A quick guide to SEO in 2020

Can Google find my website? Well, that’s what SEO is all about. Can Google find your website, and where does it come in the incredible list that Google provides as search results.

Obviously number 1 spot on page 1 is the most coveted space. In this quick guide to SEO in 2020 we’ll look at how you get there and whether it actually means anything once you’re there.

Writing great SEO content is one side to Google finding you, the other is having your website and blog set up right. 

Okay, so first things first. Let’s clear up some stuff.

​SEO = Search Engine Optimisation.

SEO refers to things you can do on your website page (including blog pages) to set up the content so that search engines can find it.

If your goal is for more people to find you through organic (not paid ads) Google (or any other search engine) searches then SEO is what you need to start working on.

Here are some any-time things to do for boosting your SEO

​ On page keywords

Although targeting specific keywords is getting less important for SEO, it’s still important to know what your tribe are asking, concerned about and looking for.

Instead of thinking “where about on the page should I place keywords to impress SEO”, think “If I was looking for information on xx, what would I type into Google. How would I know through reading the title if it was going to answer my question?

If you answer the question your tribe want answered then the keywords will flow naturally (which is what SEO really wants in 2020).

So when you think about keyword research, think of the language and questions your tribe would ask. And yes. Google knows about synonyms too – so use them!

​Alt text

Alt text allows Google algorithms to ‘see’ images. Generally when you load up and image to your blog or website page you can set the alt text under an advanced setting button.

So if you’ve imported an image of your massage studio, write in the alt text box ‘Sonja’s therapeutic massage studio, Auckland’ … for example!

Protip: When you upload an image give it a file name that makes sense. So an image of Sonja’s massage studio should have a file name of ‘Sonja’s therapeutic massage studio, Auckland’ and an alt text similar. 

H1 headers

Double check that your blog title or first title with a keyword in it has an ‘H1’ tag. This is the highest header ranking and carries more weight with SEO. Many of the websites that I look over for clients and doing competitor research haven’t got H1 tags. It’s such an easy SEO fix!

Having an H1 tag on your blog header or main title for your web page is like a fluoro sign flashing away to Google that this is the topic of the page.

Although it sounds really quite technical it’s not. Here’s how to make H1 tags happen easily …

  • On Rocketspark your blog titles are H1 tagged
  • On WordPress your blog titles should automatically be H1 tagged
  • On Weebly you’ll have to recode it yourself using code or a plug-in
  • On Wix, blog headings are automatically H1, so all good
  • Squarespace should be, but you need to check your template

Don’t have more than one H1 header tag per page.

Choose your H1 tag words carefully to include key words that your tribe will be looking for AND relate to the topic of your page or blog.

​Meta tag descriptions

Meta tag descriptions are that little preview text that comes up with the link on the Google search page.

Using meta tag descriptions helps get the RIGHT client reading your page. The RIGHT client means that they’ll stay longer, improving your metrics for how long readers stay on your site. Which works beautifully for SEO ratings. Woo hoo!

How do you add meta tag descriptions?

If you do your own website, then head to the page information whatever platform you’re with. Often it’s on the side bar under something that indicates that it’s for SEO settings.

Protip: Keep your meta tag description to 155-160 characters so all the message is seen. Don’t duplicate meta tag descriptions on different pages. Keep it specific to that page. If possible, tell your clients what problem you solve.

Meta key words

Many SEO experts stopped using the meta key word section on your SEO settings years ago. Meta key words fell foul of SEO eager-beavers stuffing all the key words they could find in this section. So Google doesn’t pay much attention any more.

Key words on your page, as part of the blog or page information is MUCH better than stuffing words in the back-end of the code.

If you’re going to use meta key words, use them alongside consistent keywords on your H1 tag, meta tag description and URL tag. Don’t expect it to change your Google ranking. Meta key words can also help you focus your writing and keep it on topic!

Protip: Use 10-15 max per page, repeat as few as possible on other pages. Keep it as specific as possible to that page.

If you don’t use them, that’s fine too!

URL tags

Having a page title, or URL tag that makes sense means your reader is more likely to know what they’re getting, and click through. Avoid using numbers, weird codes that make sense to you or anything like that. Use titles that are obvious. 

Now, we’ve covered the anytime SEO basics, here’s what to do to boost your SEO in 2020

1.Meet BERT and take advantage of Googles latest update

Googles latest update focuses on helping you solve problems. What does this mean? BERT (the update that Google rolled out in 2019) puts more emphasis on the intent of what you’re writing rather than just using specific strings of key words. Experts predict this will take away the need for in-depth keyword research and instead focus on ‘intent research’.

