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5 SEO practices you should be doing in 2020

10 February 2020
Nathanael McMillan

In several ways, organic search rankings are the backbone of the online business world.

As most SEO specialists know, Google has been quiet about what goes into their search ranking algorithms, which they continuously update all the time. When a new update is released, search enthusiasts are quick to make conclusions about how to adjust their SEO strategies to match with the Google ranking algorithms.

Ever so often, experts behind the scenes at Google occasionally drop huge hints and the indications about an update -"focus on this, neglect that."

Yet, regardless of what the experts at Google think or recommend, there are plenty of SEO strategies you should be paying attention to. Here are the six important ones. 

 

1. Optimizing image alt text

Image alt text has been one of the valuable components in SEO for a long time.

In the past few years, there have been increasing talks regarding Google using machine learning to understand what an image is and what it’s all about – which was the main function of image alt text.

So does this mean that including alt text is a waste of time? The answer is definitely not. 

Regardless of what the newer, AI-fueled procedures for image recognition, including good image alt texts on your website isn't going to be harmful to your business anyway.

Keep in mind, machine learning is a relatively new concept. Even though image alt text might be completely obsolete in the next five to ten years (maybe sooner), the "old fashioned way" of optimizing your images is certainly a good idea to play it safe.

 

2. Prioritizing authority of the content

Content "authority" has been one of the major components of SEO from the beginning. The simple fact is, Google wants to provide the most credible and authoritative content to users based on their search queries. 

Following the August 2018 Medic Core update, it was clear that the E-A-T (Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness) of content is what organizations in Your Money Your Life industries needed to be prioritizing. However, a lot of the details regarding this concept were redacted in this recent March update (this is speculation, of course).

People were left with the question, "Is our main priority still be focusing on building authority with our content? If so, how much?”

The simple answer to this question is yes, you should ALWAYS be focusing on building authoritative content!

This, as a result, comes down to the foundation of creating meaningful, reliable content and making it easy for all the users to consume. Furthermore, providing reference to credible data/information to support your claims should always be included in your common strategies when it comes to creating authoritative content. 

 

3. Creating longer content

John Mueller has publically mentioned that only word count itself is not a ranking factor.

Due to the fact that some pages can have a lot of words that mean nothing, hence word count is not indicative of the quality. In this regard,  Google will not only rank your content based on word count alone, meaning that short-form content has the same ranking potential as long-term.

But, does it mean to disregard longer content and aim to create a shorter one? No! 

In fact, the most important thing about content creation is that it provides the most relevant and helpful information based on search queries and particularly user intent. As a site owner, you maybe can do this in 1000 words or maybe 3000 words. Hence, it's literally up to your judgment to decide how long your content should be. 

According to the recent content research case study by Backlinko, it explains that “Long-form content receives an average of 77.2% more links than short articles. Therefore, long-form content indicates to be ideal for backlink acquisition.” This more or less leads to improved organic search results too.

Given this, contents with higher word counts typically have more potential to get to the root of search intent and target more relevant queries. With that being said, it is better off for you to create longer content. Nevertheless, fluff and irrelevant words should be eliminated in order for you to answer pressing questions with meaningful and credible insight.

 

4. Targeting LSI keywords, but not for ranking

Generally, Latent Semantic Indexing keywords do not directly your search ranking on Google. But, selecting LSI keywords wisely can help your content cover necessary information related to your keywords and phrases you originally targeted. Substantially, it will help you to get better ranking for those relevant search terms as well as avoiding keywords stuffing penalties. 

Without LSI keywords, it will be more difficult for Google to understand your content, pinpoint the SEO correlations, and the overlap between the content on your website.

So, instead of attempting to repeatedly use the same keywords throughout your content, implementing LSI keywords is crucial for assisting Google bots to understand your messaging and its correlations to user intent.

 

5. Keywords in the domain name are marginal for ranking

The days of exact match domains working SEO magic are gone for a while. At the present time, the URL of the domain plays an insignificant role in Google's ranking factors. 

According to Google: “You want the answer, not billions of webpages, so Google ranking systems sort through hundreds of billions of webpages in our Search index to give you the most useful and relevant results in a fraction of a second.”

Now, this doesn’t always mean that using keywords in your domain is a bad thing. Exact match domains can potentially play a role in how your webpage ranks. But it is unpredictable.

The goal is to tailor the domain around user intent. For instance,  let’s Google “hotel marketing.”

The user intent for this particular query is fairly straightforward: hotels looking for marketing services. With this being said, including this focused keyword can potentially help a niche website or service provider rank for this particular request.

So, implementing keywords into your domain name can provide clues to users as to what your site is all about while guiding them to find the answers they look for.

Clearly, this will definitely not work for every domain.

Let’s Google the term “muffler replacement.”

Notice that there is no keyword matching in any of the top domains listed. For queries like this, Google has determined that searchers are often looking for resources like directories, guides, and DIY instructions. Therefore, using these keywords in a domain wouldn’t benefit much.

So, if you decide to do this, you must be VERY careful about it. Google sometimes creak down on the exact match domain practice when people started abusing it.

Be searchable online by optimizing your keywords.

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