The success of your website is largely dependent on whether or not people visit it. If they can't even find it then any growth is going to be a real struggle. While certain search engine optimization (SEO) strategies – such as a fast-loading webpage – will always be of benefit, tactics continue to evolve from year to year.
In order to stay ahead of competitors, it's essential that businesses keep up with SEO trends emerging on the horizon. In this article, we'll go over SEO tactics that you should consider implementing in 2020 to help turn your website into a lean, mean, SEO-friendly machine.
Take control of your homepage's link authority
Your website's homepage is going to attract more links than likely any other page of your site, so it's important that you make it work for you. You'll definitely want to make sure your homepage is linking out to your most important and frequently visited subpages. This might be product pages or simply pages with relative information that visitors will want to know.
If you don't have product pages, you might want to link to articles in the body of the landing page. Creating prominent HTML links on your homepage in the body and at the top navigation will help with link authority upfront.
Optimize for voice search
The keyboard is only one way people are searching for their internet queries today. It was reported in 2019 that almost half of American homes had a digital assistant in them and out of those that did, 70% used them daily.
Is your website optimized for all those Echo, Alexa, Siri, and other voice searches that are being performed millions of times a day? When using voice searches, a search engine must work even harder to pull the relevant information a user is searching for at that very moment. This makes short, choppy words less important, and specific long-tail keywords phrased in the way people actually talk all that much more relevant.
The good news is that because voice search is already used so frequently, much of the SEO strategy you're already using will still work with voice searches. That said, there are some insights to pay attention to. For example, people tend to use voice search for local internet queries, such as "best tacos in Santa Fe." Providing all the necessary information on your Google business page can help ensure you're not discounted by search engines in voice searches.
Publish content often, but make sure it's valuable
Google's editorial discretion isn't perfect, but it's getting better all the time and the best content will rise to the top. Look at it this way, you wouldn't visit the movie theater very often if they only had the same three bad movies month after month, right?
Search engines are a lot like people, in that they tend to pay attention to websites that have frequent updates. This means regularly adding content that will keep people engaged.
This could be anything from a blog post, video, infographic, or piece of downloadable content, such as a whitepaper. It's also important you try to make the content as valuable to your intended audience as possible. You shouldn't be posting merely for the sake of throwing something up there. If your audience finds the content to be of relevance, they're more likely to share it and the more people see it, the better your site authority.
How often you want to add new content is up to you, but you won't be pleasing the SEO gods if you go months without adding something new. Adding new content weekly – or even daily – and updating old content with new links will add value to your site. This will appeal to both readers and search engines.
Focus on your EAT reputation
Headlines about the spread of fake news dominated much of the news cycle in 2019 and Google has said it will be taking extra measures to stop the spread of false information. If a business has poor reviews, customer service, or similar trust issues than it will likely find that it struggles with SEO down the road.
To establish that trust, businesses will need to ensure their websites have a strong expert, authority and trustworthy (EAT) reputation. Either through demonstrated expertise and credentials or respected sources and performance.
Don't ignore small details
Keywords are most definitely part of the nitty-gritty of SEO, but there are some other points to hit that you could be ignoring. Far too often, people forget about the importance of image optimization. You might have a fantastic photo of a bear for your article about camping in Yellowstone, but if it's saved as "bearr734388787j_zz" don't expect to do yourself any favors with Google. Search engines evaluate images on tags and ALT text, so keep that in mind.
You'll also want to be mindful of H1, H2, and H3 heading tags. Google reads these pieces of HTML code as indicators of importance and they can have a significant impact on how your website is read by a search engine.
Regularly check your internal links
Everybody loves links, search engines included. As far as plugging links into your site to help with SEO, you'll want a healthy portion of links that send visitors to other pages or articles within your site. If it's good content, then visitors should see it.
Make sure you check these links regularly. You don't want visitors to your site clicking a link and finding themselves on the dreaded 404 page. Performing a crawl to check for broken links can be done pretty easily and will go a long way in helping your website’s performance.
Optimize your site's metadata
It's always easier to find things when they're well organized and properly labeled. The web works much the same way and your metadata (title tags and descriptions) is how search engines will understand and verify your web pages.
Say you're putting together a webpage for an upcoming sale of smartwatches. Your title tag would be how the page title appears in a web search "Labor Day Smartwatch Sale This Weekend." The meta description is a short 120 to 160 character summary of what is on the page and will be displayed below the title tag.
Keep in mind those keywords and don’t make the mistake of using the same title that could already be somewhere else on your website.
Pat attention to the roles of CTR and dwell time
People want their internet and they want it fast, with internet speeds getting quicker all the time. As long-awaited gigabit internet speeds come to more cities, the click-thru rates (CTR) and dwell time spent on websites will carry more weight in determining the success of SEO efforts.
A page that is slow to load on any device won't just have a negative effect on your visitor's experience, it will also hurt your search rankings. Both dwell time and CTR metrics say a lot about the satisfaction level of your website's performance and what it has to offer. It's important to note that these two things are not one-in-the-same, but of equal importance.
CTR will track how many people follow a link based on what was found on the search engine results page (SERP) whereas, dwell time is how long they hang around after clicking through.
Bounce rates are always higher on slow-loading pages, so monitoring your website’s loading speed should be the first line of defense in preventing short dwell times.
There's a lot that goes into maximizing your website's SEO, but putting into practice these strategies is a great place to start. With a little bit of effort and well-executed planning, there's no reason that your business can improve its search rankings in 2020. Keep in mind, that when it comes down to it, a good SEO strategy is really about consistency.