2020 has already proved itself to be a washout year.
But whilst everything has been going on around us, SEO has continued to develop and change, opening up a variety of new ranking opportunities.
Although changes are happening, SEO continues to be a complex beast. And that’s why lacklustre link building, blase content creation and the odd keyword here or there on a webpage just won’t cut it anymore.
This is why, as digital marketing experts, we understand the importance of keeping on top of the trends in the ever changing world of SEO. It’s something we’ve been sure to invest in since SEO first became a ‘thing’, back in 1997 (yeah, we’ve been working on this for a while).
So, if you’re looking to improve your website’s SEO, It’s first important to understand the techniques that are making their mark in the industry. That’s everything from tech updates, Google algorithms and the wants and needs of your web audience.
By establishing this valuable information, you can adapt your strategy to align with the SEO methods of 2020. Sound easy?
Well, we’ve put our heads together to outline our five top tips to help you to improve your SEO ranking for 2020.
Read on to find out more, or download our handy infographic for the key takeaways of the blog post:
It’s all about the content
The addition of great content is nothing new to SEO. And great content comes with great SEO possibilities.
We’ve all heard the ‘golden rule’ of content creation for blogs and articles is around 1,200 words. And, if not, there’s your first tip.
But, there’s no need to always keep an eye on your word count when you’re busy drafting away your latest blog release.
And it’s not to say that every piece of content you write has to hit that magic figure. Sometimes we just want to read a clean, concise piece of copy that gets the point across.
So, which is it? Long or short-form copy?
Well, I’m afraid the answer isn’t as straightforward as that.
There have actually been many conversations in the world of SEO on the topic of word count.
It’s often been pointed out by experts that Google prefers lengthy, “comprehensive” content, as this tells the search engine that the copy is more informative.
It’s even mentioned repeatedly in Google’s guidelines, which is where the argument was made that all content should be above a certain word count value.
But we believe content should follow the age-old saying; ‘quality over quantity’.
High quality copy isn’t just about the volume of words in a blog post or webpage. It’s about making the reader stop, and actually be interested in the point, service or product you’re trying to put forward to your audience.
People don’t have to read your webpage. If it’s lengthy, hard to read or unengaging, it doesn’t really matter that your word count is 1,200 words plus.
But it’s also the same for websites that put little importance on the value of content, or who choose to simplify their copy.
Apple is a prime example of a brand that uses thin content.
Although a stylised choice to add power and drama to its content, Apple’s short, simple sentences and minimal page content doesn’t do much SEO-wise.
But, let’s not worry about Apple. They’re doing alright, aren’t they.
So, the important question is, how can you move forward with your content strategy?
We’d recommend using 1,200 as a generalised ‘target’ when writing, but this shouldn’t be a conscious decision. Not all of your content needs to be comprehensive.
Sometimes it’s enough to just get your point across in 800 words, and that’s ok.
What we’re trying to say is that word count shouldn’t be used as a ‘hack’ to improve SEO.
It should be a rough benchmark to provide a detailed piece of content that will be both engaging to your audience and tick all the boxes for ranking.
Why not keep that in mind when you’re drafting your next piece of copy?
The key to keywords
So, we’ve discussed the importance of great content creation. And with great content creation also comes the importance of keyword research.
Keywords should be the cornerstone of your content, as this can be a great way to target a variety of different users through topics you may not have previously considered.
By analysing what your competitors are writing about and other data mining techniques, you can find different avenues for your content.
This could include keywords that have a mediocre search volume, but a high click-through rate, which is a win-win situation.
There are a variety of keyword tools out there that allow you to delve deeper into the keywords that are related to your business.
By investing in an insight tool, you can effectively monitor a number of different keyword avenues that you may not have even considered, which could be a great way of updating your content creation strategy.
Time to find your voice
One of the most exciting developments for SEO in 2020 has to be ‘voice search’.
As a nation, we most certainly brought into the ‘hype’ of smart speakers when they hit the market a few years ago.
In fact, as of 2019, it was revealed that one in five UK households had invested in a smart speaker, which equals over 10 million people. That’s a lot of people for a new piece of tech.
And this high adoption rate meant it was only a matter of time before asking questions to search engines via your voice became the norm.
And as of 2020, it was predicted that at least half of all searches would be made via voice search.
But, ‘how do I optimise for voice search’, I hear you ask?
