What Are the Basics of SEO in 2020?
The basics of SEO in 2020, as usual, come with a few important changes if you want to be successful in the search engines. There are always challenges with SEO, but it’s nothing you can’t master.
You could say there’s a science to SEO. There are basic formulas that work, and then there’s also a sophisticated process to increase organic traffic to your website.
If you want SEO success in 2020, you have to incorporate a few strategies to remain competitive. We’ll show you what some of those are.
Basics of SEO For A Successful Marketing Campaign
If you’ve been studying SEO for a while, then you know there are some SEO basics that always bring positive results. Let’s look at each one.
SEO Basic Strategy #1: Linkbuilding
You can have great keywords, engaging content, and do everything else right. But if you don’t have links, Google will overlook your site. That means you might never make it to the top of the search engines.
Backlinko analyzed 11.8 million search results to determine which factors are the most important in landing at the top of search results.
Here’s what the Backlinko team discovered about links:
- Links build authority.
- Authoritative domains rank higher in search results.
- Web pages that have a good number of backlinks rank higher than pages that don’t. In fact, pages that are number one in Google search results have 3.8 times more backlinks than those in the number two to 10 positions.
- The more diverse your backlinks are (that is, from different sites), the better it’ll be for your rankings.
Think about it like this. Links are like references. You essentially have people vouching for you. The more people that put a good word in, the more trustworthy you seem. And, Google is a big fan of that.
SEO Basic Strategy #2: Content
Content will always be a top-ranking factor for SEO success in 2020 and beyond. Let’s face it, without content you have nothing for Google to analyze in the first place.
It’s also essential to produce a continuous stream of fresh content because it’s the only way to let Google and your audience know that you’re still there. You might be surprised to learn that 85% of the nearly 2 billion websites online are inactive.
Google doesn’t want to waste its time analyzing an inactive website. If you don’t produce new content, the search engines will just move right past yours.
Focus on a variety of content, including long-form content, blog posts, infographics, and video content. Also, revive old stagnant content to keep it relevant for current trends.
Content is necessary to deliver value to your users. And where else would your keywords go? Which leads us to…
SEO Basic Strategy #3: Keep Keywords in the Mix
While keywords should still be the backbone of your SEO strategy, Google doesn’t quite give them the prominence they once had.
In the optimization process, you create content around specific keywords.
Google, however, grew tired of unnatural keyword stuffing. When not used correctly, keywords can make your content redundant and repetitive.
The use of keyword phrases and synonyms helps add variety and can make your content more natural.
Overall, keep keywords in the mix because it’s the primary way organic traffic will work its way to your website. After all, there is no search without keywords. It’s also the best way to target quality customers that are most likely to translate into conversions for your business.
SEO Basic Strategy #4: Add More Focus to Topics and Entities
As important as keywords still are, topical understanding and entities are the new kids on the block. You want to have a comprehensive understanding of who your audience is and what they’re looking for.
Of course, this has to relate in some degree to your industry and the products and services you sell. But, the trick is that you have to keep your content topical, that is, relevant to not only what your readers want, but what’s popular among your competitors, as well.
You can get a little help with this from SEMrush’s Topic Research Tool. It’ll give you tons of ideas in that regard. Search Engine Journal also has a few tips about analyzing your competitor’s keywords, rankings, and content.
Your page must also use natural language and be written conversationally to engage your readers AND make it easier for the search engines to figure out what you’re writing about.
Now, that’s where entities come in. Entities are the nouns within your content. The things that your post is talking about. And it’s those nouns that will illustrate to Google what your page is about and if it’s a good example of the topic at hand.
Are you just adding filler to your content? Or, are you offering something valuable to your readers and answering their questions? Those are the questions that will help Google decide whether your content deserves a higher place in the search engines.
Bake topical understanding and entities into your information architect, and you’ll score huge points with Google.
SEO Basic Strategy #5: On-page SEO
On-Page SEO is still just as relevant today in 2020 as it’s always been. It involves optimizing your web page content for both your visitors and the search engines. We’ve already talked some about two of the components of On-Page SEO: keywords and content.
But, this type of SEO also involves optimizing the title tags, internal links, and even your URLs.
Here are some of the basic on-page SEO practices you should put to use:
- Add your chosen keywords to your headings and subheadings and sprinkle them throughout the content in a natural way.
- Use exact keywords in your title tag.
- Make sure your target keyword appears in the first 100 words of your content
- Include a keyword in each URL and keep URLs short and sweet.
- Try to use a keyword at the beginning of your title tag, rather than towards the end.
- Write keyword-rich meta descriptions. Don’t leave it to Google to fill in meta-descriptions. You know better than anyone what’s in your content.
- Make sure your content is unique and useful for visitors to your website.
- If you’re not already using it, learn how to use Google Analytics. It’ll show you how much organic traffic you’re getting and whether or not your traffic is increasing. It’ll also show your bounce rate, your page views, crawl errors, and more.
- Make your content skimmable by using lots of subheadings.
- Encourage community engagement by soliciting comments on your blog or sharing it with your company’s social network sites.
- Use unique images rather than stock photos whenever possible.
- Link to other high-authority webpages within your content.
You’ll optimize your on-site pages better when you follow these basic guidelines and SEO success will be right around the corner.
SEO Basic Strategy #6: Technical SEO
Technical SEO is what goes on behind the scenes of your website. You could say it involves just about anything except the content on your site.
Technical SEO is one of the main drivers for a positive user experience. It’s also one of the most complex SEO elements that’s best achieved by someone who’s an expert at technical SEO.
One of the key components of technical SEO is how fast your website loads. You want your site to be optimized on the back end for fast-loading times. Otherwise, visitors might leave your site prematurely.
You also want to make sure your pages don’t have any 404 errors or broken links. Duplicate content is also a no-no. And with so many users using their mobile devices online, your website should be optimized for mobile use and voice search. The user experience should be as seamless on a desktop as it is on a mobile device.
Your website’s layout should also be simple, and it should easy for Google bots to find you.
These are the absolute basic things that come to mind for technical SEO in 2020. Your site’s architecture should be easy for visitors to use.
It may pay to consult a web developer and have them build you a website that will keep visitors on your web pages long enough to bring more conversions.
SEO Success in 2020
Many of the basics of SEO in 2020 are some of the same general SEO practices that have helped many businesses find success in the search engines.
Mobile optimization, as well as voice search, have become increasingly more important. And entities and topical understanding are newer strategies that will help Google and visitors learn about what they’ll find on your web pages.
The user experience is still highly valued in the search engine world. Your goal is to engage your site’s visitors and give them enough reasons to keep coming back.
Our Houston-based digital marketing agency has helped hundreds of business owners all over the U.S. maximize their search results through proven SEO strategies. Contact us to learn how to help bring your website up to speed and find SEO success in 2020.