As you dig in with your SEO strategies in 20trăng tròn, stichồng with what you vị well & prioritize time for organic tìm kiếm tactics you’ve neglected or handled the wrong way.

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Leverage every opportunity that Google gives your content lớn rank well. Despite constant changes by Google & consumer behavior, a 2019 BrightEdge study found that organic commands 53% of all website traffic.

Organic commands 53% of trang web traffic. 2019
mikeonlinecoach #study #SEO Clichồng To Tweet

Here are trăng tròn realities, stats, resources, reminders, & practical steps you can follow this year.

1. Backlinks are vital

Regardless of their size, companies can always benefit from more liên kết. They’re the lifeblood of domain name và page authority, which continue to be a significant ranking factor. Eric Enge puts it in perspective in the most recent Perficient/Digital 2018 study, Links as a Ranking Factor:

(W)e don’t find that links can rescue poor quality content or cause low relevance nội dung khổng lồ rank. Also, all of our efforts focus on getting recognition from, or content published on, very high-authority sites. Doing this well requires a focus on how you implement your kinh doanh and truyền bá to lớn get in front of the audiences that matter to your business the most. This will naturally drive sầu high value liên kết back to your site, và help you earn rankings that you deserve sầu.

Links are the lifeblood of tên miền & page authority, which continue to lớn be a significant ranking factor, says
mikeonlinecoach via
cminội dung. #SEO Cliông xã To Tweet

Learn more about link building:

2. Quality nội dung is essential but relative

Exceptional nội dung doesn’t guarantee a top ranking. Links from other websites, implementation of SEO best practices, and great nội dung work together lớn help your pages land top spots on Google and other tìm kiếm engines.

Exceptional #nội dung doesn’t guarantee a top ranking, says
mikeonlinecoach via
cminội dung. #SEO Clichồng To Tweet

Let’s look at John Deere. Moz credits the tên miền with a 70 score (on a 1-to-100 scale). It’s not surprising that this straightforward plowing article ranks No. 5 for “garden plow” with an average of 880 monthly searches on Google.


The header even matches some of the tìm kiếm words.

But then there is John Deere’s brvà magazine, The Furrow. It has a 39 tên miền authority score and has trouble ranking for some of its chất lượng nội dung.

For example, the Micro View, Macro Plans feature ranks poorly, at No. 49, for “microscopic arthropods” with 50 monthly searches on Google. Based on the header, it’s clear that SEO isn’t a priority & quality nội dung doesn’t yield a great harvest even with good writing like:

“Making their soils a welcome home page for microbes has become their goal. They’ve even adopted the motto lớn of ‘Loyal khổng lồ the Soil.’ Impact on soil life is considered for every action taken.”



3. Don’t worry about every ranking factor

A giant gap exists between the ranking impact of từ khóa in page titles and nội dung headers vs. page load tốc độ, sản phẩm điện thoại appearance, & the use of HTTPS. Though we don’t know the actual importance of any factor, I constantly grab top rankings by adjusting page titles và headers even while minor ranking variables get poor marks.

Search engine rankings vary for many reasons, including personal tìm kiếm history and geography (i.e., Google Local Pack). Google keeps refining its algorithm as it noted Nov. 12 in its Twitter channel Google SearchLiasion:

We have updates that happen all the time in Google Search. If we don’t nội dung about them, there is no particular actionable guidance to follow nor changes khổng lồ make other than to lớn keep focused on great nội dung as we’ve sầu advised generally.

Given ranking factor volatility, it’s no wonder that Searchmetrics now releases ranking factor data by industry instead of overall reports.

In a 2019 SparkToro survey, more than 1,500 SEO marketers weighed in on key ranking factors. Most of them (66.3%) believe the weight of Google ranking factors varies by query.


Respondents prioritized nội dung relevance and chất lượng backlinks among mỏi the top ranking factors:


In a
sparktoro survey, respondents prioritized #nội dung relevance & chất lượng backlink aý muốn top ranking factors, says
mikeonelinecoach via
cmicontent. #SEO Click To Tweet


4. Expect tìm kiếm engines khổng lồ become even more sophisticated

As they strive sầu khổng lồ provide the most relevant results, search engines strive lớn underst& the intent behind each query.

