In this ultimate guide, we'll discuss all about SEO in 2020. You'll learn actionable tips from high impact videos and articles. We carefully studied, tested and tweaked these quick, cost-effective strategies. So dive right in, and learn how SEO has changed this year. After all, our common objective is to significantly improve the results of our SEO campaigns today.
Who is Brian Dean? He founded, owns and manages Backlinko. This is a digital resource that provides SEO agencies, digital marketers, established companies and organizations all around the world with beneficial pieces of advice, case studies, strategies, techniques, and tactics for SEO in 2020. Brian and his team at Backlinko operate a blog, a Youtube channel, social media pages, and Web communities. Ink Magazine refers to Brian as a "brilliant entrepreneur", while Entrepreneur.Com calls him an "SEO genius".
In this quick yet comprehensive video, Brian discusses 8 of the exact steps that he's currently using for his SEO campaigns this 2020. He starts out with finding the right keywords for your niches. He also talks about taking a closer look at the content of your competitors for those search terms. Plus, Brian goes down to adding suitable hooks, designing your content, and a couple of tactics that can greatly help you get more high impact backlinks for your pages. So here's his 8-step strategy in more detail:
Find Opportunity Keywords
Simply put, these are search terms that generate clean, clutter-free Google results pages. Here are some interesting facts about this step:
Brian and his team at Backlinko learned that the majority of users don't look past the 5th Google result. They also found out that the 1st result gets 37% of all clicks. This is from their tests across 5,079,491 queries and 874,929 Web pages;
However, Brian's 37% CTR for the 1st result is likely to drop down to around 20%. That's because 12% of all searches have featured snippets above organic search results, based on another study. These snippets, ads, news stories, featured questions, and images can distract viewers from organic search results;
Obviously, you wouldn't want to target keywords that are competing against these for the attention of your ideal customers. Keep in mind, many of these are designed to grab the attention of your target audience. Now, factor in that they're placed on the top of the page, which is the first section that users see after they search for something in Google; and
That's exactly what Brian means when he says find opportunity keywords — Test out your keyword ideas by using them in Google. Then, you can at this point verify if what Google's serving now for those search terms can allow your target viewers to primarily focus on organic results.
Check Out the Content of Your Competitors
Brian says lots of digital marketers make the mistake of immediately deciding what to write for their target keywords. They often do this before checking what they'll be pitted against for Google's top positions. So they learn about this after publishing their content and building backlinks for it, which is almost always too late. Now that effort, time and resources could've likely produced much better long term results. They should've studied the top ranking content pages of their competitors for their target search terms in Google. This way, they'll learn what Google currently wants to serve users for their target keywords. Here's an example:
If the top Google results for one of your diet-related keywords are mostly lists of recipes, then you know that Google wants to serve this type of content for that search term. Plus, this can even help you identify the online communities and social media platforms where your target audience hangs out and talks about similar topics. In turn, you can go to those platforms and learn more about their needs and problems; and
If they're discussing those things among themselves instead of using Google to get the content that they want, then it's likely that today's top Google results for relevant keywords aren't satisfying their demands. This provides you with the opportunity to develop your content in ways that can out-do those top ranking content pages. Brian says this is an integral part of effective SEO in 2020.
Decide Whether to Develop Different or Much Better Content
Brian says you can strategically decide on the type of content that you want after checking what your top ranking competitors are serving for your target search terms. You can even supplement this data by going to the social media platforms and online communities where your target audiences frequently visit. Remember, focus on places where they talk about relevant stuff. Here's another example:
If today's top ranking pages in Google for your diet-related keyword are mostly serving top 10 or so lists of recipes, then you have 2 options. First, you can choose to create content that's different from the content of those top ranking results. A comprehensive cookbook that features the healthiest, most affordable recipes related to your diet keyword for women who just gave birth might be a good idea, especially if that's your target audience; and
Your second option is to develop much better content than what's in those top ranking Google results. Using the same example, a much longer list of recipes with highly recommended ingredients and kitchen equipment is likely a good idea. The point is, check out the content of the top competing pages in Google for your target keywords. Plus, learn about your target audience's relevant needs and problems at the moment. Do these things before you decide. Otherwise, you'll be blindly writing content that Google's unlikely to serve. You could also end up developing materials that most of your ideal viewers wouldn't want.
Add Your Hook
Yes, backlinks are still crucial for effective SEO in 2020. And when Brian says "hook", he's referring to the link-worthiness of your content. Simply put, you need to give your target viewers a compelling set of reasons to link to your content from their websites, blogs, social media communities, and so on. However, here are some things to keep in mind:
This isn't just about putting a CTA (call to action) in your content. This isn't just about reminding your viewers to share your content across their networks. Instead, your content should present an inherent advantage when your target audience shares and links to your content from their online communities and Web properties;
To get natural backlinks, Brian says including a list of relevant stats, facts and commentaries in his content has generated the best results so far. Think about it — Lots of authors are constantly looking for up-to-date stats, interesting facts, and insightful commentaries;
These are researchers who operate authority sites, journalists who write for popular media companies, influencers with a large following, and many others. They use these details when creating content. Lots of them are likely to gladly link to your content, especially since many of them know that they're legally and morally obliged to give proper attribution. After all, they're all content authors themselves;
Even non-content authors in your target audience would mostly feel happy to share your content across their networks. That's because their peers likely have similar interests, or the same needs and problems;
Brian also says aside from bite-sized stats and up-to-date data, there are 3 other ways to integrate an irresistible hook into your content that can generate natural links for your content; and
He says you can talk about new methods or unique techniques, package your content as an ultimate comprehensive guide, or discuss relevant case studies and results.
Implement the Right On-Page SEO Strategies
Brian says optimizing your website's on-page structure and attributes can still generate good rankings for the content of your Web properties. This is also known as technical SEO. In his video, Brian talks about the importance of your internal link structure. He also explains what it can do to improve the SERPs (search engine ranking placements) of your content pages. Here are some of Brian's recommendations:
Use your high authority pages to improve the authority of your other content materials. Remember, Google's main objective is to serve pages that provide optimum value and a convenient experience for users. So if it's easier for Google bots to assess the internal flow of your website's content pages, then you can expect a much better chance for those bots to consider your pages as quick and convenient solutions for viewers to navigate and get what they want. So, he recommends going back to your high authority pages with contextually relevant content, and placing internal links to your new pages with supplemental or complementary content;
From this point onwards, keep the URLs of your posts and pages short and direct. He says his URLs are mostly his target keywords, preceded or succeeded by another relevant word or two. However, don't change the URLs of content that you already published. He says this is likely to do more harm than good; and
Brian says his extensive tests show that these are simple yet important techniques to tweak your on-page attributes for effective SEO in 2020.
Skyscraper Technique 2.0
This builds up from the original Skyscraper Technique, which Brian and his team at Backlinko formulated a few years ago. Key take-aways are:
This up-to-date version of the Skyscraper Technique now includes search intent as a crucial factor to consider for cost-effective SEO in 2020;
Simply put, if you really know what your ideal viewers want when they use your target search terms in Google, then you're likely to also be capable of developing more helpful content for them. And Google knows this. So they'll reward you for your effort;
The original 3-step method for the Skyscraper Technique is still an important method to use for your SEO campaigns this year;
The first step is to look for newly published off-site content that's already getting lots of natural backlinks from authority sites, Web communities and social media platforms where your target users are frequently hanging out;
On the other hand, the second step is to develop much better or new content. Build this around similar topics that can be more helpful for your ideal viewers and target content syndication partners; and
The third step is to reach out to owners and administrators of authority sites, blogs, and social media pages. Focus on those that are already linking to the off-site content that you found. Your objective is to strategically inform them about your newer pages with much better content. Meanwhile, your goal is for them to do what they're expected to do, which is to link to your content.
Optimize Content Design
Simply put, Brian says that it's quite obvious for visually appealing, easily skimmable content to effectively draw the attention of target viewers, unlike poorly designed pages. Google knows this, so they're likely to reward you, based on Brian's extensive test results. And here's how to implement this strategy:
Create an attention-grabbing headline that won't be an obvious click bait. Then, develop a coherent outline;
Next, evenly divide your outline into quickly skimmable headers, and easily digestible paragraphs. Also, remember to integrate relevant, visually appealing graphical elements like images and photos, or even video clips, into certain sections of your content;
Other visual elements that Brian recommends to integrate into your content include charts and graphs, blog post banners for your headers, screenshots, etc.; and
Your main goal should be to significantly improve the overall presentation value of your content pages in the eyes of your ideal audience, which is a vital component of SEO in 2020.
Brian recommends using the Content Roadshow technique for this step. Simply put, this is where you place your content in front of eyeballs that matter for your backlink building and organic traffic generation campaigns. Plus, he recommends another strategic way to get backlinks. So here's how to do these methods in more detail:
Once you publish your content, look for owners and administrators of authority sites, blogs and social media pages in directly relevant niches and vertical industries. Focus on those that many of your ideal users are likely interested in at the moment;
Next, zone in on authors and publishers who recently shared content about a topic that's relevant to yours. Strategically inform them about your newly published content, being careful not to sound too pushy. Again, your goal is for them to talk about your content and link to your pages from their Web properties;
Brian also says what continues to work for his backlink building campaigns is finding niche sites and blogs with contextually relevant, high authority pages that have dead links; and
As soon as you find these, contact the authors or administrators of those Web properties. Tell them about those dead links. Also, strategically mention that they might want to instead link to your content pages with supplemental or complementary value for their viewers.
