We’re ripping through 2020 and soon enough we’ll all be standing around in December asking, “where did it go?” Though the years have passed some things about SEO have stayed the same. In an ever-evolving digital marketplace, we thought we’d take some time and discuss 5 SEO Best Practices we think everyone can implement in 2020.
Just to clarify, these SEO best practices aren’t the only things you should be doing to boost your SERP results, but there are 5 elements that should not be ignored if you want to rank higher in search results.
Before we get into the list, one thing to understand is that SEO is an ever-changing environment. With daily updates to the Google algorithms, nothing is set in stone or stays 100% true for very long. It’s why we never guarantee a spot and caution any potential clients to stay away from SEO agencies that do.
You may get the ranking you want, but for how long and at what cost? In the long term, we’ve seen too many businesses ride a boom for a short time only to get slammed when the nefarious doings of some shady SEO gets caught by the algorithm and corrected.
So our list will contain some simple, but effective SEO actions you can take today to start to improve your listings tomorrow!
All without worrying about harming your business.
Clean Up Your SEO Content
In a world that has millions of pieces of new content hitting screens every day, it’s paramount to your SEO efforts that your content is worthy of your audiences time and attention. Our first SEO Best Practice is about crafting what your readers want.
This means taking some time to do keyword AND content research.
We can get into great depths with this topic, and there are many great SEO tools to help this process, some more costly, some more effective, but here at Painted Brick Digital, we want to make sure you can be effective without breaking the bank if you choose to take on your company SEO strategy and implementation by yourself.
One of our favorite tools to get an idea of who, what, and how much your competitors are putting into their SEO efforts is Ubersuggest.
Once you have some topic ideas that you think your potential clients would be interested, head over to Ubersuggest and plug the keywords in. This FREE tool will give you an idea of the competition in the space. From the actual domains and articles ranking in the SERP results to the domain authority and social impact. It will also populate variations on your original keyword that may sway your idea in a new direction.
With this data, you can make an educated decision on whether creating content around that keyword or topic is worth the effort.
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Once you have this data, click through to your competitors and copy and paste their posts into Wordcounter this will give you an idea of the length needed to compete in the market.
Although anything over 2k words has proven to be ineffective at moving the needle through scientific testing, so stay away from trying to win on keywords with that much content, it’s other factors that are probably ranking those pages.
Focus On Variations And LSI
You have your main keyword you’re going after and that’s great. Maybe you’re a little SEO savvy and you decide to go after a long tail keyword. Even better!
Here’s a simple step that you can add to your writing process that will help Google understand that you know what you are talking about and help that content get better rankings.
Focusing on keyword variations and LSI allows Google to pick up the context of your content and better index your page to search queries.
The upside is that if you sprinkle in this SEO magic, you’ll probably end up ranking for more than just your target keyword, which means more opportunity for organic traffic!
Think of it this way…
For variations: Target Keyword = Boat
Variations would be words like; Boats, Rowboats, Yacht, Schooner, etc.
These are words that Google knows as relevant to, and even more specific versions of, the main keyword.
For LSI things are a little more abstract…
LSI Definition: latent semantic indexing – search engines use these words to understand the relationship and meaning of the content on the page in regards to the main keyword or topic.
Target Keyword = Boat
LSI would be things like; Dock, Sail, Oar, Pirates, Harbor, etc.
These terms are more things in the boating universe rather than actual boats.
The easiest way to write these things into your content is to search your keyword and at the bottom of the Google search results page are suggestions made by Google.
Pepper some of those into your writing and you’ll get a nod from Google that your content is relevant and worth showing to searchers.
Test Your Meta Tags
Too many businesses create content, slap it up, and never visit it again… man, are they missing a chance to boost their SEO return for sure!
If you take the time to make the content, then by all means, take the time to see how it performs! Not only will this give you insight to your audience, but it will also help you squeeze every last drop of SEO value out of your site.
Let say you check in on your Google Search Console once a week to see how things are moving.
You notice an article you published is getting some traction! XX views this week! Yay! But you also notice that the CTR is a little low. Next week, you look in your webmaster reports and see that same article still getting views, but the SERP result is dropping off.