Last year, Google rolled out BERT, a natural-language-processing algorithm update technically known as Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. So far, BERT focuses on searcher intent for one of every 10 English searches in the United States.

“BERT models can therefore consider the full context of a word by looking at the words that come before và after it – particularly useful for understanding the intent behind search queries,” writes Google’s Pandu Nayak, vice president of search. “Particularly for longer, more conversational queries, or searches where prepositions like ‘for’ & ‘to’ matter a lot to the meaning, Search will be able khổng lồ understand the context of the words in your query. You can search in a way that feels natural for you.”

It’s easy lớn confuse BERT with RankBrain, the update in 2015 as the core part of Google’s algorithm. RankBrain leverages machine learning to lớn generate search results, drawing from a broad set of variables (including the history of related searches).

Because of RankBrain, you might rank for a keyword phrase that’s not even in your content. In its 2017 Ranking Factors 2.0 study, SEMrush found that 18% of websites that ranked well didn’t have sầu the keywords in their content.

How could that be? Google is getting better at sizing up searches with relevant content – not necessarily từ khóa.

is getting better at sizing up searches with relevant #content, not necessarily keyword, says
mikeonlinecoach via
cminội dung. #SEO Cliông chồng To Tweet

Google focuses more on ideas that nội dung conveys than the keywords phrases. Amuốn the trillions of searches it handles each year, Google has said that 15% of queries are first-time searches. RankBrain does its best to lớn make sense of them.

Google doesn’t offer specifics about RankBrain, but Search Engine Watch has a good piece that goes into lớn more detail: Google RankBrain: Clearing Up the Myths & Misconceptions.

5. Don’t expect relief from buried organic pages on tìm kiếm engine result pages (SERPs)

A No. 1 organic page ranking is not necessarily a cause for celebration or a traffic increase. In the past few years, I’ve sầu seen website pages with high rankings chiến bại traffic.

You know the painful scenario. A mix of four paid ads appears first. Then a featured snippet follows with some shopping results, a paông xã of images, videos, & a People Also Ask box. Then, after scrolling way down, your “No. 1” ranking appears.

Google often provides so many basic facts on the results page that searchers don’t need to cliông xã. That happens nearly 49% of the time, according to a 2019 SparkToro report based on Jumpshot clickstream data. The study referenced more than 1 billion web searches on 10 million U.S. domestic desktop & Android devices.

Nearly 49% of Google searchers never clichồng a link: 2019
sparktoro report.
mikeonlinecoach via
cminội dung. #SEO Click To Tweet

3M is just one of countless SERP victims. You think 3M would rank well for “anti glare film,” which has about 900 monthly searches on Google.

But the 3M result appears far down the page represented in the following screenshots:





HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT: 3 Ways to lớn Re-Use Your Content Magnets lớn Dominate SERPs

6. Refine those keyword phrases

Don’t stiông xã with the same phối of keywords. Use keywords research và ranking tools khổng lồ explore new possibilities. I routinely reference SEMrush, Moz, & other sources to discover key phrases that I never considered.

Don’t stichồng with the same set of keyword. Use keyword research & ranking tools such as
moz &
semrush, says
mikeonlinecoach via
cminội dung. #SEO #tools Cliông chồng To Tweet


7. Showcase trust & authority

Google may increasingly give sầu an edge khổng lồ trang web nội dung that seems trustworthy. You can gain that advantage by having experts offer useful insights in articles và listing their credentials in short bquả táo.

Xem thêm: Top 10 Cách Đặt Tên Cho Quán Ăn Vặt, 7 Cách Đặt Tên Quán Ăn Hay

The focus on trust stems from the Google 168-page document, Google Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines that cites the value of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T). Google elaborates on those values in the tìm kiếm algorithms section of another report, How Search algorithms work:

Beyond matching the words in your query with relevant documents on the web, Search algorithms also ayên to lớn prioritize the most reliable sources available. To bởi vì this, our systems are designed lớn identify signals that can help determine which pages demonstrate expertise, authoritativeness, & trustworthiness on a given topic.


8. Pay attention lớn page URLs

Sure, ranking factors vary. But you shouldn’t neglect URLs. Keep them short – three khổng lồ six words that reflect the nội dung. Too often, websites dilute URLs with so many words that they thua their effectiveness.

