What’s the secret to winning at SEO in 2020? If you want to outrank your competition, there are three things you will need:
- The best content you can produce.
- The best content distribution plan you can design.
- And the best site optimization you can muster.
1. Search-Intent Oriented ContentThe web has a content problem. There’s just too much of it. Search Google for literally anything, and the total number of results will be in the hundreds of millions – and it’s an everyday thing. What’s more, nobody expects all of those results to be good. However, users expect to see something good on the Page 1 of Google. Can you imagine digging through those millions of results to find only a dozen that deserve to be displayed there? That’s what Google does every day, over 79,000 times per second. Now, users might not occupy themselves with how Google is getting it done. But you, as a website owner, are different: you need to know the ins and outs of online search because you have content to promote. How does Google decide which pages deserve to be at the top? There are over 200 major ranking factors, but it all boils down to one thing: who’s the best at being helpful to users. Or, in SEO terms, at satisfying user search intent. So how do you pull that off?
Have a Clear Grasp of What Exactly You Are Offering to Your Users
Pick Keywords That Will Lead Users to Your Content
- They clearly reflect what you have to offer. Short, vague keywords like “buy boots” won’t be of any use to you. Even if a miracle lets you outrank the big brands, you’ll still risk bringing in users who don’t want the kind of product you have. Try optimizing for more specific phrases like “winter boots for women”.
- They have a high search volume. The more people use a search phrase in a given area, the more people you can turn into your users. Keywords with a low search volume can also be useful, but only when you use many at once to make up for their individual low potential.
Proceed to Create High-Quality Content
- Research what the users want, as accurately and in-depth as you can. Users always want more details. If they can get those details from you, then you already have an advantage.
- Make your content visually appealing. As humans are visual creatures, you should know how to make a good first impression and make it last.
- Provide the best user experience you can. Let nothing on your site get on the users’ nerves. You are supposed to be helping them and making them feel welcome.
- Address the users’ pain points. If you revive their problems in their heads, it will make them hungrier for the solutions you are about to offer.
- Give detailed solutions to the users’ problems. Often users don’t know about all the pitfalls they can encounter on the way to their goal. Be sure to include solutions to those issues too: that’s what real experts do.
- Seal the deal with a call-to-action.
2. Keyword Research & OptimizationHave you figured out how to make your users’ dream content? Great job! You have a good reason to be proud of yourself if you have pulled it off. Now it’s time for the next step: helping users find your content in search engines. This part requires keywords. In the previous section, it was said that your content needs to be tailored to users’ search intent. The same applies to keywords. Phrasing reflects what exactly users are looking for, so keywords phrased with a specific intent in mind are the best at bringing in the audience you need. Examples:
- Plumber in my city: Your site is for users from your city who need plumber’s services.
- How to remove rust off my sink: You provide instructions for removing rust stains from metal surfaces in bathrooms and kitchens.
- Sell my old books: You buy books (and likely other things too) from people who don’t need them anymore.
- From Google Search Console: If you have connected your WebCEO project to your Google Search Console account, it will start drawing data from Google. Then you can check out the Keywords from Google Search Console tool for all the various queries that bring your website traffic after being found in search. It will also show the usefulness of each query through statistics such as click-through rates and average ranking positions taken from global data over the past 30 days.
- From your competitors: This is a two-step process. What keywords do your competitors use to optimize their sites? First, enter their URL address in the Spy on Competitors tool to find out. Add the keywords you’d like to rank for yourself to the keyword basket, then open the Competitor Rankings by Keyword report to check their rankings for those keywords. If you see someone rank poorly for a good keyword, start using it yourself – it’s an easy way to outrank them.
- Page URL addresses.
- Meta descriptions.
- Image filenames, ALT attributes and captions.
- H1-H4 headings.
- Anchor texts of internal links.
- Other text.
3. Competitor ResearchHow do you measure a site’s success? You can judge it by its rankings, traffic, conversions, and the revenue it makes. Ultimately, this SEO strategy is supposed to make you more successful than your rivals in the niche. I bet you already have your eye on a few competitor websites that you want to beat. And that will be much easier if you can view their metrics whenever you want, too. There’s also the possibility they aren’t really your rivals, and you need to be fighting someone else. What’s the word for beating someone at their game only to find out you have won nothing? “Awkward” is the nicest thing that comes to mind. Let’s remove all awkwardness from your path to stardom. Our starting point is the Dangerous Competitors tool. Click on the Settings button.
- Keywords tab: Enter the keywords you intend to rank for.
- Search engines tab: Select the search engines where you want to rank.
- Mirrors & Subdomains tab: Enter the URLs of your site’s mirrors and subdomains (if you have any). It will let the tool know that they shouldn’t be considered competitor sites.
- Competitors tab: Enter the URLs of the competitors you already know.
- Search results tab: Check the boxes of all types of search results you want to scan.
- Local searches tab: Select regions like states, counties or provinces to show keyword demand for (if you want to rank somewhere in particular and not just globally).
- Creating content.
- Promoting content.
- Providing a superb user experience.
- Building a cordial relationship with users.
- Optimizing your site.
- Rankings: compare your ranking positions to theirs for your chosen keywords in the Competitor Rankings by Keyword
- Backlinks: check the Competitor Link Profile report for everyone’s link profile statistics, including the total number of backlinks and domain authority
- Traffic: the Competitor Traffic report has everyone’s traffic data for the last 12 months.
4. Page Speed OptimizationSomething has been bothering me for the longest time. So, electricity travels at the speed of light, right? The Internet runs on electricity, and data packets move at the same speed. Then how come there isn’t even a single website which can load at the speed of light? It’s unfair. Of course, humans cannot comprehend such tremendous speeds anyway. So we are perfectly fine with the next best thing, which we usually describe as “in the blink of an eye”. That’s how fast we want websites to load, and we get really upset when it doesn’t happen. Fortunately, some people are slow blinkers. That must be why most users are comfortable with a couple of seconds of loading time. Any more can cause a problem. Scan your site with the Page Speed Insights tool to check its loading speed. If the score is low (100 is excellent), there are plenty of ways to make your site load faster:
- Host your site on a fast server.
- Host your site on a CDN.
- Optimize your images’ dimensions.
- Save your images in the right format.
- Compress images.
- Use fewer elements.
- Merge elements.
- Use gzip compression.
- Leverage browser caching.
5. Technical AuditErrors are a nuisance no matter where you encounter them. Users won’t be appreciative if you let your website go. Would you let garbage pile up in your office where everyone can see it? Of course you wouldn’t; it would be disrespectful to the people who visit you. The place where you receive your customers should be kept clean and run like a well-oiled machine. Websites are the same. What kind of issues on your site could be hurting user experience?
- Broken links
- Broken images
- Broken redirects
- Server errors
- Missing meta tags
- Indexing issues
- Crawling issues
- Orphaned pages
- Dead-end pages
- Schema markup errors
The Robots.Txt File
Schema Markup Validator