In October 2019, we saw Google introduce the BERT algorithm. Naturally, there was a lot of buzz with regards to how search rankings will be affected.
Websites that didn’t provide the user with exactly what he was searching for saw a negative impact on their rankings.
It is observed that focus has been shifting from pleasing search engines to helping users. That’s the only route to take really.
In 2020, Google will continue to make more changes, hoping to provide the best user experience for users. SEO practitioners need to be on their A-game if they want to be able to compete in 2020.
To provide the best user experience websites need to think of their customers at all times. A live chat option on your website will encourage people to stay on your site for longer. There are several live chat apps available, but the best live chat app will be the one that caters to your specific needs.
Here are some advanced SEO strategies that you should be implementing in 2020:
1. Audit your website’s SEO.
By having a complete SEO audit of your website, you’ll be establishing a baseline for future adjustments and changes.
If you notice a periodic decrease in the traffic that you’re getting from search engines, something(s) must not be working correctly on your website.
In an SEO audit, your goal would be to have a detailed look at your website, find what’s working and what’s not, then make an effort to fix and improve things.
The main things that you need to check during an SEO audit include making sure that all of your web pages have relevant keywords and SEO titles, checking the content of each web page for SEO, optimized URLs, incoming and outgoing links to related, high authority websites, etc.
Once you’re done with your audit, you’ll find a few things that need to be fixed and a couple of areas that could be improved.
There are many tools available that can help you with your SEO audit. QuickSprout is one such tool that’ll help you in your auditing.
E-A-T stands for expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.
The days when “good” content could rank high on the search engine results page (SERP) are officially over.
If you want your content to rank high now, not only does your content need to be great, but it also needs to be coming from an authentic and trustworthy source.
You can cover the expertise part by creating high-quality content that has been fact-checked with the latest facts and figures.
For authority, other websites should mention your content in a positive light.
And for your content to be trustworthy, other credible, high ranking websites should link back to your site.
E-A-T is not something that you can start doing and get results. Like most SEO techniques, it will take time before you see the benefits of implementing this strategy.
3. Content clusters.
Being organized will always help.
Content clusters are similar pieces of content that are linked to each other.
There are some things that you should know when creating a content cluster. Firstly, you’re going to need a pillar content. Pillar content is a very long piece of content that covers almost all aspects of a particular topic.
The pillar content describes a little about the subtopic but doesn’t go into the nitty-gritty. You should cover the sub-topics in individual pieces of content.
Then all you need to do is to link similar content to each other and make sure that the pillar content is linked and links to all other pieces of relevant content.
Another benefit of creating content clusters is that old and forgotten content that you published a while ago can be brought back into circulation with the help of a content cluster.
4. Update old content on your website.
Google loves to see fresh content. And why does Google love new content anyway? Because users get the most benefit from updated and relevant content.
Facts and figures used in a piece of content can often change with time.
If you had created a piece of content titled “Top Facts for Social Media Marketing” three years ago, there might be a few changes that you’ll want to make.
New content is valuable for your audience because it is relevant and up to date. People want to keep up with the latest information.
But you need to keep in mind that fresh content is only going to work if you have people who come back to your website to catch up on new content. Without a loyal following, you won’t be able to get the most out of your content.
Make a habit of periodically checking some of your older content on your website. Go through the content and see if some changes need to be made.
Make sure to include relevant keywords but in moderation. Google doesn’t react nicely to keyword stuffing anymore. Write for the benefit of your audience, and you will be rewarded.
5. Create high quality, lengthy content.
This one is a pretty old strategy, but it is still producing results.
By creating high quality and lengthy content, you’re increasing your chances of ranking high for several keywords other than your main ones.
According to a study conducted by Backlinko, out of one million searches conducted, the average first-page search result was 1890 words.
This doesn’t mean that you can go crazy now and produce terrible 3000-word content and expect to rank first on the SERP. Quality content still needs to be the top priority.
Now more than ever, you need to provide exceptional value to your audience. By creating long-form content on a particular topic, you’re able to do into the in-depth details that your audience probably wants to read.
Another thing that you’ll want to do to make your content even more engaging and valuable is to add high-quality images and infographics in your content. Stunning images tend to catch the eyes of casual scrollers and make them stay on your website for longer, improving your SEO as a result.
If they find your content to be valuable, they’ll share your content on their social media profiles within their circles, potentially increasing your traffic and ranking.
6. Effectively use social media.
Social media has become increasingly important for websites and all kinds of businesses. Content that does well on social media, and caters to the needs of its audience, ends up getting a ton of social shares.
If you want to improve your SEO, you’ll first want to create stunning content that provides immense value to your audience. Once that’s done, you need to share it on all social media platforms that accommodate such a post. Start sharing your content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.
But don’t stop after you’ve shared on these popular platforms. It would be best if you shared your content on other, more niche social media sites such as Blogger, Quora, etc.
The great thing about sharing your content on these sites is that it will improve your search rankings in a short while, and you’ll grow a following on these platforms too.
The best way to use social media for SEO is to research first and foremost. You’ll need to get into the minds of your audience and think about what they would be searching for on Google.
Once you have a popular and trending topic in mind, you can start creating content around that topic. Make sure to include images and optimize them for SEO, like giving them a proper name and compressing them.
You also need to be active on social media. Engage with other people and influencers, and you’ll be responded in kind.
7. Learn from your competition.
A big part of SEO relies on research. If you are good at research, you’ll be able to outperform your competition.
An advanced SEO strategy that you can use is to study your competitor’s SEO strategy. You can learn a lot from your competition. Since you’re going after the same target audience, it might be possible that one party is doing something better than the other.
Researching your opponent’s strategy can help you save a lot of resources. You might need to spend some time trying to identify his strategy, but that would be a small price to pay in most cases.
You can learn from your competition manually (which will take some time), or you can use a tool like SpyFu that will help you identify what keywords your competition is ranking for on Google.
Each year brings an entirely new set of challenges. For SEO practitioners and experts, that means that they need to come up with new strategies that will help them keep their websites relevant and at a desirable ranking.
By having a sound foundation of SEO, creating great content and getting links from credible, authoritative websites, you can keep on trying and testing new techniques that will help you reach your SEO goals and objectives.
Hamzah Adil is a digital marketing executive who is passionate about business and entrepreneurship. SEO and social media marketing are also his areas of interest. He is currently working for a startup that has created a new live chat application called SwiftChat. Live chat softwares help online businesses to facilitate their customers by providing instant customer support.