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Tag: 2020

How to improve your website ranking in 2020

January 10, 2020 No Comments

There are factors that influence website ranking in search engines. Considering these factors determines how a website is ranked in search engines.

Many people wonder how the major search engines rank websites to determine which websites are the best for keyword searches. This is particularly something that people who are just starting into online marketing find perplexing. The answer to how to improve the ranking of a website through search engine optimization (SEO) methods is not always definite, but there are several known factors that have been known to significantly influence the ranking of websites.

Among the most significant factors that increase search engine optimization and influence the ranking of websites in major search engines to include a website’s content, a website’s architecture and a website’s link popularity. Even as the search engine innovations continue to advance, these have remained key factors to search engine optimization and determination of the websites that are best suited for keyword searches.

The website’s content

The old saying, “Content is king” can never be overemphasized. A website’s content is no doubt the number one factor that determines a website’s ranking by search engines. In fact, search engines are constantly developing new technologies to reward quality content on the web. The higher the quality of content on a website, the higher the website will be ranked by search engines. In turn, the high ranking of a website is a definite mark of approval that a website is relevant for particular keyword searches.

Among the things in a website’s content that are considered by search engines when evaluating the relevance of websites for keyword searches include the headers and page titles in websites, formatted texts, and links in a website, URLs of websites and page content in websites. These things help search engines establish websites that deserve high ranking for keyword searches. Therefore, for a website to be ranked highly through search engine optimization, it is very important that it maintains a good balance of these aspects of the content because they affect the ranking of websites in varying proportions.

More on the website’s content

The correct balance of keywords on a website’s page should generally be between four to five percent within the content of a website. This helps increase the odds of a website being ranked highly for keyword searches. Added to this, if the keyword is included in the URL of a website, a website’s page title and a website’s header the website increases its chances for favorable ranking by search engines. Different from earlier technologies where search engines only looked at the tags that indicated the description of a web page, today the search engine technology used by major search engines goes beyond the mega tags to look more keenly at the website’s content appropriateness for keyword searches.

The originality of a website’s content is therefore paramount to establishing and maintaining a favorable ranking of a website for keyword searches. To farther improve the chances of a website’s ranking in search engine searches, bolding the keywords can sometimes help. This indicates that a website is properly maintained, which goes a long way into convincing search engines that a website is good for keyword searches.

Website’s videos and SERP rankings

One of the reasons videos are nowadays a privileged form of content is because they are very well when it comes to delivering large amounts of information in a short/concise manner. A picture is worth a thousand words, we all know that and following that logic, we can communicate about 1.8 million words in a minute-long video which is around 3 600 pages of text.

From the standpoint of SEO, this is a big deal. The longer your visitor’s “dwell time” or session is, the greater your chances at getting search engines like Google to see your video’s value and the trustworthiness of the webpage it’s hosted on – and, ultimately, give the page a higher rank.

In addition to providing Google with textual information about your video, it needs to have an attractive thumbnail too.

in a recent e-mail interview, Natalia Hudyakova Simonenko, a Digital Marketing expert and CEO of Movavi, said,

“With regard to the SERP click-through rate, the thumbnail is even more important, since we, as humans, are naturally drawn toward catchy and beautiful images.”

Website’s architecture

The architecture of a website should ensure that the content of the website is not just appropriate, but that the content is easy to read. This is the number one reason why the architecture of a website should be maintained properly to ensure search engine optimization to a website’s content. In other words, the website’s architecture should have well-formed codes that make it easy for search engines to read the content of a site. Failure of the codes being well coded can lead to search engines totally missing a website’s content, which means poor ranking by search engines.

Therefore, websites should forego the old content management systems and use the newer, more improved encoding systems that use URL rewriting technologies. The new content management technologies make a website’s content easily readable by major search engines. This makes the website more visible by search engines. Moreover, making a website easily readable by people with disabilities also improves the chances of a website being ranked highly in major search engines.

Website’s link popularity

Needless to say, the popularity of a website is a good indication of how relevant a website is for keyword searches. A website that has high traffic suggests that the website contains relevant information for particular keywords. Because of this, the popularity of a website is used by search engines as a criterion for determining the relevance of a website for keyword searches. Google and Yahoo are an example of two major search engines that particularly use this criterion to rank websites.

Many search engines also use inbound links of websites on other websites to determine the popularity of a website. When a reference or link to a website is made within another website, search engines consider this a “vote of confidence” for the referred website.

This becomes an indication that the referred link is relevant for a particular keyword search. As a result, many such inbound references to a website are used to some degree by search engines to determine the ranking of a website.

