10 Tips for Beating Your Competitors at SEO in 2020

Search engine optimization is known for being a never-ending process. This fact can annoy business owners who have a website that they need a constant flow of traffic from, and it can be a welcome relief for digital marketing agencies who sell their SEO services to these businesses. Search engines are constantly updating their search algorithms. SEO standards and best practices change over time. Changes in the way searches are conducted, such as the ever-increasing number of voice searches, can add new wrinkles for which one has to continually adapt their SEO efforts.

The whole point of the search engine optimization process is to get pages of your website as close as possible to the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) under relevant keywords. More specifically, you should do everything you can to be in the top three listings on SERPs under those keywords that are most relevant to what you sell. Click through rates fall precipitously from almost 30 percent in the first listing position down to 10 percent in the third position. You can pretty much forget about getting any traffic from keywords that don’t rank on the first page of search results.

We’ll talk about some strategies that you can implement to improve your website’s position on Google and other search engines. SEO is considered an excellent marketing method that delivers a high return on investment when it’s well implemented. The following tips and advice are not all-encompassing since search engine optimization is a huge subject. That said, these tips will give you a good start to climbing the search rankings and dominating your competition.

1. Use Long-Tail Keywords as Your SEO Focus Keywords

One of the keys to getting a given webpage to rank highly under a certain keyword that’s used by people when they’re doing a search is to focus each page around a single one. You can have a sprinkling of others on the page as long as the one you plan to rank under is the most prevalent. It’s important to remember that keyword focus does not mean keyword spamming. You need to use it intermittently in content that provides actual valuable information to the visitor. The Google algorithm penalizes search engine optimization approaches that try to use keyword spamming.

You want to use long-tail keywords, which are those comprised of three or more words. Because these are more specific, you won’t have as much competition under them. “Tulsa SEO” would be an example of a typical keyword whereas “best Tulsa search engine optimization companies” would be a long-tail keyword. Realize that there will also be fewer searches under such a specific keyword, so you’ll need more webpages that are each targeted toward a separate one. Finally, you want to make sure this focus keyword appears in the article title, the title tag, the meta description, image alt tags and at least a few places throughout the page of content.

2. Have a Responsive Website

Having a mobile-friendly website design for SEO should not have to be said in 2020, but here is the tip for anyone who needs to hear it. Google’s algorithms require your site to look and perform well on mobile devices to have a chance of ranking well. Regardless of search engine optimization considerations, the prevalence of mobile devices for accessing the internet makes not optimizing your site for them a fool’s errand. Think of all the potential sales you’re losing if anyone coming to your website on a phone or tablet has a bad experience.

3. Make Sure Your Site Has Fast-Loading Webpages

You’ve undoubtedly had the experience of clicking on the search listing for a website and then watching as it takes several seconds to load. No one else likes this experience any more than you do. The bounce rate is the measure for people leaving a website rather than continuing to other pages on the site. This rate increases 32 percent when going from a one second to a three-second load time and jumps to 90 percent when it takes five seconds to load. As with having a mobile-friendly website, even if Google didn’t penalize search rankings for this, which it does, slow-loading pages will still be costing you untold sales.

To speed up your pages, keep the number of scripts to a minimum, and don’t overload a page with images and videos, which can take a while to load. There are programs that compress image files, so they load more quickly. Also, be sure you have a good website hosting provider.

4. Use Schema Markup for SEO

This is essential for search engine optimization in 2020. To put it simply, schema markup is code you can put on your website that gives search engines a better idea of what your content is about. This, in turn, affects things such as the snippet of information about your website that is displayed in search listings underneath your title and site URL.

While some schema code will only apply to certain types of websites, there are some that every website can use to enhance their search rankings. Beyond increasing rankings, some of this code can enhance how good your search listings look and thereby increase click through rates. One example would be the use of schema code for an e-commerce site that puts product reviews and pricing information in the search listing.

5. Optimize for Voice Search

Voice assistants on phones and other digital devices are already plentiful and only expected to get more so in the near future. If your website is not optimized for this type of search, now would be a good time to add this step to your search engine optimization efforts.

One strategy is something we’ve already mentioned, which is to use long-tail keywords. They should be actionable keywords and be sure to put them in your schema markup. Since many people speaking a search into their phone are asking a question, using more keywords phrased as a question is another helpful strategy. Instead of “buy white tennis shoes” you might try “where can I buy white tennis shoes.” Also, by adding more conversational keywords, you’ll increase the chances that they’ll be a closer match for more voice searches.

6. Increase Engagement With Infographics and Video

Google generally rewards a website’s search ranking position when visitors spend more time on the site. This is a good indication that the site is providing people with helpful content related to what they were searching for. Therefore, any way to enhance a visitor’s tendency to stick around is a good search engine optimization strategy.

