Search Engine Optimization techniques are continuously changing. Online businesses strive to land their articles on the first page of search engine results since those are the ones that readers click on the most. The competition increases every year, and with Google’s new BERT algorithm, it may be a tough time for even the best SEO practices in 2020.
This article looks at how you can improve your website’s visibility with the latest trending SEO practices. These guidelines pave the foundation for improved search rankings on which you can build more advanced techniques.
Here are the 10 best SEO practices in 2020 that you should follow.
- Search Intent
- Meta Snippets
- Optimized Images And Videos
- Internal And External Links
- Authoritative Backlinks
- User Experience
- URL Keywords
- High-Quality, Long-form Content
- Authority, Trust, and Expertise
- Mobile And Voice Search Optimization
Top 10 Best SEO Practices In 2020
1. Search Intent
Search or user intent refers to the questions people ask on search engines. Google’s primary objective is to satisfy its users’ needs by finding the best content available online for their queries. If you want your articles or pages to rank at the top of search results, you need to understand how valuable search intent is to both the user and search engines.
There are four different types of user intents:
- Transaction: The user wants to buy a specific product and is looking for the best shop online with the best prices. Search term examples include ‘buy Ficus bonsai online’ or ‘buy Galaxy S20.’
- Commerce: In this instance, the user hasn’t decided on a specific make or model and is browsing for what’s available. Search terms are generalized, such as ‘the best bonsais in the States’ or ‘the best Galaxy smartphones.’
- Navigation: The user wants details on a website feature or app. Search terms are usually direct, such as ‘LinkedIn login’ or ‘Captain Words services.’
- Information: Sometimes, the user is looking for detailed guides or technical product information. They may search for the latest winning lottery numbers, how to install software, or the best SEO practices.
When you create your content, you should shape your keywords and SEO around the correct search intent type. For example, if the user intent is for the best Smart TV, your post should lead towards commercial content. In other words, provide the user with several options while recommending which one would suit their needs the most.
Another helpful method to determine user intent is to search for specific keywords and see which questions appear on the first page results. These queries are the ones that clients look for the most. If you can drive your content to answer these questions, you’ll stand a better chance of landing near the top search results. For this reason, it’s one of our top best SEO practices in 2020.
2. Meta Snippets
A meta snippet is the information that appears on search engine pages. It consists of three main parts, namely the title, description, and URL. Search engines usually pull these details from your page or post, but SEO software allows you to customize them.
We’re going to take a quick look at what meta titles and descriptions are, and why it’s one of the best SEO practices in 2020.
The meta title is also known as the ‘Title Tag’. It’s the main heading that users click on, which redirects them to a website’s page. It offers a quick insight into what the content consists of and how it’s relevant to their query. You can see it as the first impression of your page.
A common practice is to restrict the meta title to 50 to 60 characters. The main reason is so that your text isn’t so long that the end of the title vanishes off the screen. Since the title is the first element the customer will look at, it’s best to optimize it with the following tips:
- Ensure that it has the central keyphrase;
- Phrase it so that it matches the primary search intent;
- Each page’s meta title should be unique;
- Don’t stuff it with keywords;
- Ensure that it’s clear, concise, and descriptive.
The meta description is the portion under the title tag. It summarizes what your content contains, giving the user further insight into how you’re answering their query. It has less of an effect on ranking factors but may improve click rates.
You should keep your description between 155 and 160 characters, including special characters such as separators, spaces, and emojis. Here’s a guideline for improving your meta descriptions:
- Ensure that it has the central and a few extra keywords;
- Match the description with the user intent;
- Keep each page’s meta description unique;
- Include action words or a call to action;
- Ensure that the summary is an accurate summary of the content.
3. Optimized Images And Videos
Readers enjoy seeing images between long-form text. It breaks the monotony of words down the page’s length while providing visual details for specific products. More significantly, optimized images can assist you with improved SEO.
The vital feature of images is the alt text that comes with them. It helps search engines understand their context concerning the user intent and your page’s content. While your main keyphrase is essential for the alt tag, you should avoid keyword stuffing as it will harm your SEO ranking.
Video content is on the rise, quickly becoming one of the best SEO practices in 2020. More users prefer watching videos to reading long pages of content. It’s harder for search engines to determine the content quality in videos, so you should supplement them with proper titles and descriptions. The best marriage is an article that features a video at the beginning with content written underneath it.
4. Internal And External Links
Internal links help improve the overall SEO of your website. It also determines the hierarchy of your website and how your pages relate to different content categories. If you use internal links the right way, it can increase your ranking factor.
The best technique revolves around linking from your top SEO pages to improve your other pages. You can utilize online link audit software to analyze your website for the top pages. Similarly, you can view which links are causing errors on your site.
Using external links is optional, but recommended. When you link to external sources of information, it helps establish your content’s relevance concerning the search intent. However, be careful not to link to competitive sites for the same key phrases or pages with weak domain authority. It can lead to a poor ranking, which is why it’s not one of the best SEO practices in 2020.
5. Authoritative Backlinks
Search engines still consider backlinks to be a crucial ranking signal for quality content. When a site with a high domain authority links back to your page, it’s like a verified stamp of approval. The more backlinks you receive from numerous sites, the more valuable your posts become.
The opposite is also true. Backlinks from spam sites or pages with weak domain authorities can be detrimental to your website’s SEO health. Some online platforms allow you to approve backlinks, while other tools can help you remove bad backlinks.
