SEO Trends & Tips: The Ultimate 2020 Guide on How to Rank First Page of Google

by Fabio Peters

web development montreal

First of all, what is SEO, anyway?

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is method used in website development and digital marketing to help get your website content ranked by search engines through the use of keywords and optimized content.

You can hire a SEO marketing firm to do it for you. But, why do that if you can learn SEO yourself and find the right SEO strategy tailored specifically for your business? If you take the time to learn search engine optimization, you’ll be surprised to find out it’s not that difficult to understand and figure out.

Last year we covered what you need to know to rank on Google in 2019. So what is new for 2020? Read on and we’ll get you updated on what’s new for the upcoming year. Google is always changing and evolving. You need to stay informed.

What doesn’t work in SEO anymore

The old ways to rank on Google was to keyword stuff and fill your content full of the keyword you are trying to rank for over and over again. But according to latest research, this method has been deemed a penalty by Google and will result in a rankings drop. Meaning this is very bad for conversion. Google has made it a crucial point to deliver the most valuable content to the target audience.

Mobile Indexing your website

Your website must be mobile-friendly. There’s no way around this. Beginning in 2018 Google made it compulsory to have a responsive website that will adapt to mobile devices. Your content needs to be rich in high quality content with an AMP compatible version (Accelerated Mobile Pages). If not, your website will not survive in 2020.

Mobile indexing of your website

Speed and Loading time of your website

A slow website creates an unsatisfying experience for your visitors. So, making sure your website loads fast is a necessity for Google. This means optimizing your content to make sure your website loads as fast as possible. You need to make sure your image files are as light on the server as you can make them. You can easily do this be optimizing your images in image editing software or install an image optimization plugin that will automatically compress your image files. Also, keep in mind, videos and animation, as flashy as they are, slow the load time as well. You may want to keep these features to a minimum. 

Video content to engage your visitors

While you need to be careful in adding video to your website as to not increase loading time, there is no doubt that video is becoming a new trend in engaging you target audience. Embedding videos on your website from YouTube and Vimeo is a great option to add video while keeping the loading time down. If you were to self-host your videos on your web hosting server, it would no doubt slow down your website. But having it load from a third-party website will allow your video to load automatically from their website server, not yours. Create a YouTube or Vimeo account, upload your videos there, then use their embed link on your website.

Video Content for SEO

It’s time to embrace Voice Search Technology

Your smartphone has had the ability to search based on your voice for years now. Whether it’s Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Microsoft Cortona, Apple Siri. The technology has been in existence for a while now and Google to making this more of a factor. It would be a good idea to make your content voice optimized so that you can be ahead of the curve when Google makes this mandatory. You will get Google points for optimizing your content for voice in 2020.

Time is money, as the saying goes. That is why smartphones and other smart devices are supporting voice technology. People want to be able to search for things quickly and easily, which makes voice search more and more convenient and useful. The advent of speech recognition technology is making the ability to search and get answers to questions easier than ever. You need to jump on this technology now!

Google Voice Search

Understand how Google works

Creating high-quality content for Google is not easy. You need to understand the latest content trends. Your content needs to be simple, easy to understand and easy to read. The old way was to stuff your content with the right keywords. According to latest research, you should begin your content with an overview of your topic, as this is what Google sees first. This means your first 250 words should contain the keywords and focal point of the rest of the page.

Learn How Google’s algorithms think

Google gets smarter and smarter as time goes by. Never try to fool Google. They are getting better and better at detecting people trying to use shady tactics to fool their crawlers and search bots. They do this to provide a better user experience, which is an indicator of the content of a website. The intent of Google is to give searchers what they are looking for in a concise and informative manner.

A page with a high bounce rate is an indicator that the content was not useful and was not what the user was searching for. When Google sees this, they will penalize the website and rank them lower in the search results. Other signals of a useful website is dwell time, average session duration, page views. When you take all of these factors into account, it gives Google a pretty good picture of the quality of your website.

The Importance of staying up-to-date with SEO trends

If you are a business owner you probably are thinking why is search engine optimization so important? With all the algorithm changes, understanding SEO will require that you on top of the new trends. If you don’t, your competitors will. They will outrank you and they will take business away from you.

Google is always trying to provide the best searching experience for people browsing the web. In order to do this effectively, they have to change their algorithm to improve the search experience of it’s users. You need to accept the fact that Google is a business, just like yours and they are always evolving. Your business needs to evolve as well.

Google Algorithm Update SEO

Visual Search of images

The term “visual search” refers to searching online using images, not text. Google uses AI, or Artificial Intelligence, to scan the elements of the images to understand what the image is about. This is why naming your images with keywords and taking advantage of the ALT tag is so crucial to being found in Google’s image search. When you buy a photo online or upload a picture you took with a digital camera, you often get a file name like “DC 20170909_112555.jpg”. Google does not understand this. To make it readable by Google, simply give it a name using your keywords like “how-to-design-website.jpg”. Then in the ALT tag feature put the words “How to design a website”. This will allow Google to detect and understand what your images is about, while giving you another chance to add your keyword to your webpage.

Improve Local Search

Optimizing your website so that local customers can find you is always the easiest and best when to get new business. Local SEO helps your business get discovered by potential customers and clients within you geographic region.

About 47% of all Google searches are local. That means almost half of all searches are people in your area. As a business owner it is imperative that you appear in the search results close to the physical location of your customers. Research has shown that as much as 86% who discover a local business will call or visit the business within 24 to 48 hours of finding the listing online.

So How do you optimize your website for local SEO?

The first thing you must do is create your online listing on Google my Business, Apple Maps Listing and Bing Places. Once you’ve created those accounts, now you need to get your past customers to leave reviews on these listings and make sure your new clients or customers leave reviews.

