The year 2020 is all set to set in – in less than 5 weeks. Are you ready for it? If not yet, get set go, and do it at the earliest possible – at least on the SEO front.
SEO is going to be topsy-turvy, to say the least. There would be several things to make you nervous. With the rocket high online competition that continues to increase and with new websites and strategies launched, it is high time to rethink the content marketing strategy and invest well in SEO.
Google has been demanding certain specific requirements for the websites to meet to score well, and the apt use of SEO strategy is extremely important to stay glued, or else, you would be ticked off by a more capable website. This is right where SEO strategy works as the most important part, and what strategy would work where, that remains to be scrutinized.
Search engines (read Google) keep on tweaking their algorithms every single day in order to perk up the quality of the search process as a whole. To keep up with the pace, SEO specialists have to really dig deep into adopting the required changes – no matter how big or how small they are.
To being with, it is voice search which is going to take over most of the persisting technologies. Several other things follow, check out which all are going to stay and pertain in 2020.
How many of you do use your voice search assistant on your Android or Apple device? How many of you prefer “Hey Google” over typing your search? Well, keeping in mind that you are here on this page reading this blog, we can assume that you do rely on voice search assistants more than basic typing.
Have it on your face – Voice Search is the new organic search!
Voice Search is the future of search engines.
And…Voice Search would create or kill SEO.
Voice Search would seize your house, your car, and may even take your pet for a walk in the neighbourhood park.
The hoopla is at an all-time high in popularity, and we can foresee it going higher with the days passing. The year 2020 would be a year of Voice Search (take a bow!).
Statistics to help you prepare for the voice search revolution:
- Come 2020, and 50% of all searches would be based on voice assistance.
- More or less 30% of all the searches would be done without using a screen in 2020.
- The percentage of households in the US (alone) owning a smart speaker would step up to 55% by 2020.
- The voice recognition market will be worth $601 million industry by 2020.
- One out of every six Americans owns a voice activated smart-speaker. That makes it 16% as per statistics.
Emerging trends in Voice Search:
- Smart speakers drive voice search adoption
Alexa? Siri? Anyone? Many of us, for sure, do have these smart assistants as Google Home and Apple HomePod respectively as common “faces” in our households. Voice technologies have tremendously taken over the marketplace, provoking other tech giants rushing to prove their technologies too. And trust us, all of them are going to stay and rule in the days ahead.
- Consistent improvement in Voice AI and Machine Learning
Advancement in technology like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning have been impacting on our ways of interacting with our smart devices, as well as the overall searching experience.
- Global mobility of Voice Search devices
Voice search isn’t restricted to only smart speakers; the concept is more mobile than ever, and it is on a consistent rise. This trend is growing, facilitated by advances in speech recognition technology.
- Local and Hyperlocal searches powered by voice
Local search results are the most looked for in voice search, with a regular rise in the number of users. As per Google, searches for “near me” businesses have increased dramatically over the recent few years.
How Voice Search is impacting the SEO strategies?
The good news is that Google has an accuracy rate of 95% in voice recognition. And it is consistently working to improve, along with several other technologies that are aiming the same. The global movement to fine-tune and make the voice technology perfect only implies that the marketers will have to regularly improvise and improve their SEO strategies to optimize for voice search.
Mobile Friendly Website
Welcome to the brand new era of internet usage – summed up as mobile internet usage. Gone are the days when people used to use their phones to call and send SMS. Today, a phone, rather a smartphone is used to optimize their lives – including social networking, local searches, entertainment, essentials, shopping, paying bills, and much more.
Mobile devices have crawled in to our lives so significantly that we pick our mobile devices when we are bored, tired, curious, hungry, and even when we want to relax. Statistics say that time spent on mobile engaging with digital media has reached 3.3 hours a day for an average consumer.
Keeping in mind that need of the hour, the digital marketing strategy has taken a shift to focus on mobile dramatically. The requirement for optimizing your marketing campaigns and assets for mobile consumption has reached a peak, and the most important asset to be prioritized today is – a mobile-friendly website.
What’s meant by a website mobile-friendly?
A website is mobile-friendly when it is sized and coded for easy interaction on the small screen of a mobile device. In other words, a mobile-friendly website should be:
- Easy to read the text without stressing the eyes
- Easy to navigate – with keys, buttons, and links must be large enough to be tapped with a finger-tip
- Visually and aesthetically pleasing
Why do you need a mobile-friendly website?
To put it point-blank, a mobile-friendly website is needed to get and keep more customers. Irrespective of whether you are small, medium, or large business, you need to gain a competitive edge, and to maintain it in the long run.
How to make your website mobile-friendly?
- The mobile-friendly website must prioritize the information to be displayed in certain places.
- The website must be responsive, with the layout and display of the page automatically adjusting to the device screen size.
- Make the fonts easier to read, and the buttons and links clickable with finger tips.
- Website speed is key, and larger files, images, and videos can bring down the speed of the mobile device.
Mobile-friendly website design and SEO:
With Google algorithm changing and trending every few years (and at times, months), it is extremely important to keep yourself updated to what Google wants at what point in terms of mobile-friendly websites. During the last update related to the same, Google announced that mobile-friendliness was now a ranking symbol. In other words, mobile-friendly websites would appear higher in the search results.
The algorithms still follow the same, and there have been few updates since then; each one including mobile-friendliness as a key ranking factor. It is a fact that better rankings would lead to more visits to your mobile-websites, ultimately resulting in more leads and sales.
SEO strategy in 2020 would continue to follow this trend, and would dedicatedly focus on the websites being mobile-friendly.
Website Content SEO is an integral part of SEO strategy. Without the right content on your website, it is not possible for your site to rank in search engines.
The quality of the website content should be of supreme level. It is crucial to create and structure quality website content to keep the SEO strategy working perfectly as per the need of the hour.
Internet is a crowded space. Well, it might sound like there are so many stars in the sky, many sand on the beach, and so many atoms in a cell. So, to put it across in statistics, there are more than 1.9 billion websites that exist, more than 3.5 billion Google searches made every day, and more than 350,000 tweets sent every single minute.
How to capture your target readers’ or customers’ interest in this exploding digital universe? Isn’t it immensely challenging, to say the least? Take it on your face – less than 15 seconds is what 55% of the visitors spend on a website page. That too, on “good” websites!
Disheartening, isn’t that?
To beat the above statistics, all you need is good website writing as the ultimate key. Well-written, SEO optimized, and informative content for the web rises to the top of search results thereby grabbing reader’s attention.
How to reach there? How to hold on to your readers’ attention to your website content?
- Know your audience.
Learn beforehand about who you are trying to reach out. Your primary audience might be your existing clients. But the secondary ones might be broader including attorneys, legal bodies, medical practitioner, or someone seeking your services. Your website content must be pleasing to the existing clients, as well as the interesting and professional to the probable upcoming clients.
- Inverted Pyramid Model
Readers on the web don’t have long attention span. They take seconds to find whether your website content does have the information they are looking for.
For them, manage your content strategically, placing the most important messages at the top of the page, and gradually drilling down to more specific and supporting information. The end of it must be with tangential details.
- Short, simple and to-the-point sentences
Well, crisp sentences work the best. Average readers go for sentences with 35 words or fewer. Use of easy and simple words is more engaging. Active voice scores better.
Additionally, the sentences should be visually appealing. In other words, website contents must show, and not just tell and brag.
- Use of keywords
Optimized ones! Keyword research is extremely important in website content. Every SEO content strategy depends largely on keyword research. You have to know what your audience might be looking for, if you want to generate traffic.
What swarms up your newsfeed the most? Videos. Elevating your digital marketing presence in the most effective way is a whole lot of videos – of every taste, purpose, and age-appropriate. No matter what the content of the video is, the way it is presented builds an emotional connection with the audience. The video content gets stuck in the heads of the audience.
And guess what comes out as the ultimate achievement?
Brand promotion, and brand awareness!
And, to top it all, video promotion can be a successful SEO strategy.
Ways to make videos work in SEO strategy:
- SERP Presence
Google doesn’t help, if it’s not attentive. The search engine definitely knows what its users want, and delivers accordingly. Videos being the most effective content type to reach and engage the audience, they increasingly populate the first page of the results.
- Power of YouTube
Who’s not aware of YouTube – the second largest search engine in the world? Processing more than a whopping 3 billion searches every month, the sheer volume of video content is amazingly a part of the consideration that Google as a king of search engine works for promotion.
- Social Media – utilize it as a whole
SEO goes beyond Google, and expert SEO analysts are aware of it. Social media platforms are the most effective on that note; they increasingly search for relevant content, making search optimization of each post more relevant. There is a clear link between the performance of social media platform and Google-focussed SEO strategies.
UI/UX of Website
UI? UX? Anyone with these ABCs of web designing?
User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) – get introduced to two of the major specialization of web design.
While UI deals with the controls people use to interact with an app or with a website, UX is all about dealing with user behaviour and how they interact when using the app or the website.
The strategies to improve UX and SEO include:
- Checking the bounce rate and taking a note of the reasons for the same
- Monitoring average session duration is also necessary
- Headings are the roadmaps to guide your site visitors through your content
- Many website don’t have an easy to use navigation of their website that affect UX and ultimately SEO
- Among the ranking factor, the biggest ones are speed and performance of your website.
Links are important for SEO. In other words, link building is a crucial part of holistic SEO strategy, and at the same time it should be a part of your growth strategy by generating traffic to your site directly.