Well, it’s important to recognise that the way we speak and ask questions verbally is very different to the speedier approach of how we type our searches into a search engine.
For example, let’s say you’re going out for the day, and you’re wanting to know what the weather was going to be like for you.
If you’re on your phone and typing your question into a search engine you may write, ‘today’s weather’ or ‘weather near me’. Something quick and to the point.
But, if you were to ask the question directly, you would say, ‘what’s the weather going to be like in X today?’.
And this means that your keywords have to follow suit.
It’s important to understand that to optimise your content for search, you’re going to need to make sure you’re including search queries such as ‘what, where, when, why and how’.
If you ensure to include other filler words that make a search term more conversational too, this will also be a great way of optimising for voice search.
By investing in a keyword analytics tool, you can search for relevant keywords for a specific topic, which will then allow you to optimise these search terms for voice search.
A great analytics tool will even separate your keywords into specific search queries, allowing you to craft content and said keywords into your website, helping to improve SEO.
Has your site got the ‘UX’ Factor?
Just like great content, a great user experience (UX) helps to engage your web audience.
User experience in simple terms is all about making your website as user-friendly as possible. A webpage that isn’t mapped out succinctly for the user will often result in them exiting the site, or returning to their search results.
And that’s not what anyone wants for their website.
Search engines monitor the time in which a user spends on a site before exiting, and this can then ultimately negatively impact your SEO. Google doesn’t want to be sending its users to poor websites, as this will reflect badly on them.
So, what are the main ways of improving your user experience?
Well, your main concern should be the look of your site.
When someone lands on your site, are they impressed by the layout, the ease of finding what they’re looking for and the loading speed?
If ‘yes’, then that’s great. But if it’s a ‘no’, it’s time for some improvements to be made.
When you understand that first impressions really count in web design, you’re on to a winner.
In fact, statistics have revealed that a user’s first impression of your site is mainly down to the layout and design. 94% to be exact.
Other important factors to note are:
– bounce rate – the percentage of people that leave your site after visiting just one page
– dwell time – the time a user spent viewing a certain webpage
– page speed – how quickly it takes for your webpage to load
– mobile compatibility – how your webpage looks on a mobile device
– and the user interface – how your webpage looks, including how easy it is to navigate
Websites can be confusing for those with little knowledge of web design. So if your website is in dire need of a revamp, it’s important to discuss what you’re looking for with a trained web developer.
Not only can they make suggestions for improvements to your website, but they can actually help you to make those goals a reality.
Faster than the speed of SEO
As we mentioned in our ‘user experience’ segment, a key factor of providing an effective website is page speed.
According to Search Engine Journal, it’s 2020’s most important ranking factor.
So you better take note of this one.
And for good reason. There’s nothing worse than clicking on a website to spend what feels like an eternity waiting for the page to appear in front of you.
We’re all guilty of expecting a lot from our technology. And with the big named brands investing in improving their user experience, they’ve unfortunately set high expectations when it comes to page speed.
And as of 2020, page speed is now a Google mobile ranking factor.
Following the continued preference of mobile for web users, Google has followed suit, and in 2019 launched Mobile-first indexing.
This simply means that Google uses the mobile version of a website for indexing and ranking.
So it’s a VERY important concept.
Images and video content on your webpage can slow down your load time significantly, so it’s important to analyse this carefully.
And with statistics revealing that half of web users won’t wait more than two seconds for a website content to pop up, it’s never been more vital.
There are plenty of great tools to help you monitor your page speed, including Google’s very own PageSpeed Insights.
All you need to do is add in your URL for your webpage, and Google will make suggested changes to help you improve the speed of the page.
Digital marketing agencies now typically offer page speed packages too, which will mean regular checks and updates to ensure your page speed is as it should be.
Although SEO is hard to get your head around, it’s important to recognise that with some education on the subject, and the help of a great digital marketing team, you can easily help to improve your SEO strategy. Ultimately it all boils down to:
1. Creating the best content your audience is looking for
2. Developing a website that is quick and easy to use on all devices
3. Working hard to ensure other websites know about your great content and share it (with your link included of course)
If you’d like to discuss how we can help you to craft an effective digital marketing campaign for your business, we’d love to have a catch up with you.
We’ll take a look into your website and provide you with a free recorded website review, which will highlight exactly what we’d do to improve your site.
We’re a friendly bunch, so why not check out our SEO services and get a free review today for your bespoke quote.
And don’t forget to check out and download our infographic: