Voice search, mobile-centric search, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, machine learning…. A lot has been introduced and adapted in the past decade. And these adaptions have changed the way people surf the web.
With the introduction of new technologies, the virtual world has reached new heights. There is literally nothing that is not there out on the internet.
But have you wondered how does all this work? How does a business gain visibility? After all, they are just a needle in the haystack. And being visible can be a tough thing.
Despite all, they are flourishing. How?
The answer is simple.
SEO is the secret. Ok, no secret probably. But Search Engine Optimization is the way that leads up to the peak. And if you need to reach the top, you need to walk this path. There are no shortcuts. No miracles. No magic.
But walking up the SEO path does not mean you just blindfolded follow everyone else. There are no shortcuts, agreed. But working smartly is always a better option than working hard. And by working smartly, I mean keeping yourself updated with the latest trend and following them dedicatedly.
You cannot afford to practice a technique that is age-old. The speed at which new techniques are introduced every second day, you will be left out in the race if you do not keep an eye on the latest trends.
And if we talk about the latest trends, of course, 2020 also has something new to offer.
Like I said, SEO is the secret, so today I am going to dig in a little deeper and tell you all about this secret. What SEO techniques will work and what will not.
Let us start with….
Whenever SEO is mentioned, by default content will be there. SEO is nothing without good content. And by good content I mean, unique, creative, authentic and high-quality content. I am assuming that by now if you have been following my blogs, you know that content is not just text.
Your content should be user-centric. I know you need this and I don’t need to tell this. In 2020 users are more interested in seeing the visual content rather than long texts. So your content should also focus around, pictures, videos, infographics, etc. In short work on interactive content.
When we talk about SEO and increasing visibility, Google is the first thing that comes to mind. And why not? Amongst other search engines, Google is ruling the online world. So let us just focus on Google for now.
Over the years, Google has frequently updated the way its algorithms work and keeping pace with the everchanging trends can be a little difficult. Nonetheless, though with a few changes, SEO has survived every change in the tide.
Now that it is not just intuitive algorithms playing the game, pleasing Google has become a little stricter. With artificial intelligence and machine learning in the game, you cannot fool the algorithms now.
Your content has to be really extraordinary and authentic if you want the algorithms to give you a chance to rank on the first page.
Before getting to know what SEO techniques will work in 2020, let us first have a look at….
Following all the techniques is not a good idea. Because you never know, which ones just became a thing of the past. All the hard work will go down the drain if you are still following the old tricks. And this will not be the right move. Right?
Well, do not worry, as always I am here for your rescue. Below are the techniques that are outdated and you should not be using it anymore in 2020.
1. Keyword Overloading:
Keywords density was key to success during the early days of SEO and Google. But no anymore. By keyword density I mean, how many times a particular keyword is used in the content in comparison to other keywords.
This meant that content writers repeatedly used the trending keyword to increase its visibility. This is basically called Keyword stuffing. But this technique the businesses could manipulate the Google algorithms. Which was not acceptable by the giant.
This trick might have worked earlier, but not in 2020. The algorithms have become smart and so should you.
2. Poor ‘User Experience’
Whenever a user interacts with your website in any way, Google keeps a record of it. And this record is the Usage data. And this usage data is a prime factor to identify the user experience.
One important thing that you can learn with the help of the usage data is the ‘bounce rate’. A high bounce rate means that users do not stick to your website for long. And this is not a good sign. This will alert Google, that your site is not genuine enough or is not giving the users the result that they are looking for.
A website that has a high bounce rate, or is misleading website will not hold a good reputation in the eyes of Google. The Panda update of Google for specifically aimed for this purpose.
In short if your website content is poor and design is not user-friendly, you do not have a chance to rank.
3. Spam Comments:
Your content is mind-blowing, but if you have plenty of fake comments on it, it is a waste. By fake comment I mean, comments that are not related to the product or services in any way. These are the dummy comments or spam comments posted to increase the visibility of the content.
Well, this trick will not work in 2020. If you have been following any such practice, stop it right away. This could damage your ranking rather than improving it.
4. Unnatural Links:
Unnatural links or if I put it in more technical words, Black Hat SEO techniques were infamous earlier too and have become all the more taboo now. Black Hat SEO techniques basically meant unethical ways to dodge the crawling search engines.
For example, adding text in white color on white background, so that it is invisible to the users, but crawling search engines could record them. These hidden or unnatural links are a reformed version of Black Hat SEO techniques.
Adding unnatural links might have worked to some extent before. But using this technique in 2020 would mean taking a huge risk of being blacklisted by Google.
