The Case for SEO: Is It Still Relevant in 2020?
Tinylla
2020
seo  |  traffic

Prior to the virus pandemic affecting life as we've known it, Google changed its algorithm and people had started to question whether SEO was relevant in 2020 as it was a decade ago. Fast-forward to Covid-19 times and the question became even more relevant. Some businesses closed their doors while others are struggling to survive. But for those conducting their business online, the effect is likely to be the reverse: online businesses will have no option but to thrive in their digital form. In the age of social distancing, businesses are going to become more reliant than ever on their digital publicity and in many cases this will be the deciding factor in whether they make it through the tough times ahead or not.

So, how relevant is SEO in 2020 and ahead?

SEO is a constantly evolving tool as search engines such as Google are regularly tweaking the algorithms that determine your search ranking to improve the search engine’s ability to identify high quality content and the correct websites to deliver to viewers when they are searching for it.

The first and the most important reason why SEO will be relevant is because, now more than ever, people choose to “Google” their needs rather than going straight to a website (if they even know they exist in the first place). And as long as people continue searching for things, SEO will be the most relevant marketing tactic to online businesses (and to businesses that just happen to have some online presence); but what has changed is how you execute your SEO strategy. The aim of conducting SEO is to improve the organic rankings of individual website pages within search results and the way it accomplishes that is by attempting to emulate and deliver what search engine algorithms look for.

A search engine algorithm exists primarily to search, crawl, index and rank all the pages on your website. The new BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) update by Google is based on how the search term is relevant to the content being presented by a website. This helps Google understand exactly what the user is searching for and find pages that match the search criteria in its full context. So, what does that mean for you? It means that rather than using the SEO randomly in your pages, you must make sure to plan and execute a a strategy according to what the new algorithm wants to see, because that's how pages will be considered to get indexed.

Another way SEO is going to be more relevant than in the past is by how the new Google search result page is displayed. At the top of search engine result pages there is now a snippet of information from a featured page that answers the question/search terms the user is looking for. Such snippets (which will be presented at Google's “#0 position”) will be taken from pages that are properly structured with the new algorithm in mind. Being showcased in #0 position will boost the rankings of those pages tremendously.

The Benefits of Effective SEO in 2020?

1. More customers on your website

An optimized website is going to get more organic traffic. SEO will help you achieve a better ranking on search engines which may bring more traffic to your website. More website traffic can result in better SEO.

2. Stay a step ahead of your competitors who are using PPC

Implementing the correct SEO strategy into your website can really set you apart from your competitors. If your competitors are using PPC in order to be on the first page of Google and your website is already ranking there organically, you are one step ahead. If you are also running Ads using PPC, then you may even have the opportunity of being on the first page twice. Your optimized website will maintain its spot on the first page of Google but your competitors will only be there as long as their marketing budget allows them to be there.‍

3. More potential customers on your website‍

An optimized website is going to get more organic traffic. SEO will help you achieve a better ranking on search engines which may bring more traffic to your website. More website traffic can result in better SEO.

4. Conversion rates

Now that SEO has brought some more visitors to your website, the chances of a conversion being made are a lot higher. It is a no-brainer, visitors are more likely to visit a website that is mobile friendly and they are more likely to convert when the website they visit fulfills their needs as a consumer. A mobile friendly website with keyword rich content is crucial for SEO

5. Building brand credibility

Here are 2 tips on how to build brand credibility and gain the trust of your visitors:

  • Have a contact page with Google Maps embedded in. This works great for local businesses. Before you can rank on Google Maps, be sure you first set up a Google My Business profile.
  • Have a section on your website for customer reviews. Customer feedback results in more keywords, which is great for SEO. Customers are also more likely to trust a business/brand that is open about their reviews. ‍

6. All-Around Better User Experience

SEO and User Experience share a common goal which is to give users a great experience. SEO will help you to position your website on Google so that it can be more visible to your visitors. Once these visitors have landed on your website, it becomes all about the look, feel (UI) and content of your website to make sure that the visitors convert. In order for SEO to work, your website needs to have relevant information, good images, be easy to navigate and mobile friendly.‍

7. Lower costs in the long run

It is never easy to decide where to spend your marketing budget. Both SEO and PPC are amazing marketing tools and they would both be considered great investments in your company. The difference is that SEO will be more of a once off, long-term investment meaning that the initial cost is higher and all the hard work will need to be put in at once. Organic traffic has staying power and as long as your keywords are ranking on Google, no further money needs to be injected into SEO. PPC is a continuous investment in your business and is short-term. Your campaigns will always need money in order to run.