Now, you need to create landing pages for each of these locations you want to rank for. Update the NAP citation on your website. NAP stand for Name, Address and Phone.

Do a search for FREE local online directories and make sure you list your business on each one of them.

Optimize for local SEO

Most people do not go past the first page of Google

If you need extra motivation to do search engine optimization, here it is:

Research shows 77% of all internet users never go past the first page of Google when doing an online search.

That means getting on the first page of Google, in the first 10 search results, will no doubt increase the sales and conversion of your business. Investing in an SEO strategy for the long term will bring quality leads as long as you stay on top of the latest changes and trends. Never stay stuck on old out-dated techniques like keyword stuffing, backlink exchanging, duplicate content. These are all a recipe for disaster and will hamper your search engine optimization efforts.

One thing never changes. Content is King

This has been repeated by digital marketers for years and it’s still relevant today: Content is King.

To create great content, just put yourself in the shoes of the searcher. When you create content you need to ask yourself whether the content was really useful or not.

Does it go above and beyond the other pieces of content on the web on this same topic?

Will it keep my audience engaged or will it increase my bounce rate?

If you ask yourself these questions, you will be giving your target audience what they are looking for which makes Google happy. Make Google happy, they will make you happy by rewarding you with a higher ranking.

Content is king google SEO

Be Omni-present on the web

If you want to make sure your business is seen by a lot of people, you need an omni-present approach. That means you need to be everywhere. There are a multitude of channels you can utilize from social media, podcasting, video and more. Each method has its own strategy and goals.

The key to this approach is getting your content shared, viewed, liked and mentioned. When you do, you will be seen by Google as trustworthy, authoritative and valued. This is a ranking factor as it is a signal to Google that your content valuable the online community.

When you introduce a wide variety of digital marketing tactics and strategies to off-site channels, your shared content will be referenced all over the internet. You will be rewarded by Google with improved search result rankings.

Backlinks and link-building in 2020

Link-building has changed in 2020. Not that it’s dead. It’s just done differently that we have been accustom to in the past.

In the early years of link-building, marketers would simply spam their links using link farms and other shady tactics. Today, that is out of the question. Simply put, don’t do it. You will get penalized by Google and your rankings will drop.

What matters most when it comes to backlinks is the authority of the page that is linking to you. That means you need to get articles and webpages from authoritative sources to link back to your site to get that link juice. So, that means it would be better to get a few high-authority sources to link to you, as opposed to a bunch of lesser known sources.   The name of the game is quality, not quantity. 

Backlinks link building SEO

Write for people, not for Google

Back in the early days of SEO, marketers would create content to attract the attention of the search engine robots. Not the attention of the actual person doing the search. Google took notice of this and began changing their algorithm to focus on searcher’s intent. That is a good thing for those of us doing online searches every day. But that also means that when doing SEO, we need to take this into account when creating out content.

The goal of Google and all search engines is to provide the searcher with the best results possible. That should also be the content creator’s ultimate goal as well. That mean you not only need to think about ranking, you need to think about how your content will help your visitor. Websites that answer searcher’s question tend to rank higher than those that do not provide value to the searcher’s query.

Simply put, stop creating content for search engines and start writing content for people. Many websites do a good job at finding that balance between pleasing Google and pleasing the user. It just takes time and effort to create content that brings value while keeping in mind the importance of keywords.

Website design is still very important

When we talk about SEO and search engines, what is often overlooked in website design. Design plays a huge role in user experience. When a visitor goes to your website, they don’t look at the back-end of the website. All they see is the front-end or user interface. If the design is out-dated or unattractive, they will click the back button and go to another website. That sends a signal to Google that users are not having a good experience when visiting your website, which will result in lower ranking and positioning in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Page).

So, it’s very important to create a website that is not cluttered with large chunks of text, no white space and ugly images or graphic design. If you do not have a good eye for design, it would be a good idea to hire a web designer to design the website for you, or simply use a high quality premium theme.

Google is not the only search engine

When we talk about ranking, SEO, search engine results, etc., we often are think about and referring to Google. Rightly so, because Google is the King of search engines and is by far the most popular and widely used search engine on the market today.

However, Google is not the only search engine worth optimizing for. There is Microsoft’s Bing, Yahoo Search and an increasingly popular DuckDuckGo. While it’s more worth your time and effort to optimize for Google, many SEO experts warn us to keep in mind people tend to search for content on multiple platforms. Some of these platforms are not the first ones to come to mind, for example, searching for content on Facebook, YouTube and Amazon. Secondary search engines will drive traffic to you website from people who use other platforms. This will give you more traffic and more chance and getting leads, sales and conversions.

DuckDuckGo other search engines SEO

Conclusion

SEO is always changing and it is constantly evolving. That means that if you want to stay atop of the search engines, driving traffic to your website, you need to keep up with the evolution of Google’s algorithms trends. This will ensure the survival of your business on the World Wide Web.

User experience, voice search, creating high quality content, responsive mobile design and being omni-present across the internet are the ingredients needed for a successful search engine optimization campaign. If you master these techniques, your business will be able to compete in a very competitive market.

Finally, nothing beats creating relationships with individuals who will help keep your brand thriving through referrals and backlinks. Don’t just rely on computer generated AI to get ranked. Remember the user is a person. So, think like a person, not a computer. Think about how people will search for your product or services. Create high quality content and answer questions and solves problems. If you do this 2020 will be profitable for you because Google will reward you for providing value.

I hope this article has brought you value and will help you in your SEO efforts for 2020. If you need any help with search engine optimization, feel free to contact me anytime. Have a great day! Take care.