Your company needs as much visibility as it can get, which means you need to know how to properly promote your company on the web. In order to have an effective digital marketing strategy, you need to create a site that ranks well with search engines, which will draw plenty of high-quality traffic to your site.
However, the strategies that you need to follow in order for your SEO efforts to be successful change over time due to updates that are made to the algorithms used by search engines. This article explores the importance of SEO and how you can rank well in 2020.
What is search engine optimization and how does it work?
Search rankings are the position that a website has in the search results. As soon as you type anything into Google, Bing, Yahoo, or any other search engine, you’ll quickly notice that each site has a different position in the list of results. A website’s place in those results is its search ranking, which means that the highest-ranking website is the one at the top of the results page and, in theory, should be the most relevant source targeted to the searcher’s query.
However, it’s unlikely that you’ll end up on the first page if you don’t implement search engine optimization (SEO) strategies, which refers to anything that’s intended to improve the search ranking of your website. Keywords are the words and phrases that people type into search engines, and you can optimize your site’s content with them to ensure you’re getting featured when potential customers browse for your products or services.
Because you likely won’t be the only business using these terms, search engines analyze a variety of factors to determine where each website will rank, such as the quality of the content, the specific number of times the keyword is mentioned within the content, the backlinks that your site has, and numerous other factors.
Generally, this ranking is done automatically with computerized algorithms. The algorithms that are used by search engines change frequently, which means that it’s important to remain up to date on the latest information about what goes into determining your search ranking.
How can SEO help your company?
If you have a solid SEO strategy, it can lead to greater organic traffic and conversions, helping to boost your sales simply through the increased visibility that’s offered by high search rankings. Furthermore, prospective customers will see your website as much more credible the higher it ranks on search engines, which could mean they are more inclined to buy your products or services once they click on your link. As a result, your conversion rate could increase considerably, leading to a significant increase in your sales, which may lead to finding a larger number of loyal customers and a substantial increase in the profits of your company.
What types of SEO are there?
In addition to general web content SEO, some of the most important types of SEO to consider nowadays are local SEO, social media SEO, and e-commerce SEO. In order to have an effective marketing strategy, it’s essential to consider all of these aspects of search engine optimization, which can help to ensure that you create a highly effective digital marketing strategy.
What is general SEO?
General SEO involves making sure that your website ranks well on major search engines, such as Google and Bing. Generally, SEO requires improving your rankings on these major search engines by using targeted keywords in your web pages, blog posts, and cornerstone content, as well as your meta data. It’s not just about ranking for the standard keywords, but for long-tail, more refined keywords too, and that you have a robust linking strategy and ensure that you keep your content up to date.
What is local SEO?
Local search engine optimization is the process of creating content around geographic search terms so that your pages will rank well when people in your target area search for your service or products. One key aspect of doing this is including the name of your local region in your keyword phrases, such as your city’s name and your chief services, e.g. ‘plumbing in Denver, CO’.
What is social media SEO?
Using the principles of SEO in your social media marketing can be an excellent way to improve your ranking and visibility because the content on these platforms gets indexed just like webpages, but much faster and more frequently. The other plus side is that social media gives you the chance to cement your credibility and engage directly with consumers to build meaningful connections and authority. An example of social media SEO would be including keywords on a LinkedIn business page to improve its search rankings on both Google and the site’s internal search engine.
What is e-commerce SEO?
It’s important to make sure that the products that you offer on e-commerce sites, such as Amazon, are visible to as many people as possible. One part of making that happen is ensuring that your listing ranks as well as possible with the e-commerce site’s search engine. There are several strategies that you need to include in order to do this.
As with search engine optimization for the web at large, you need to make sure that you pick the right keywords which relate to the specifics of your products, such as size, color and product name. If you’re selling your products on Amazon, it’s also important to ensure that you consider how customers will search for your products via voice search, which will improve your Amazon voice search rankings.
How to rank well in 2020
Prioritize the emotional connection
The quality of content on your page will continue to become more important, which will have a major impact on your search rankings. In order to ensure that your content is well written, you need to go one step further and consider the emotional connection that your audience has with your copy. Understand their pain points and how your product can overcome them. For instance, if you are selling a white noise machine that helps people to get a better night’s sleep, you could expect your audience to be feeling frustrated and tired. Tap into those emotions with an opener like, “If you’re frustrated, sluggish, or stressed because of a lack of sleep, you’re not alone.”
Next, clearly highlight the benefits and show them through the emotional intelligence of your copy: “Our white noise generator could finally allow you to enjoy a good night’s sleep and put a stop to your feelings of fatigue-induced stress.” Using this technique will mark your content out as useful, which is now more important than ever as a result of Google’s Panda update.
