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93% of online experiences begin with a search engine, with Google receiving over 63,000 searches per second on any given day. This is a huge amount of potential clients for your business. However, of all of these searches, 75% of people never scroll past the first page of search engines. This means that you need to rank well or you may as well not be there at all.


If you want to rank number 1 in 2020, you need to follow the latest SEO advice instead of out of date and misleading information or myths. Throughout this blog, I’ll explain the most important up to date SEO methods for 2020 to ensure your business dominates the SERPs next year.


Table of Contents


To get your page rank on Google’s top positions, these factors will be vital in 2020:


Go Niche, Choose Long-tail Keywords 

Keyword research has always been a crucial part of SEO. Long-tail keywords make up 70% of all web searches. As such, long-tail keywords should be even more integral to your SEO strategy in the next year. Long-tail keywords are more specific, which means they not only help your business drive more traffic to your site but more relevant traffic with much more specific user intent.

In addition, long-tail keywords can improve the ROI of your SEO efforts as they have higher Click-Through Rates and conversion rates.


SEMRUSH Longtail Keywords

Source: SEMRUSH


How can I find the best Long-tail Keywords?

There are a number of tools available that can be used to identify long-tail keywords for your site.

Tool 1 – Ubersuggest

Ubersuggest is a great starting point. Ubersuggest gives valuable insight into the keyword strategies that are working for others in your market so you can adopt them, improve them, and gain a competitive edge.

Tool 2 – Google’s Search Features

For new ideas of relevant long-tail keywords for your site, Google’s search features, such as the autocomplete feature and the related search feature are ideal. To find these, all you have to do is type your main keyword into Google and look at the other queries that it suggests.

Google Autocomplete:
Google Search Autocomplete


Google Related Search Results:

Google Related Search Results

 

Tool 3 – SEMRush

SEMRUSH is another effective tool to inform your long-tail keyword strategy. With SEMRush, you can enter your competitor’s domain to see the keywords that they are ranking for and select the best with high volume and low keyword difficulty.

SEMRUSH Keyword Research Competitor





 

Optimize for Voice Search

Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and Google Assistant have developed in recent years to become better at processing human speech. As their effectiveness has improved, more and more people are using these solutions to answer their queries instead of manually typing into a device. This is known as a ‘voice search,’ and currently, 40% of adults perform a voice search once per day.


Voice search is on the rise, and it has been predicted that by 2020 –  50% of all searches will be voice searches.

(Source)

The growth of voice search has significant implications for SEO and how digital marketers will have to plan their strategies for the channel going forward. As most people do not type the way that they speak, websites that are currently optimized to rank on SERPs may not be found as easily found for a voice search. This means that SEO is likely to change in the coming years as SEO specialists start to focus more on voice. Semantic search, a focus on featured snippets and rich answer boxes, and a focus on local search elements such as directories and review sites will all become more important in 2020 and beyond.

“Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How” from grade school are making their comeback. Users love asking questions with voice search, so make sure you can answer them. By answering questions, you may also be eligible for ranking on position zero and achieve a featured snippet. 


Create Long, High-Quality Content That Readers Love

Studies have shown that pages with 2,000 or more words usually get more readers than an article with fewer words. However, John Muller from Google claimed, “Word count is not a ranking factor. Save yourself the trouble.”


Statistic Number of Words by Google Position

Source


The ideal length of a page is a topic that is much-debated by digital marketers. However, the conclusion is yet to be determined. Both long and short pages have their advantages and disadvantages, and the ideal length of a page on your site will depend on the specifics of the campaign and the goals and objectives you want to achieve with your content.


According to digital marketing guru Neil Patel, the bigger the ask, the longer the page should be. Longer pages are typically more successful as they give the visitor more information, and as such, are more effective in building trust and credibility. This means that they can be more effective in driving conversions. In addition, a higher amount of copy helps to increase the quality of conversions, as users are provided with more information on a long page. If they still convert after looking at it all, they are much more likely to be a higher quality lead. Pages with a significant amount of quality, relevant content and appropriate visuals are also likely to perform better in organic search results.


Be Sure Your Site Is Mobile Ready And Uses HTTPS

Ensuring your site meets the technical SEO requirements will be more important than ever in 2020 and beyond. The two main things that all site owners should do to optimize their site technically are: ensure it is mobile responsive and use https.

The success of Google and other search engines is dependant on users having a good experience with the sites that they are served in the results. More and more users are accessing the web via mobile devices. In fact, mobile site users now outnumber desktop searches.


Statistic shows that more people search mobile than on desktop

Source


Google is responding to this trend accordingly. To put it simply, Google favours websites that are optimized for people using mobile and smartphone devices. As such, your site will perform much better on the mobile SERPs if it optimized for mobile devices

HTTPS is also vital for ranking. With HTTPS, data that is transferred from webserver to browser is encrypted with an SSL certificate. If a website doesn’t have an HTTPS certification, Google will flag it as being “unsafe”.

According to Google, HTTPS is a ranking signal, and as such, switching your site from HTTP to HTTPS can result in a boost in your SERP rankings.