Not good:

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT: Oops! 17 SEO Misfires to Avoid With Website Content Marketing

9. Optimize for featured snippets and answer boxes

Fortunately, Google doesn’t award the featured snippets khổng lồ the largest websites. It seems any relevant trang web can earn the top spot. Chechồng out Stephan Spencer’s CXiaoMI article: OK, Google: How Do I Optimize My Content for Featured Snippets?

Understand which answers searchers are looking for và format #content w/ snippet in mind.
SSpencer via
cmicontent #SEO Click To Tweet

Like featured snippets and other coveted elements, your page often won’t show in the Google answer box. But you can increase your chances with some good tips from Dennis Shiao in How to lớn Be the Content in the Enviable Google Answer Box.

10. Optimize your trang web images

When processing images, your team should make sure lớn focus on the tệp tin kích thước, name, alternative text text, & more for SEO success. Here are some great articles to guide you:

11. Use schema markup khổng lồ better define website content

Website developers và marketers don’t always take the time khổng lồ add schema markup (semantic vocabulary of tags). The code helps search engines identify what nội dung means. Including it can affect how information is displayed in search results – everything from reviews and events khổng lồ products và recipes.

Here are some resources to help elevate your schema markup:

12. Make videos for your visitors (và SEO)

Videos can be a new avenue for SEO opportunities. On YouTube, links to lớn your trang web in the descriptions (an often overlooked option). Also, since Google shows videos in the SERPs – above regular website pages – you could get the additional exposure. Don’t forget to create website page transcripts to rank for more keywords, including long-tail từ khoá phrases. Speechpad is one resource.

YouTube, liên kết khổng lồ your website in the descriptions, says
mikeonlinecoach via
cminội dung. #SEO Clichồng To Tweet

13. Create sneak peeks at your educational content

If you gate your content, such as a White paper or an educational guide, release an excerpt or two. Search engines can crawl that text và the search rankings can drive traffic lớn the gated nội dung landing page where you can use a Hotline khổng lồ action to lớn download the full version.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT: How to lớn Create Great Gated Content From Existing Content

14. Make sure your site doesn’t have sầu crawl issues

Search engines may not crawl every page you want them to see. They might be impeded by your overall website structure or too many redirects. Reference Google Search Console khổng lồ kích cỡ up your trang web performance.

Additionally, it never hurts khổng lồ spot kiểm tra some of your deep nội dung. Simply grab quality text from a page and tìm kiếm for it within quotes on Google. In an instant, you’ll know whether it’s been captured. For detailed SEO analysis, use a tool like Screaming Frog SEO Spider.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT: 13 Great Tools khổng lồ Put Your Website Load Time in the Fast Lane

15. Remove or bloông chồng thin content

Not all of your nội dung may help your SEO efforts. Pagination issues, nội dung with only one paragraph, and pages based on a single tag in WordPress have sầu little or no value (i.e., thin content).

If you have sầu a low-quality page that’s not ranking well, you might discourage search engines from indexing it. Use your robots.txt tệp tin lớn tell search engines what pages they should ignore. That way, Google & other search engines will give sầu more weight lớn the remaining content.

Use your robots.txt tệp tin khổng lồ tell search engines what pages they should ignore, says
mikeonlinecoach via
cminội dung. #SEO Cliông xã To Tweet
HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT: Thin Content: Why You Should Fix or Remove sầu Low-Quality Web Pages

16. Listen to lớn voice search trends

It’s hard khổng lồ ignore the impact of voice search, especially since more than 1.6 billion voice assistants are expected lớn be in use through smartphones & smart speakers like Google Home, Amazon Alexa, và Apple Siri by 2022. And a PwC study found that 71% of U.S. adults would rather use a voice assistant than type something online. Based on your technology và nội dung, your trang web already may be amuốn some voice-related search results that the assistants announce. A Backlinko study of 10,000 results from Google Home identified several factors, including:

70.4% of results secured with HTTPSAverage word count was 2,312 words75% of voice tìm kiếm results were amuốn the top three positions for the search query40.7% come from a featured snippet75% of voice tìm kiếm results were amuốn the top three positions for the search query via
backlinko. #study #SEO Clichồng To Tweet

These results indicate you should ensure that your site is secure, develop long-khung content, và strive sầu to lớn provide answers that are included in featured snippets.


