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Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, is aimed at improving your website’s standing in organic search results. It’s one of the most cost effective marketing solutions for business. This post provides 10 actionable steps to improve your SEO in 2020.  

1. Keyword Analysis

Selecting the “right” keywords for your SEO campaign is vital. Many website owners assume the keywords that their searchers use to find their website, but these keywords are often sub-optimal. Keyword analysis remains critical in 2020, as voice-based search begins to gain momentum and search engines trend towards more natural search terms.

As an example, a pet grooming business might be inclined to select “Pet grooming Sydney” as their primary keyword, but a better choice might be “Dog Grooming Sydney” which has more than 400% higher search volume.

Spend time revisiting your site’s keywords and be sure to select keywords that are the best fit for your website. Keywords need to take into account the relative competition, keyword difficulty (how difficult will it be to rank your website for the specified keyword), as well as searcher intent.

2. Keyword Intent Optimisation

As part of keyword analysis, user intent has become even more crucial in 2020, as both semantic and voice search rise in popularity. 

A good example is a business that’s offering call centre services and assigns their primary keyword on a page as “call centre”. A quick check of Google search results indicates that this is more of an informational keyword (“What is a call centre?”, “Call centre jobs” etc), and as such this keyword is likely to have a low conversion rate to leads and sales.

Selecting & optimising your page for the primary keyword of Call Centre will likely bring more traffic to your website, however you almost certainly will have a higher bounce rate, meaning users aren’t finding what they are looking for and leaving. High bounce rates are a negative ranking factor also. 

As part of keyword analysis in 2020, ensure your website is optimised for keywords with the correct searcher intent – that really helps the searcher find what they’re looking for. If you need help in this area, please contact us.

3. Check your organic search performance for the past 12 months

As part of improving your SEO performance for 2020, it’s important to take a look back and analyse your SEO efforts in 2019. Have a look in Google Analytics and Google Search Console and determine how much organic traffic your business received last year.

Look at the pages that drove your organic search traffic. What is the bounce rate of these pages? Which pages should be performing better? When were they last updated? Do they have enough meaningful content? Target these pages for optimisation in your 2020 SEO initiatives.

4. Optimise for Google’s Mobile First Index

As now more than 50% of Google search traffic comes from mobile devices, it’s imperative in 2020 that you have a “responsive” site that looks just as impressive when viewed on a mobile device as it does on a desktop computer.

To set the expectation for the majority of searches on mobile, Google rolled out Mobile-First Indexing in the second half of 2018. This means that Google will predominantly use your site’s mobile version for ranking and analysis. As such, in 2020 you should devote effort to page load times, ease of navigation, design and user experience.

5. Create High-Quality Content

The production of regular content is a core aspect of SEO and this will become even more crucial in 2020, due to the exponential growth of content production, making high-quality, long-form content that truly answers the searcher’s question imperative.

With Google’s “Medic” update that was released in August 2018, there has been a focus on expertise, authority and trustworthiness of the content and content creators. What Google is attempting to do is deliver high quality, accurate and trustworthy content to searchers.

When creating content in 2020, It’s crucial that you demonstrate your expertise and authority on the subject in order to rank well in the search engines as well as constructing SEO friendly pages.

6. Acquire Links

Google’s search engine was unique when it launched in 1997, as it was the first search engine that used backlinks as a major factor in its algorithm. Even though it’s widely agreed that backlinks are declining as a ranking factor, they’re still essential to rank highly in 2020.

Gone are the days where you can use dubious methods to acquire links and have your website perform well in search. In 2020, it is ever important to acquire natural, high quality and topically relevant links from partners and complementary businesses.

7. Local Search

Let’s face it, proximity matters to searchers, even more so for those searching on a mobile device. Local search is one of the fastest growing areas of SEO, and this is expected to grow further throughout 2020.

For your site to perform well in local search, you need to ensure your Google My Business (GMB) listing has been claimed and optimised (including acquiring substantial positive reviews). Spend time in 2020 learning about & optimising your GMB local listing. This is especially important for local businesses that have a physical presence.

8. HTTPS/Secure

Google has mentioned on several occasions that secure (https) sites are a ranking factor. Google has been recommending to site owners since 2014 to secure their websites, and since July 2018, Chrome has been warning website visitors to any sites that are http only that they are “insecure”. Further to this, in December 2019, Chrome is expected to block all “Mixed content” pages, that is, those sites that are secure but contain insecure elements.

9. Structured data/Schema

In 2020, investigate and evaluate the appropriate structured data for your business and add it to the code of your website. Structured data uses a “schema” to provide meta data that assists the search engine to understand the content on the page and website in general. This is especially important for businesses that have a local presence, as it performs validation for Google Maps data.

10. Speed

If you haven’t already done so, spend some time in 2020 to evaluate the page speed of your website. Speed is critical for user experience, especially on mobile and has been a ranking factor in Google since at least 2018. Optimise images, enable caching and reduce any unnecessary code on your website.

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