In 2020, Google accounted for more than 2.3 trillion searches, which is 75% of the overall desktop search traffic around the world. If you are not optimizing your business for Google and the other search engines, then you’re missing out on significant website visits, sales, and conversion.
The SEO landscape changes each year,which makes optimization a great challenge for those who are not familiar with the industry. Some techniques remain relevant, such as keyword optimization, content creation, and building some quality links, but some SEO elements are continuously changing.
As we go halfway past 2021, it is a good time to rethink your SEO strategy and determine the best techniques to dominate the SERPs.
But before that, let us understand what SEO is and why it is important in today’s post-COVID digital marketing industry.
What Is SEO and Why Is It Important?
SEO means search engine optimization, which is one of the best ways to get free and natural traffic from the search engines, mostly Google. The process involves modifying your website and content to make it more user-centric and attractive to search engines. Some proven SEO techniques include link building, social media, blogging, keyword research, and adding meta data.
When it comes to search engines, Google leads the game with an 87.96% market share in 2019. This is the reason why businesses are all competing for the first page of the SERPs. It is the single largest driver of organic traffic to websites. Google itself is responsible for over half of the total referral traffic for your website, which is 10x bigger than the traffic social media drives to your website.
The good thing is that you don’t have to spend anything to get leads. It is a passive digital marketing strategy that provides better long-term results. But what SEO strategies will get the best results in 20220?
Top 10 Effective SEO Strategies
As Google continues to be the end destination of its users’ journeys, staying relevant has become a huge challenge for businesses and marketers. Some techniques that were effective last year may no longer work this time, and there are emerging trends that would reshape SEO in the future.
Here are the top upcoming SEO strategies businesses and marketers need to master to get the best results in 2020:
SEO Strategy #1: Focus on Featured Snippets.
Being number one in the SERPS is no longer a big deal. Instead of aiming to become number one, businesses should now aim for position zero or the Featured Snippets. This appears above the number one organic search results. Featured snippets provide partial answers to a specific question or query.
According to a study conducted by Ahrefs, Featured Snippets steal 8.6% of clicks that are supposed to go to the organic search result below it. It has become a big trend right now because 14 out of 112 search queries now return a Featured Snippet.
But how do you optimize your content for the Featured Snippets?
If you want to get paragraph snippets, focus on creating content that include the following phrases:
- How to do/get…
- Who is…
- Where is…
- When is…
- Why is…
- What is…
Your content should answer these specific questions for a chance to get a Featured Snippet.
You can also create bulleted or numbered lists for users that are looking for step-by-step guides or procedures to complete a task.
SEO Strategy #2: Invest in Website Security.
Cyber security is probably the greatest threat in the digital world right now. In fact, a study shows that there is a hacker attack every 39 seconds on the web. And using non-secure passwords only makes it easier for attackers to steal information.
The main target of hackers are mostly WordPress websites because it is the most popular platform right now, with 35% of the market share. Unsurprisingly, WordPress also has the highest number of vulnerabilities, 542, which is 30% higher from that of 2017.
The best way to protect your website and your website visitors is by enabling the HTTPS protocol for your site. This protocol ensures that all your website connections are secured and encrypted. Enabling HTTPS also gets you on the good side of Google and provides a minor SEO boost for your website because Google prefers websites that provide a secure browsing experience to its visitors.
SEO Strategy #3: Optimize for Voice Search.
Before smartphones and Siri or Alexa, people did their searches by typing in the keywords into the search engine boxes on their computers, and then they would get the result that they needed. But with the growing use of smart devices, a different type of search has evolved, in the form of voice search. Instead of typing out their query, users just need to say them out loud with the help of virtual assistants, such as Siri, Alexa, Google, Bixby, and others.
For example, instead of typing out “5-star hotels in Jamaica”, users just need to say “Hey Siri or Google, what are the best 5-star hotels in Jamaica?” Doing voice search saves a lot of time and typing effort. In fact, according to Google, 20% of all searches are voice and this number will only continue to increase in the coming year.
So how do you optimize for voice search? The first thing you need to look at is your website and all the content you put out there on the web. Use long-tail keywords as much as possible because there is a higher chance that people will be searching for these phrases instead of shorter keywords. Incorporate location-based keywords as much as you can, especially if you’re running a local business.
Most importantly, keep your content conversational. Keep your sentences short and sweet and write your content in a way as if you are directly talking with your readers.
SEO Strategy #4: Keep E-A-T in Mind.
