Class is back in session – but we’ve graduated to the next level. Part 4 in our SEO series covers more advanced techniques you can use to boost your website traffic and rank better in search engines.
SEO Strategies for 2020, Part 1: Welcome to the New School
SEO Strategies for 2020, Part 2: Basic Optimization
SEO Strategies for 2020, Part 3: Know Your Audience
SEO IS GETTING TOUGHER IN 2020.
As we said in our 101 lessons, SEO is a competition.
Your success requires you to beat out your competitors for key positions in search results. The most challenging aspect of SEO is that the landscape is always evolving. Google is constantly changing its algorithms and new staffing companies are always entering the market, vying for the same space you are.
Sticking to the basics is a good start, but it won’t be enough to (literally) come out on top. Let’s dive deeper into the strategies you can use to earn better rankings and drive more traffic to your site.
WHAT IS GOOGLE’S NUMBER ONE RANKING FACTOR?
Old School SEO: Keywords, keywords, keywords!
New School SEO: Relevance!
HOW DOES GOOGLE DETERMINE RELEVANCE?
Remember, Google is so successful because it generates real answers to questions people have every single day. That’s why the most relevant content for a search ranks the best. It’s also why Google is always tweaking its algorithms.
The point is to provide the best matches for every search, so with each tweak, Google gets “smarter” about which results to kick back for individual searches.
What the Heck is Search Intent? (And why does it matter?)
We define search intent as the primary goal of a user when they type a search query into a search engine. This is one of the biggest factors in determining whether your page has a shot of ranking. And believe it or not, it doesn’t necessarily have to do with keywords!
Most people search for answers to questions or solutions to problems. There is a person behind every single search, so your job is to be the most relevant website for your target audience’s questions.
The main types of search intent are:
- Informational – This is when someone types in a keyword or phrase that doesn’t indicate exactly what action they want to take. They are simply looking for an answer to a question.
- Commercial Investigation – This type of search is familiar to all of us. This is used when you are just starting to investigate a purchase you may want to make down the road.
- Navigational – This is a search used when someone knows the website they want to go to, but they don’t type in the address. For example, they type “Wall Street Journal” because they are looking for that exact website.
- Transactional – When someone is ready to buy right now, we call that a transactional search because the result is a transaction. So, when you’re analyzing keywords, you want to understand the intent of the search behind those keywords. Then, you match your content to that intent. If your content doesn’t match with search intent, you will not rank.
Semantics is the study of the relationship between words and how we draw meaning from those words. Semantic search is the relationship between what a user types into the search bar and what they actually mean (or are looking for).
Old School SEO: Keywords, keywords, keywords (again – notice a pattern?)
New School SEO: Understanding what your content is about to determine relevance.
What is your content about?
In the old days, you could stuff keywords about dentistry into an article about trees and it would rank. Today, that’s not the case. Google realized long ago that people were gaming the system, so they focused on getting better at matching results.
Yes, they are looking for keywords, but that’s just one component. They are also looking for related keywords and secondary keywords to gauge what your page is about.
Semantic Search Quick Tip: Use Google Search console to uncover all the different queries your content ranks for. This will give you clues into the secondary keywords you should be including in your content to help you rank for a wider variety of keywords and generate more traffic to your website.
My next post will explore how to drive more clicks to your website. If you can’t wait until then, download the full, FREE eBook “SEO Strategies for 2020: Welcome to the New School” here!
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