These factors are obviously not the only SEO factors that determine the ranking of a website, but they are certainly among the well-known factors that significantly influence the ranking of the website by major search engines. Therefore, by considering these factors people stand the best chance of considerably optimizing the ranking of their website.

Jacob M. is a copywriter, marketing blogger, and inbound marketing consultant.

The post How to improve your website ranking in 2020 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Hero Conf 2020 Schedule Release! The Schedule is Live!

January 8, 2020 No Comments

The Hero Conf 2020 schedule is LIVE and ALL NEW. You’ll experience 40, never-before-heard sessions, so you’ll be sure to learn new strategies from our experts.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


YouTube Look Back: Video Ads For All in 2020

January 5, 2020 No Comments

2019 has been full of YouTube innovation. I’m here to share the 3 YouTube ad improvements that I believe are changing the game, on the creative asset front.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


What impact will voice search have on SEO in 2020?

January 4, 2020 No Comments

With every year seeing new technological developments that shift the boundaries of business, working to take advantage of the new opportunities can be a challenge in digital marketing. One of these transformations in the market has been caused by the widespread adoption of voice search technology and its effects on internet usage.

As a consequence, this has had an impact on search engine optimization, where following SEO best practices is essential for most businesses in the current era. Internet voice search could be set to disrupt SEO conventions, so businesses would be well-advised to stay informed of the changes and plan accordingly.  

The rise of voice technology

The introduction of IBM’s Watson in 2010 paved the way for voice technology devices. Watson is a powerful voice recognition question-answer computer system that stunned the world as a super-intelligent, thinking, and speaking robot that was able to beat Trivia grandmasters on the TV quiz show, ‘Jeopardy’. In the following year, Google launched its Voice Search and Apple released Siri for the iPhone 4S, the first digital personal assistant. 

This was followed in 2014 by Cortana from Microsoft and Amazon Echo, a voice speaker powered by the personal assistant, Alexa. Google Assistant was launched in 2016, as well as the smart speaker Google Home. Initial figures showed Amazon Alexa to be leading the market, though Google Home is forecast to take the lead by 2020. Other prominent digital assistants on the global stage include Alice from Yandex, and AliGenie from Alibaba.  

Voice recognition technology has significantly improved since its inception. Google claims 95 percent accuracy, while the Chinese iFlytek speech recognition system has an accuracy of 98%. 

Voice technology has also spread to devices that fall under the umbrella term, the Internet of Things (IoT), such as a smart TV, a smart thermostat or a home kit. While it may be possible, internet voice search doesn’t have direct applications for most of these devices yet, and by far the greatest share of searches are currently made on either a smartphone or a smart speaker.

Twenty percent of queries on Google’s mobile app and Android devices are made with voice, while 31% of smartphone users use voice at least once a week, according to Statistica. 

Media analytics firm Comscore predicts that half of all online searches will be made through voice by 2020, while Gartner predicts that in the same year, 30% of online searches will be made on devices without a screen. This suggests an enormous rise in voice search, as well as the increased adoption of smart speakers. Earlier this year, Juniper Research predicted that 3.25 billion voice assistants were in use – a figure they forecast to reach eight billion by 2023. 

The effects of voice on SEO

Voice is, therefore, transforming our approaches to technology and the internet, but what impact is it having on search engine optimization?

Natural language

With improved and reliable voice recognition systems, voice technology is well adapted to follow everyday language use, so users can give commands as if they were speaking to a human. For any areas of potential confusion, emerging technologies are seeking to improve the user experience. The 2018 Internet Trends Report by venture capitalist and internet trends specialist, Mary Meeker, found that 70% of English language voice searches were made in natural or conversational language. 

Keyword length

Spoken language usually isn’t as concise as the written word, so queries will be longer than the three or four keyword searches more common to graphical user interfaces (GUI). Voice searches currently average 29 words in length, according to Backlinko. SEO strategists will need to adjust by using more long-tail keywords, with the added benefit that the longer the keyword phrases are, the higher the probability of conversion. 

Graph showing voice search query phrase length

Source: Neilpatel.com

Question words

Voice searches will more frequently include the question words who, which, when, where, and how, that are usually omitted in written searches. Marketers need to ensure content can deliver accurate and relevant answers to voice search queries, and distinguish between simple questions and those that require more comprehensive answers. Queries that can be answered with very short responses typically won’t generate traffic to a website because Google will often provide the required information via featured search snippets. 

According to SeoClarity, 20% of voice searches are triggered by just 25 keywords. These include question words and other commonly used verbs, such as make, do and can, as well as key nouns and adjectives, including a recipe, new, easy, types and home. These can be worked into SEO strategies, and question-form queries can show user intent to a higher degree. Marketers are therefore able to optimize content according to questions of a higher value. 