Building good backlinks may be difficult at the start, but it’s still among the best SEO practices in 2020. You’ll need to research what backlink strategies your rivals use and how you can duplicate those efforts. It goes a long way in increasing your rankings against theirs, depending on how many backlinks you can acquire.
Authoritative backlinks add the benefit of increasing your site’s domain authority. The higher your domain ranking, the more readers will turn to your site for the latest information. This type of authority boosts your search engine rankings, which means you’ll see more appearances on the first page.
6. User Experience
Search engine algorithms evaluate how users interact with your content. In other words, they measure how many people click to read your page and how long they take before they close it. Therefore, it’s essential that you provide the ultimate user experience if you want to utilize the best SEO practices in 2020.
Page loading speed is one of the top reasons that readers leave a site. If your content is taking too long to load, they become impatient and look for the next source of information. You can take specific steps to reduce load speed, such as lowering image sizes or changing file formats.
Readers enjoy structured content. When there are proper headings with short paragraphs and white spaces in between, users generally have a more pleasant experience going through the text. The content structure also assists search engines to crawl your page quicker and understand the relevance to search intent.
The one aspect that annoys readers and, therefore, search engines, is popups. Businesses like to use popups to encourage users to sign up for newsletters or membership. If you want to employ a popup service, set the timer for a minimum of five minutes to ensure maximum time spent on your page.
As part of our objective to provide the best SEO practices in 2020, here are a few more suggestions for improving reader experience:
- Keep paragraphs short, between three to four sentences long;
- Alternate the length of sentences within paragraphs to prevent monotony;
- Include sub-headings in long sections of text;
- Maximize white space between paragraphs and in the side margins;
- Use bullets or tables where there is plenty of data to absorb;
- Appeal to your readers’ senses with images, videos, and screenshots.
7. URL Keywords
Your page’s URL is the foundation of its initial success. Readers and search engines use it to determine the context with regards to the search intent. Therefore, it needs to be concise, clearly understandable by the average human, and contain your main keyphrase.
It’s possible to use more than one keyword in your URL, as long as it makes sense. For example, a video game review’s keywords could include the title, platform, and review type. An effective URL can have all three of these elements, such as ‘maneater-ps4-gameplay-review.’
While keywords are essential in URLs, you should keep it as short as possible. Short links are easier for readers to remember, and also better for displaying on search engine results. To this end, ensure that there are no stopwords so that the URL remains concise.
8. High-Quality, Long-form Content
It’s been said many times online that writing high quality content for your website is one of the best SEO practices. While we don’t want to sound like a broken record full of clichés, our list of best SEO practices would be incomplete without it. Yet, one element more significant than quality is long-form content.
When users look for information, the last thing they want to read through is a few paragraphs filled with keywords simply to increase traffic. They desire detailed posts, with content that clearly meets their needs. Additionally, they prefer finding one page that covers as much of their query as possible than visiting multiple sites for different information.
There needs to be a balance between quality and length. It doesn’t help to create a 2000-word post that’s poorly written. Poor grammar and flow drive readers away, who would prefer to read content that’s more palatable for their intellect.
Your keywords also need to fill the content naturally. It’s obvious to search engines when businesses publish posts filled with keywords merely for page rankings. You need to find that unique symmetry between keyword density and competition, disguised within flowing and relevant information.
9. Authority, Trust, and Expertise
We have already mentioned how vital domain and industry authority is to a website’s SEO performance when it comes to backlinking. There are other factors that affect your authority ranking, such as how reliable your information is. If you have a reputation for sharing fake news or incorrect information, your niche authority will drop.
Trustworthiness is another significant factor to search engines. Bad reviews and complaints reflect negatively on your brand, causing readers not to trust your content. It results in fewer people selecting your content on search results, which lowers your rankings.
Of course, readership and authority increase when an expert in the field produces the content. It may be hard for you to achieve from the start when implementing the best SEO practices in 2020. However, the more valuable and quality content you produce, the more users will trust the information you provide. It also wouldn’t hurt if you hire an expert content writing team, to write articles for your site.
10. Mobile And Voice Search Optimization
Businesses that don’t make the best of online technology will lose out in search engine results. More users are using their mobile devices to search for queries in 2020 than any year before. It provides convenience, especially where areas have more mobile technology than desktops available at home due to affordability.
You should design your website and SEO for mobile compatibility. It makes your pages easier to read on smartphones, with better access to links and content. If users can’t read your content properly, they will leave your page within seconds. This action has an adverse effect on your overall rankings.
To highlight how significant mobile compatibility is, Google announced that it would crawl mobile site versions before desktop versions as of July 2019. In the report, they mention that mobile and desktop content must be the same. They also indicate how valuable structured content is for mobile reading.
Another technological element featured in the best SEO practices in 2020 is voice searches. Users ask questions differently when they speak than to when they type. For instance, a texter might enter ‘bearded dragon nutrition’, but ask out loud ‘what do bearded dragons eat?’
Voice search results often appear as featured snippets on search engines. Long-tail keyphrases come in handy for these types of content, where users will express their queries over three words or more. It’s best to find related keyphrases for voice searches that could bear a relation to the content.
Final Thoughts On The Best SEO Practices In 2020
Online technology and SEO are changing every year. Search engines are becoming smarter, which means that you need new techniques and strategies to reach front page results. We hope that your online pages and articles will improve in their rankings by using the best SEO practices in 2020 indicated above.