About 80 percent of people skim over your website’s content. Don’t take it personally. People are busy and only have so much time in their day and want to get answers or solutions quickly. That being said, visuals increase their desire to read content by about 80 percent. If you have some compelling information that can be compressed down into a short series of stats and bullet points, then putting them into an eye-catching infographic should be a winning formula.

Video represents a natural step up from an infographic. Now you’re adding the elements of sound and animation to engage more of a visitor’s avenues of perception. The more effective type of video presentations for your use will depend on your specific type of business and what products or services you offer. If it’s a fairly complex product, then tutorial videos or short, animated explainer videos might be helpful. An owner of an e-commerce website may find a product demo video as well as video testimonials to be the way to go. Beyond search engine optimization strategies, video can be an effective outreach tool through social media by uploading them to your YouTube channel and other platforms.

7. Backlinks Are Essential in SEO

Backlinks are critical to search engines in evaluating how authoritative or trustworthy a website is. They are links that are on other websites that link to your site. These links may be in a listing on a Better Business Bureau website, or a local business directory or a review website. Basically, they give search engines an idea of how established or reputable you seem to the rest of the internet, which is why they’re an important part of SEO.

One strategy with backlinks is to do what’s known as competitor backlink research. This is where you examine the website of a competitor that’s already ranking well to see what sites their backlinks are coming from. This will give you a good idea of the sites from which you should be seeking backlinks in your search engine optimization efforts. Fortunately, to make your job easier, there are tools you can use to simplify the task of researching a competitor’s backlinks. This enables you to spend a minimum of time and energy in determining what site owners you should be spending your time and energy trying to get backlinks from.

8. Focus SEO on Building Your Brand

You’ve experienced the power of a well-known brand any time you’ve seen a pair of sneakers with the Nike “swoosh” on the side and immediately thought “quality sneakers” or when you’ve seen the famous golden arches of McDonald’s and suddenly gotten a craving for a Big Mac. Establishing a unique and positive brand has a powerful impact on your company’s growth and sales. In a survey of over 2,000 consumers last year, almost 9 out of 10 of them professed loyalty to a brand.

The good news is that using SEO to build your brand doesn’t have to be an either-or situation. If you’ve got fairly generic long-tail keywords that are performing well without mentioning your brand, then continue using them. You may just want to start adding some to these that also mention your specific brand name next to the product or service your keywords are targeting. Search engine optimization takes time and effort, so you may as well be building your brand at the same time.

9. Provide a Positive User Experience

This SEO tip is more complicated than some of the others already mentioned since it can include a number of things. Basically, anything that enables a visitor to effortlessly navigate your site to find the information or products they were looking for will provide a positive user experience.

You could express this in terms of what you should not do when designing your website. You should ensure that your website does not have:

  • Keyword stuffing.
  • Content with poor readability.
  • Graphics or ads that obscure content.
  • Slow-loading pages.
  • Video or ads that auto-play upon page load.
  • Poor content organization.
  • Poor site navigation.
  • Poor appearance or performance on mobile devices.

We already separately mentioned a few of the factors above since they are particularly important in search engine optimization. They are, however, also a part of the total picture of what creates a good user experience for someone on your website. Visitors hate a poor experience when they go to a website, and this, in turn, causes them to leave it quickly, which gives you a high bounce rate. This will, in turn, cause Google to penalize your website’s search ranking position.

10. Pay Attention to Your Tags

On top of everything else, Google will look at various tags on your webpages. A few of the most important tags in search engine optimization are title tags, meta descriptions and image alt tags. It’s important to have the keyword that is the focus for a given page in the title tag and meta description for the page. Image alt tags are what people see if the image fails to load. It’s also your chance to tell the search engines what the image is about, which helps you score a higher ranking when someone does an image search. For this reason, try to fit a relevant keyword in an image’s alt tag and in its file name.

A Good Place to Start in SEO

There are other pointers to consider with your SEO efforts than those listed above. The biggest thing to remember with search engine optimization is the importance of high-quality content. This is another one of those factors that have to do with providing visitors with a good overall user experience. They won’t have one if your content doesn’t answer the questions or provide the solutions that caused them to click through to your site from a search listing.

Search engine optimization is an ongoing process, so if you’re not ready for that reality, you may want to hire a digital marketing agency to handle your SEO campaign. Even if you start ranking at or near the top of SERPs under a few good keywords, the next challenge is staying there. There’s always a new kid on the block trying to get in those first three listings, so constant vigilance is required to keep that targeted traffic coming in.

SEO in Tulsa, Oklahoma with D2 Branding

D2 Branding provides exceptional SEO services in Tulsa, Oklahoma and the surrounding areas. For a complimentary 15-minute marketing consultation with D2 Branding, call us today at (918) 520-8012 or visit our website at www.D2Branding.com.

Learn more about how the D2 Branding marketing and SEO agency in Tulsa, Oklahoma can help you with your SEO needs and help your business grow!

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