One reason for this is probably your click-through rate. You’ve got a page that Google found interesting and thought that it answered the queries questions… unfortunately, the real humans on the other side didn’t find what they wanted in your result and passed it over.
It’s time to make some Meta Magic! (Trademark Painted Brick Digital 2019)
You can now revisit that content and adjust the meta description based around the queries that are actually triggering the SERP result to see if you can convince the searcher that you have the best answer to their need.
Once you see the CTR rise, you most certainly see a correlation with your position as it rises as well.
All too often clients come to us with a decent library of content, but they allow Google to test and swap and adjust their contents meta description.
We’ve seen through testing that if you don’t fill it in, Google will do it’s best to guess what part of your content would best fit the query. Don’t let them decide. Get that killer SEO copy working hard for you!
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Google your competitors and look at their ads. They’ve spent a lot of time and money to create ads and copy that get clicks.
Model their ads and use them as ideas to write your meta descriptions!
You can even create a swipe file and test multiple variations if the ones you’re working with are boosting your CTR!
Build Trust In Your Brand
This might sound strange in our list of SEO Best Practices but it’s a bit of a hack on a major factor going into 2019 and beyond. After the fallout of the “Medic” update, several sites saw rankings that they had in place for years disappear overnight.
It also happened to hit smaller brands with lesser domain authority that hadn’t been active in building their local (…in real life) and digital footprints.
As time goes on, with some effort, the smaller brands should be able to bounce back without resorting to questionable practices the sites named prior, will most certainly do.
They want to serve their users the best options possible when it comes to their query, and more and more, trust and authenticity are major SEO factors they are looking for.
A lot of businesses come to SEO agencies looking for a magic bullet. That being said, there is no magic bullet, it’s the same either way. Links from relevant sources as well as a simple way to contact you on your site go a long way.
A simple way for businesses large and small, local or international, to get good links is to do good in the community.
That may sound strange, but whether your looking to boost your SEO or your brand, helping in the community, country, planet your reside is the best way to circulate your good efforts back to you.
Not sure what we mean? Here’s a random example: Sponsoring a local T Ball league and ask it’s families to review, link, and share the fact that your business is helping the community. (You can’t trade a donation for a review, but you can help others, gain brand awareness, in turn, customers. Then ask those customers for their honest opinion.)
Or, look for a local athlete that could use a little help raising to their potential and sponsor their gear for the season. That is certainly a “newsworthy” story in your local news outlet…
Link building is one thing, and there are many schools of thought on that, but building brand equity by helping others will not only bring you links, but it will bring you brand awareness, customers, and karma if you believe in that sort of thing.
This SEO tip may seem off, but we’ve had clients win national press for free (nominal donation to a charity or local athlete) that they would never have received otherwise through even the most aggressive link building campaigns, along with a tasty branded anchor text and hyperlink back to their business. Talk about 2 SEO boosting birds with one stone.
So go out and bring some good to this world, it’s sure to come back to you!
Make Sure To Own Your Brand Everywhere You Can
What Google and other Search Engines look for when it comes to “Entities” is proof that they are a real thing.
Even if you’re already thinking to yourself, “I don’t have time to do social media every day”… that’s fine, but at least go claim your profile, add your name, address, and link to your homepage.
Being sure to “claim” your spot on the web is a major trust factor that is looked at by search engines across the board.
If you don’t, one day, your competitors will… and they’ll get those extra links.
Simple, but time-consuming. Just get it done.
SEO In 2019 And Beyond
SEO isn’t the most complicated thing… a lot of people (and agencies) try to overcomplicate the basic things you need to do to move the needle.
What we laid out here are some simple, creative, and beneficial ways that you can throw some fuel on your SEO fire.
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Stop focusing on the handful of keywords you need to win in your market or business… start offering useful and relevant info, and you’ll find that there are many more keywords that people are searching that will bring you business as well!
Want to work with us to get your SEO Strategy rock solid?
For 15+ years now Adam has helped business brand, plan, and grow.
With a background in media buying and specializing in data-driven marketing he founded the Painted Brick Digital Agency to act as your in-house marketing and advertising department.
“Cookie cutter doesn’t work in a world that is constantly evolving.”