Another year is drawing to a close and it's time to look ahead and plan out SEO goals for 2020.
Are you sick of the phrase "content is king" yet? We've read this line in countless articles about the importance of blogging and optimizing content for years.
But the truth is, cliches become cliches for a reason, and content is still just as important as ever. Not only are businesses going to be concentrating on delivering more long-form, useful content, but snippets and tags are becoming just as important as the content itself. And improving content is only one of the popular areas for improvement when it comes to SEO.
This month we asked the experts: What are you prioritizing for SEO in 2020?
We all know that SEO requires constant learning and pivoting, as marrying yourself to a specific approach will not help you improve rankings over time. Our team is prioritizing on-page content in the form of power pages, also referred to as 10x content by the SEO expert Rand Fishkin. The focus is delivering quality content that is highly original, wildly useful and creatively presented. Power pages need to solve a problem, delivering that solution in a unique way.
Sounds like a challenge? Well, it is. These pages deliver a depth of expertise and we know that when done right, they can be a game-changer. That's why we do extensive research to find a unique angle on a subject for our clients. Flawless writing is a must, and it needs to deliver on the promise of a headline. It's about originality and usefulness.
This year we are moving away from the steady cadence of 400-600 word blogs and diving in deep.
Amy Anderson, Wild Coffee Marketing
Google prioritizes authority and relevance -- meaning that I need to create better content in 2020 that showcases expertise. What is my plan? Less is more.
I finished an experiment where I created 1 expert article attached with a comprehensive survey regarding braces instead of creating 4 mediocre blog posts. It took a while, but as I approached dentist and orthodontist with my finished expert article/survey, I wasn't begging for a backlink, they were begging to have my survey embedded on their site and to be shared by their followers. My intensive research led to a resource that demanded trust, even by medical professionals.
My plan is to continue to produce comprehensive and authoritative content that demands social shares and backlinks. Content that involves case studies, primary research, infographics, surveys, and expert quotes. This kind of content gets responses from cold pitches and backlinks from media outlets. Less is more for 2020.
Madison Smith, Best Company
One of our main short-term SEO goals for 2020 is optimizing structured data markup across all of our web pages.
Some of our product pages are listed as Valid in Google Search Console, but others have errors and others aren't marked up yet, due to time constraints. We're making this a priority in early 2020 to give ourselves a competitive advantage, since many supplement companies don't use Schema.
Our plan is to markup the product pages first, since those are the most crucial in terms of driving organic traffic. We'll then tackle the other pages on the site.
Calloway Cook, Illuminate Labs
Our priorities for 2020 with SEO include increasing traffic from our target audience and building links to obtain a high conversion from our leads.
As a business, we plan to optimize our website for users making it faster, easier to navigate, and with more attractive content that is linked with the best keywords. This will create a powerful and consistent flow of people who are visiting and returning to our site which will boost more sales. By building links we will have more authority, visibility, and trust from the web which will support high traffic to our business.
Digital marketing has impacted online industries in many ways, in order to be successful you must stay on top of the current trends that are constantly changing and adapt with them to see financial growth.
Sarah Franklin, Blue Tree AI
Despite the recent changes and the fanfare around BERT, we won't be changing much in terms of priorities coming into 2020.
Fundamentally, rankings are still about a combination of strong relevance and strong authority levels. Google may change the way they determine these and the technology used to do so, but the basics have remained more or less the same over a remarkably long period of time.
We believe an 80/20 approach to SEO involves focusing limited time and resources on these fundamental areas that we know consistently move the needle, rather than getting lost in the weeds trying to tweak and optimise for the latest algorithm change. (Google has a habit of rolling back or tweaking algorithm changes anyway, so chasing updates has never been a solid long term strategy).
Tom McSherry, Premium SEO NZ
Whoever it was that said SEO is truly an art form is absolutely correct. You have to pick a strategy and stick with it to achieve optimal results. In 2020, we are going to place a big focus on our H1, H2, H3, etc. tags. Too often, a content's headers are just regular paragraph text in bold. This doesn't draw the proper attention, and it can dramatically decrease the traffic gained from a keyword.
For example, your main keyword should always be in the H1 tag, which usually serves as the title. Supporting keywords can then be sprinkled throughout the H2, H3 and beyond sub-titles. In this way, the keyword placement is as advantageous as possible in regards to attracting the attention of search crawlers."
Andrea Loubier, Mailbird
We are pushing to try to obtain more of Google's featured snippets for our SEO customers. Featured snippets are those listings at the top of the search results page where detailed information appears prior to the normal organic listings.
In many cases, this is all that the user needs as the featured snippet says it all. When the user doesn't need to go any further in the search results, we call this a "zero click search." There isn't anything you can do to request being a featured snippet from Google. Rather, you just have to put your solution on the web page as a list of items, optimize the page accordingly, and hope for the best.
Bob Bentz, Purplegator
Next year, we're going to spend every ounce of our energy on tweaking our blog content for voice search. One of the reasons for it is that Google voice searches have 35X'd since 2008.
One of the best ways to optimize your existing pieces for content voice search in 2020 is to ensure they contain both the question and the answer that revolve around the article's target keywords. Just keep in mind, though, you can only excel at voice search SEO if you're already ranking in Google's top 3 search results.
Jacques Buffett, Zety
For the coming year, we're going to place a greater emphasis on demonstrating our relevance and industry authority to our audience.
For 2020, our main goal will be getting high-quality mentions and backlinks. We aim to prove to others within our industry or searching for our services that we know exactly what we're talking about. This means being cited by higher authorities in the field. We will also place less emphasis on keyword-focused content, as some algorithmic changes render this redundant. Rather, we will be creating more in-depth and reputably sourced content that will continually engage readers.
Caio Bersot, EnergyRates.ca
One of our huge priorities for next year is the comprehensive shift to the dependency on Marketing Automation and Account Management, which is going to be even more important in 2020 for our SEO!
There will be more light shined on marketing performance, with decision-makers requiring more data analysis, reporting, planning, and strategizing. Marketing Automation helps to ensure you have all the correct information for all the stakeholders involved.
With more businesses trying to rank on search engines and advertising online, it will become more difficult to cut through the clutter. This is where your priority becomes focused on using automation tools to help you with daily tasks, reporting, project and account management, outreach, optimization and more. Once you can automate tasks at scale, then you can direct all those efforts to keyword research, competitive analysis, content creation and ranking higher in search engines by improving all our SEO processes!
Omar Fonseca, Medicare Plan Finder