These are actionable pieces of advice that you can expect from Brian Dean's "8-Step SEO Strategy for Higher Rankings in 2020" video. Read on to learn more techniques and strategies in the following videos from other experts who talk about what SEO in 2020 has in store for us today.
Who is Nathan Gotch? He’s a well-respected specialist across veteran SEO communities. He owns and founded Gotch SEO, a beneficial resource of up-to-date digital marketing and SEO strategies, techniques, case studies, reports and tactics. Nathan has been featured by Forbes, Search Engine Watch, Search Engine Journal and many others. Hundreds of Web marketing agencies, business owners, SEOers, social media influencers, ecommerce administrators and other organizations regularly visit his network of sites, blogs, video channels and social media pages.
In his video, "The Only SEO Strategy You Need (2020)", Nathan talks about his 4 pillars of SEO success in 2020. This comprehensive 45-minute video presents Nathan's tests and results for generating 639% more traffic from his recent SEO campaigns. Here are his 4 pillars in more detail:
Audit Your Web Properties
Nathan says the foundation of your SEO campaigns should be built on data that you gather from an extensive audit of your Web properties and other relevant off-site indicators. He talks about the following key benefits of doing this:
You'll be able to accurately appraise the value of what you have now, identify the things that you lack the most, and spot urgent problems that you must immediately fix before doing anything else;
Nathan also discusses the importance of improving the experience of your users in your Web properties, along with high and low impact technical SEO problems that you must fix before this negatively affects your Google rankings, traffic generation results, and conversion rates;
Plus, this step allows you to learn what your direct competitors and content authors with top ranking pages in Google for your target search terms are serving your ideal viewers, and the strategies that they're using to reach the same markets;
This can even give you the opportunity to determine the types of content that Google wants to serve your target customers at the moment when they use relevant search terms; and
Combined, all these things can enable you to devise cost-effective tactics to help you develop more beneficial content for your target audience, and to implement strategies that can make you outrank your competitors in Google.
Optimize for Smooth User Experience
Nathan says you can discover many high and low impact problems in your website after performing an audit. He also says lots of these issues can quickly be fixed and are likely to generate significant improvements to your user experience and SEO results. Here are some crucial fixes that Nathan recommends:
Optimize the loading speed of your Web properties. Aside from being a major turn-off for your viewers, which can in turn cause spikes to your bounce rates, Nathan says Google devalues pages that take forever to load. After all, Google surely knows that loading speed significantly impacts user experience;
Another major technical SEO tweak that you shouldn't forget is to ensure that your Web properties are optimized for mobile devices. Remember, Google knows that millions of users all around the world prefer to use their smartphones and tablets when viewing content on the Web; and
Also fix problems like poorly designed site architecture involving missing navigations and internal links, thin and duplicate content issues across the pages of your sites, dead links, 404 errors, un-optimized content design for your pages, and spammy backlinks that you should disavow.
Find Strategic Keywords & Create Content to Satisfy Search Intent
In this pillar, Nathan discusses several techniques for finding strategic keywords for your niche. He also talks about the importance of generating topic ideas that can provide your ideal viewers with content that can satisfy their search intent. He also explains certain tactics to promote your content and get natural backlinks. Here are some key take-aways:
Use AnswerThePublic to generate a CSV that's populated by relevant questions and inquiries of your target audience for your niches and industries;
Google can provide you with a collection of forums with categories and threads about compelling topics that are at the moment getting high engagement from your ideal viewers;
Quora is also a useful resource for finding relevant topics that are getting high user engagement from your ideal audiences at the moment;
Verify if your chosen keywords and topic ideas are likely to satisfy the search intent of your ideal viewers. Then, prioritize which to focus on by considering the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors for serving the same audience, and also for ranking their pages in Google for those search terms;
Decide whether it's more strategic for you to create content that's different from what your competitors are currently offering your target audience, or much better content than what they're serving at the moment; and
Devise content promotion and backlink building campaigns based on the "relevancy pyramid". Nathan explains that the most relevant places with the highest authority to promote your content and place your backlinks are at the top of the pyramid. Plus, you should expect more potential sources with a significant decrease in both relevancy and authority as you go down the base of this pyramid.
Optimize & Amplify Your Campaigns
In this pillar, Nathan explains some strategies to optimize your content for maximum backlink building results. He also discusses certain ways to amplify the results of your promotional campaigns. Here are a few of the most important things that Nathan pointed out:
Try to build link-worthy content. Nathan describes these linkable assets in his video as the most sustainable, fully scalable methods to generate natural backlinks for your content pages; and
Build re-targeting lists. Use social media platforms and others that offer re-targeting and re-marketing services. This can allow you to discover untapped markets with significant demand for your content, thereby providing opportunities for you to amplify your results.
These are Nathan's 4 pillars of SEO success in 2020. Found below are more videos from other SEO experts. So read on, and learn what they have to say about the most suitable techniques for SEO in 2020.
Who is Neil Patel? He's an expert in digital marketing and SEO. Born in London, he's also an entrepreneur who founded, owns and manages Hello Bar and Crazy Egg. Neil sold a number of successful ventures over the years, such as Quicksprout. Lots of groups trust his recommendations and pieces of advice, including SEO agencies, digital marketing firms, independent service providers, established companies, ecommerce platform operators, affiliates, bloggers, and social influencers.
In Neil's video, "What are the MAJOR changes in SEO for 2020?", he talks about crucial factors that can significantly affect the results of your digital marketing campaigns this year. He reminds us all that Google implements an average of around 3200 updates and changes to their SERP algorithms, annually. These include crucial things that can make or break the SEO strategies that you intend to use today. So here are 4 things that Neil considers as the most important aspects that you should keep in mind for SEO in 2020:
No-Click Organic Results
Neil expects the number of no-click organic results in Google to considerably grow this year. He says this is likely due to more people all around the world preferring to use other platforms like social media and Web communities to get the content that they want, instead of using Google to look for it;
At the time of writing, several market research firms like SparkToro and Jumpshot claim no-click organic results are now up to 49%. Plus, Neil says users are starting to get more of what they want from Google's featured snippets; and
Other SEO experts claim that these no-click organic results in Google are also due to more ads, featured images, news stories, and questions. These mostly appear in a large percentage of all searches globally. Mostly found at the top of Google results pages, these serve as distractions from organic search results.
Dwindling Organic Google Search Traffic
Related to some of the primary reasons behind an increasing number of no-click organic search results in Google, Neil says he expects to get much less organic traffic from search engines this 2020; and
Merkle's annual tests and case studies indicate that organic traffic from Google searches are continuing to go down rapidly. In Q2 of 2019, it was down by around 6% from q2 of the previous year.
More Competition Between Google & Amazon
Google recently launched their Buy on Google feature, which allows users to purchase the products that they want directly from their platform;
This points out the investments that Google's pouring into their plans to aggressively compete against Amazon and other ecommerce portals, such as Shopify and the like; and
Neil recommends ecommerce merchants and affiliates who heavily depend on organic traffic from Google to carefully observe significant changes to how Google serves content for relevant commercial search terms.
Increased Negative Effects of Featured Snippets
As mentioned earlier, Neil warns us all about the detrimental effects of featured snippets in Google to our organic search traffic numbers;
In fact, Path Interactive's case studies point out that lots of millennials aged 13 to 18 years old all around the world say they're getting what they want from their Google searches without clicking anything, which happens at least 40% of the time;
He says this is primarily because users are getting what they exactly need from Google results pages, without the need to go and take a closer look at the content listed in Google's top ranking indices; and
Also, many SEO specialists say ads, featured stories, images and questions amplify these negative effects to what you can expect from organic search traffic from your SEO campaigns this 2020.
These are the 4 major factors that Neil advises you to carefully consider while formulating SEO strategies and digital marketing techniques for your Web properties this year. Continue reading to learn more what's in store for you this 2020.
Who is Eric Siu? He's an entrepreneur and digital marketing specialist. He's the CEO of Single Grain, a seasoned digital marketing firm that's popular among many established companies, small businesses, and independent service providers, among others. Eric also hosts Growth Everywhere, a podcast that's dedicated to help entrepreneurs learn about strategic growth hacking techniques for their businesses. Plus, he co-hosts another podcast called Marketing School with Neil Patel.
He discusses significant changes to SEO in 2020 in this video, which is aptly called "How SEO Will Change in 2020 (And You're Not Going to Like It)". Here are his main take-aways:
No-Click Organic Search Results
Eric says Google has added more ads to a large number of searches over the years. Today, you'll notice that there are an average of 3 ads at the top of the page, which is an ad more than what Eric got from his extensive tests across considerable numbers of keywords for a variety of niches and industries in 2018;
He says these ads, which are mostly designed to be as visually appealing and compelling as possible for the intended audience, are distracting users from organic search results;
There are even more ads for most of his keyword searches across his extensive tests at the bottom of the Google results page, which tend to add more distractions for users;
Along with other distractions like featured snippets, news stories and questions, Eric says all these things combined contribute to dwindling clicks on organic search results, and increasing no-click keyword searches in Google; and
Plus, he reminds us to diversify our traffic sources as over 1.6 billion sites are competing for the attention of users, and this number is perpetually increasing.
