And like that, we hit the middle of March of a brand new year. Nay, a brand new Decade!
It feels like yesterday we were discussing the importance of SEO moving into 2019, and as we draw to a close on the first quarter of 2020, many of those points remain true.
A key one to highlight here, so as to free up space below, is of the continuing importance of mobile. From design to search, mobile needs to be at the top of your thoughts when undertaking any sort of digital marketing campaign.
But what are some of the more in-depth, complex sides of search engine optimisation in a new decade that could really launch your business? We go through a list of them below:
Authority, Relevance and Trust
There is an acronym in SEO circles known as ART: Authority, relevance and trust. These are a few pillars on which to construct a solid optimisation strategy, and if you continually renovate and sustain your artistic building, your website stands in good stead.
For authority, you must position your brand as a leading figure in that industry – a website people go to for answers or insight – and Google judges this off your relevant content and appropriate external and backlinks.
For relevance, you must both maintain an audience and have that audience fit nicely into your targeted authority field.
Finally, your audience must trust you; whilst many people think of trust as something that Google will judge your links off, the search engine maintains that they do not calculate ‘trust’ into their algorithms.
However, with authority and relevance of key importance, having an audience that trusts you means they’ll keep coming back – and that certainly matters.
Links continue to hold a place of honour in digital marketing. For ART to apply to your strategy, backlinks must reflect your position in the industry. But in 2020, building high-quality links has never been more important for your brand.
The Google algorithm continues to tighten the leash on cheap or poor-quality (particularly any verging on black-hat) links, so make sure that links sending people back to your site are form trustworthy sources relevant to your field.
Content is king, as they say. Links are liked by Google. But what can you do in your own backyard to have a major impact on your SERP rankings?
Implement proper programming/code. This can be anything from appropriate use of meta tags through to foundational website building principles like site maps and more.
If you’re not a coder, speak to your web developer to ensure they’re well-verse in SEO practices.
BERT and User-Focused Optimisation
BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) is seen in the SEO industry as one of the most important algorithm updates (though some would say it is more a refinement) rolled out by Google in years. It applies to the Natural Language Processing (NLP) that Google released for open-sourced editing in 2018, and is a technique used to affect the neural network.
What’s this all mean in English? If a user searches something in Google, the words within the search are applied to each other, not just to synonyms of themselves. This helps focus on what the real meaning behind the search is, rather than guessing at an overarching purpose from singular words.
How can you optimise for this? Google says you can’t, but we recommend going back to basics and making sure your web content is focussed on what your target audience is looking for.
Using structured data (eg Schema.org) harks back to our point above around implementing programming for your website that fits SEO best-practices.
It is data in the backend that helps Google crawlers read your information and content and display it appropriately on SERPs, and to the right audience.
This has been for years, and continues to be, one of the most important aspects of being featured on Google, and feeds perfectly into our last point…
Google no longer simply lists results of a user’s search in a number of web page links: the user is given a number of options to interact in a way that best fits their needs. How is this continuing to affect your SEO strategy in the new decade?
How your site is shown (represented) on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) will play a big role in click-through rates and interactions. Features include Ads, Rich Snippets, Universal Results and the infamous Knowledge Graphs.
There are others, but these are the key ones, and Rich Snippets in particular are proven to have higher engagement than standard link listings.
So focus on everything we’ve discussed above, and you’ll have a higher chance of Google indexing your content for these special representations.
There’s a lot of information to process above, but it is critical for a sustainable business in 2020 to focus on these integral search engine optimisation practices. If you have any questions, or need help in forming your strategy to get to the top of Google, get in touch with us here.
This is Wolf.