ever get.
Every niche has influencers, and they bring a lot of traffic and powerful backlinks. One link from an influencers website, or a mention in a blog post or webpage, could equal hundreds of lower quality links put together. Make a list of all the top influencers in your niche, those who might be connected to your niche, reviewers, bloggers, authors, experts in the field, or anyone with a sizable audience in your field. Reach out one by one and build a relationship with them, with the goal of providing value. One thing you could offer is to write some content for their site, offer to mention them on your site or blog, and have them mention you or get them to link to you in return.
Google’s algorithm made the change to start reading all the social media platforms and analyze it with their new algorithms. This means a link from a Facebook post or Instagram post is as valuable as any other on the internet. The more you share, post and engage on social media, the better it is for your SEO. At the very least, have links to your site on all your social media pages and profiles, and then link to your site whenever you mention it on social media.
Answering questions on Quora
There are many question-and-answer websites, one big one is Yahoo Answers, and another is Quora. Find the site that asks the most questions about your niche or business and create a profile. Link your profile to your website and start answering relevant questions with more links to your website. This is another way to get free, targeted, relevant backlinks to your site.
Posting on Subreddits
This is one of the lower quality type of backlinks, but it’s still useful to know. Reddit is a social media website which networks every type of interest under the sun. Find niche related “SubReddits”, which are conversations on specific topics, and post content relevant to your niche. You can answer peoples comments, jump into conversations or create your own conversations. Each of these types of posts allow you to link back to your website, which gives Google another bunch of juicy backlinks to chew on.
Follow these 6 types of off page SEO tactics and you’ll build a powerful network of links pointing back to your website. This is one of the best ways to optimize for the search engines and to stay in the ranks you have to keep building these links consistently.
BUILD A CONTENT HUB
Over time, you can build content hubs where your backlinks themselves point to other backlinks. Your Guest Blog might link to your Facebook page, which links to your website. A tweet might link to a Reddit post where you link to a guest blog which links back to your site. For every good piece of content you create online, consider adding backlinks that point to that piece of content.
The result is a content hub. Your site is in the center, and all the backlinks that point to your site are on the outside. Then you have all the sites that link to your backlinks, and these links can all interconnect.
This “content hub” is a ranking rocket ship when trying to rank for certain keywords. Google sees these links pointing to your site, and all the links pointing to those links. They assume that you are well known and talked about for those keywords and they rank you at the top of google.
NEW FRONTIER OF SEO
With the new Google BERT update, Google are using their advanced machine learning algorithms to determine how relevant your website is. The focus is on natural language, so your content should reads like people speak, and flow like a natural conversation.
The future is in voice search, so this natural language understanding is great for people and also the algorithm. It’s hard to optimize for this, however the best way is to follow what your visitors enjoy. Look at the top blogs in your niche and see what they talk about. Use topics that your audience want to hear about and write your content in a way that’s easy to read.
THE FUTURE KING OF CONTENT
We’ve talked a lot about content already, and you know that “content is king”, but one thing is very important going into the future. As natural language plays a bigger role in Googles algorithm, your focus should be more on content that people want to share. If someone shares your content, not only is that a good backlink to your site but also tells google “people like this”. Nothing tells google more about the social proof of your website than someone sharing your content.
Every page of your website should invite sharing. You should have social media buttons, “tweet this” buttons, and invitations to share. You can even run contests on social media to boost the amount of shares you get. Create content that people want to hear about and tell their friends. If you make your content good enough for people to share, then you’re making your visitors, and Google, very happy.
A HOLISTIC VIEW TO SEO
Let’s recap everything we’ve talked about with a holistic view of how SEO looks today. It’s important to understand your customer journey and see your site from their shoes, so let’s step into their world for a moment.
Your customers are on their desktop or mobile, and they are browsing the web looking for a solution you provide. They look at a few websites which take too long to load, so they close them down and keep looking. They look on social media, then pick out a few of the top influencers to see what they have to say, and finally, they do a google search with a specific keyword.
Along the journey they have noticed your business being mentioned a few times, so they end up on your site. They look through your services on their desktop, but then they need to run out of the house. They load up your site on their mobile, and since your site is mobile-ready, it loads on their mobile device beautifully.
On the way out, they see you have a newsletter, so they sign up, and then call you ask you for an appointment or to ask about your services or products.
Now you can see why each part of SEO is important. If you didn’t optimise for mobile, you would have lost the customer as they had to run out. If your site loaded too slow, then you would have lost the customer in the first few minutes of them looking around.
When you customer looks to influencers, you want to be there, and when they search keywords in Google, they should find your business in the top.
PERSISTENCE SEO GROWTH
The key to running a good SEO campaign is persistence. It’s hard to rank on the top of google, but if you can implement all the steps in this post, then you’ll have the best chance. One thing you can do to boost your chances of success is to hire a local SEO agency to help you with all this. If you’re trying to boost your business, then a small business SEO package would work well to get you up the ranks in google.
Now you know the basics of SEO and how to optimize your site both on page and off page, to give yourself the best chances of ranking at the top of Google.
P.S. Don’t forgot about your Google My Business
Check out our guide on growing your small business