Steps of a successful link building strategy:
- Know your audience well
- Make a list of websites that appeal to your desired audience
- Well-written content is the king
- Content must match the websites
- Site owners must be reached out
- Social media should be used to amplify your content
Use of image in SEO is one of the best practices suggested as SEO strategy. No matter how much content play the lead, or videos grab the eyeballs in newsfeed, it is the images that have their own role to play. No wonder images are extremely vital for user experience.
Image promotion is a big part of how a web page is experienced. Thanks to the Google’s algorithm that pays attention to behaviour metrics affecting the SEO as a whole. It is reflected in user experience – bounce rate and visit duration on a web page – to name the most significant ones.
Tips to improve SEO for images:
- Use of relevant and high-quality images is must.
- Don’t forget to customize the filename of a particular image before uploading it.
- Do make sure to use alt tags. If you prefer to use html, you can add alt=”your alt text” to your image tag.
- Finding the right quality-to-size ratio is important.
- Don’t goof-up with the file type!
- Google encourages website owners to add images to sitemap.
- Don’t host images on third-party websites, but to your own site.
Here comes one of the latest evolutions in SEO – Schema Tags or Markups. Though utilized the least (as of now), this new form of optimization is one of the most powerful SEO strategies available. It is a coding system that’s put on your website to help the search engines return more informative results for users.
Types of items described by Scheme? It is most widely used to provide additional information about the following:
- Creative work
Being an SEO analyst, have you noticed how Google has been adding more and more information to the search results? And that doesn’t include the Adwords and organic search results, that’s included to enhance the search experience.
Here’s exactly where Featured Snippets get into the scene!
The Featured Snippets are a format that provides users with a to-the-point, direct answers to their questions. These are found right there on the search results page, and the users don’t have to click through to get a specific result.
Different kinds of Featured Snippets:
- Text Snippets
- Video Snippets
- List and Table Snippets
What queries and searches give featured snippets most often?
- DIY processes
Want to install an SSL certificate in your online store?
Let’s be talking about SSL and SEO.
Take a guard, because Google is cracking down hard on unsecure websites, alerting users of websites that don’t have an SSL certificate.
The biggest player on the web is informing the Chrome users if and when they visit an unsecure website, so that they would consider visiting a better and secured alternative.
That’s done by none other than – SSL certificate which acts like a padlock.
What does an SSL do?
An SSL will bind the domain name, company name and location – all these to secure the websites from any potential hackers who might steal any private information.
Reasons why installing an SSL is vital:
- An SSL adds to the overall security of e-commerce, and the absence of the same might be risky in the protection of user names, passwords, credit card details, payment details, and other cyber security information.
- An SSL builds user confidence; even if the users are not quite aware of the details of an SSL and its uses, the mere presence and image of the padlock ensure a guaranteed security and mental peace for the users.
- During online shopping, the presence of SSL is crucial – both for the buyer as well as the sellers who definitely look for SSL certification and other trust seals as a must to begin to be included in their purchase decision.
- Installation of SSL allows an extra layer of security to credit and debit card payments. Online gateways like PayPal, Stripe, etc multiply to the web security as a seller and also to your customers.
- Another important fact to note is how SSL improve Search Engine positioning. Google and its algorithms are ever updating and being perfected.
Information contained and secured by SSL includes:
- Company name
- Company location
- Duration of the certificate
- Details of the authority who issued the certificate
Keyword Research and Selection
Keywords – the integral part of search engine optimization. Practically everything in any legit SEO strategy revolves around the use of keywords. In layman’s word, keyword research is all about understanding what your target audience wants to find, and to feed them exactly that via the right SEO tactics.
The power of keyword research lies in better understanding your target market, and to help you know how this market is making its search for your content, services, or products.
Importance of Keyword Research in SEO:
To begin with, and to keep it crisp and to the point, it is the right use of keywords that impacts every single SEO task that you perform, including finding content topics, on-page SEO, and outreach and promotion. No wonder why keyword research is usually the first step of any SEO campaign.
Keyword research provides you with certain search data that can help you answer questions like:
- What is your target audience searching?
- What’s the mass or figure or number of people making these searches?
- In what format do they want that information?
In short, the first step you take towards a strategic SEO is keyword research.
How to research keywords for your SEO strategy?
- Enlist important and relevant topics based on what you know about your business
To kick start the process of strategic SEO, make a list of the topics you want to rank for in terms of generic buckets. It will sum up to some 5-10 topic buckets that you think are important to your business. Use these topic buckets to help come up with some specific keywords later in the process.
- Fill in those buckets with keywords
Time to identify some keywords that fit perfectly into these buckets. These keywords are the phrases that are important to rank in the SERPs, as your target customers might conduct searches for those specific terms.
- Research related search terms
This is a creative step you may have already thought of when doing keyword research. If not, do it as the next step and enjoy the great way to fill out those lists.