5. Duplicate Content:
Duplicate content is a big NO, even then and even now. Bit still some people used it and played tricks on Google. Practice like using software to jumble the content and repost it on some other site is not acceptable anymore.
Other than od course, being an unethical practice, it has other drawbacks like the duplicate content link may appear on the source website name or other pages on the Internet. In this case, it is difficult for Google to decide which is the original content and hence the algorithms share the credit with other websites.
And I am sure you would not like to share the credit with anyone else.
6. Unwanted Interstitial Ads:
Unwanted ads a pain in the back, especially for mobile users. They interrupt the browsing and diminish the user experience. This frustrates the user and results in a high bounce rate.
And if the user is upset, Google is upset.
Pop up ads and videos, during browsing is a thing of the past and is no longer an effective SEO technique. On the contrary, it will only get you a negative rating and bad user experience.
And Google is so particular about user experience, that now it has also started sending warning messages to users visiting any site with interstitial ads.
7. Whirlpool of Exact Match Percentage:
Anchor text is the info or you can say the preview of the webpage the user will be directed to if he clicks on the link. It then depends on the user, if he wishes to click on the link or ignore it.
The algorithms use these anchor texts to determine the authenticity of the webpage. Therefore, it is advised not to use too many ‘Exact Match’ anchor texts in your content. As most of the links are misleading and will disappoint Google.
So why take the risk?
So, it is time to drop the above SEO techniques if you have been following until now. Now, let us have a look at….
Since the algorithms are smarter now and Google has become more strict about what SEO practices you are using, you need to updates with what will work.
Below are the techniques you need to switch to.
1. Start Thinking Like ‘RankBrain’:
What does RanBrain do? It helps Google to decide, who should rank and who should not. In simple words, RankBrain collects the data according to the user search query and passes it on to Google.
It has been with Google since 2015 and will continue at least for a few years. For RankBrain, the main factors to decide the ranking are user experience and search behavior. So, what you need to focus on is improving the user experience.
Your marketing strategies should revolve around what the user thinks, what he wants and what you are giving him.
If you pay attention to user experience, it will prefer visiting your site over the others. And not just visit, but also stay on it. Even if your website is not ranking on the top, still if any user clicks on your site, this is definitely a good sign and signal for Google.
You can achieve this only if your user is satisfied and have an impeccable user experience.
RankBrain evaluates the eligibility of any page on the basis of dwell time. That is how much time the user is spending on your website.
Pro Tip: Average dwell time to impress RankBrain is 10 seconds to 3 minutes.
2. Click-Through Rate (CTR):
Click-Through Rate is basically the time taken for any user to click on your website link after it appears in the result. If your page is ranking on the 6th number but is getting faster and more clicks than the one on 1st number, Google will automatically improve your ranking and push it to number one eventually.
It also works the other way round. If your site is on rank 1 and is still not getting good CTR, you can be pushed down also. So maintaining a good CTR is highly recommended. Things you should do to improve your CTR are:
*Make a list of keywords that are ranking high but still not doing very well.
*Next, make sure you do not stuff these keywords in your content.
*Try to grab the attention of your user by adding emotions to your titles.
*The title should be unique and creative.
*Using numbered lists is also a good practice to improve CTR.
*Your title should be catchy but at the same time self-explanatory. The user should be able to get a glimpse of what he is going to see if he clicks the link.
*Use attention-grabbing keywords in your title.
*Ensure that your page URL is also self-explanatory.
*Look for title ideas on Google Adwords.
3. Pay Attention to Featured Snippets:
I am assuming you know what featured snippets are. If not, these are the results that appear even before the 1st result. So, if you are appearing in the featured snippets, of course, you will get higher CTR.
Now the point is how to land up in the featured snippets. Here are some tips for that.
*Look out for keywords that are appearing in the featured snippets.
*Then make a list of the keywords that are already putting your site on better ranking.
*Compare both the lists and use the common keywords which appear in both the lists.
*Next, create a ‘Snippet Bait’. This is basically a content of 40-60 words which has the featured snippet keywords and add it on your page.
4. Boost Your Content:
Content is always the most important thing. It can never expire, but obviously it can become outdated. And to make sure that your content is never outdated, you need to do a regular revision of your content.
If talking about what you should be doing in 2020, you only need to focus on context-rich content. Which means that keywords are not the only thing that will do the magic. You also need to include the following in your content marketing strategy.
*Try to reach at least 1500-2000 words if you want to call it a complete content.
*Your content should be researched based and informative.
*Include latent semantic indexing keywords.