The disadvantages of SEO in 2020?

1. Results still take time

Once you have optimized your website, you need to leave the Google Bots to do their job. They will use Google algorithms to crawl your website and rank each page on your website. This process will take time and the result is not immediate like PPC. It usually takes 4-6 months before you will see any results from SEO.

2. The Initial investment is larger

Many resources are required in order to optimize your website. SEO can not just be done by anyone, it requires an SEO specialist. If you are looking to achieve your long-term goals, then it would be worth the cost involved in getting your SEO done correctly and professionally.

3. What target audience?

You are not able to create a target audience. Once you rank on Google, you are advertising your website to the world wide web. This could affect the amount of relevant traffic on your website.‍

4. Can’t switch it off

Once you have optimized your website and it has started to rank on Google, there is no way to just switch SEO off. You could stop SEO or even remove any form of keyword rich content from your website but it will not automatically stop your website from being indexed on Google. The Google Bots are always crawling your website and it would take them time to crawl each page. You need to be prepared and be able to manage the leads that could potentially come from organic traffic when your SEO is done well.

Why is building your brand so important for SEO in 2020?

Branding should be the foundation of your SEO strategy. It’s no secret that Google loves strong brands so it is important to focus on how having a brand can improve your ranking on Google. But in turn, SEO is an imperative tool in helping you build your brand. It is a good idea to start with a great SEO strategy to help build your brand.

What SEO metrics should you consider in 2020?

Sessions

This metric will tell you how many times your site was visited and which channel these visitors have stumbled across your website from.

Bounce Rate

This metric will tell you how well your visitors are interacting with the pages on your website. Generally a low bounce rate is considered good and it will show you that visitors are spending a lot of time on your website, viewing more than one page. A high bounce rate is considered normal if you have a single-page site.

Goals

This will be the metric that tells you that the visitors entering your site via organic traffic are converting. In other words, you want to be sure to have a "conversion goal" and to be able to measure it. Popular conversion goals include:

  • Time spent on the website
  • Form submission
  • Online purchase
  • Newsletter sign-up
  • Phone call
  • Comment and/or share website content (such as a blog post)
Where is SEO headed from here on?

So, will SEO remain relevant in 2020? Yes, more so than ever!! But you'd be smart to want specifics and the reasoning behind that answer, so here's where the technology will see the biggest impact moving forward:

1. Mobile SEO

Some of the most popular websites on the internet are now built to be user friendly on mobile devices. This means that a website should be built in a way that a viewer is able to have the same experience on a laptop, a tablet or a phone, despite the differences these mediums have in terms of screen space, screen orientation and usability.

The reason why this is so important, and is a growing trend with SEO, is because searching for information on a website and on a phone is a much more nimble and instant way for people to use a search engine. This is because a phone is always on hand in your pocket, even when you are temporarily away from your laptop.

‍2. Brand Building & Link Building

Creating many fishing hooks all over the internet is a growing method that is being used by the world's top marketers in order to boost organic traffic to their website and improve their search ranking. To be more specific about this, leaving links to a brands website on many different websites across the internet improves the chances of a viewer being directed to that brand’s main website.

To give this a practical example, many marketers have realized that answering questions about their industry on websites such as Quora is a frictionless way to subtly name drop their brand and provide a link to their website which then acts as a backlink for the viewer to click on and be redirected.

The growing trend with backlinks is to include as many of these links as possible across websites such as Quora, on affiliate websites, other channels, and the list goes on.

3. Voice Search Capabilities

Since the introduction of voice activated virtual assistants on computers and mobile phones such as Siri in 2011, voice search has become more and more popular as a means to quickly search for information when it is not possible to manually type keywords into a search engine. An example of this is someone who is busy driving a car, but wishes to search for the best steakhouse in their area for a booking that evening. They can ask Siri to search the internet for “steakhouses near me” and the virtual assistant will pull up a list of search results. While this technology is already a few years old, it is becoming more refined in an attempt to make it more reliable and useful as a replacement for manual search.