In Eric's other video, which is called "The Best Google SEO Tricks for 2020", he talks about the following strategies in more detail:
Google Search Console
He discusses the benefits that you can get from using the Google Search Console, which allows you to get real time data that's relevant to your campaigns, such as keyword CTRs, impressions, and geos, among others;
This tool also enables you to check sitemap errors, enter your content pages for Google indexing, etc.;
Eric also recommends optimizing your content pages with FAQ schema markup. He says this can allow you to occupy more sections of relevant Google search results pages, thanks to featured snippets and questions; and
Meanwhile, GTMetrix and Google pagespeed insights can help you ensure that your content pages are loading quickly, which can significantly reduce bounce rates.
These are the factors and tools that Eric recommends you to remember when devising your digital marketing campaigns this year. Found below are more videos and articles that can help you optimize your plans for SEO in 2020.
What is SMA Marketing? They're an established firm that's based in Florida, USA. Manned by veteran inbound strategists, they provide custom digital marketing campaign planning and execution services. This is for the content marketing, PPC (pay per click) and SEO needs of small businesses, medium to large-scale companies, independent marketers, publishers, developers, and organizations all around the world.
In their video, "7 SEO Trends to Watch Out for in 2020", SMA Marketing talks about the things that you really need to prioritize for your campaigns this year. Here are these 7 trends in more detail:
SMA Marketing recommends prioritizing the experience of your ideal viewers while they're on your Web properties, over mainly focusing on tweaking your sites, blogs and mobile apps for Google algorithm updates. Yes, it's still important to know relevant stuff that can optimize your Web properties for BERT and ALBERT, which are Google's latest machine learning-based SERP updates. However, this tends to happen naturally when you primarily shoot for giving your target users a smooth, unforgettable experience while serving the content that they want through your virtual real estate.
Optimizing Content for User Benefits
The second trend is improving the contextual relevance and benefits of the stuff that you serve your target users through your Web properties. SMA Marketing says this can become a bit easier when you carefully understand the intent of your ideal users for their relevant search queries in Google. You're also advised to serve the content that they're looking for in ways that they prefer to view these solutions. So before you can satisfy these prerequisites, you must get to really know your ideal audience.
Meanwhile, the third trend is focusing on the main elements that Google continues to prioritize in their search platform and other tools, which can be summed up nicely by E.A.T. This stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. Simply put, your content and Web properties should clearly communicate the specialized expertise, authority knowledge and the credibility of your brand across your target communities, niches, and industries. Plus, don't forget that Google has stricter evaluation requirements when it comes to content that can directly affect the health and finances of your ideal viewers.
The fourth trend is technical SEO. SMA Marketing says building your Web properties on a solid foundation is now a requirement. This is especially in terms of tweaking page loading speed, optimizing the design of your content pages for users and Google bots, implementing link structures that can make it quicker and easier for Google bots to crawl and index your internal and external pages, and disavowing spammy backlinks, among others.
Tweaking Internal Link Structures & Website Architecture
The fifth trend is structuring the elements of your content pages in ways that can make it faster and simpler for machines to understand your Web properties. Remember, Google continues to heavily invest in developing AI-powered systems through machine learning, big data, deep learning, artificial neural networks, and computer vision tools.
Semantic Search Optimization
The sixth trend is implementing semantic search optimization techniques into your Web properties. SMA Marketing mainly focuses on the importance of using the right internal entity linking structures for your target domains.
Communicate a Compelling Story for Your Brand & Build the Right Networks
Lastly, the seventh trend is all about building and positioning your brand across relevant user communities, collaborators and partner publishers, lateral consumer markets, and potential advertisers. SMA Marketing advises you to prepare a compelling story for your brand, and to communicate it through engaging ways.
These are the things that you can expect to learn from SMA Marketing's video. Read on, and get to know what another expert is talking about when it comes to SEO in 2020.
Who is Josh Bachynski? He has been working as a brand builder, digital marketer and SEO expert for more than 20 years. Also, Josh has lots of personal and professional contacts in Google. Plus, he continues to perform a variety of experiments to test out and analyze Google's latest SERP algorithm updates. He owns a number of websites with content pages that are ranking really well in Google for competitive search terms. Among Josh's most notable presentations include this TEDx talk, "The Future of Google, Search and Ethics".
In his video, "SEO 2020 What NOT to do 2020 in SEO - SEO Science Show with SEO Josh Bachynski", Josh talks about what he calls "SEO-geddon". Here are the main points that he discussed in detail:
Josh says Google is tweaking their SERP algorithms for the primary purpose of devaluing all the work that we're doing to deliberately optimize our Web properties for our target search terms in Google;
He claims ranking our content pages at the top 5 results in Google for competitive search terms is no longer possible because Google prioritizes their advertisers;
Some of the things that Josh claims will kill all your SEO efforts this 2020 include using PBNs (private blog networks) and silos, prioritizing traffic generation instead of conversions, forgetting to analyze what your competition is doing, disregarding the importance of correlation research data, over-doing on-page SE optimization, and subscribing to non-scientific and outdated training courses;
He also says testing is not the only scientific way to analyze the results of your SEO techniques; and
This was a live stream where viewers got the chance to share their opinions and insights. However, some users claim that Josh mainly focused on their SEO mistakes. They also say Josh spent a lot of time shooting down their relevant efforts as non-scientific methods to optimize their Web properties for their target keywords in Google.
These are the most notable videos today about SEO in 2020. Continue reading, and discover remarkable articles about the same topic.
What is "SEO in 2020: The Definitive Guide"? Brian Dean and his team at Backlinko published this comprehensive guide for everyone who wants to know what they need to do to improve the results of their SEO campaigns this year. This has 8 chapters and a bonus section, all filled to the brim with the most significant SEO trends this year, along with new tactics and strategies that are continuing to work really well, based on their extensive tests. Key take-aways are:
Domain Authority 2.0
Chapter 1 is all about Domain Authority 2.0. Brian and his team say that unlike Domain Authority 1.0, which primarily reduced domain authority to the quality and volume of contextual backlinks, Google is now also evaluating a website's domain and page authority based on the brand's relevant expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E.A.T.); and
This guide also explains in detail what they recommend you to do for optimizing your Web properties for these factors. Their suggestions mainly include ensuring that an author with verifiable proof of real world expertise creates your content, making sure that you're being as transparent as possible in terms of the professional experience and knowledge of your content authors, and getting as much citations as possible from authority publishers and credible organizations.
Meanwhile, chapter 2 is all about the rise of visual search. They point out that 36% of all consumers in the USA say they continue to use visual search;
On the other hand, Google Lens has been used over 1 billion times as of this writing. Plus, Pinterest is getting approximately 600 million visual searches per month;
With much better performance from Google and Bing Visual Search tools, you can expect this to rapidly become a significant part of SEO in 2020; and
This guide also provides a set of recommended strategies to cost-effectively optimize your Web properties for visual search.
Chapter 3 is all about the unprecedented popularity of videos on the Web today. Cisco predicts that by next year, videos will make up over 80% of all Internet traffic, globally;
Also, HubSpot claims that more than 43% of all users say they want more video content; and
This guide suggests optimizing your videos for video featured snippets, integrating video content into the text-based posts of your Web properties, and growing the subscribers and viewers of the videos in your Youtube channel.
On the other hand, chapter 4 is about the importance of voice search for SEO in 2020;
Google says around 20% of all mobile searches globally are done through voice search, while 41% of users aged 18 and above all around the world perform at least one voice search daily;
Plus, Search Engine Watch says voice searches are up, since 2008, by at least 35 times;
Last year, Brian and his team performed extensive tests for Google Voice Search;
Their results show that Google seems to source content from the top 3 or so results for relevant voice searches;
Also, they recommend including FAQ or Q&A-type content in your posts;
More so, they advise you to optimize your content for featured snippets in Google; and
Their experiments indicate that 4 out of 10 voice search results are based on these featured snippets.
Optimizing Your Content for Featured Snippets
Chapter 5 is all about tweaking your content pages for featured snippets in Google. Brian and his team say they expect no-click organic results to increase over the next several months;
This is primarily because of more ads, featured news stories, images, and yes — Featured snippets;
SEMrush claims 11.52% of all Google searches globally result to featured snippets at the top of the indices;
To optimize for featured snippets, this guide recommends tweaking your content pages already in the top 10 or so results in Google for your target keywords;
SEMrush says 99.58% of all featured snippets are from the top Google search results on the first page for relevant terms;
Plus, you're advised to add snippet bait to your content, which consists of around 40 to 60 words, according to an experiment where SEMrush tested more than 7 million featured snippets; and
More so, you're recommended to optimize your content pages for other types of featured snippets, such as lists and tables.
Search Intent Optimization
You likely know the importance of knowing the intent of users when they type any of your target keywords to search for the content that they want in Google;
Well, that's what chapter 6 of this guide is all about. Google is among your best resources for determining search intent;
Just simply test your target keywords in Google, and take note of the top results; and
Also, Brian and his team at Backlinko recommend tweaking your already published content pages for search intent.
