The only constant in life is change.
This is especially true if you work in SEO, search engine optimization. Google, Yahoo and all other search engines change their algorithms frequently, and your resulting strategies also will change.
Why does it matter? Appearing high up in search rankings is the key to successful inbound marketing. People who are looking for what your business offers are potential buyers, many of whom are ready to make a purchasing decision. They are the highly qualified leads you need to improve your business’ bottom line. It matters. A lot.
If your 2020 goal is to boost organic search results, get used to change. SEO has never been a one-and-done prospect. Here are five things you can do to help boost your business in those search rankings, delight your customers and grow your business – all at the same time.
Tip #1: Switch to a Mobile-First Strategy (for everything!)
Nearly half of all traffic to websites is mobile these days. And yet, we’re still relying on second sites or responsive design to accommodate mobile traffic.
Flip the script. Design the mobile experience first.
Makes sure it’s fast, easy to navigate and working on smaller screens first – and then let it respond to larger screens. All the things that matter in terms of how Google evaluates your website are heightened in mobile. That means if you’re taking care of mobile first, you’re also putting a high priority on the performance quality of your website.
Tip #2: Boost Local SEO Efforts
If you are local, develop strategies that put your business in a local pack organically. If your key words include local descriptors and are used in as many places as possible, your odds increase dramatically. There are no guarantees in local social media, but this is one of the best ways to make sure your marketing is targeted geographically to the audience your business serves.
As an example, anything that uses the hashtag #LoveLansing on social media channels is likely going to get a boost. But make sure your business is truly living up to the hashtag and working actively to support the region and its growth.
"SEOs need to be looking at real, mobile search results, to know what they are up against, what kind of traffic they can expect, and what kind of optimization will actually be successful at impacting the bottom line,” said Cindy Krum, CEO, MobileMoxie.
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The more your website and social channels include links and tags of local business partners, the better your SEO results will be in the local SERPs.
When paired with a pay-per-click (PPC) Google campaign, the two streams can be effective ways to increase search rankings.
Tip #3: Integrate PPC with Organic Content Strategies
Yes, that’s right – PPC, when tied with strong, local key word organic strategies, can provide data to inform your organic strategy. Learning from that data can uncover that you need to make changes to help boost your search rankings.
Regardless of what you call it, investing into PPC with a well-defined geographic audience can provide needed information that may inform your SEO results in local packs and SERPs alongside the paid rankings.
Though both organic SEO and PPC advertising campaigns are completely separate marketing channels, you can achieve an incredible synergy that benefits your campaigns on both channels when you leverage the data you have gained from each one to inform the other.
SEO & PPC: How Advertising Data Can Improve Your Organic Search Results (and Vice Versa)
Tip #4: Focus on Long-Tail Phrases and Rich, Detailed Content
Expand your keyword search research to emphasize long-tail phrases. That’s right, it’s no longer short snippets of text, but people feel very comfortable asking Google entire questions. Additionally, voice search has changed the way people interact with engines.
What are you doing to capture those questions? Have you asked your customers how they found your website? Not only do you need to know what terms they’re using, but what questions are they asking? If your blog posts and website content answer those questions, you’re well on your way to ranking in SERPs.
There’s another reason why you need to use long-tail phrases. It sounds more natural! The best, most natural language will help improve your search results. Stilted industry jargon, technical gobbly gook and brand buzz bingo words are out. The goal is to sound like a human being who has E.A.T. That’s the new acronym for Expertise, the Authority and the Trust needed for your site and your copy to rank well.
Never thought you’d have to EAT your words, eh?
Tip #5: Connect with People
The goal of SEO is ultimately to connect with people who are using a computer or a phone to find the service and product your business offers. Sure, the conduit is the Internet and devices, but people buy from people they know and trust. That means you must project your personality, your voice and your values through your content.
You have to be human, with generous sides of humility, humor and know-how. Every time. That means responding to comments on your social media posts with a human voice. Your blog posts and website pages have to convey information meaningful to readers with the level of rich detail they need to find the answers to their questions.
The days of a short, little 300- and 400-word blog posts are done. Long-form is coming back, but that’s a topic for another blog.
Putting It All Together
Conquering SEO in 2020 means adapting to frequently changing algorithms. Investing in mobile, tying together organic and PPC long-tail word strings and networking with your local partners are all going to help boost those important SEO results.
Regardless of the SEO results, doing these things will help connect you with the people who can take your business to the next level. And being human is the best way to connect with other humans.