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In the field of SEO, it is safe to say that things are always changing.

How to Succeed in Business in 2020 · No Fuss Video

The optimization techniques that worked years ago are forgotten, and SEO as a whole evolves into a smarter discipline that evolves beyond Google spam with links and keywords.

There are sophisticated strategies for increasing organic traffic, along with things like competitor gap analysis, keyword gap analysis, and so on.

There are several strategies that one must use to succeed in the increasingly competitive SEO landscape.

Basic information about absolute bolts and nuts

There are four basic components of SEO that we all focus on daily as part of our work. These components include:

  • Keywords (and keyword targeting)
  • Search volumes for keywords
  • Traffic from organic search
  • Conversions from customers searching for our targeted keywords

The actual techniques revolve around the following:

  • On-page optimization
  • Link building
  • Content
  • Technical SEO

All of these are the focus of our professions as we report on our efforts and evaluate the next steps of any SEO campaign.

How do you move forward in a campaign and ensure that these factors are detailed enough for you to start or expand an existing campaign?

Well, you’ve come to the right place.

This beginner’s SEO guide is designed to do just that, detailing the basics, in order to provide a solid foundation with which you can use on your own.

Topics, entities and keywords

The first basic component that we will examine includes keywords and keyword targeting.

In the old days of SEO, keywords were really all we had. Keywords and keyword targeting. Keyword targeting involved creating pages based on specific keywords and optimizing.

The content would be laser-targeted and built around that keyword.

As you progress with your SEO, you can technically include keyword synonyms and related keywords in order to help improve your rankings.

The problem with keywords, however, is that they can become too redundant and repetitive, and you can quickly get out of trouble on industry-related keywords.

There is very little room to move forward.

For the keyword optimization process, it used to be performed as follows.

Let’s say you’ve searched for keywords, found the best performers in terms of search volume, created a page for the keyword, and made sure the keywords were merged across all content accordingly. That was one way.

We must also not forget the different types of keywords, which are many. The goals of these keywords will change depending on how you want to approach your SEO:

  • Cash keywords
  • Main keywords
  • Short-tailed keywords
  • Long tail keywords
  • Support keywords / keyword synonyms
  • Branded keywords
  • Phrase match keywords
  • Broad match keywords
  • Negative keywords
  • Exact match keywords

And many other types of keywords. By the way, don’t get me started on  LSI Keywords. Yes, they are a scam. And nothing more than a marketing attempt to mark synonyms and keyword relationships as something else.

That is why the LSI keywords are SEO snake oil.

Why are we going through such a detailed keyword introduction? Because they are a fundamental skill of the SEO profession.

Recently, however, there has been a shift from keywords to topics and entities.

If the keywords are specific words and phrases, the topics can be considered broader terms and concepts.

Although there has been a change, you still cannot do without keywords. They are the backbone of any SEO strategy.

A new key was launched in the works with the introduction of entities. Exactly what are entities, exactly?

Entities are places, people, things. According to Dave Davies, entities are the world in the new SEO.

Davies  says  the following:

“Entities are, in my not so humble opinion, the most important concept to understand in SEO right now. End.

Do you think I’m just another SEO professional promoting the latest “silver bullet” that will die on the table along with many before it?

Consider this:

Three of the most important classification factors in the last release were:

  • Content
  • Connections
  • RankBrain

An entity is anything that is:

  • Singular
  • Single
  • Well defined
  • Distinguishable

And that’s why it’s so important to ensure that your site is optimized with entities, keywords and topics.

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Topics, topics, topics – So what’s the matter with topics?

What’s wrong with the topics? As mentioned earlier, SEO traditionally optimizes specific keywords.

And it was – used to be – considered an SEO best practice to create one page per targeted keyword.

You can present your topics by conducting topic searches using a tool like AnswerThePublic.com.

SEMrush also has its own tool called a topic search tool.

Using these two tools, you will be able to discover topics suitable for the type of website you are working on.

Okay, but what should you do if you’re optimizing for multiple topics?

Kristopher Jones here at SEJ has a wonderful method of how to optimize your site for various topics in your post,  How to optimize your site for various topics .

There are other basic principles, including content, links and technical SEO that will make or break your success.

Let’s take a look at some of the most important factors that will help your SEO in 2020 and the basic elements that you should learn.

High quality content

Why Google gives priority to websites having quality content

Does the Google algorithm suffer from problems when it comes to evaluating whether or not the content is of high quality?

It can, as this SEO  recently discovered  when trying to manipulate Google’s algorithm with the text Lorem ipsum.

In general, it is the high quality content that will help the performance of the website. But it takes different forms, depending on the different attributes of your marketing campaign, including:

  • Main sector of your site
  • What was done on your site previously
  • What is being done on your website now
  • The overall competition in your industry
  • What your competition is doing
  • What the Google algorithm is doing

There are variations of the industry in SEO – there is no doubt about it. I suggest that you take an open approach to SEO strategies, and don’t think that, after learning a strategy, you are ready.

Industry standards vary and can be as different as the website itself. The way you discover these standards is to analyse the competitor’s gaps.

What competitor gap analysis does, is to help you find what you need to do to increase those rankings above your competitor’s.

What you want to achieve from competitor gap analysis includes information such as:

  • Your competitor’s rating
  • The content of your contest (posting frequency, word count, etc.)
  • Your competitor’s link profiles
  • And, to a lesser extent, on-page SEO and technical SEO

Important: Correlation Is Not a Cause

In SEO, you may think that if you make a small change to some keywords on a website or to some links, an immediate improvement is noticeable and probably due to that change.

The problem is that it rarely works that way in the real world.

When it comes to SEO, correlation is not causation. It is not enough to say that you did this, this and that and what contributed to your results.

Rather, detailed analysis and interpretation of organic traffic data is needed to find the full story.

That’s what makes SEO so complex – the fact that it’s not a simple correlation / causality paradigm.

Instead, SEO is much more complex with layers of algorithms, not to mention the fact that Google makes changes to its algorithms on a daily basis.

The ones they choose to advertise are the most devastating if you are involved in spamming.

Which brings me to the following topic: SEO white hat vs. SEO black hat.

White Hat SEO vs. Black Hat SEO vs. Gray Hat: Which hat should I choose?

In the field of SEO, there are different philosophies. These philosophies do not always go well. In fact, they can be frustrating for SEOs around the world, because one group believes in one thing while another believes in another.

White Hat SEOs follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines to the letter. They believe in implementing techniques that will be sustainable in the long run and that will not cause Google to impose a penalty against them.

The most ethical SEOs are those that provide their customers with everything they do – they provide details, they provide the links they build, all of that.

They are ethical and transparent in their SEO functions and provide reports in which the client can take reasonable steps in the future.

Black Hat SEOs are not afraid to adopt the latest and greatest techniques, regardless of how far they deviate from Google’s guidelines.

They own a perpetual churn-and-burn machine, usually getting great results in the short term, but with no long-term results.

It’s these Black Hat SEOs that use programs like Scrapebox, SENuke and XRumer in an attempt to create massive links, so that these links, in turn, take your rankings to the first place – until Google grabs them and all hell is gone. Drop.

So, they just start over with another domain.

Gray Hat is a healthy mix of the two, usually using black hat techniques for research but not execution, and using a White Hat approach to achieve long-term sustainable results. More aggressive SEOs are likely to fall.

There is nothing legal, moral or inherently wrong with this, but if you want to get on the bright side of Google, you may want to choose SEO in a white hat or a Gray Hat.

Conduct industry research, especially if you’re not familiar with the customer’s industry

Doing research in the industry is the first part.

Your primary source of information in this industry should be your customer. That’s when you have to make some kind of discovery – and ask questions to determine any industry-specific details you should know when doing SEO.

The next part would be to discover the SEO elements that your competition is using to boost SERP performance.

If you can think of improving rankings and organic traffic as a major component of SEO, competitor gap analysis is an essential component of evaluating the next steps in an SEO campaign.

After analyzing the sector and defining the industry benchmarks, you will need to proceed with an analysis of the site.

This will help you find out what was done on the site previously and what is being done on the site now.

It is imperative that you obtain this information, as a wrong step can cause major problems in your SEO campaign later.

If you are lucky enough to be part of a team that has this information, just ask the team manager about the information and they should be able to provide it to you on the spot.

However, if you are not so lucky, you could end up in a situation where you cannot evaluate this previous information.

In those cases, what is currently on the site is all you have and you will have to think of your SEO campaign as an advance from that point.

Your competition’s link profiles, along with yours, should also be a central component of that analysis.

But this is where things can get risky. If you don’t have a good understanding of SEO, what may seem obvious in terms of correlation can be totally different when viewed from the point of view of having it all.

This is where the dangerous part comes in.

If you don’t do a link analysis, but there are other weaknesses, you may never be 100% sure what was responsible for improving the site.

On the other hand, if you have all the information, you can still never be 100% sure, but at least you can narrow down the exact root cause of the improvement.

Remember, research is not a simple correlation – correlation is not causation. Just because you added something doesn’t mean it caused that improvement.

On-page SEO and technical SEO are also important factors

Other important factors that you should be aware of include the latest SEO techniques that apply to technical and on-page SEO.

On-page optimization  includes the following:

  • Optimizing the page to offer unique value
  • Optimization for a phenomenal user experience (UX)
  • Targeting by laser-targeted keywords
  • It can be easily shared through social networks
  • You can make the perfect transition between devices
  • The crawler / bot is accessible – Gary Illyes, of Google, is registered as saying “Just make this damn site crawlable”
  • Optimizing for authoring, metadata, schema and rich snippets
moz with optimized elements

Technical SEO

Technical SEO  is strongly focused on crawling and indexing your website. This is where you can tip the odds strongly in your favor, ensuring that your site is properly optimized for crawlers.

This has nothing to do with content or links and is highly technical in its implementation.