- A mix of head terms and long-tail keywords is important in each bucket
It is important to maintain a keyword strategy that’s well balanced with long-term goals and short-term wins. That’s why it’s important to check that you have a mix of head terms and long-tail terms.
- Keep a watch on how the competitors are ranking for these keywords
This one’s tricky, yet obvious. Just because your competitor is doing something, doesn’t necessarily mean that you must do it too. Same goes for keywords. However, understanding what keywords your competitors are trying to rank for is a great way to help you give your list of keywords another evaluation.
- Google AdWords
Narrow down your list of the right mix of keywords to some more quantitative data. You have a lot of tools at your disposal to do this, and the most popular ones include Google AdWords Keyword Planner, Google Trends, etc.
When it comes to stealing your competitor’s traffic, nothing comes handier than SEO competitor analysis. It is one of those powerful research strategies that help your business to rank higher. At the same time, it is the tool that gets you more traffic, and helps you earn more conversions.
The real charisma of Competitor Research lies in uncovering SEO opportunities that might not be seen otherwise. It is the best step to take when you are planning for a new online venture, or worried of losing to your close competitors in organic search, then SEO Competitor Research or Analysis is your only saviour.
What are the wings that get added with a proper Competitor Research?
- About your actual SEO competitors
- Keywords to target
- Topics to cover
- Where to find links?
- What is needed to beat the competition?
Before going ahead, let’s learn what is SEO competitive analysis or research
SEO Competitive Analysis is all about researching the links, keywords, content, and SEO competitors with the sole aim to reverse-engineer the most successful elements of these tactics into your own SEO strategy.
Instead of guessing which keywords to target, content to create, or links to build, it is more feasible if it can be found out what’s already working for others to simply build upon that success.
How to do a competitor research or analysis?
- About your actual SEO competitors
This goes without saying that before you can do any SEO competitive analysis, you need to know who your search competitors actually are. For the same, you need to dive into the data, it’s not always obvious.
To start off with, it is needed to identify your competitors is to simply enter your top keyword in Google, then see which domains are ranking. For a better accuracy and better results, you start with around 10 to 20 of your most popular keywords, followed by tracking everything in a spreadsheet, and calculating which domains appear the most frequently and in what position.
- Keywords to target
Also known as competitive keyword analysis or better known as keyword gap analysis, it is a process of identifying valuable keywords that your competitors rank highly for, which you don’t.
Under this, you need to consider few things including:
- The keywords should be valuable to make it high volume, related to your business, or likely to convert
- The keywords should be those that you could rank for, or could rank for better
- Comparing two or more competitors often gives you a richer analysis
- Topics to cover
Another very efficient way to develop content ideas apart from keywords, is to look at your competitors’ top-performing content. To do that, the point in interest is the one where content earned the competitors the most links.
Links are necessary for ranking for obvious reasons and they are one of the biggest ranking factors. It is quite a necessity to focus on topics that others like to link to, and it definitely works as one of the oldest, most reliable methods of content creation in SEO.
The steps include
- Discovering the competitor’s top content
- Creation of original content that significantly improves upon the former in multiple ways
- Promoting your content to a similar group of people
- Where to find links?
A link gap analysis works to identify links your competitors have earned that you might also obtain. Links are important for ranking, and it is practically impossible to rank without links. It is difficult to obtain good links, hence the use of intelligence and data to determine where we might find good links that are somewhat easier to obtain.
And to find the same are the sites that have already linked to your competitors, but have not linked to you.
- What is needed to beat the competition?
To compile it all, it’s not enough to understand the right keywords to target. If you are looking for a big mark in traffic, you need to understand searcher intent for your keyword. In other words, it means getting inside the mind of the searcher to understand what they are looking for. Though sounds like impossible, but this is the trick to do the needful. Thanks to Google, 99% of the work has been done for you. Start by Google-ing the keyword you want to target, and let the search engine explain us how to satisfy the intent of this search.
To bring on an endnote to the points mentioned above, it’s quite evident that the upcoming SEO days are way faster and trendier than ever. And technology would be evolving at a swift pace. Few of the major changes and evolutions to note are obvious, while few more unprecedented ones are awaited and unexpected.
While voice assistant is the “in-thing”, it is here to stay for longer and it is sure to be more impactful in the days ahead.
SEO, like nothing else in digital marketing, is the most sought after feature to consider, irrespective of industry, products, and services. And before you conclude, keyword optimization is only one of the major factors that entail optimizing content for users.
With Google sitting at the top ruling over the SEO strategies, you have to be extra-cautious about the changing trends. The only sensible thing you can do is to get familiar with these trends, and hereby help your business grow.
Afterall, the trick is to generate more traffic from Google! And the SEO strategies for 2020 are the best suggestions that you can keep in mind to help yourself.