5 SEO Best Practices for Your Site in 2020

HomeSEOBlog
SEO Best Practices
Grow Hack Scale has partnered with some of the software companies featured in this article. We sometimes earn referral fees from these partners when a reader buys their products and services. Read our full affiliate disclosure here.

SEO best practices are all the rage every year because website optimisation is still one of the most significant tools to help you rank higher in search results.

Once you decide to take a peek at our blog, you’re probably a business owner looking for answers to your SEO questions. 

Well, you’ve come to the right place. 

Considering that 93% of all online activity begins with a search engine, you better get to work with the SEO tools at your disposal.

1. Optimize Your Website Content 

The good old advertising saying “Content is king” from Bill Gates’ essay of the same name is relevant to this day.

However, it has evolved a lot in the last decade. Today, the use of structured data is at the heart of your content organisation. It classifies the page content. It is the code behind the scheme of your data arrangement.

Note: I won’t bother you with the keyword research, keyword targeting, or meta tags SEO. You can find tons and tons of articles that tackle those topics. Instead, I will talk more about the “hidden” SEO content optimisation.

What Is Structured Data?

Now, back to the structured data. The tags used to divide the information on your pages are commonly known as "Schema.org tags." We use them to highlight prices, products, actions, events, addresses, etc. 

All the search engines universally recognise this markup. So, if you want a rich result display in Google searches, use the structured data guidelines for your content.

It’s in your best interest not to violate a quality guideline. Otherwise, your page won’t show in search results.

A screenshot of Google structured data guidelines

Web content today is organized semantically. That is, the content is not only stored and distributed but understood by search engines based on what they find. 

The search engine will try to understand the theme of your site and all of its content. Thus, it will be possible to determine the relevance of the content semantically. 

The Relevance of Long-Tail Keywords

Google recognises the importance of the content with long-tail keywords. These are composed of more than three words, are highly-focused, and have much smaller research volumes.

While you’re at your regular keyword targeting, include long-tail keywords in the picture. Try to target unique long-tail keywords to get more search traffic to the site.

Here’s my depiction of how it looks. (I know I’m not a master painter, but you’ll get the point.)

A graph comparing the search volume of short-tail keyword 'basil plant' and long-tail keyword 'why is my basil plant turning brown'

2. Increase the Site Loading Time

Have you ever visited a website that had such a slow loading time that you decided to close it before it opened? 

If so, you probably noticed that it’s not an optimal factor for the user experience. Visitors will leave your site early, which increases the bounce rate, decreases the number of page views, and shortens the session duration. 

In other words, the loading speed of a website has a direct impact on its performance. That’s precisely why you need a faster loading time. 

What’s more, Google added site loading speed in its ranking factor checklist. Now, it penalizes websites deemed too slow.

If I haven’t convinced you yet, remember that Google once experienced a 20% drop in traffic because it had an extra .5 seconds in load time.

You understand it correctly; your site will perform poorly, and you’ll worsen your user experience with your slow website.

As a first step, I advise you to measure the current performance of your website. There are many tools at your disposal.

Once you know the performance of your website, you can start the optimization work. Here is a list of things you may need to work on to make your pages faster: 

  • Use asynchronous loading for JavaScript files and CSS files.
  • Remove unnecessary code, white space, and formatting from the site.
  • Choose the right hosting platform.
  • If you use WordPress as your hosting platform, beware of the installed plugins. Some will slow down the loading time enormously.

3. Implement Voice Search

As more people use their smartphones to do everything online, voice search is developing fast. According to Econsultancy’s report, 50% of all online searches will be conducted via voice by 2020. 

SEO evolves with voice search. It is therefore wise to think of setting up an effective voice search strategy so that your brand is visible to users who prefer voice search. 

Voice search changes search behavior of Internet users. It is an opportunity you would want to seize to advertise your products and services efficiently. 

Voice search is essential for SEO since 20% of queries that people make on mobile apps are voice-based.

The evolution of voice assistants such as Siri, Google Home, or Alexa will only contribute to the growth of voice search popularity.

Backlinko did research on voice search SEO and found how to excel in this SEO practice.

  • Do a content optimisation, so it aligns with the type of queries can often hear in voice searches.
  • Use long-tail keywords that sound exactly like the users’ actual speech.
  • Ensure you have a fast page loading time.
  • Write more long-form content (articles with over 2,300 words in length).

If you want to enable voice search directly on your site, make sure to add voice search with a simple HTML and JS implementation.

It will look something like this.

A screenshot of voice search bar

4. Put User Experience at the Forefront

If you ever learned anything about digital marketing, it’s the fact that users come first. User experience will play a key role in 2020 SEO. 

In fact, most of the advice I mentioned earlier is based on enhancing your brand’s UX. Following are additional resources to help you improve your brand image with the users.

  • Explore the new trends in website design.
  • Create compelling content that will get featured in rich snippets.
  • Leverage the power of video content. 

The user experience is the heart of every marketing goal. 2020 will be no exception, so keep this in mind as you consider the above strategies. 

Yes, great SEO is all about increasing your odds of ranking well with Google. Nonetheless, even more importantly, it’s about establishing yourself as an authoritative and trustworthy business that your visitors can count on in any given moment.

5. Never Forget Your Links

Links are the connecting tissue to your website skeleton. In terms of SEO, it’s crucial to prioritise internal links, external links, and linkless mentions. 

Internal Links

Internal links, or inbound links, are hyperlinks that direct the user to the page on your website. They encourage the visitor to stay on your page for longer and can get you a new follower or a customer faster.

The hyperlink’s text is called the anchor text. Try to be as specific as possible when linking to another page on your site. When your anchor text is descriptive, the search engine can crawl it more easily. It then increases your site’s authority and makes it more visible in search results.

Here is the sketch of good and poor internal linking practice from reliablesoft.net.

A visual representation of good linking structure vs bad linking structure

External Links

An external link, or an outbound link, on the other hand, is a hyperlink that directs the reader to a specific page on another website. 

Naturally, the last thing you want to do it to scare the user away from your site. However, when you link to reputable sources, it helps Google to decipher the relation between your site and other similar content.

External links will improve the credibility of your website and maybe get you backlinks to your website. These last ones are the most valuable, as they have a direct impact on your ranking.
Check out the correct external link practice from Webenso before you start creating content.

4 SEO best practices to follow with outbound links

Linkless Mentions

Last, but not least, the types of “links” that were all over SEO best practices’ lists last year were linkless mentions or brand mentions. 

Those are links to brand names you add into the text without linking to them. They can bring value to the sites that you mention. Who knows, maybe someone will mention you somewhere else. 

Although they aren’t in an explicit link form, linkless mentions can contribute to positive opinions and sentiments. Google uses it indirectly to rank the sites with positive opinions higher. So, make sure to include at least a few of brand mentions in your content from time to time.

Which SEO Best Practices Do You Use?

I think I gave you the glimpse of what you should look out for in 2020 SEO trends. 

Now it’s your turn to shine.

About
The Editorial Team
We're an ambitious, brazen bunch of marketing folk dedicated to sharing our greatest marketing wins (and losses) with you. We're engineers, doctors, artists, parents and leaders. But most importantly, we're people who care deeply about the social impact of our work.