Chapter 7 is about implementing strategies and tactics to fight rapidly decreasing click-through rates (CTRs) for organic search results in Google;
According to SparkToro's recent studies, CTRs of organic mobile search results are down by as much as 41% from 15 years ago;
So, this comprehensive guide recommends developing enticing descriptions for each of your content pages, using your target keywords in the URLs of your Web properties, and effectively using emotional triggers for crafting your headlines, without going overboard; and
Brian and his team claim these methods can significantly increase your CTRs.
Backlink Building Strategies This Year
Lastly, chapter 8 is all about backlinks, and why they're still important for SEO in 2020;
In fact, Google again announced that contextually relevant backlinks in high authority sites and pages continue to be crucial factors for ranking your pages for your target keywords; and
Perficient Digital's recent study indicates that backlinks are equally important today for SEO in 2020 as they were 4 years ago.
Bonus Chapter: Additional Tips & Strategies
The bonus chapter of this guide provides a set of tips, strategies and tactics for your SEO campaigns this year; and
This includes the benefits of publishing extensive research-based content with statistics and results for naturally getting high authority backlinks, integrating visually appealing elements into your content pages, compelling your ideal viewers to engage and participate in relevant discussions throughout your Web properties, using podcasts to generate natural backlinks, and pruning 0 value pages with thin content by consolidating them into ultimate guides.
These are the things that you'll learn from this comprehensive guide. Read on, and get to know more articles and the benefits that you can get from them for your SEO plans this year.
What is "SEO in 2020: Going Beyond Google"? This is another comprehensive guide that was published by Search Engine Journal, a go-to resource for SEO trends, case studies, tips, strategies, and techniques. Here are the main take-aways of the discussions in this guide:
Optimize for Other Search Engines Aside from Google
Google isn't the only search engine that you can use for getting organic search traffic;
Statista reported in October last year that Google's global market share was 87.96%, which is down from 91.7% in April 2012;
This indicates a rise in the use of Web search engines other than Google;
From 2012 to 2019, Bing's global market share rose to 5.26%. More than 7 years ago, this was originally 3.6%;
Disregarding the benefits of other search engines aside from Google can usually result to your Web properties ranking poorly for your target keywords in those platforms;
This means you're likely missing out on promising opportunities to cater to the users of those search engines, which are gradually gaining more international market share across particular geographic regions for the last few years;
These other notable search engines include Bing, Yahoo!, DuckDuckGo, Baidu, Ecosia, and Yandex;
Each of them has significant market share in certain countries and regions;
For example, Baidu is exclusively used by a large portion of the Chinese market in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan; and
Meanwhile, a lot of users in Russia use Yandex more than Google.
Optimize for Other Types of Popular Platforms
Different types of platforms are taking considerable global market share from Google and these other search engines;
Amazon is leading the world when it comes to product searches for the retail consumer market;
Youtube is also getting a lot of organic search traffic, as more than 4 billion users actively use this video repository regularly; and
On the other hand, Pinterest is also gaining more ground when it comes to visual searches.
What is "7 Advanced SEO Strategies I'm Trying to Implement Before 2020"? Neil Patel published this strategic guide to help out business owners, digital marketers, social media influencers and independent authors for their SEO campaigns this year. The following is a list of the key discussions in this article:
SEO A/B Split Testing
Neil suggests starting out by carefully studying the on-site optimization of your Web properties;
He recommends using SEO Analyzer, which is a tool that can automatically generate a report for you regarding the problems of your Web properties in terms of on-site SEO;
However, Neil also suggests using the services of companies like Distilled ODN and Rank Science to automatically fix the on-site optimization issues of your Web properties; and
These firms specialize in making it quicker and easier for you to tweak the on-site SEO of your Web properties, as it can be quite daunting to do these fixes manually.
E.A.T. — Expertise, Authority & Trustworthiness
Neil says a lot of SEOers, digital marketing firms and SEM experts all around the world are continuing to throw the E.A.T. acronym when they're discussing about their latest SEO strategies and techniques;
He claims the primary reason for this is that lately, Google has been focusing more than usual on measuring an author's expertise, authority and reputation for a particular specialized subject area to rank a content page;
For example, Google knows that industries like health and fitness, medicine and finance can negatively affect the lives of users when they follow the advice of content pages with inaccurate, outdated, or technically flawed data;
So what Neil suggests is to ramp up your guest blogging or guest posting campaigns this 2020 across high authority news media platforms, blogs, and online communities;
He also recommends publishing high quality books that won't just help you earn more, but could also drastically build up your expertise, authority and reputation in your target niches and industries;
That's mainly because Neil says Google is likely to focus on other industries aside from finance and health this year and beyond;
Plus, Neil recommends including an author's box in each of your on-site and off-site content materials; and
He claims, based on his extensive tests, that this can significantly improve the results of your SEO campaigns this 2020.
Content Distribution Networks (CDNs)
It's common knowledge across communities of expert SEOers, digital marketers and firms that the loading speed of a content page significantly affects its SERPs in Google for relevant keywords;
That's because Google knows that bounce rates are directly proportional to user experience, at least to a significant extent;
Meanwhile, Neil claims that page load speed can affect conversion rates, according to his extensive tests, especially since more users are continuing to use their mobile devices to browse the Web and shop for the stuff they want;
As a case example, Neil points out that Walmart managed to increase their conversion rates by around 2% for each second that they shave off from the loading time of their pages;
With this, he recommends using a CDN (content delivery network) subscription, in order to quickly and smoothly serve the pages, images, videos and other multimedia content of your Web properties for your ideal users; and
He explains that, depending on your target geos, a CDN service provider can enable your digital content to be streamed from a Web server that's nearest the location of a user, which considerably increases page load speed.
Multi-Lingual Title Tag & Meta Description Optimization
Neil mentions a tool called Clickflow, which he continues to use for optimizing the title tags and meta descriptions of his content pages;
He claims 31 days from the time of writing, his title tag tests and optimizations for his English content pages generated 96,723 more unique viewers because of these tweaks;
If you serve non-English markets, then Neil also recommends optimizing the title tags and meta descriptions of your pages for your target languages;
He points out that the competitiveness of non-English websites are a bit less challenging and more straightforward to overcome; and
Neil also suggests the following tweaks that he continues to test for his Web properties as it gives him significant benefits:
Question-type title tags can improve your CTRs by as much as 14.1%;
Strategically integrating emotional triggers into your title tags and meta descriptions can also improve CTRs. Neil states that his tests resulted to 7% more clicks from his pages that have title tags and meta descriptions with both positive and negative emotional triggers;
Plus, Neil says his results show that title tags with 15 to 40 or so characters generate higher CTRs; and
On the other hand, he recommends tactfully including the current year in your title tags, or any year that's relevant to your topic, as his results indicate this also produces higher CTRs.
FAQpage Schema Markup
Many expert SEOers recommend this strategy. They say it allows their pages that are already ranking well in Google for their target search terms to also be included in the featured snippets served by Google on the top section of the search results page;
Neil disagrees with others SEOers who claim this negatively affects your Web properties as most users don't get to visit your pages since they already get what they want from the Google search results page itself;
He says the positive experience that you continue to provide your ideal users by quickly giving them what they want is likely to make them remember your brand more, especially since your domain and URLs are displayed along with those featured snippets;
Neil also says this can improve your organic rankings for relevant voice searches, as well as your viral marketing results (and your organic backlink building campaigns) because some of those users would be glad to share your domain and URLs with their peers who need your content; and
Plus, he says his tests show that integrating FAQpage schema markup into his new and already published pages doesn't negatively affect his traffic numbers, and only indicate positive results for many of his content pages and Web properties.
Neil says ignoring the value of clustering your content together, especially if they're about connected, highly relevant discussions, likely means you’re missing out on a lot of SEO benefits and traffic generation opportunities;
He believes Google will continue to put more value on a website with a strategically optimized internal linking structure;
Plus, he says doing this right from the time you're trying to search for good target keywords while using tools like Ubersuggest can make it simpler and more straightforward for you to plan out your content development, internal linking, keyword and topic clustering optimizations.
Dominate Multiple Regions Worldwide
Neil says he'll continue to try and dominate Google SERPs for both English and non-English keywords;
He says a Google employee once told him that their search engine has tons of options when it comes to English search terms and content pages, but they're lacking a lot when it comes to non-English content and keywords; and
With this, Neil recommends targeting non-English markets with urgent problems, immediate needs and an irresistible desire for your content, products, and services. He says you're likely to find a bunch of non-English markets that can provide you with higher streams of income primarily because of the time, money and resources that you can save when competing in these markets.
What is "SEO In 2020: What to Expect for the Year Ahead"? This comprehensive guide was published in Forbes by Tarek Mohajer, GrowMe Marketing founder and CEO. Based in Canada, they're a digital marketing agency that specializes in SEO and SEM. He's also a member of an invitation-only community called the Forbes Agency Council. This is for executives in successful media strategy, public relations, advertising and creative firms.