Search query trends by Bright Local

Source: Brightlocal.com

Semantic search

As opposed to lexical searches that look for literal matches of keywords, semantic searches attempt to find the user’s intended meaning within the context of the terms used. This understanding can be aided by user search history, global search history, the location of the user and keyword spelling variations. 

Google’s RankBrain is an artificial intelligence system designed to recognize words and phrases in order to improve internet search outcomes. This independent thinking quality of RankBrain helps it take query handling to a more sophisticated level. Hummingbird is another Google technology that helps natural language queries. It helps search result pages be more relevant based on context and intent, causing relevant pages to rank higher. 

Local search

Voice technology has brought an increased emphasis on the use of local search. Consumers are three times more likely to search locally when searching by voice. Research carried out over the last year shows that 58% of consumers find local businesses using voice search, and 46 percent use voice technology to find information on local businesses daily. Marketing strategies should account for this change and optimize for “near me” queries. 

SERPs

Around 75% of voice search results will rank in the top three positions in search engine results pages (SERPs). Most voice searches are answered by Rich Answer Boxes shown at the top of results pages. Featured snippets are included in 30 percent of Google queries. These are extracts from any website on the first page of SERPs, and brands are given credit in voice search as well as usual GUI searches. Brands only need to be on the first page to be used in featured snippets, rather than position zero.

Ecommerce

Ecommerce is especially impacted by voice, as consumers are much more likely to use voice to make purchases. Sixty-two percent of voice speaker owners have made purchases through their virtual assistant, and 40 percent of millennials use voice assistants before making online purchases. Digital assistants – and the best ways to optimize for them – should, therefore, be a priority for online retailers. 

Adapting to voice search

With voice technology impacting SEO in various ways, here are a few recommended steps brands can take to adapt accordingly.

  1. Google Voice prioritizes quick-loading websites, so brands should ensure images are optimized, files are compressed, response time is reduced, and the site is fully responsive. 
  2. Content should be optimized with long-tail keywords that reflect popular queries used in voice search. Focus on natural language. 
  3. Featured snippets are summary answers from web pages that may be used in position zero. To optimize content for this, include identifiable extracts to be featured and make content easier for Google to read by using H-tags and bullet points. 
  4. Structured data and schema markup provide more information about a brand and drive traffic. They help pages appear in rich snippets, which will increase the chances of being the first result delivered in voice searches. 
  5. Local information for your brand should be provided to meet the increased search volume for local businesses with voice – using Google My Business will help.  
  6. Increasing domain authority will help with search rankings – this can be improved by including high-quality links.

The impact of voice technology on SEO is certain. Given the huge rise in the adoption and use of voice, the impact on businesses will be considerable. Those brands that can anticipate and stay ahead of the changes before they happen will surely reap the benefits in years to come.

Roy Castleman is founder and managing director of EC-MSP Ltd., a London-based IT support organization focusing on small and medium-sized businesses.

The post What impact will voice search have on SEO in 2020? appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Quantum supremacy and nine SEO trends that’ll flip 2020 on its head

January 2, 2020 No Comments

Get ready because SEO trends will undergo revolutionary changes in 2020. Make sure you are on the side that embraces this revolution, rather than the one that resists it.

Google has achieved “Quantum Supremacy”, this means that they have built a quantum computer capable of performing tasks that would take modern-day supercomputers 10’s of thousands of years to accomplish.

In 2020 Google will start using these new breakthroughs for commercial purposes. This will make Google’s search algorithm exponentially more powerful since the quantum processor is fully programmable and can run general-purpose quantum algorithms and machine learning applications.

I know, scary, right.

Quantum Supremacy might affect SEO in several ways:

  • Making search more relevant
  • New tactics to overcome black hat SEO
  • Lightning fast and reactive algorithmic updates
  • Rankings that are truly based on relevancy and merit of website content (instead of backlinks) 
  • Dramatically change Google Image search results

This is just one aspect of the future of SEO, let’s talk about the rest.

1. NLP oriented content

Google just released a new update in October of 2019 called BERT (which is based on NLP), which has impacted the ranking of more than 10% of queries in Google.

What is NLP?

In computer science, natural language processing (NLP) is a field in machine learning which focuses on the ability of a computer to understand, analyze, manipulate, and potentially generate human language.

Bonus

Do you want to learn about the basics of NLP? This paper from Stanford University can surely help.

Furthermore, NLP is changing the landscape of businesses since it has the ability to extract critical information from unstructured data (mainly in the form of invoices, online customer chats, emails, or any plain text).