*Use phrases that are related to your content.
*And lastly, your content should be genuine and authentic.
5. Mobile-First Index:
People are shifting to smaller screens and so has Google changed its ways. This means that having a mobile version of your website will give you an upper hand. Google will first give priority to your mobile version website.
While curating your content for a mobile website, keep the following things in mind.
*If your website is not responsive yet, it is high time. You need to change that now.
*Your website should be supportive of all mobile versions.
*Make exclusive content for a mobile website.
*Keep checking the analytics of the user experience on your mobile *website and make changes accordingly.
*Consider including content for YouTube also in your mobile website. *Since YouTube is the second largest search engine, if you are appearing on that, it is a plus point.
*Add videos in your blogs.
6. Video Content Marketing Is Indispensable:
Like I already said, video is the next big thing. This means, you also need to pay attention to Video content marketing. If you have still not thought about including videos in your content, you will have to start right away.
According to the stats, people prefer watching videos rather than reading content. Things that you should keep in mind while formulating your video marketing strategy are:
*Focus on creating videos that talk about your products, services, business, and niche area.
*Of course, YouTube is the platform for video marketing, but there are other platforms also, where you can promote your videos. Make the best use of all of them.
*Adding videos to your blogs is also a great idea. This way the users will be more engaged.
7. Optimize Content For Voice Search:
The technological world that we are living in has changed the way people search the web. Voice search is now how people search the web now. So you need to make sure that your content is optimized according to the voice search patterns.
Some credit for the popularity of voice search can also be given to the mobile revolution. According to the numbers, 20% of the searches made on mobile are voice search.
How to optimize content for voice search? Here is how….
*If you want your content to come in the voice search, you need to first rank on the first page of SERP. According to the numbers, 38% of the voice search results are taken from the ranking results of SERP’s.
*Appearing in the featured snippets all the more increases your chances of appearing on the voice search results.
*Since most of the voice search are question-based, if your content is answer specific, the chance increases.
*Try targetting the FAQ content for voice results.
8. Guest Posting Grows Traffic:
Do not be surprised. This may seem unimportant, but guest posting does help. This not only increases traffic on your website but also builds authentic backlinks.
Guest posting has been there for quite some time now, the only thing that has changed over the years is the quality. With algorithms becoming stricter, the content quality of guest posting has also improved.
Earlier is was probably only done for link building, but now things have changed. It is now used as an effective SEO technique to impress Google.
Things to keep in mind for genuine guest blogging are:
*Define the purpose of guest blogging. Whether you want to only generate traffic or build an online reputation.
*The blogging sites you choose for guest posting should be relevant.
*It should be a popular website that already has lots of traffic.
*The blogging site should be active on social media and have genuine followers for your niche.
*Do research about where your competitors are publishing for guest blogging.
9. Get Better Entity SEO Results:
This might seem as a new term. But we are talking about the new trends in 2020 right? SEO entity means that every factor taken into consideration as an SEO technique should be treated as an entity.
There are lots of things on a webpage like content, design, menu, etc. All these are entities and are interrelated. And all these entities have their own special roles. So as an Entity SEO practice, you need to make sure that all the required important entities are present on the website.
The next question is, how to decide on which entities are important. You can do this by evaluating the sites of your competitors. Make a list of things that they have included and compare it with what you are missing.
10. Best Way To Broken Link Building:
What are the broken links? Have you come across a 404 error while searching for any website. Well, these are the broken links. In short, the links that are not available anymore, the pages are deleted or the URL is incorrect, form the broken links.
Have a broken link on any page of your site is a drawback and you need to rebuild these links. How to do that? Follow these tips.
*Find which pages are creating the broken links and mend them.
*If you have closed the pages or deleted the content on these pages, reload the content.
*Contact all the websites showing your broken link and inform them about the new links so that they can also update it.
11. You Cannot Ignore Google EAT:
One update of Google that you definitely cannot ignore in 2020 is EAT. Google has updated its quality standards and it is now determined by EAT norms.
EAT is Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. Based on these three things, Google decides the quality of your content and accordingly rank you. To optimize your content as per EAT, you need to do the following things.
*Ensure that the author is an expert in the field he is writing about.
*Add the name and bio of the author with the content. This makes the content more genuine.
*Pay attention to personal branding.
*Re-write or remove the content that does not match the norms of EAT
*Make sure the content is unique and gives relevant information to the user on what he is looking for.
So, these were the SEO techniques that will work in 2020 and of course do not forget to rule out the practices that are outdated now. Do follow these techniques and share your experience in the comment box below.
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