In this guide, Tarek talks about the importance of hiring a forward-thinking agency for formulating and implementing strategic SEO campaigns for your Web properties this year. He also explains in detail the trends and techniques to watch out for this 2020. Here are the main take-aways from this article:
Organic SEO & Advanced Links
Tarek says organic ways to generate traffic from relevant search terms in Google continue to provide their clients with high targeted traffic numbers and significant conversions. He believes this will continue this year and beyond;
However, he also claims that old methods for generating organic search traffic from Google aren't working any longer, so Tarek suggests focusing on building advanced links for your Web properties;
These advanced backlinks go beyond directory links and the like. Instead, you should make it a point to place a combination of guest posts and paid placements with links pointing to your content pages that serve supplemental or complementary information. He recommends building these across many relevant blogs, platforms and Web 2.0 communities with high domain authority (DA); and
In case you want to hire an agency to do these things for you, then Tarek recommends taking a closer look at the partnerships, networks, blogs and Web properties that they use for the guest posting and advanced backlink building campaigns of their clients.
Local SEO & Map Search Optimization
Tarek says the results of their extensive tests in their agency point out that around 30 to 40% of customers who are looking for local companies in Google are finding them through maps;
He says local SEO, which is also called map search optimization, is a distinct and vital type of organic search that has grown in popularity over the past few years;
Plus, he claims that service providers and local businesses with physical storefronts should focus on tweaking their GMB (Google My Business) profiles through the use of the most suitable keywords and backlinks; and
Tarek also suggests the following strategies for optimizing your local SEO campaigns this 2020:
Name, Address & Phone Number (NAP)
Aside from your GMB profile, he suggests ensuring the consistency of these details across your Web properties, mobile apps, off-site content, social media pages, repositories and community sites that you use for your marketing campaigns;
Contextually Relevant Backlinks in High Authority Sites
Tarek recommends building quality backlinks that point to your profile pages by using websites and community platforms with high DA and page authority (PA);
Many social media pages and platforms for businesses, such as GMB, allow publishers to implement geotagging strategies for their images, and he suggests that you do the same as this can improve the results of your local SEO and map search optimization efforts; and
User Reviews & Ratings
He recommends devising your content placement, promotional and marketing campaigns in ways that can generate more positive reviews from your viewers and customers, especially across the platforms that you use for your business profiles.
Content Development & Blogging
Tarek mentions in detail the increasing sophistication of Google's deep learning-based technologies for their search engine algorithms, and its effects to SEO in 2020 and beyond;
He reminds us about the continued focus of Google to serve pages with beneficial, well-written content in the perspective of the target viewer, thanks to their constantly improving natural language processing (NLP) and natural language understanding (NLU) algorithms;
He also says content pages should be integrated with tactics that can significantly improve its value in the eyes of Google bots, especially when it comes to E.A.T.;
Plus, Tarek recommends ensuring that your content satisfies the intent of your ideal viewers when they use any of your target search terms in Google; and
He suggests focusing mainly on building backlinks in contextually relevant pages under high authority domains, instead of prioritizing adding more content to your Web properties. He claims this continues to produce much better SEO results for their clients.
Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising & Remarketing
Tarek reminds us about the importance of PPC for promoting your content, products, and services. This especially applies when it's highly unlikely for you to rank among the top 3 organic search results in Google for insanely competitive keywords that are dominated by large multinational corporations with household brand names and a worldwide customer base;
He mainly focuses on discussing PPC and remarketing campaigns across advertising platforms like Google and social media networks;
Plus, he says PPC advertising is a quick and effective way to put your offers in front of eyeballs that matter the most, but you'll need to strategically optimize your campaigns to ensure that you won't be wasting your time, money and other resources;
Tarek also says remarketing will continue to grow in terms of importance for the sales and marketing campaigns of many companies all around the globe, especially when it comes to following up with irresistible promos and discounted deals; and
With this, he recommends formulating ways to create and implement promotional deals and a variety of exclusive offers into your PPC ads and landing pages.
Most of the videos and articles described earlier talk about high impact changes to SEO in 2020. Now let's summarize the most important things that you're recommended to keep in mind while formulating your SEO campaigns for your Web properties this year. Here they are:
Everybody wants the attention of their ideal users in Google to focus on their pages in the top organic search results. You obviously wouldn't want them to get distracted by things like ads, featured snippets, news stories, and images. However, here are some considerable changes, which some have been discussed in more detail by the authors of the videos and articles described earlier:
Eric Siu claims his tests indicate that Google is, as of this writing, displaying on average 3 to 4 paid ads at the top of their results pages. Plus, the same tests show that there are often more ads today at the bottom of each page for a lot of search terms;
Considering this, a paid ad in the 2nd spot of Google's search listings is like displaying a results page with 2 paid ads and nothing else. That's because the attention of many users will focus on these ads, especially if they're using their mobile devices. Plus, keep in mind that Google continues to use mobile-first indexing. They've been doing this since 2016;
Also, don't forget that mobile search globally is around 50.71% as of June 2019. Meanwhile, desktop search fell down to 45.53%. This is according to Smart Insights, Ltd.;
As mentioned earlier, annual case studies and extensive tests of Merkle in Q2 of 2019 show that organic Google search traffic is down by around 6% from what it was in q2 2018;
On the other hand, Brian Dean and his team at Backlinko performed a large set of tests. This consisted of more than 800K Web pages for over 5M queries in Google;
Their results indicate that most users are unlikely to pay attention to pages beyond the top 5 results, and also that the top organic search result gets around 37% of all clicks;
However, Brian and his team predicts that this is likely to drop down to around 20%. They claim this would mostly be due to featured snippets, which are displayed 12% of the time;
Jumpshot and SparkToro, among other reputable SEO agencies and seasoned specialists, say that this is a significant reason behind the rapid growth of no-click organic results. They claim this is up to 49% today out of all search queries lobally, and some of these other distractions include a bigger number of ads, news stories, questions, and images;
Meanwhile, Neil Patel shares similar sentiments. He says a lot more users today are immediately getting the stuff that they want from their queries through these featured snippets, and that the recently launched Buy on Google feature is likely to significantly reduce the organic search traffic of many ecommerce sites this 2020;
Plus, Google has recently changed the placement of paid ads, globally. These now appear on the top and also at the bottom of organic results. Specifically, as Eric Siu also noticed, 4 paid ads are displayed at the top, and 3 at the bottom of organic listings; and
Before Google's Jan 2020 featured snippets update, seoClarity's tests show that 28% of featured snippets also had duplicate listings at the 2nd position of organic search results. However, once the update was rolled out, their tests indicate that Google no longer includes these featured snippets in their organic search results.
So, is Google deliberately funneling the organic traffic that they're getting to their ads, featured snippets, news stories, images, and Buy on Google listings? Are they intentionally forcing independent authors, small businesses, companies and organizations to use their paid advertising platform? Here are some of the insights of the veteran SEOers and agencies that authored the videos and articles described earlier:
Many SEO experts and credible digital marketing agencies all around the world say their extensive tests indicate that Google algorithm updates from 2011 to 2015 have rendered 80% of what we're doing to optimize the Google SERPs of our Web properties as obsolete. These include Panda, Hummingbird, and RankBrain. These algorithm updates mostly show that content pages must be tweaked for optimum user experience;
This is what makes it really challenging to keep up with these updates, especially since you need to remove tweaks that were previously working, all while at the same time applying new fixes that closely comply with these changes;
Meanwhile, Josh Bachynski continues to claim that Google is intentionally devaluing all deliberate efforts of SEOers to rank in the top organic search results, especially for competitive queries. He says this is mainly because Google is prioritizing the bottom-line of their advertisers, in order for them to continue earning revenues from these groups;
He also says this is why optimizing content pages for the top 5 results in Google won't be possible any longer this 2020 and beyond; and
On the other hand, Eric Siu believes Google might continue to add more paid ads to bigger volumes of queries this 2020 and also in the next few years, especially since his tests show that Google was just displaying 2 paid ads on average in 2018;
As mentioned earlier, EAT stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness. On the other hand, YMYL is an acronym for Your Money or Your Life. So, putting EAT into contextual perspective, what this simply means is that Google is continuously tweaking their algorithms to rank content pages and sites that show verifiable proof of its author's expertise, authority and credibility across relevant niches, subject areas, industries, markets, and communities.
Meanwhile, this also says Google continues, since 2013, to implement stricter algorithms when it comes to ranking content pages of sites that specialize in certain niches. These include finance, business, legal, employment, investment, shopping, health, medicine, fitness, and other industries.
These are where low quality, outdated and technically inaccurate content can negatively affect the finances and lives of users. Also, keep in mind that the majority of these niches and industries get high volumes of phone calls and queries from users all around the world. So, here are some of the key take-aways of the authors mentioned earlier regarding EAT and YMYL for SEO in 2020:
"For these ‘YMYL’ pages, we assume that users expect us to operate with our strictest standards of trustworthiness and safety. As such, where our algorithms detect that a user’s query relates to a ‘YMYL’ topic, we will give more weight in our ranking systems to factors like our understanding of the authoritativeness, expertise, or trustworthiness of the pages we present in response," announced Google;
On the other hand, SMA Marketing says the 3rd SEO trend to watch out for this year is EAT. They recommend optimizing your content development and backlink building campaigns for the purpose of clearly communicating your brand's specialized expertise, authority and trustworthiness across relevant niches, subject areas, industries, communities, and syndication partners, both to human viewers and Google bots; and
Plus, SMA Marketing reminds us that Google pays more attention to EAT optimization for queries that can significantly affect the health and finances of users.
