SEO… no matter what year it is, what your business focus, or what industry you are in, it’s always going to be a discussion.
When someone types something into Google, they actually are in buying or engagement mode. It’s not like social media where everything is scattered and your ads just happen to appear to an audience while scrolling through their feed. Throw voice search and mobile usage into the mix, and rules are changing at even faster rates.
If someone searches for something on Google, they are looking for information, to be entertained, or to purchase something. This is why Google Ads has always worked so well — as it’s hard to find a more targeted audience and monetization opportunity.
Even with all of that in mind, SEO and how to effectively rank content and websites in Google is still changing all the time.
What’s New In SEO In 2020
To help in the never ending journey to rank your site content higher, let’s take a look at some of the recent trends and discussions in relation to SEO in 2019.
Should you be linking out to other websites from your own?
With so much focus on link juice and getting the domain and page authority of your site up, there is often a concern for when sites should link out to other sites — and if they should at all.
This was actually a topic of discussion during one of the latest #AskGoogleWebmasters video series (a new series from Google) and was also featured on SERoundTable. You can see the short video and answer below.
This obviously isn’t brain surgery, and there have been many tests by site owners to see if linking out to other sites actually helps with their own SEO or not. This can also be affected y whether such links are DO or NO follow.
In summary, (as provided by John Mueller’s answer):
I would watch out for a few types of links though. In particular if you’re linking out to a site because of an arrangement, like you linked to me and I’ll link to you. Or because it’s an advertisement or if it’s being done in your site’s comments and you’re not really sure how good those links are.
So the best answer here? Leave the outbound links to high-quality sites and only those you are referencing to back up a statement or to provide further value to your audience.
How does Google Rankings actually work?
This has been one of the most commonly asked questions over the past two decades ever since Google first came out onto the scene. However, only the most important and secret people at Google really know the answer — and to be accurate, it’s actually changing all of the time.
Search Engine Journal has a recent article on this, which highlights and mentions the following:
There are hundreds/thousands of ranking factors. Google doesn’t tell us what they are in detail (which, by the by, seems to me to be reasonable).
They do tell us that they group them: Topicality, Quality, PageSpeed, RankBrain, Entities, Structured Data, Freshness… and others.
From a site owner and content marketer perspective, most of us are only looking at SEO from much smaller variables — which is often content, keywords, and building backlinks.
Val Zamulin, founder of Seologist, recommends that every site owner take advantage of every once of information Google occasionally leaks in reference to how their algorithm works. During a recent interview, Val went on to state:
One of the best ways to continually compete in the world of SEO and getting an edge ahead of your competition, is to track the performance of your main site and inner pages within a heavy data excel or Google docs sheet. Such information contained within the report should include the basics of site rankings, keywords, and in/outbound links — but to also include updated reports and data on pagespeed, rankbrain and last updated post data as well. By having all of this information documented and outlined in front of you, it will make for a much improved SEO report and strategy for tracking results and performance over time.
Such methods are also outlined within the full article from SEJ, as they have several documents and sheets ranking Google Ranking Factors, the power and influence of rich elements, bid based bidding, and how to also factor in multi-device rankings.
At what point should a website start focusing on SEO?
This is a very similar question to one we often hear in the monetization and affiliate marketing space — which is when should you try and start making money with your site? The difference between this question, and the original SEO-focused one we pose above are two completely different topics and worlds apart.
For the sake of this article, we will focus just on the SEO question, but if you would like to learn more about web you should focus on site monetization, you can read up/listen on that here.
In reference to when you should start SEO for a website or blog, the answer is FROM DAY ONE — even if your site isn’t ready to launch yet.
This can best be summarized into the following elements and factors: (source)
- Creating an optimized Coming Soon page
- Optimizing for mobile users
- Increasing site speed
- Using long-tail keywords
- Creating an XML sitemap
If you are launching a WordPress site, this shouldn’t be hard to accomplish — as there are many free plugins that can help with this.
However, keep all of these elements in mind and try to improve the performance of your site to the MAX before officially going live with your site.
Making sure your site speed is fast as anything, that your site is already optimized for mobile and all devices, and also is already ranking in Google (even without any real content), are all ideal and a great way to give your site a mega boost when it’s first launched and ready to go.
SEO starts from day one… and never ends. This is something that every site owner needs to remember and keep working on for the life of their site.
SEO Today, Tomorrow… and Years To Come
SEO is changing all the time. It’s not just about content, keywords, and backlinks, but also adapting to the way Google ranks content and how audiences search for it.
With voice search and mobile now being used more than ever before, search phrases and keywords are no longer what they used to be. Forbes even went on to state “By 2020, 30% of all website sessions will be conducted without a screen.” — and that same article also went on to say “By January 2018, there was an average of one billion voice searches every month, proving that voice search is on the rise.”
With this information now in hand, does that change or effect your SEO and content marketing strategy in anyway? It likely does.
SEO is here to stay and will greatly influence the way individuals search and find content online. And while it might be here to stay, the way it works today likely won’t be the same way it works tomorrow.