With 2020 drawing near, it’s more important than ever to have a comprehensive SEO strategy in mind if you intend on growing your business. To help you with that, we’ve compiled a short guide on some of the most effective SEO strategies from 2019. The tips and techniques outlined below will serve you beyond 2019 and well into the following year.
Top SEO Strategies 2019 and Beyond
When it comes to SEO, content is king. This is what your audience will be searching for and what the search engine crawlers will be indexing. As such, content directly determines your SEO ranking.
Focusing on content first will make sure you have a solid foundation on which to base the tweaks you make to your technical and off-page search engine optimization. With that in mind, here are some areas that will offer the biggest impact on your search engine rankings.
Write For Your Audience
A perfectly written post with impeccable SEO is worthless if it’s aimed at the wrong audience. Having a clear understanding of what your audience is looking for and what format (text, image, video) they want to see it in is more important than ever.
This is especially true due to the fact that Google’s search results are shifting more and more toward the intent of the users searching for the content. This means that you should focus your content on answering questions users might have, rather than ranking for specific keywords and phrases.
Post Useful, High-Quality Content
Once you’ve identified the search intent of potential visitors, it’s time to answer their questions and provide solutions they might be searching for. If you have a blog section, this is the ideal place to do this. If you don’t, you should create one as soon as possible.
Using your blog to post high-quality content relevant to your users’ queries is a surefire way to boost your SEO score. Even if the visits from these users don’t directly lead to sales, the organic traffic generated will see you climbing Google’s search results ranking.
Also, focusing on providing evergreen content by regularly updating your older blog posts with new insights will raise your domain authority, which we will cover in more detail below.
Pay Attention to Design
Although at first glance the design of your blog section might take a back seat to the content you post, it’s still important to consider the user experience. Visitors are unlikely to stay on a website that’s slow to load or difficult to read. Hiring a designer to overhaul your website identity, or even just purchasing a theme for WordPress will be an important investment in your website’s future.
People generally don’t like to wait, and this is doubly true when it comes to using the internet. The slower your website, the more likely your traffic will grind to a halt. Website performance is so important, in fact, that Google ranks it as one of the top factors when determining search results ranking.
Improve Your Website Performance
Making sure your website performance stays optimized is as important as offering good content. You can use a tool like Google page speed insights to test your website and see recommendations on how you can increase load speeds.
Some quick ways to make sure your pages load faster are to disable as many plugins as possible, optimize the size of your images, and make sure your WordPress installation is up to date.
Make Sure Your Website Is Mobile-Friendly
As the number of mobile users increases faster than ever, it’s important to make sure your content can easily be found and viewed on mobile devices. It is now crucial to have your website coded so it supports responsive design. Again, hiring a developer to do this should be considered an investment.
If you already have a mobile version of your website available, make sure your feature the same pages and content on both the desktop and mobile version. This way you’ll make sure Google’s crawlers have an easier time indexing the mobile version. Also, consider using AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) on top of optimizing the responsive website code in order to make the mobile version of your website load even faster.
Take Advantage of Voice Search
As voice search becomes more and more widely used, it’s important to look into optimizing for voice going forward. This will, however, require a different approach.
Touching upon what we already covered, it’s also important to focus on user intent when thinking about voice search. When using voice to search (e.g. by using Google Assistant, Alexa or Cortana) users will usually formulate their search as a question.
For instance, instead of searching for ‘best pizza in New York’, they might search for ‘Where can I find the best pizza in New York?’. Going forward, website owners will also have to take into account these types of long-tail searches when creating SEO strategies.
Outside Your Domain
The methods we mentioned above mostly focus on the changes you can make to your website in order to increase your SEO score. There are also ways you can boost your SEO rankings by taking advantage of factors outside your domain.
Prepare for Machine Learning
Machine learning was a big part of SEO in 2019 and that trend is set to continue in 2020. We’ve already seen search engines adopt machine learning to better answer user search intent, rather than questions themselves.
Companies can also take advantage of machine learning, using it research and develop content with SEO in mind, by analyzing online data and trends. Machine learning will also help with testing new SEO strategies, by conducting real-time trial and analysis of new strategies and solutions.
Leverage Structured Data
To further take advantage of machine learning, and especially the AI employed by search engines such as Google, it’s now more important than ever to implement structured data.
Aside from allowing you to use rich snippets, structured data helps search engine bots better crawl your website. The same description that makes rich snippets useful for users deciding whether to visit your website will make it easier for crawlers to determine what the content of your website is about.
This means that your website is more likely to appear at the top of the search results for the relevant terms. While this won’t directly influence your SEO score, it will drive more traffic towards your website, and thus increase it indirectly.
Work on Your Authority
Having a website with a high authority score is set to remain one of the best ways of making sure you achieve top ranking in Google search results.
There are two main methods of increasing your domain authority. One is to regularly post relevant content in your blog section. The other is to get backlinks from other websites with high authority.
By doing this, you are proving you’re an expert in your field, which in turn increases your SEO score and further drives organic traffic.
Implementing the methods discussed above might take a while, but they will definitively have a big impact on your SEO performance. With a plan in place, use the strategies we’ve outlined to bring your business to a new level.