So how exactly can you ensure that your content pages and sites are optimized for these changes? Here are highly recommended tweaks:
Make sure that your Web properties have SSL certificates, verifiable testimonials, reviews, and of course, technically accurate information with timely details;
Plus, don't forget to include updated, accurate details in your Contact, Customer Support and About pages;
In case you operate a blog, you're advised to include an author bio that clearly communicates your brand's relevant credentials, knowledge and expertise in your target niches and industries;
Meanwhile, spammy backlinks should be disavowed, all while continuing to build contextually relevant backlinks in high authority sites, publishing networks, and syndication channels;
You're recommended to ensure that qualified specialists with verifiable credentials are the authors of your content, especially if you specialize in the YMYL niches and industries mentioned earlier; and
On the other hand, keep in mind to update, edit and tweak your content pages to comply with recent EAT standards.
Because of these changes to SEO in 2020, you're advised to study, tweak and implement timely tactics for ranking your Web properties this year. Here are 7 highly recommended tweaks:
These can be divided into 2 main categories. These are on-page SEO, and off-page SEO. So here you go:
Search Intent Strategy
This is where you must tweak the content of your Web properties, in order for your stuff to provide exactly what your ideal users are looking for when they use your target search terms in Google. So, you're advised to keep the following things in mind:
While Brian Dean suggests looking for opportunity keywords that produce clean, distraction-free search results pages in Google, Nathan Gotch recommends using those keywords to identify topics that can satisfy the search intent of your ideal audiences;
Nathan says AnswerThePublic is among his most recommended tools. He says you'll be able to quickly and easily produce a CSV with relevant queries from your target users; and
He also says Google is a helpful resource for doing this. You can use Google to learn about timely topics and questions from your ideal viewers who hang out in Quora, Web forums and other online communities that are relevant to your target niches and industries.
Classifying Search Intent
Meanwhile, Brian and his team also say search intent can be grouped into 2 main classifications. These are:
Local Intent — These queries can fall under any of the 4 categories mentioned above. However, these search terms mainly depend on the user's current location, or the specific geographic location and website that they want; and
Freebies — On the other hand, these search terms in Google are from users who primarily want to get content, products and services that they won't need to buy. These include free ebooks and courses, digital goods like software products and apps, review copies of hardware items like electronics, etc.
Search Intent Categories
They also claim that Google's most recent Quality Rater Guidelines show that search intent is among the most important optimizations that you're recommended to do on your Web properties; and
They claim common classifications of Google for search intent, which is also known as user intent, include 4 categories. These are:
Informational — These queries are from users mainly looking for timely, technically accurate details. They want to learn more about particular companies and brands, persons and locations, types of products and services, events and news stories, subject areas, niche topics, etc. These often include words like "how to", "what is", and so on;
Transactional — These are search terms that users enter in Google to find out more about the steps and processes to perform a certain action. These include buying a product, downloading a file, installing an app, filing a refund or chargeback, subscribing to a company's news feed, contacting the support resources of a particular organization, etc.;
Navigational — Meanwhile, these queries are from users trying to find out the addresses of specific storefronts and locations, official websites of companies and organizations, their social media pages, etc.; and
Commercial— Usually overlapping with transactional intent, these search terms are from users who are ready to buy a product, register for an account, subscribe to a company's newsletter, and so on. The main objective of these users is to perform an action that can benefit a business, an organization, an author, etc.
Optimizing Marketing Funnels for Search Intent
Plus, Backlinko says this is equally crucial for developing your marketing funnel, especially if you're heavily relying on organic search traffic from Google. Today, their extensive tests show that many buyers who use Google at any point of their shopping ventures are going through unique, non-linear journeys towards a purchase; and
Simply put, this means sales and marketing funnels that mainly depend on organic Google SERPs across a huge variety of niches and industries are no longer following the standard query-to-consideration-to-purchase-or-subscription-then-purchase pipeline.
Modelling Competitors & Their Content Pages in Top Google SERPs
Also, many authors of the videos and comprehensive guides discussed earlier recommend studying the results that Google currently wants to serve for particular queries. They say this will allow you to identify the specific type of content, the depth of information, the tone and style to communicate the main benefits of your content, and the call to action tactics that you can implement to solicit the right type of action from your ideal viewers; and
Another tactic that Backlinko suggests is to carefully factor in what they call "modifier keywords" when determining the search intent of their users for particular queries. As mentioned above, informational search terms usually have words like "how to" and "what is". However, for the same subject or topic, these can become transactional or commercial queries when they insead include words like "download", "buy", and so on.
Keyword Research Strategy
As described earlier, Brian recommends looking for opportunity keywords. These are search terms that generate clean Google search results pages with 0 to minimal distractions like ads, featured snippets, news stories, questions, and images.
Meanwhile, Nathan and a number of expert SEOers continue to emphasize the importance of tweaking your keyword research for satisfying the search intent of your ideal users. You can do this through tools like AskTheAudience, Quora, and other niche communities or social media groups. Plus, they suggest using Google to identify what's currently being served to satisfy search intent for your target search terms. On the other hand, you're advised to keep the following keyword qualifiers in mind while developing your SEO campaigns this 2020:
5 Qualifiers for Keyword Lists
Search Volume — Also known as search demand, this is the average number of unique viewers from a specific geographic location who use a particular search term in Google during a certain period of time. For example, let's say an average of 900 users in San Diego CA searched for "obedience training for daschunds" in Google from the beginning to the end of March 2018. Keep in mind, if any of those 900 users searched for the same keyword twice during the same period, then Google tries not to count these when they display search volume numbers for this search term in the Google Keyword Planner. Also, remember that knowing this data can allow you to optimize your keyword targeting campaigns;
User Signals — This is mainly the action of users in Google after they search for a particular query. The most important ones include CTA and bounce rates. For example, if lots of users click on the 3rd organic result and stay there for several minutes, then that page's SERP is likely to be boosted by Google. However, if many of those users immediately go back to Google only after a few seconds, then Google is likely to devalue the page in the results index for the same keyword. Large numbers of SEO experts recommend determining the CTAs and bounce rates of top ranking pages in Google for your target search terms while you're performing your keyword research campaigns;
Relevant Trends — On the other hand, you're advised to take note of trends that can be associated with any of your target search term during a certain period across your ideal geographic location. For example, queries that are relevant to raingear are likely to generate much better traffic numbers for you a little before and after, and of course during, the rainy season, across your target locations. This is where Google Trends comes real handy, according to many reputable SEO agencies and SEOers. Plus, you're suggested to start optimizing your content pages a couple of months or so before seasonal trends kick in;
Social Signals — While there aren't any verified direct effects to improving Google SERPs when you have lots of backlinks in social media sites that point to your content pages, it's normally a bad idea to discount the indirect benefits of having optimized social signals for your Web properties; and
Link-Worthiness — You're recommended to develop content that is likely to get a lot of natural backlinks from your ideal users, other publishers, and syndicators. This means you must ensure that your content is useful for your target networks, such as simple to understand explanations and guides or curated data resources, unique like new discoveries or case studies and R&D results, and entertaining like gammified tools and surveys or pop quizzes.
Plus, keep in mind to consider the size of users, publishers, authors and other groups that are likely to share your content with their audiences through natural backlinks and attributions in their own materials. Remember, this often becomes smaller as you go down each level of your marketing funnel. That's primarily because pages that are designed to convert users into subscribers or paying customers don't normally get backlinks.