4. Featured Snippets

Featured snippets are king when it comes to finding information quickly. These snippets appear above both paid and organic searches and they are generated when the Google bots find information that perfectly answers a search query. The snippet provides a brief description of the content on a specific website relating the search query, and provides this to the viewer at the top of the search results with the aim of it answering their query without even needing to enter a website.

The reason this is important for boosting SEO is because this little snippet may be enough to peak a viewer’s interest which prompts them to enter the website through a link attached to the snippet. In order to make sure that your website takes advantage of this feature, make sure to include relevant keywords so that the Google bots know exactly what the content on your website is about, and which questions it is able to answer.

5. Social Media Influencers

This is a big one… Influencers are a growing trend, particularly on social media that have afforded marketers the opportunity to tap into large audiences by offering influencers free products/services or a fee in exchange for exposure of a markers product/service offering. Influencers are seen everywhere and are a great way to gain viewers trust in a product/service since their favorite Facebook celebrity endorses it.

Influencers help increase your search ranking because they can assist in generating natural backlinks to your website which ultimately increases your organic traffic volumes and site ranking.

6. The Digital Experience

With competition for a viewers attention becoming more and more cutthroat on the internet (due to more and more websites being made daily), creating a “competitive advantage” over other websites has become a big focus in SEO. In order to make their own website more appealing to a viewer, marketers have started to focus on maximizing the digital experience of the viewer when they are visiting their website. To elaborate on this, websites are now moving towards creating faster page speeds, easily navigable webpages, and increasing functionality with other integrated applications to make the customer experience of a viewer on that website better, as marketers have realized, much like we have known for decades in physical retail marketing, that a great customer experience is likely to produce a repeat buying, or a viewer who returns to your website in the future.

7. Content Length

Please… please… PLEASE do not ever create long, boring and uninformative content on your website. This is the biggest turn off for viewers who are looking for information quickly and have no issue with finding another website if they feel that their search problem is not being solved after 30 seconds of being on your webpage

In 2020, viewers want to look at content that gets straight to the point and lets them know instantly if they are wasting their time by reading through your blog post. Finding the correct content length is all about exercising the balance between producing enough useful information to the viewer, while not providing too much “filler” information that they get overwhelmed or disinterested.

Search engines have learnt that correct content length is key in high quality websites, and that is why they are rewarding websites that have a good amount of content that answers viewers' questions and does not create too much dwell time in the user experience.

8. Videos

Video is key in 2020! Nothing grabs a viewer's attention like video, and it is especially powerful when paired with text in order to support an argument, learning or other content types. Many companies have started to create YouTube videos to include alongside their blog content or help center articles because viewers feel that this is a more efficient and more entertaining way of receiving information.

Usually the inclusion of a video translates into much higher volumes of traffic compared to traditional text style content. And as you know by now, higher traffic volumes means higher search ranking!

9. E-A-T

Google has implemented a system that they call E-A-T, standing for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. This system is used to evaluate the credibility of a website, and the elements mentioned above should be taken seriously when designing a website and creating content for it.

To elaborate on this, Google analyses the expertise of the the content displayed on a website based on the credentials of the brand attached to the website, meaning that if your website is providing information about digital marketing but their area of expertise is actually selling cat food, Google is going to rank the expertise of that content pretty low. Therefore it is important to provide content where the expertise of the publishing website or author is clearly displayed such as attaching the name of the credible author, or just providing content that your website is known for and has experience with.

Similarly with Authoritativeness, Google will do a search on an author of content and see if they are mentioned on websites with authority. This means that if an author is only mentioned on Twitter or Facebook, they will have a lower score than an Author who is mentioned on a hugely popular blog or article focusing on a specific topic.

Lastly, the Trustworthiness of a website is based on its rating as a non-spammer which is determined not only by its reputation, but also by the network of other websites that it has interacted with.

So in order to maximize your Google E-A-T score and boost your search ranking, all you need to do is make sure that the content you are publishing is from an author who has verified expertise on the subject and is “known” on the internet from their presence on other websites that have notable authority. Lastly your website should only interact with other trustworthy websites and not those that have been “blacklisted” as part of a spam, scam or untrustworthy networks.

Having a solid SEO strategy

Now that you know what the current talk with SEO in 2020 is, it's time to work on the search rankings of your own website pages and use the current trends to take your website from ghost town to bustling city filled with organic traffic.

Like what you hear about SEO? Take a look at our other posts to dive into even more ways that SEO can boost your website.

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