Deliver A Great User Experience (UX)

UX and SEO have shared goals as Google is constantly working to provide high-quality, trustworthy, and relevant results to its searchers. The search engine has evolved significantly over the past few years, and with its most recent algorithm updates, UX will be more important than ever going forward.

As we mentioned above, more people are searching from their smartphones than ever before. This means that ensuring good mobile user experience is vital. Your website’s pages should all be optimized for mobile so that users can easily find what they are looking for from their phone or tablet. Google itself said, “As more people use mobile devices to access the internet, our algorithms have to adapt to these usage patterns.” Mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal will have more impact going forward, which means it will have a significant impact on our search results in 2020 and beyond.


Optimize Your Page For Page Speed

According to online retail giant Amazon, if their website slowed down by 1 second, they would lose $1.6 billion in a year. Site speed is an extremely important element of SEO for a number of reasons.

First off, faster websites are easier for search engines to crawl. They also improve the user’s overall experience of your site, and as such, quicker loading sites have higher conversion rates and significantly lower bounce rates.

Basically, improving site speed benefits both your site visitors and your position on the SERPs.

Site speed is even more important for mobile search. 46% of people say waiting for pages to load is what they dislike most about browsing online using a mobile device. The following are Google’s Industry benchmarks for Mobile Page speed:


Google's Industry Benchmarks for Mobile Page Speed


Source

 

There are several site speed test tools available that can be extremely useful for checking and optimizing load times on your site.

are all tools that can provide an insight into any speed issues that may exist on your site. However, site speed recommendations can be quite technical and difficult to implement, so, it may be necessary to get help from a technical SEO expert.


Great Content & On-Page Optimization Gets More And More Important

In the week of October 21, 2019, Google began rolling out BERT algorithm in Google’s search system. BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations and is a neural network-based technique for natural language processing pre-training.

In simple words: BERT is used to help Google better understand the context of words in search queries. 

What does it mean for SEO? Focus more on good, clear writing in a natural way for your audience instead of optimizing linear phrasing construction for machines.

SEO specialists know the importance of the on-site elements for SEO. Some of the elements that should be managed and optimized beside the main content are the url, title, meta-description, schema and rich snippets, images (alt, title, and filename) and the internal link structure.

These elements are all important in their own ways, and should all be considered when you are updating your site. However, they do all carry different weight. John Mueller from Google confirmed that a keyword in a page’s URL was a ranking signal but said that it was insignificant compared to other ranking factors. When creating all of the aforementioned elements, remember that while keywords are important and should be inserted, they should always be used in an organic way that makes sense in the content. It’s more important that content flows naturally than to have the keywords inserted several times.


Earn High, Relevant And Strong Backlinks From Authorities In Your Niche

SEO is constantly changing, with Google updating its algorithm around 600 times a year to make sure results are more relevant for searchers. Over the past couple of years, Google has been putting more emphasis on having quality backlinks from sites with high Page Rank (PR) and Domain Authority (DA). According to Google itself, “Relevant, quality inbound links can affect your PageRank (one of many factors in our ranking algorithm).”

Google doesn’t just favor links form high-quality sites; it actively discourages low-quality link building. With the search engine’s Penguin updates, sites with an excess of low-quality links are now being penalized.

What does this mean for link building? SEO specialists need to focus their link building on quality. With machine learning AI, Google now values articles that are written for the customer rather than for the algorithm boost, so the most effective way to build links now, and going forward in 2020 is to create customized, authentic and relevant content that others want to share.


Use Video for High Competitive Keywords

Youtube is the No. 2 Social Network right after Facebook with more than 1.9 billion monthly active users.

Currently, video makes up 64% of all Internet traffic, and it is forecast to grow to 80% of all traffic by the end of 2019. With such overwhelming popularity, it’s no surprise that video has become an integral part of many marketing and SEO strategies.

 

Statistic of active user accounts per social media platform

Source: wearesocial.com

The reason video is so effective is simple. We’ve all heard of the saying, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’; and a video is worth even more. 80% of Internet users claim to recall watching a video ad in the past month, and a huge 46% of them take a follow-up action, such as looking on the business’ website for more information.

YouTube is not only a social network, but it’s also the second-largest search engine in the world. As such, it can become a vital tool for boosting your SEO efforts. Video can be particularly effective for keywords that are difficult to rank for and have high competition. To reach more people with your videos, you need to optimize them for search users. In order to do this, you should ensure the keywords that you are targeting are included in the description and headline of your video. Check out this article for effective Video SEO tips to increase your search engine rankings.


Don’t Get Trapped in Myths and Polemic

SEO is focused on trying to work out the complex algorithms of Google. As these are always changing, there is a lot of out of date and misleading information out there on SEO best practices. In order to be successful with SEO in 2020, it’s vital to know the difference between the SEO tactics that are effective, and which are myths.

Domain age has also previously been considered a ranking factor, as SEO specialists thought that sites that had been around longer looked more legitimate to Google. In reality, older sites have had more chance to build up their domain authority and links, which would impact their rankings. However, domain age and registration length alone are unlikely to impact search rankings.


That’s my wrap up of trends that are likely to affect SEO in 2020 and beyond. If you can stay ahead of them and ensure your site is optimized for all of these current trends, you’re in the best position to see success on the SERPs for years to come.