Be Different or 10X Better Than Your Competitors
Outranking or beating the CTRs of competing pages in Google for your target search terms isn't as simple as it sounds. However, this can be done by serving unique content not found elsewhere to your ideal viewers, providing them with much better content, or a strategic combination of these techniques. You're recommended to study the following steps to achieve this:
Look for Opportunity Keywords — Brian and his team at Backlinko refer to these search terms as queries in Google that produce clean results pages with 0 to very minimal ads, featured snippets, news stories, questions, and images. After all, you'd want the attention of your ideal viewers to focus on the organic results, right? Plus, keep in mind to try and strike a balance between search demand and competitiveness. A standard that many SEO experts follow is to find opportunity keywords with at least 1K monthly exact match searches, and below 1K competitors. To do this, you can use the Google Keyword Planner app along with the search operator "allintitle:" (without quotes), followed by your opportunity keyword, in Google;
Study Competing Pages — Use your opportunity keywords in Google to determine the type of content that Google wants to serve today to your ideal viewers. You can then carefully study what the authors of those top ranking pages are doing, in terms of content topics, on-page optimization, backlinks, and so on. Remember, your objective is to reverse-engineer your top competitors, in order to out-do them;
Decide Whether to Create Different or 10X Better Content — To do this, you're recommended to follow these tips and strategies:
How to Create Different Content
Challenge Industry Norms — Controversial perspectives, insights and opinions that go against the grain are generally more enticing than what's already out there, especially if your claims are backed by verifiable proof, facts, and evidence. These can be critical insights based on results of relevant case studies, analytical perspectives using related statistical data, educated opinions from comparative analytics of facts and current information, and so on;
Engage Your Ideal Audience — Make your content interesting for your target viewers. Keep in mind A.I.D.A. This stands for attention, interest, desire, and action. Simply put, the first part of your content materials should grab the attention of your ideal audience. Then, the next portions must make them more interested in viewing the rest of your content. Then, the succeeding sections of your content should entice them to check out your other materials. Finally, the closing sections of your materials should have a compelling CTA (call to action), which can make it irresistible for them to perform an action that's mutually beneficial for them and your business. These can be signing up to your mailing list, following your social media news feed, buying your products and services, sharing your content, downloading your apps and trials, and so on;
Provide Internal Links to Content with Supplemental or Complementary Info — Keep in mind, not all viewers who step on your landing page through an organic listing in Google for your target keywords are likely to be interested in the exact stuff that's on your page. So instead, make it quick and easy for them to navigate to your other pages with relevant, supplemental, or complementary benefits. This way, they won't go back to Google and look at other results. Plus, viewers can check out your other pages to fully satisfy their search intent, which is known to both significantly improve conversions, and increase Google SERPs;
Liberally Provide External Links to Authority Resources — Google wants to rank pages from authors who are thought leaders in their respective subject areas, niches, and industries. With this, you're advised to provide timely statistics, interesting facts, meaningful quoted statements, and so on. Then, place external links to these resources that open in a new tab or window, preferably to content pages of universities, government offices, credible news agencies, and so on. This way, Google bots and human readers alike are likely to flag your content as extensively researched, technically accurate materials; and
Inject a Unique Personality or Presentation Style into Your Content — You can do this by developing a persona that resonates with your ideal viewers. Remember, this has more to do with how well you know your target audiences. That's because you'll be able to entertain, interest and educate them in the exact ways that they want.
How to Develop 10X Better Content
Create More Comprehensive Materials — For example, an ultimate guide for setting up a small affiliate marketing business that's intended for pet hobbyists in San Diego CA this 2020 is far better than an article about the pros and cons of building an affiliate marketing business, right? Now think about that for a moment. The much better material isn't just more extensive. Instead, it's focused on a particular niche audience within a specific geographic location. Plus, it's a guide that's developed to carefully consider trends and other relevant stuff at the moment;
Make Your Content Quick & Simple to Skim & Navigate — The design of your pages in terms of visual presentation and user experience is a crucial factor for both human viewers and Google bots. Also, because you're trying to develop more comprehensive materials, it tends to be much longer in most cases. With this, you're advised to divide your materials into easy to read, simple to understand sections;
Implement Optimized Internal & External Linking Strategies — As mentioned earlier, you're recommended to link to your other pages with supplemental and complementary benefits. Plus, you're advised to provide external links to authority research sources, especially when you're mentioning timely stats, interesting facts, insightful perspectives, and so on;
Provide Useful, Highly Beneficial Content — Your materials should satisfy the search intent of your ideal viewers. This means it must give them the information and details that they want through entertaining and engaging ways;
Ensure Content Uniqueness — Although Google specifies that duplicate content penalties only apply to the exact same content in different pages under the same domain, you're unlikely to get any benefit even if you ensure that plagiarized content from other authors is only published in a single page under your domain. That's mainly because those original pages are likely to outrank you in Google for relevant search terms, along with others that provide unique content. Plus, even if news media sites that syndicate the exact same content from other authors are mostly exceptions, keep in mind that these are normally high authority sites;
Discuss Interesting, Uncommon Facts — You've surely seen multiple Web properties with content pages that discuss the same exact stats, facts and so on that are found in a lot of other domains, especially during your research, right? Well, chances are, many of your ideal viewers would likely skip your page if you provide them with the same info. After all, it's highly likely that they've already viewed the same facts and stats. So, you're advised to discuss fascinating, uncommon facts that aren't found elsewhere, or at least details that are discussed by a few sources;
Minimize Ads — The rule of thumb is, if an ad significantly affects the experience of your target viewers negatively, then you're most likely better off getting rid of it. Gone are the days of MFA (made for Adsense) sites, especially since it's more costly and quite challenging to rank content pages today in Google for competitive queries. With this, you're recommended to integrate ads and affiliate links into effective CTA sections of your materials;
Use Infographics When Needed — If an infographic can clearly and quickly communicate the primary benefits of your content pages, then by all means, provide one. Remember, the quicker and easier your ideal viewers get the content that they want based on their queries, the much better results you get in terms of conversions, viral marketing, Google SERP, etc. However, remember to put in alternative text, especially if you're catering to the needs of seniors and visually impaired users. This can also significantly help your SEO campaigns this 2020;
Include Video Content — Comscore claims that their tests show a 53% much better chance of your content pages being listed in Google's top results for your target keywords when it includes a video. Also, keep in mind that many of your ideal viewers are likely using their smartphones and mobile devices to browse through your content. This usually means lots of them are likely to prefer video content over any other type of material;
Optimize Viewer Engagement Through Video Content — This can likely reduce bounce rates significantly, which helps in improving Google SERPs, especially since Informa PLC's extensive studies indicate that video content produces 10x higher viewer engagement. Plus, they claim this is why 61% of the world's top 100 brands are embedding Youtube videos in their own Web properties, including Coca-Cola and Intel; and
Use Videos to Get More Natural Backlinks & Reach Wider Target Audiences — WebFX claims their tests show that video content is shared by 92% of viewers across several niches and industries. This can generate natural backlinks for your Web properties, aside from allowing you to reach wider segments of your ideal markets. In turn, this can considerably improve your Google SERPs for your target queries.
Present Structured Data and Semantics
It's quicker and more straightforward for Google and other widely used search engines like Bing and Yahoo! to find, crawl, appraise and index an optimized website with structured data and semantically relevant content. These metadata details and content must correctly resolve the intent behind a user's query. That's because today's search engines aren't just about keywords and keyphrases.
Instead, Google and Bing among others continue to optimize their platforms through machine learning, deep learning, and artificial intelligence. They're using natural language processing and natural language understanding models to better comprehend search intent, along with the exact nature of a user's query. So they're also using these technologies to better understand and appraise the value of the content and metadata information provided by a website and its content pages. After all, their goal is to provide enhanced user experience.
Through the schema.org vocabulary, it's now possible for us authors and Webmasters to properly describe our content pages and Web properties to these search engines. This is an initiative that was launched by Google, Bing and Yahoo! in 2011. This common data schema structure, which is also used by Yandex, allows us to use improved semantic Web technologies and linked open data to achieve this. So here are the main points that you're advised to keep in mind when optimizing your websites and content pages today:
Revolve Around Search Intent — Fully understand the intent of your ideal viewers when they use your target search terms to look for content in Google and other search engines. This will enable you to satisfy their relevant demands and questions through your content, products, and services. You'll also correctly comprehend and anticipate the experience of your ideal viewers, right from entering their queries in Google and Bing or others, down to landing on your pages, browsing for more content across your Web properties, and converting new visitors into subscribers or paying customers;
Prioritize User Experience — Your goals should be aligned with the priorities of Google, Bing, Yahoo! or any other search engine that your ideal viewers prefer. Because almost all of them strive to provide users with an optimum experience while on their platforms, you should also enhance your Web properties for this primary objective. After all, these search engines aim to serve content pages that can also give users the experience that they want. So remember, fundamentals include ensuring that your Web properties are optimized for mobile viewers, making sure that your content pages load quickly, and taking note of your bounce rates and user session duration to further improve your website;
Use Short URLs — Brian Dean and his team at Backlinko performed an extensive set of tests regarding this. They claim that their results indicate URL length is a significant ranking factor in Google. Plus, they say their results point out that shorter URLs, around 50 to 60 characters long, tend to rank higher than content pages with longer URLs for the same keywords. After all, URL length is at position 46 in the top 200 ranking factors of Google. Meanwhile, URL path is at position 47, keyword in the URL is 51, and URL string is 52. However, Brian warns about the likely detrimental effects of changing existing URLs; and
Do Internal Linking — Both users and search engine bots find it quicker and easier to navigate through a website when internal links are correctly in place. That's because these effectively communicate the hierarchical semantic structure of your content to them. More so, you'll be able to implement beneficial link equity sharing tactics across your pages and Web properties when you do this. This means you'll have an easier time spreading ranking power across your content pages. So you're recommended to use Moz's Link Explorer to study the link structure of your websites. Remember, your objective is to make your main link navigation architecture easily comprehensible for both users and search engine crawlers.
Optimize for Conversions, Not Traffic
In 2017, Ignite Visibility tested and studied organic search results CTRs of 5000 queries in Google. Their results indicate that CTRs are on average down to less than 20%, which was originally from 27 to 30% a couple of years ago. As described earlier, there are more paid ads today, and elements like featured snippets, news stories, images and questions are all distracting the attention of users from organic search results.
