Top 5 SEO Best Practices for 2020 - BrandMuscle
Top 5 SEO Best Practices for 2020
January 10, 2020
By: Maggie Sullivan, SEO Digital Content Writer

An investment in search engine optimization can be transformative to your online visibility. Since SEO’s humble beginnings in 1997, countless algorithms, ranking factors and types of on-page search results have emerged. Check out these top 5 best practices to top the search engine results pages in 2020.

1. Prioritize local search

Complete, accurate location data is fundamental to improving your local online visibility. When you provide up-to-date information about your business, including store hours, address, phone number, photos, schedules, product offerings, menus and more, you can drive more sales because customers are able to easily find what they’re looking for. In fact, a Brandmuscle study found that businesses that complete more than 30 data fields saw a 25% increase in search volume and a 37% increase in profile views. As local packs become more prominent on SERPs, prioritizing location data management and local search can help your business stand out.

2. Keep feeding the content beast

Regularly creating and sharing helpful, relevant and timely content to answer customer inquiries and generate leads is the best way to cultivate a brand and earn higher search engine rankings in today’s marketing landscape. Businesses across all industries can see a significant ROI from ongoing content creation because search engines reward websites that publish fresh content. Think about how users are searching for your business offering, then base the content of your site around those searches. You can also leverage social media to seed and share links to your most valuable content.

3. Target voice search results and featured snippets

The rise of voice search through mobile devices and voice assistants calls for SEO to lay the groundwork for voice-specific queries now to establish a strong ranking. Google Search’s recent algorithm update, BERT, allows it to answer more queries that are posed as they would be verbally phrased. With this in mind, predict what questions your customers are likely to ask. Then, craft your content by directly answering those questions using language and terms they’re familiar with. SERPs for voice inquires often look similar to featured snippet sections, so concise, hyper-specific content will dominate these results. The BERT update was introduced in October 2019 and will likely continue expand to more searches in 2020. SERPs for voice inquires often look similar to featured snippet sections, so concise, hyper-specific content will dominate these results.

4. Provide rapid page speeds

Page speed has affected website rankings since 2010, but since then, users have become increasingly impatient. An ideal load time is less than three seconds. If your pages take any longer to load, you’re at risk for losing users before they even enter your site, which could subsequently lower its click-through-rate and decrease its ranking. Consider leveraging a content delivery network (CDN) for high traffic pages and large files, such as images. Also consider prioritizing pagination of viewable page assets. As the 5G rollout continues through 2020, millions of people will gain access to high-speed mobile data, setting load time expectations even higher.

5. Optimize for mobile

With an ever-increasing amount of searches happening on mobile devices, Google has implemented mobile-first indexing. This means that Google crawls, indexes and ranks the mobile version of your website instead of the desktop version. To avoid your rankings being negatively impacted, first make sure you have a mobile-friendly site. This critical to your SEO and for the user experience, as mobile users will likely leave your site immediately if it’s not easy to read and navigate. Then, make sure the content and structured data is the same on both versions of your site. You can also use tools like Google Lighthouse to ensure that page elements adhere to mobile usability best practices.

Ready to increase your business visibility, site traffic and leads? To put these best practices into action?

Contact Brandmuscle to work with our leading team of SEO and local search experts.

About the Author

Maggie provides SEO support through content development, organized project management and copy editing. Her experience includes journalism, content marketing and public relations, which she has used to serve a range of B2B clients.