My simple website search engine optimization tips for year 2020.
- What’s changed?
- What hasn’t changed?
Find out all inside my little guide!
What hasn’t changed
Most SEO principles remain the same. If you don’t know your basics, go read up on it [somewhere else]. I ain’t got time to explain all that here.
The main 3 principles remain the same:
- Quality content
- Quality backlinks
- Be better than your competitors
Oddly enough, content quality is often determined by content quantity. And the bigger, spammy-er, generic sites tend to dominate. Sure…Google algorithms keep updating and they somewhat penalize recycled junk content, but still…the junk content formula still reigns supreme. Honestly, I should’ve added “content quantity” to the list above.
Quality backlinks…ahhhh, what IS that? Getting links from a domain with lots of authority? Or getting lots of links? Or lots of links from websites with similar keywords? Probably a mix of all of those. What I don’t recommend are those PBN tactics some people try to use. Don’t waste your time gaming the system, Google’s updates will eventually penalize you for it eventually.
What does “be better than your competitors” mean? It means to outdo them. Quite often, I see people following SEO recommendations to the tee and then wondering why they still haven’t ranked on the first page. Haha…it’s because you didn’t outdo your competition. If your competitor’s “camera review” guide is 8,000 words long and yours is only 2,000….who do you think is gonna win that one? At the end of the day, your minimum effort for success has to go beyond your competitor’s. I know…I wish it was easier, too.
What HAS changed?
1. No more “word optimization”
Google has done a great job getting away from doing all the focus on longtail keywords and trying to catch all variant spellings of keyphrases. It’s good at catching synonyms as well. Although it still counts, you don’t have to worry so much about “word optimization” anymore.
2. Punishing generic content
I run a webhosting service for many clients all around the world. And a good chunk of my biggest clients are running content networks. I hear it all the time when Google algorithms update because they get hit harder than anyone else.
How do you avoid [getting punished for] writing generic content?
To be honest, I don’t even know because it’s never happened to me. I write all my content off the top of my head. I don’t copy anybody else’s structure or title or body, nothing. Literally nothing is copied. I don’t hire writers to write for me. And I don’t follow any particular template. And I’ve NEVER been punished by any Google algorithm updates. (In fact, I’m usually happy to hear about them because I feel my content typically ranks higher afterwards.)
3. Write personable content
Write with more personality. (Instead of shoving keyword after keywords.) Try not to sound generic or bland. I’ve always been a proponent of “write like you speak”. The more you-ness you can shove into your post, the better. It makes your content not only that much more engaging and personable, it actually increases your chance of reader engagement. Which brings me to my next tip…
4. Increase social media engagement
SEO back in the days used to be a combination of A) writing tons of content and linking it back and forth, B) getting backlinks from other sites, then C) checking your rank every week or so.
But I don’t recommend that anymore. Too slow, too boring, and probably not how Google ranks things. I don’t officially know this but I have a strong gut feeling search engines put more weight on social media engagement (and I’m not the only one who thinks so).
The tactic strategy I would recommend today is probably more like A) write really personable content, B) post it on social media to get likes and re-shares, then C) watch your organic SEO pick up because of it.
And this is why personable content is really key! Don’t sound like a machine. Also don’t use stock pictures. Put an ugly photo of yourself even; trust me, it’ll do better than some weird fake generic stock photo. Oh yeah…put some social share buttons at the bottom of your articles to encourage sharing.
5. Build a community
I don’t know what kind of website you run, so the tactics below might not work for you but try to be creative.
- Facebook Group – Facebook pages are a thing of the past. You should still have it but engagement rates are really low. Instead, make a group for your industry/niche. Random people will join. Chat, talk, share your stuff. It’s bound to get comments, likes, and re-shares which will help your SEO down the line.
- Youtube, Twitter, or Instagram – pick just one and use it! Grow its follower/fanbase and stay as active as you can.
- LinkedIn – not my style, personally but I’ve heard great things about it.
- Forum – ehhhh, a ton of work! But having user-generated content is incredible if it works out.
6. Get featured in Google snippets
If you don’t already know, Google featured snippets are those little boxes that show at the top of search results featuring what they think are the most helpful results to your search. They can be in the form of a paragraph, bulleted list, or a table. Users notice them easily and results featured in those snippets tend to get much more clicks (and traffic).
- You can read more general tips about Google snippets here on Neil Patel’s blog.
In terms of WordPress, I think the best thing you can do to get featured is to organize on your website well. Try to open your posts with a brief but comprehensively description intro. Put it in the form of a paragraph, list, or table…and let the magic happen!
I’ve heard of plugins that supposedly help you rank higher and also hear of developers trying to add little tags and code into their content, or using custom content blogs to help it get featured. You can try that as well.