Technical SEO in 2020 includes the following that you must learn and implement to be successful:

  • Anything and everything to do with robots.txt
  • Optimization of navigation architecture and website
  • Optimization of the URL structure
  • Implementation of Schema.org structured data
  • Canonicalization of URLs
  • Analysis and correction of the error page (4xx, 5xx, 3xx, etc.)
  • Server analysis for bottlenecks that may be costing SERP performance
  • SSL implementation for a secure website
  • Page speed metrics, along with individual SEO elements that increase page speed
  • Compatibility with mobile devices
  • Compatibility between browsers and platforms
  • Code optimization (including aspects of the W3C, such as validation, accessibility, etc.)
  • AMP for news editors (who can cover a wide variety of topics)
  • International multilingual implementations
  • Pagination as next / previous
  • Internal links
  • Link profile analysis to determine fines or algorithmic adjustments (if any)

How to optimize the search intent and ensure that the intent exactly matches the target query

You must successfully segment and fulfill the user’s intent for your optimization to be successful.

This is a basic SEO practice in use since the early 2010s.

You must make sure that your keywords perfectly match the user’s intention for that query.

Dan Taylor here at SEJ  writes :

“Many studies have been conducted to understand the intention behind an appointment; and this is reflected in the types of results that Google displays.

Paul Haahr of Google gave a great presentation in 2016, analyzing how Google returns results from the perspective of a classification engineer. The same scale “fits perfectly” can be found in Google’s Quality Rating Guidelines.

In the presentation, Haahr explains basic theories about how if a user is looking for a specific store (for example, Walmart), they are more likely to be looking for the store closest to Walmart, not the Arkansas brand headquarters.

The Search Quality Rating Guidelines echo this. Section 3 of the guidelines details the “Guidelines for classifying needs met” and how to use them for content.

The scale ranges from Fully Compliant (FullyM) to Failed to Answer (FailsM) and has flags to know if the content is porn, foreign language, not loading or is disturbing / offensive.

Evaluators not only criticize the sites they display in the Web results, but also the SCRBs, also known as Rich Snippets, and other search features that appear in addition to the “10 blue links”.

Which brings us to another important consideration for SEO in 2020 – read and memorize the  guidelines of quality evaluators search  of  Google  – it does NOT mean you can optimize what they say for organic search.

This is created by a department entirely separate from organic research. However, their manual contains important information to understand how Google, in general, views certain search factors that you can translate to improve your overall EAT – Specialization, Authority and Trust.

The following SEO factors that you should be aware of are also important:

  • Optimizing for page speed
  • Strategic optimization of target keywords (this includes the page title, meta descriptions, H1s and subtitle tags)
  • Optimization of page URL
  • Optimizing for page speed
    • Image file size
    • Image filenames
    • Alternative text (alt)
    • Title text
    • See my article on image optimization for more information.
  • Write your content according to the intelligence level of your target audience
  • Internal link optimization when creating a content page
  • Strategically including images throughout the text

EAT IN 2020

The update of Google’s core algorithm, from August 2018, led many people to work hard to understand what had so easily destroyed their site on SERPs. It is known as a medical update, as the update was believed to target medical websites.

When, in reality, it targeted YMYL-type sites (your money or your life), as categorized in the Google Quality Reviewers Guidelines.

In fact, it was one of the first updates where no SEO managed to find out what happened in the first 60 days.

This update ended up targeting the following types of sites:

  • YMYL – Your money or your life – sites
  • Health sites
  • E-commerce
  • Finance
  • The business
  • Technology
  • Travel
  • Entertainment
  • Coupon / offer sites
  • Adult Sites

Why this is important for 2020

This update was a turning point in Google’s algorithms that specifically targeted websites to gain authority and long-term trust. Yes, authority and trust are big business.

How do you build authority and trust? Responding well to the user’s query and mentally mapping its content to achieve this ultimate goal.

In 2020, if you want to create your own websites and make sure they are SEO friendly, long-term sustainable SEO is even more important now.

As Alan Bleiweiss writes elsewhere in the Search Engine Journal, you must be the answer to the query.

Answer the user’s question so completely that no one else can capture you speaking competitively.

Bleiweiss reports that failure of mindset – or being unable to find what is needed – is a single critical factor that you must get right to succeed in SEO.

“The industry needs to accept that if you look at most business sites, when it comes to PRIMARY SERVICES or PRIMARY PRODUCT OFFERS, most of the important questions get stuck on a blog that is not:

  • Well organized.
  • Promoted on an industrial or market scale.
  • Discoverable when people are on those services or product pages.

And that is a big problem.

However, if you insist on continuing with the whole “blogging” thing because “it’s what customers expect”, for sure. Go ahead. Have fun.

I will continue to do what I do when customers hire me to fix broken websites, at least in part because of content failure. “

You need to have a solid focus on SEO disciplines to be successful

You can’t expect to do SEO for a month and get amazing results overnight. It rarely happens that way.

Instead, you must implement a multi-faceted approach, leading to a solid foundation that takes into account many problems in the elements of SEO to succeed.

Focusing on anything will only lead to below-average results that create nothing more than a speck in Google Analytics data.

An organized approach that focuses on the best in quality is the best, keeping in mind the problematic points, wants, needs and desires of the user as they relate their queries.

Be the answer in your industry for user consultation. And your performance at SERP will thank you.

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