Example: You might have noticed Google search results screen showing you a Q&A section high up in the ratings. This is BERT!

In easy terms, the information you’re providing on your website and blogs counts more towards SEO if it fulfils the needs of your users.

Highlighting something I’ve been harping on about for a while now … you’ve got to know your tribe!!! If you know where you fit into their wellness journey you can provide much better content on your website that answers their questions, engages with them and they join your tribe.

What you need to do to satisfy Googles’ BERT?

  • Map out your client’s journey with you, where in their wellness journey they need you and where they’re at when they leave your tribe.
  • Focus on the words they use to describe their issues, problems and wants at each stage of their journey with you. Sit down with them. Listen to them. What words do they use to describe their problems and goals
  • Speak to these problems and goals across all your digital presence: social media sites, blogs, websites, email lists …
  • Find out how they experience your website. Whether the call to action buttons lead them on an easy and clear path through your website to their goal. Or are they confused by too many options and dead-ends? How and where did they decide to engage (or not) with you. Use this data to make your website content more focused on your tribe journey
  • The text you link from in your blogs is important. Find link text that answers questions and starts with why, how, how many, what etc.

​.User experience

If you’ve come across the acronym UX, that’s what ‘User Experience’ is. 

UX involves knowing your tribe and paying attention to the interaction experience they have with you right from where they find your listing on a search engine to when they leave your site. In fact, it goes further than that, with paying attention to how they interact with you away from your website, on social media, retargeting campaigns and email sequences. Yup. SEO now looks at all this too.

UX is something I’ve paid attention to from the beginning of writing websites. Even before 2020 SEO trends popped up. Why? Because the more you tailor your UX to your tribe, the longer they stay on your website because you’re making it easy for them and meeting their needs. Improving your time-on-page stats and impressing BERT and his previous algorithms.

What you need to do to

  • Look at your clients journey across all your digital presence
  • Make sure it’s simple, logical and valuable to your tribe
  • Stick to your talking points – those conversations your business wants to be known for (which is why having separate sites if you have two very different sides to your business is going to work better for your SEO) this year
  • Keep an eye on your site loading speed in Google Search Console. Slow speed is not going to be good for both SEO and UX. Compressing image files can be a quick way to improve site speed

3.While you’re getting to know BERT, take time and have something to E-A-T

I know, you’re now thinking “Katrina?!! What’s with all those weird words?!”

E-A-T is the ‘new’ version of K-T-L.

Expertise, Authoritativeness (oh, come on can’t we just say ‘Authority’?!) and Trustworthiness.

Which is the slightly more technical version of:

Know, Trust, Like (which is what our tribe takes notice of).

Google has taken E-A-T into account for years, but it’s been putting more and more importance on it.

What it means to your website (and you) is that Google is looking at

  • Your expertise as the creator of this digital media
  • Your authority, the authority conveyed by the content and authority of the website
  • The trustworthiness of you as the creator, the content and the website

What you need to do to

  • Have a consistent voice throughout your website, social media and web content
  • Have a voice of authority, empathy and experience to your tribe
  • Have content written by specialists in that field, rather than just a cheap option on Fivrr (Google experts have identified that this is ESPECIALLY important in the HEALTH niche)
  • Use references
  • Have a mini-bio at the end of your blogs
  • Make sure that any other external sites your website is featured on shows that you’re reputable too. Do other people recommend you as a good source of information? Where does your name or your business come up?
  • A mention of your business without a link is just as important (maybe more so) than a mention with a link
  • Work hard on getting those blog comments ON THE PAGE as well as on social media. Really great way to show E-A-T
  • Get your name around: Guest post, speak at conferences, apply for awards and write books!

​Other 2020 SEO trends to keep an eye on

  • Visual search is increasing: Google Lens, Pinterest so have images on your products, recipes and services that are real not stock (especially if your tribe is Millenials). Get that Pinterest business account!!!
  • Video too! Video featured snippets are a thing in Google search. It’s only going to get bigger. Got a YouTube channel yet? Embed your video in a blog post for extra bang!
  • Optimise for featured snippet sections on search engine results pages. Write a small, succinct summary on your info-heavy or blog posts that can be picked up
  • Create a Google My Business page to take advantage of local SEO changes
  • Keep working on getting links from other sites, but if you’ve got a local clinic, focus on getting backlinks from local sites

What next?

If you're wondering what your SEO impact is, and want some really practical actions to take to improve your SEO LET'S TALK. An SEO and brand audit will show you where you currently stand with SEO and show you how to maximise your Google presence. LET'S TALK