Optimize your content for voice search
With more and more people using voice-activated search via their Alexa, Google Home or simply their smartphone, it’s important to also consider the nuances of voice queries as opposed to typing. For instance, when typing, you can expect search terms to be refined to the basics, e.g. ‘plumber Denver’. But when speaking, customers are more likely to phrase their query as a question or a sentence, e.g. ‘where is my nearest plumber?’ Optimize your content for both these types of search queries and give clear answers to questions and you’re more likely to be featured in Google’s rich snippets.
Use keywords properly
One thing that’s still exceptionally important is keyword density. That means your page should be made up of 1-3% keywords, which will allow you to rank as well as possible with search engines without the risk of having your page being pulled from the results. In addition, it’s a good idea to put keywords in the headers of your content if possible.
The keywords that you choose should always include a mix of more specific long-tail and catch-all shorter keywords, which should be tailored to fit well with the type of business that you have. Keywords should always be related to your company, your products, or the unique needs of your specific audience.
Fortunately, choosing which keywords to use has gotten a lot easier thanks to a variety of tools, such as SEM Rush, Ahrefs, and Google Keyword Planner. These tools will help you to pick keywords that will be exceptionally effective for your site. In addition, it’s likely that there will be new and even more effective tools for this in the future.
While stuffing your page with keywords has never been the best strategy, it’s more important now than ever to avoid doing this. That’s because Google’s Panda update examines the quality of writing much more heavily, and keyword stuffing detracts from the overall quality of your content considerably. Also, keyword stuffing can result in your site being de-indexed, which is a serious setback for any business owner.
Make use of visual media effectively
Choosing images and video that your customers can identify with is key as a picture speaks a thousand words. However, whenever you use an image, make sure you optimize your alt tags with relevant keywords as a subtle way to boost your rankings. Keywords should also be included in image descriptions and image titles. It’s important to make sure that all of your images are the right size to improve the appearance, load time and flow of your site and help boost your rankings.
Including videos on your site is just as important as more customers than ever are looking for an easy and engaging way to get to know a company. However, it’s essential to make sure that the videos you post are designed to be as useful to customers as possible. Some examples of ways to do this are creating explainer videos about your business, tutorials for your products, or buying guides that discuss differences between your products.
Use your meta descriptions to promote your page
The 160-word meta description of each of your pages is one of its most important aspects. This is what people will see displayed in the search results before they click. Pages with a more effective meta description that includes the focus keyword will rank much better with search engines, which means that you need to make this content engaging, effective as a description of what’s on your page, and well-written.
Make your content actionable
Google’s Panda update means that content which is most likely to be useful to readers will rank highest with search engines, which means that you need to carefully consider the demographics of who you are marketing to and appeal to their unique needs. One example of making content more actionable would be providing information about common uses for your product and including clear calls to action throughout your content with relevant links to follow.
You need a fast server
The load time of your website has a substantial impact on your search rankings, and with 5G just around the corner, this means that you need to choose a hosting provider known for negligible downtime and exceptionally fast speeds. Not only does this impact your search rankings, but having a slow website is likely to make people far less likely to spend time on your site.
Being mobile friendly is more important than ever
Currently, more than half of all the traffic on the world wide web comes from some form of mobile device, and the use of these products is likely to become even more common in 2020 and beyond. As a result, search engines are ranking mobile friendly content much higher than content that isn’t. In order to create mobile friendly content, you need to make sure that what you write will display properly on a small screen and ensure that any scripts used for videos on your site are mobile friendly. Ensure your web design can adjust to different devices well, and keep paragraphs short with plenty of white space.
Implement an effective backlink strategy
Inbound links have always been important for SEO, which is not likely to change in 2020. While many business owners make the mistake of having inbound links from any site they can get one on, it’s extremely important to ensure that backlinks exclusively come from sites that are relevant to what you offer and of a reputable, high quality. These websites could be forums on topics that your audience will be interested in, social media groups on topics that are likely to interest your audience, company websites for businesses that offer products that could complement what you offer, and numerous other types of sites.
It’s also important to continue to pay close attention to the websites that you have backlinks on, because sites can change drastically over time. If a website where one of your backlinks is posted becomes less reputable, this could end up damaging your ranking and could result in a substantial loss of traffic. Luckily, Google has a feature called “disavow link”, which allows you to prevent these changes from harming your position in the SERPs.
Where will your SEO take you in 2020?
The importance of SEO shows no signs of abating in 2020, but if you keep your finger on the pulse, you can reap the rewards. To find more insight on how to improve your content marketing, take a look at our other articles on The Collective today.