In 2020, overall reputation will be a major ranking signal for Google. Google will look at the business or company’s E-A-T or Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. This means that Google will be checking out reviews, feedback, ratings, customer service reputation, and other trust signals to determine your ranking. So it is all the more important to build your credibility and authority.
To boost your content’s trustworthiness, build up your author’s credentials and don’t forget to fact-check. If you have certifications, awards, conferences, or other credentials that would boost your authority, put them online. Deliver excellent customer service and highlight positive reviews to improve your trustworthiness. If there are issues or complaints, handle them professionally and swiftly to control the negative impact. Most of all, deliver convenient, useful and meaningful user experience at all times.
SEO Strategy #5: Optimize for Mobile.
Experts have long predicted that mobile will be an important factor in the digital marketing space, but not everyone actually took it seriously. Mobile SEO might be a technique of the past, but it is time to highlight this in 2020 because of Google’s new updates. In recent announcements, Google has mentioned that mobile speed is going to be a critical ranking factor in the coming updates. This means that it is time for businesses to fix their mobile websites.
Instead of building the website for desktop, developers should build a mobile-first version and then make them compatible for other platforms. You should also start looking at mobile search results and what kind of optimization you will need to impact the bottom line.
SEO Strategy #6: Focus on Visibility and Zero-Click Searches.
More than half of all searches are now zero-click searches, which means that users don’t have to click on the search results anymore to get the information that they need because the query is already answered on the SERP itself. Featured snippets are examples of zero-click searches, and so are Google’s Local Packs, Knowledge graphs, and so on.
So when you’re crafting content for your website, think about what kind of searches usually return a zero-click search. These can be queries looking for your address or phone number or those looking for the price of the products you are selling. They can also be about quick and easy questions that can be answered in a few sentences.
SEO Strategy #7: Video Will be the New Source of Information.
We already know that video is a powerful form of content because it is engaging and entertaining. However, aside from the fun factor, more users are also turning to video to get information. Internet users prefer to watch online videos to get the information they want, instead of reading them. For example, they prefer watching a step-by-step video tutorial on how to fix a computer error than reading a lengthy guide on that same topic. Watching a video simplifies things and clarifies any issues.
So if you plan to use video content for your website, make sure to optimize it for search users by including appropriate keywords in the description and the headline. You can also include a transcription of the video for people who have a hard time following the video.
SEO Strategy #8: Improve CTR and Dwell Time.
Click-through rates (CTR) and dwell time will become important ranking factors in the coming months as Google puts more emphasis on the satisfaction of the web searcher. The higher the CTR and dwell time (the amount of time a visitor spends on your webpage before bouncing out), the more valuable you are to Google.
These metrics show how satisfied the user is in finding what they’re looking for. The length of time the user spends on your website and the links they click determine how interested they are in what they see and if they are finding the information that they need. To increase both metrics, make sure to deliver quality content that is useful and entertaining to your readers. If your visitor gets bored or does not find what they need, they would immediately click back to the SERPs.
SEO Strategy #9: Quality Content Matters.
High-quality content is always a critical element of effective SEO strategies. Users and Google want relevant, helpful, and recent content. People use search engines to find answers to their questions, so your webpage needs to deliver the solutions that users are searching for.
Research your topic well and back your content with data. Follow a logical structure that makes your content easy to navigate and read. Refrain from blatantly promoting your products and services in everything that you write. Studies have shown that consumers tend to ignore content that are too sale-sy.
People want educational and relevant information that is delivered to them in easy-to-digest forms.
SEO Strategy #10: Write Longer Content.
In terms of content, quality is just as important as quantity. In fact, it is hard to deliver quality content with limited words. Web pages that contain longer content tend to get more visibility because users want to get all the information they need from a single reliable source.
So how long should your content be? According to a study conducted by Brian Dean and his team at Backlinko, the average word count of the results on Google’s first page is 1,890 words. This highlights how more effective long-form content is over short-form articles. Noah Kagan of AppSumo and the team at BuzzSumo also found out in their study that longer content gets more shares. So if you want your content to go viral, write at least 2,000 words per article.
The SEO landscape is a dynamic space, with algorithm updates and new trends popping up regularly. As a business, it is important to be on top of these changes so you can use them to your advantage. This list of upcoming SEO strategies is a good way to familiarize yourself with what’s going to happen in the digital marketing world in the next 12 months, so you can create a strategy that would get you the best results.
As a Journalist by profession, April Reyes has extensive experience in writing about various topics under the sun, including technology, gadgets, travel, social media, and digital marketing. If she’s not writing articles for Software Tested, she’s either watching her favorite TV series or playing video games.