17. Rethành viên that websites with SEO flaws still persize well

Large businesses sometimes seem to ignore SEO basics and still rank well even when they have sầu limited text on pages, don’t name their images correctly, & earn failing grades with page load speed. Sure, they could probably address those items. But it’s always a judgment call on where lớn devote resources. You don’t have sầu to perfect every SEO best practice. Pick the improvements that will best serve your SEO.

If you know internal liên kết could be better, work on that over time. If you want more effective sầu meta descriptions to lớn draw visitors in, use best practices moving forward. You can always refine old pages as time allows.

If you’re going to lớn update those image tệp tin names & write alt text, identify pages that are cthua thảm to lớn ranking well. But rethành viên, image optimization is small stuff compared to getting quality liên kết or building relevant nội dung, which can raise your tên miền & page authority.

For example, trang chủ Depot gets an F with the GTmetrix page-tốc độ analysis tool, but it ranks No. 1 on Google for tons of từ khóa phrases.


And here’s another example. Northern Tool has top Google rankings, but it doesn’t name images with keyword. The image name for this welder/generator is: 42542_2000x2000.jpg.



How are they pulling off those top rankings even though they haven’t optimized for all the ranking factors? I think it’s because of their domain authority, which is affected in large part by backlinks. Home Depot’s score is 91 và Northern Tool has a respectable 68. Small businesses struggle with domain name authority. In 2020, I analyzed 200 of them in and SEO study & found that 69% had scores in the 1-đôi mươi range.

18. Pay attention lớn some of the small stuff

It’s been 13 years since Google suggested it tracks more than 200 ranking signals. Whether the total is 200 or 10,000 today, every indicator can’t matter as much as all the rest. Here are some examples of minor ranking variables worth your attention as you build nội dung & measure metrics:

Outbound linksBullets và numbered lists that provide a good user experienceRegular website updatesGrammarInternal liên kết titlesDwell time (how long a visitor stays on a page after conducting a search)

19. Avoid one-and-done syndrome

Have sầu you ever gone all in and optimized a page of nội dung & moved on without ever looking back? Regretfully, I have. It’s foolish – to an extent. You can’t nhận xét everything, but you should have sầu a mindphối that values data lượt thích rankings and natural search engine traffic and conversions. When you Reviews the data, look for opportunities to lớn take another stab at existing nội dung by making a few changes. Add a compelling graphic with some key facts to hold the visitor’s attention. I’m convinced that engagement is a ranking factor worth some of your time. Revisit a page nội dung header & tweak it khổng lồ lvà some more page đầu từ khóa rankings.

20. Pay attention to lớn your industry

Some of Google’s algorithm changes, including the Medic Update of 2018, seem khổng lồ affect some industries more than others. That’s why it’s helpful to lớn track your site’s rankings as well as your direct competitors & other leading websites in your business sector.

Though you won’t know precisely what Google changes, you can monitor when your rankings improve sầu or drop significantly and see if it could be an industry trover.

Optimize in 2020

Ranking factors will continue to lớn fluctuate. To succeed, you should have sầu a svào foundation with sound trang web kiến thiết & play khổng lồ your strengths. You also should identify three or so variables that your company can tackle within the resources available this year.

Do you have considerable content you can update? Can you create new pages & nail the SEO elements? How effective sầu are you at building backliên kết from unique websites?

Where you focus your time will make all the difference.

Please note: All tools included in our blog posts are suggested by authors, not the CXiaoMI editorial team. No one post can provide all relevant tools in the space. Feel không tính phí lớn include additional tools in the comments (from your company or ones that you have used).

Get the lathử nghiệm on the tech side of SEO & other nội dung marketing skills at ContentTECH Summit in August in San Diego. Register today.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute


Author: Mike Murray

Mike Murray has shaped online kinh doanh strategies for hundreds of businesses since 1997, including Fortune 500 companies. A former journadanh sách, he has led SEO studies & spoken at regional & national Internet conferences, including Content Marketing World.Founder of Online Marketing Coach, Mike is passionate about helping clients identify their best opportunities for online kinh doanh success based on their strengths, his advice và industry trends. You can find hyên on Twitter