So with this, you're advised to optimize the CTRs of your content pages. Here are strategic ways to do this:
Steps to Improve CTRs
Get Ideas from Relevant Paid Ads — Many of these ad copies are optimized for maximum CTRs. These are mostly based on extensive niche market studies of professional copywriters and ad agencies. They follow a process where they grab the attention of their target audience, pique their interest, make them desire more content, and compel them to take a mutually beneficial action;
Identify & Integrate Your Core Keyword — Many SEO experts say their tests show that using their core keywords in the title tags of their content pages still provide them with much better CTRs, as opposed to not doing this. They also recommend using your core keyword at the beginning of your titles;
Follow Up with Compelling Action Words — Use this resource, which is a collection of the top 100 call to action (CTA) keywords. Identify the most relevant ones to use for the meta descriptions of your content pages. Remember, your objective is to compel your ideal users to perform an action that's mutually beneficial to them and your business; and
Include Secondary Keywords or Variations of Your Core Keyword — Depending on the content of your page, you're advised to consider adding relevant secondary keywords, or variations of your core keyword. Lots of SEO agencies recommend using branded mentions for pages that provide updated business information, company news, and contact details.
However, CTR is just half of the battle when it comes to optimizing your conversion rates. So you're advised to follow these steps to do this:
How to Increase Conversions
Try to identify relevant keywords with less than 5% CTRs. Go for those with decent search demand across your target niche markets;
Pinpoint pages with less than 4% CTRs. Generate ideas for your own Web properties based on the content of those pages;
Strategically place your target keywords in the title and description tags of your content pages. Also do this in the main content of your Web properties; and
Use Clickflow for Google to crawl your newly published content pages, or re-crawl existing ones that you've enhanced for optimum conversions. This is a tool that's used by Neil Patel, among many other SEO experts.
Keywords That Skyrocket CTRs
Across many niches and industries of English-speaking markets, found below are the top 10 keywords that have been reported by a lot of SEO experts and agencies as those they continue to use for generating much higher CTRs. Remember, these might not be the best ones for your particular niches, industries, target geos, and ideal viewers.
top 10 (or any other list number);
Don't forget to use Clickflow or any other tool that you prefer for submitting your newly published and recently improved content pages to Google. This way, you'll be able to see the results of your CTR and conversion optimizations within 30 days.
Utilize Schema Markups
A schema markup provides Google and other widely used search engines with data about a page and its content. This also allows them to serve that particular type of content through the most optimized way possible in their organic results listings, all for maximum user experience. For example, there's a schema markup for local businesses. This is often used for their pages that provide contact details, storefront addresses and other helpful information about their products and services.
With the right schema markup, this content is presented in the organic results listings of Google and other search engines. Remember, users normally want the information that they need as fast as possible. However, this crucial SEO technique remains under-utilized this 2020. So to benefit from this powerful SEO strategy and get much better rankings as well as CTRs for your content pages, you're recommended to keep these things in mind:
How to Use Schema Markups
Use the most suitable schema markup type for your content pages and Web properties. There are data markups for restaurants and other specific local businesses, as well as for articles, TV episodes and movie or book reviews and ratings, events, physical goods, and software products, just to name a few; and
Keep in mind that there are lots of schema markup types to choose from. For example, there's a data markup for toy stores, video content, and so on. So chances are, there's an itemscope and itemtype associated with your particular content pages and Web properties.
Why Schema FAQs Are the Best
Many SEO experts recommend using schema FAQs for your content pages. These are optimized for satisfying your ideal viewer's search intent. To do this, you're advised to follow these steps:
Identify your already published content pages under your Web properties. Focus on those that can likely benefit from strategic optimizations for search intent;
Explore the intent of your ideal viewers much deeper. Determine their purpose and objectives for the information that they're looking for, since this can enable you to pinpoint the type of content that they really want;
Optimize your content pages for this goal. ensure the overall beneficial experience of your ideal viewers as they browse through your Web properties. Also, share the story of your business with them in interesting ways. Plus, use timely factual information, trust-building keywords, case studies, and so on to show your authority knowledge and specialized expertise in your niches and industries;
Implement the optimizations and changes that you recently made to your content pages. Don't forget to take note of relevant benchmark stats. This way, you'll know where you're starting from, in order to make the necessary improvements as you go along; and
Track and observe your results. Identify bottlenecks and problem areas that might be limiting the success of your optimizations. Adjust and improve accordingly.
Do Brand Building, Not Link Building
According to Stone Temple Consulting, their recent study that was published in the Moz blog indicates that backlinks in contextually relevant pages under high authority domains still have a strong correlation to top Google rankings. However, it's becoming increasingly challenging to get good backlinks today.
That's because many content authors and Webmasters still aren't doing the right things to get high value backlinks. They're mainly performing backlink building campaigns, as opposed to strategically positioning their brand across communities and networks that are most relevant to their ideal viewers. To do this, here are highly recommended strategies:
Learn how and why relevant authority sites, specialists, community builders and social influencers are continuing to link to particular content pages and Web properties;
Integrate your "hook" into your content pages. This can be your unique analyses and insights about newly published statistics and its significant correlations to your niches, industries, and target viewers. The objective is to compel other authors and publishers to link to your materials; and
Gather as much data as possible from your backlink building and brand positioning campaigns. This can allow you to identify previously untapped sources of highly convertible traffic. You'll also be able to learn about new opportunities across your target markets. Plus, you can log bounce rates, user session duration, page load speed, and so on, which can in turn enable you to implement further optimizations.
Brand Marketing & Backlink Building Tips
Comprehensive Guides — Now more than ever, lots of people all around the world use the Internet to find extensive, technically accurate information, advice and solutions for their most pressing questions, problems, hobbies, and projects. Aside from getting natural backlinks from your target viewers, ideal collaborators and partner publishers, you'll be able to show your specialized expertise and authority knowledge in subject areas that are relevant to your brand. Plus, you can use these materials as lead generation assets for building your mailing lists. However, don't limit yourself to written guides, as you can develop other materials like videos, infographics, and so on;
Guest Posting & Sponsored Content — Many authors, social influencers, community builders and organizations publish guest posts and sponsored content materials on their Web properties. You can get contextually relevant backlinks under high authority domains through this strategy;
Case Studies — Telling actual events, results of certain tests and other stuff that's relevant to your brand can enable you to get more natural backlinks from credible publishers like academic institutions, news media outlets, reputable experts, and so on. Remember, a recommendation from a trust-worthy source is normally worth more than a paid ad in a heavily trafficked website, in terms of conversions and viral traffic;
Content Roadshow — Brian Dean and his team at Backlinko recommend this strategy for getting natural backlinks. This is where you search for partner publisher prospects that have recently shared and linked to information that's directly and laterally relevant to the interests of your target viewers. Once you find them, create a strategic outreach email that informs them about your newly published materials; and
Broken Link Building — Brian also recommends this tactic as part of the Content Roadshow. He says this generates a higher success rate than his other outreach emails. This works by looking for dead links in the sites of your prospect publishers. Once you find them, send an outreach email that informs them about those dead links, and offer to replace it with your newly published, highly relevant materials.
Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist at Harvard University, said people generally develop 2 primary impressions when they meet someone. First, they decide if they can trust that person. Second, they consider if they can respect that person.
This applies to building a community for your business. They must decide to trust you. Then, they should decide to respect your brand. For you to improve your chances of doing this correctly, you're advised to follow these tips:
Engage with your first-time viewers, subscribers, new paying customers, repeat buyers, and partner publishers. Do this both on the Web and in person, if you can. Encourage them to drop comments, participate in discussions, or share your materials with their peers; and
Build a loyal community of subscribers and customers through an email sequence. This is a series of emails with beneficial content designed for particular segments of your subscribers and customers as they go through your sales funnel. For example, there's a trigger-based email sequence for new subscribers. Meanwhile, there's a time-based email sequence for inactive subscribers. There are 5 important email sequences, namely welcome email, onboarding email, abandon cart email, repeat customer email, and re-engagement email.
Use an Omni-Channel Approach
This is where a brand uses a customer-centric approach to ensure true continuity of an ideal experience for their clients. This means even when they're offline or online, and even if they're using their desktop computers or mobile devices, wherever they are in your sales funnel, they should get the same optimized user experience. Follow these tips to achieve this:
Diversify Content Length — Even if Google loves long-form materials, there are instances where short-form content is more suitable for your target viewers. So keep in mind to develop organized ways for integrating this into your omni-channel strategy;
Diversify Content Type — Most mobile users of many brands prefer visual content like infographics, videos and images over written content. These also get shared around 40x more than written content in popular social media platforms. Meanwhile, lots of people prefer to talk to someone through text messaging, over the phone or live chat when they need support. So re-purpose your written materials into the exact types of content that your target audience wants while they're using a particular device, or while they're in a specific section in your sales funnel;
Video SEO — Don't target the same keywords for your video content. Remember, many people tend to use a different approach when searching for videos. Plus, the right keywords to target for your videos are those where Google serves video results. Meanwhile, an effective way to have your video content pages crawled, appraised and indexed by Google is to provide text transcripts, which you can optimize as you normally would written content; and
Podcast SEO — Google recently announced that podcasts will start to appear in their results pages. They also implemented technology to automatically transcribe the audio data of Google Podcasts for this purpose. So keep this in mind as part of your SEO strategies for 2020.
Feel free to go back to any section of this comprehensive SEO guide for 2020. Our goal is for you to easily understand and quickly benefit from the powerful techniques discussed here. Do you have questions or suggestions? You may leave comments down below, or directly contact us. Best of luck this year!