Did you know that the sites listed on the first page of Google have an average traffic share of 95.5%?
If getting your website to the top of Google is on your 2020 marketing to-do list, you’re definitely not alone. There are dozens of reasons why having a high-ranking site is beneficial to your business. If you’re reading this article you likely already know the “why,” you just need help with the “how.”
The Google algorithm is always evolving, so it’s smart to take time at least once a year to evaluate the changes and trends happening in the industry, and adjust your strategy with them.
In this guide, we’ll provide you with the ultimate SEO checklist for taking your search results to the next level in 2020.
E-A-T Your Words
If you’re still relying only on a high concentration of keywords in your content, you’re way behind the times.
Today, Google’s AI can read and evaluate content. It’s smart enough to know when you’re trying to hack the algorithm with grey and black hat SEO techniques. Today, savvy SEO managers follow the “E-A-T” strategy to content creation.
E-A-T is an acronym that stands for expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. For content to rank on Google, it must meet each of these requirements. Bad content or content that is false can actually worsen your SEO score.
But since there isn’t a cut and dry KPI to track for monitoring expertise, authority, and trustworthiness, how can you? This requires a more in-depth and insightful approach to SEO than just crunching numbers.
Some ways to boost your credibility is to get involved in your industry and to set yourself up as a thought leader. Here are some strategies you can start applying today to improve your E-A-T rankings.
- Attend events and share your experience on social media.
- Write guest posts
- Get covered by the media, offer yourself as an expert, and share company milestones.
- Join professional organizations.
- Apply for awards and other recognitions.
- Speak at conferences.
Improve Site Speed
Traditional servers work better or worse depending on where they are located in the world, and the location you are trying to access a website. If a server is located in Germany, and you want to load the site in Australia, it might take longer than if you were located in France.
Load speeds matter because site speed has become a major factor in search rankings. Google discredits websites with long loading times, that fail to get with the times.
Using a CDC, or content delivery network, can improve your site speeds, and improve your search rankings. A CDC utilizes a system of servers spaced throughout multiple locations, causing website speeds to remain fast regardless of where a client or customer is viewing your site from.
Take a Global Approach to Your SEO Strategy
Our world is only becoming more globalized. Only 20 percent of the world speaks English, which is significant, however, you’re missing out on a potential 80 percent wider reach by taking a multi-lingual approach to SEO.
Depending on your business and your target market, the languages you choose to prioritize may vary. However, Mandarin Chinese, Hindu, and Spanish are the world’s leading languages (next to English) and should be considered.
There are different ways you can tackle this. You can create a completely new domain in a specific language to drive traffic to. Alternatively, you can create pages with unique subdomains and copy in a different language.
Different countries have different sets of best practices, so it’s smart to familiarize yourself with tactics and regulations of a specific country you are trying to target while developing your strategy.
Use SEO A/B Split Testing
A/B split testing has become a “thing” in the digital marketing world over the past year, and will only continue to grow in popularity in 2020. Traditionally, A/B split testing is when you compare a web page or other digital marketing asset side-by-side to itself, with the exception of one varying factor. This could be a different font, logo placement, email copy format, etc.
But A/B split testing can be used in SEO too. Now, there are tools that allow you to compare your site’s searchability based on making small back-end changes to a site. This saves a lot of time in manually making the changes, only to have to change them again.
Test meta titles and descriptions, URL structures, CTAs, product descriptions and headlines without having to actually make live changes to your website.
Get Your Featured Snippets In Check, And Start Tracking Zero-Click Searches
There’s a new-ish phenomenon in search, where a person can search a term and get the answer they need by simply reading the SERPs page and not actually clicking and opening any content.
But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. These are search queries that only require a quick response, like the name of an actor in a specific movie or your businesses’ phone number.
But don’t go slacking on your content. You still need high quality, searchable content to even come-up as a search result, however now you also need to be sensitive to your featured snippets.
The SERPs page will show a featured snippet of the content on your page, mastering this copy so that it encourages a person to click will be a major trend in 2020.
Featured snippets that generate higher conversion rates will elegantly dance between being keyword optimized and using high-quality copywriting techniques to grab the attention and interest of readers.
Making these changes will also require a new layer of reporting and auditing. It will be key to analyze the featured snippets in the Google searches that wield the highest click-through-rates, to better structure them for your audience moving forward.
Check Your Brand
We don’t know any wildly successful businesses who haven’t at least invested a little bit of time into their branding. Branding has a lot of cross-marketing benefits, but it’s becoming especially important in SEO.
As organic social media becomes pushed down by the rise of paid ads on social, Google is seeking out new ways to use social to rank the authority of digital brands. Both Bing and Google have said that linkless brand mentions and brand awareness are becoming a major component in how the algorithm uses social media to rank a website.
Social media and SEO teams will need to work more closely together since social media listening and community management is one of the only ways to track brand mentions.
It’s important to not only watch and report on these conversations but to engage them. Responding to mentions will keep the conversation going, spread your reach and improve your relevance.
Savvy teams will especially prioritize brand awareness social media campaigns and contests, that encourage real followers to mention and share their brand. They will also look at their competitors to see where they are getting mentioned, and take any opportunities to establish a presence there.
The idea of non-linked mentions will also continue to muddle the growing grey area where media relations, social media, and SEO intersect. Having your business featured in digital articles or used as a source will also be a great way to boost your brand awareness.
What You Need to Know About Getting Your Website to the Top of Google
This is a public service announcement to practicing patience when you’re getting your website to the top of Google. One of the only things that have stayed consistently the same with search rankings over the years, is that strategies need time to be successful.
By committing to new strategies, only to change them every other month is not only doing you a disservice, but it’s also wasting your time and money and is likely hurting your search results.
It’s important to maintain a growth mindset with SEO, especially since it’s always changing. However, it takes months of consistent reporting and tracking to clearly understand the difference between actual trends and one-off oddities.
While there are basic “best practices” know that every type of business, audience, and location is unique. So what works for one business, might not work for another. SEO is a long game solution, not a short-term fix.
Need help taking your website to the top? Everyone knows that success and search rankings are correlated, but few people actually know how to optimize results. If you’re ready to get serious about scaling your business, click here to learn more about us, and to speak with one of our SEO experts!