SEO in 2020: It Hasn’t Changed (Much)

SEO in 2020 - Google updates
81 / 100 SEO Score

SEO in 2020 both has and hasn’t changed. Let me explain.

In 2019, there were three core algorithm releases. One in March, another in June, and the final one in September. And do you know what happened in each one of these releases? Probably not. But I can guarantee you that 99.99% of people watching this video don’t either. And it’s not because the releases weren’t important. It’s because they didn’t affect the fundamental principles of SEO success. So rather than searching for the latest EAT hack or trying to optimize for BERT, you should focus on the three most important things that will determine the fate of your positions. And that’s what we’re covering in this article today.

Google’s algorithm is always changing.

SEO in 2020 - Google updates

But the one thing that hasn’t changed is what the algorithm is trying to do. Google’s job is to provide the best search results for any given query. They need to find content and show the ones that best match and serve the user’s intents. And to figure this out, they use hundreds of different ranking factors. So there’s really no point in chasing algorithms.

Instead, our job as content creators and marketers is to show search engines that our content deserve to be on top. And the three things that will determine whether you get on top or not are content, backlinks, and indexation.

Let’s go through each one of these.

First and arguably the most important thing in SEO is content.

No matter how prolific your writing skills are, you won’t be on top on of search engine unless you’ve gotten your content “right.” And by “right,” there are a few major things to consider.

Search intent.

Search intent means the reason behind a searcher’s query. To figure this out, just do a search in Google for your target keyword, and look through the titles of the top pages. From these, you should be able to figure out the three C’s of search intent.

  • Content type.
    Content type can usually be categorized into blog posts, product, category, and landings.
  • Content format.
    And this applies more to blog posts and landings. A few common blog formats you’ll see are “how-tos”, step-by-step tutorials, list posts, and opinion editorials. For a landing , that might be something like a tool or calculator.
  • Content angle, which often depicts the “benefit.”
    It’s basically your hook as to why someone should click through to the content.

Search intent today is more important than ever. And if you want to be on top of search engine results, you’ll want to match the type, format, and angle of other top content.

Covered the topic in full.

This doesn’t mean that you have to give every last detail on the topic. For example, if you’re writing about a topic like “the best headphones,” you don’t have to mention every single manufacturer and/or model. Instead, look at what the top contents are talking about.

Get the on-page stuff down pat.

Things like titles, URL slugs, and heading tags are basic things in on-page SEO, but they’re important. Rather than going into the details, I recommend reading our on-page SEO section which will walk you through all of the important steps.

Building backlinks.

Links have been and still are one of the strongest signals. And if you want to be on top on the search engine results for anything remotely competitive, you’ll need to build them. Now, while you might be searching for new and revolutionary link building tactics in 2020, my recommendation is to stop. Things like broken link building, the Skyscraper Technique, and guest posting all work really well.

What doesn’t work is when you copy other people’s templates verbatim. By doing that, you’re essentially putting yourself in a box with hundreds of other people sending the exact same email, which probably won’t yield the best results. Try and provide value to the person who’s receiving the email to increase your chances of getting links. We have an awesome playlist on various link building strategies, so if you’re relatively new to link building or struggling to build quality backlinks, contact us.

SEO in 2020

Indexation.

Search engines crawl, parse, and store information in a database called a search index. End users are then able to access this information using Google search. So if your content aren’t indexed, then it’s impossible to get your site or content discovered in search. To check if your site is indexed, go to the Coverage report in Google Search Console and you should be able to see which pages Google has indexed.

Also, if you haven’t submitted a sitemap, then you can do that here, too. Now, if you don’t have Search Console setup, go to Google and search for site:yourdomain. Hopefully you’ll see most of your content there. If you’re seeing zero results, it means your site isn’t indexed. If this is you, there are three things you should look for.

First, make sure you haven’t unintentionally noindexed all of your content. This often happens with redesigns where developers will noindex an entire site during development and forget to switch it back when migrating. Just open the source code on your site, and search for noindex. If you see it in your meta robots tag, then you’ll want to fix that.

Second, make sure you’re not blocking Googlebot or all user agents in your robots.txt file. Just go to yourdomain.com/robots.txt and check if you’re blocking all bots from crawling any content on your website.

And third, check Search Console for a manual action. You can do that by clicking on Manual actions in the sidebar.
Fix whatever it is, and submit a reconsideration request. Now, if you have specific content that aren’t being indexed, then you likely have more of a technical SEO issue. First, do the same checks that I mentioned, like making sure you didn’t noindex the content. Another reason can be if you’re automatically generating millions of indexable content.
These are most likely going to be low-quality and will affect your crawl budget. Some examples are forum profiles or faceted navigation issues on ecommerce content. There are literally an endless number of things to check for if your content aren’t being indexed, but these are the most common.

Useful Links

Conclusion

Bottomline: if your content aren’t in Google’s index, your SEO future in 2020 or even 2222 won’t be very promising. Now, while things like BERT or using Python to automate SEO tasks might seem exciting, prioritize and don’t lose focus on these three things that are actually going to get your content on top of search engine results.

Think about it like this.
You don’t need to know how running shoes are made in order to become a better sprinter. You need to strengthen your core muscle groups, practice the fundamentals like starting, accelerating, and finishing.

Most importantly, you need to get out there and compete with others. In the same way, SEO is all about fundamentals. Focus on the things that matter most rather than chasing shiny tactics from headlines
claiming SEO has completely changed.

Now, I’d love to hear from you.
Do you think that SEO will be more or less the same in 2020 vs. last year?
Let me know in the comments and if you enjoyed this article.