With ever evolving digital landscape, SEO has changed a lot. It’s now an entity that couldn’t deliver results on own, instead needs to mix with other digital strategies. The statement doesn’t necessarily downplay the might of SEO. Even today, it’s critical to your digital marketing mix.
As search engines have started using machine learning in their search algorithms, they tend to play even bigger role inSEO industry. Now, the entire diaspora has shifted from stuffing the right keyword into a page description to delivering providing bigger and better experiences for our users through rich content. 2018 will surely see a greater shift toward mobile, voice search, and virtual intelligence and will continue pushing for more, better, and deeper content.
Important SEO Elements to Consider in 2020
As new digital elements have overpowered decade old off page / on page game, it’s now important for aspiring SEO geeks to be in sync with key SEO areas. Top SEOs in town will always recommend newbies to learn new and evolving techniques to keep up with changes in the industry.
To note, it’s time consuming and takes lot of efforts to learn SEO in its fullest form. You need to have proficiency and mastery on various aspects of SEO, say technical, marketing and content optimization. Following article illustrates different SEO elements that you should be expert in to launch successful and result-oriented search engine optimization campaigns.
1. Audience Research
Being SEO, you’re well versed with keyword research. Audience research is an extension to it. While in keyword research we usually miss elements like personas, consideration of the customer journey, or focusing on topics, audience research takes above into the loop.
If you can understand your audience, demographics they belong to and content they can relate to, you can get better engagement, generate leads and touch sales. Regardless of your business capacity and strength, you need to develop ability to analyze your target audiences and convert them into buyers.
2. Competitor Research
Being a marketer, you should have enough knowledge of the competitive landscape. This is an important phase of SEO. As the name implies, the competitor research is a process of doing complete profiling of your nearest competitors who are currently capturing big chunk of your audience base. There are many ways to conduct competitor research, from externally auditing or by using automated tools. All it helps to determine those many factors that driving traffic to competitor websites.
3. Web Analytics
SEO professionals should be able to analyze results and make decisions. The analysis of their performance helps SEOs to understand the impact of the strategy and efforts placed in. It presents various reports that define your accountability to the campaign stockholders.
It means an SEO needs to have upper hand on various facets of Google Analytics. Now the analytics tools have many advanced customizations features in place that pro SEOs should learn and implement. These new features may include attribution models to help marketers see more of the customer journey. The data obtained paints a complete picture about the searcher’s intent, their persona and impact of other factors of SEO.
An SEO should also have basic technical abilities. It will help him to collaborate efficiently with web developers, or with IT teams. Proper implementation of tracking scripts and pixels needs some knowledge of technical how-to. In addition, knowledge of analytics, heatmaps, Google Tag Manager, and other popular and advanced tracking mechanisms is also an add-on. It’s disappointing that most marketers aren’t always aware about implementation of proper tracking of tools.
Time and again, we utter terms Index, Indexing and Indexability without actually knowing much about how it works. It’s now of much importance that marketers must learn how indexing works. It’s still important that you fully understand how indexing works. The knowledge of indexing serves marketers efficiency to address duplicate content issues, crawl budget, canonical use an d use of robots commands, and more.
6. International SEO
It’s quite a missed part for most SEOs. They hardly sense any significance of targeting sites outside of their home country. As the world is a global place now, SEOs have no choice but to address their international clients. To do so, they need to have mastery in the following top level domains, hosting, and Hreflang tags etc.
7. Local Search
Knowledge of local listings and local search optimization is also a must for pro SEOs. They need to understand the various facets the full local search ecosystem, local ranking factors, weightage of NAP data and the process to claim your local listing.
8. Link Building
A lot has been changed in Link building since 2011 Penguin update. SEOs need to be in sync with the new linking patterns to understand how linking impacts rankings and link building strategy. As quality versus quantity is still the game changer, it’s of ultimate worth to know the amount of focus on links that could your optimization efforts.
9. Mobile First Indexing
Throughout our article section, we have talked mobile first indexing at a stretch. As of now, you’re almost done with the argument how important it’s to have a mobile-friendly website. When 55 percent of all web traffic comes from mobile devices, you can’t risk your ranking and visibility by skipping a mobile version of your desktop website. The game of being on mobile goes even critical as Google proposed the next norm –mobile-first.
Last year, the search engine biggie dictated the new standard- mobile-first indexing. The idea behind the move was to tell marketers that more of the ranking signals will now come from, mobile version of their website, and not from the desktop version. It was indeed a significant move that simply drew a distinction between desktop and mobile websites. With the step further, Google sent a clear signal that it’s time to stop thinking of mobile as a part of desktop site marketers must start prioritizing mobile SEO first.
10. Semantic Search
In 2013, Google introduced Hummingbird in order to improve search accuracy by considering searcher intent the key. Since then, semantic search has seen several improvements with better understanding query context. Semantic search helps search engines understand natural language queries better. When the user triggers a search query, semantic search enables search engines to bring authoritative pages that delves into one specific topic in-depth and usually ranks better than other pages. To align your content to the searcher intent, you need to create content as rich and in-depth as possible.
11. Machine Learning
Machine learning is an extension of Semantic search. With deeply coded critical machine languages, search engines attempt to understand and gauge ambiguous queries in order to deliver better search results as per user intent.
To recall, Google announced RankBrain in March 2016. RankBrain was Google’s third most important ranking algorithm based on machine learning systems. RankBrain reportedly examines user behavior to deliver the best search results possible.
12. Featured Snippets
Google introduced featured snippets a few years back to provide users with answers that are rich, short and fact-based. With features snippets, Google aims at generating answers in real-time via text, lists, images and even videos. It allows users to find answers without digging further on random links. Presumably, featured snippets are incredibly powerful since they appear on top of the top ranked websites in SERPs.
13. Virtual Assistants & Voice Search
Virtual assistants and voice search are slight new to the SEO periphery. But now they are making headlines. In 2018, voice search and virtual assistants such as Siri, Cortana, and Alexa would surely be the talk of the town.
If Google stats are to be believed, 55 percent of teens and 40 percent of adults use voice search every day.
And, according to a 2017 study by VoiceLabs, 33 million voice-first devices (e.g., Amazon Echo, Google Home) are now in circulation – up from 8 million in 2016. Optimizing your application for voice search needs an in-depth understanding of how and why it is used.
Pro SEO should be the master of quick and long term linking strategies required to attract and obtain relevant and high-quality links. They should also well versed of overall backlink optimization strategy to help website rank well.