BERT is a deep learning model in NLP used to analyze large bodies of text to provide interesting results and insights to users. The best part is that it’s open-source, which means anyone with Python experience can train the model.

If you’re interested in learning more BERT then check out this official explanation of BERT from Google.

This breakthrough has the capability to understand a sentence based on concepts, intent, and context (not solely on keywords). Moreover, It looks at words that come before and after a sentence when understanding context.

In a nutshell, what makes BERT different is its bi-directional approach that wasn’t implemented in the preceding algorithms of Google, like Word2Vec and GloVe.

Let’s understand it with an example

Sentence-A: The man went to the shop.

Sentence-B: He bought a PlayStation 5.

Label: IsNextSentence

BERT can perceive the relationship between Sentence-A and Sentence-B based on the word ‘the man’ and ‘He’ and ‘the shop’ and ‘PlayStation 5’. Previous algorithms couldn’t understand the left and right context in sentences.

Thanks to BERT, Google can now understand longer queries better than before. Moreover, it can detect the opposite as well. Have a look at the below example:

Sentence-A: The man went to the shop.

Sentence-B: Google is changing the gaming industry.

Label: IsNotNextSentence

Sentence-A and Sentence-B have no relationship, and they are entirely dissimilar.

But what is BERT’s takeaway?

There is no official explanation from Google, but according to the real SEO experts like Bill Slawski and Ryan Jones, who have been in the SEO industry for more than ten years, you should ignore advice from so-called SEO experts.

Bill Slawskis tweet about BERT being one of the big SEO trends in 2020

Bill Slawski's tweet about BERT being one of the big SEO trends in 2020

 

Are you thinking BERT can’t be implemented practically until you are a Python geek?

Boy, do I have some news for you.

Let me show you the Google NLP API tool that you can use to optimize your content.

This tool helps businesses identify unique entities from invoices, live chats, emails, or any plain text.

The part I love about this tool is that it can recognize your content against your competitors’ content and Google is using the same technology in ranking websites.

Follow the steps

Go to Google NLP Tool that looks like this:

Google's NLP API tool

Type anything that comes to mind. I’ve input my author bio and clicked Analyze.

This powerful tool shows four critical sections: Entities, sentiments, syntax, and categories – each section has significance for understanding content.

As it’s evident, in the ‘entities’section, Google can understand ‘Ata Khan’ is the name of a person. Entities can be the name of any person, a place, an organization, a number, and so on. Google is rapidly growing its entity library.

In ‘sentiment’, Google can understand the context of any sentence from being positive to negative.

‘Syntax’ is the technical part of language forms the grammatical structure of sentences.

The ‘categories’section is my favorite part which lets you know if your content is written for the right industry or not.

Let me explain all this with an example

Type your keyword that you want to rank for in Google. I’ve used the keyword “Best Smartphones 2019”. I opened the site that was ranking for the number one position and copied the content.

I then pasted into Google NLP. Now comes the best part, you can check whether you’re writing for the right industry or not.

Paste your content into the box to compare the results with your competitors’ content.

You should aim for a confidence score of 90% or higher in the industry you want to rank for.

But what happens when it doesn’t show the right industry? Double-check to see if you are using industry buzzwords and words used y by experts in your field (by observing the content ranked by Google).

Want to see an example of why Google ranks the ‘Car Movie’ Wikipedia page?

The 'Cars Movie' Wiki page

The reason is simple – the page contains words that are all related to movies, words like :

  • Director
  • Producer
  • Screenplay
  • Actor

The secret to a better ranking is to include as many entities as possible in your content, as per Bill Slawski.

2. SEO semantic HTML

Semantic HTML is a crucial part of SEO which most marketers ignore.

What saddens me is that most companies hire web developers that don’t have any SEO experience. This, of course, presents huge problems down the road.

I believe every good developer should know SEO, primarily technical SEO (which helps earn better rankings in search engines).

Below is a developer’s style of writing code that doesn’t possess SEO skills

<html>  

    <head>

        <title>Example</title>

    </head>

    <body>

        <div id=”header”>

            Here goes logo, navigation, etc.

        </div>

        <div id=”main-content”>

            A place for website’s main content

        </div>

        <div id=”footer”>

            Footer information, links, etc.

        </div>

    </body>

</html>

Now, look at the below code, which is perfectly written for SEO. It has <title>, <main>, <p>, and <footer> that aids Google in identifying important elements on the page.

<html>

    <head>

        <title>Example</title>

    </head>

    <body>

        <header>

            Here goes logo, navigation, etc.

        </header>

        <main>

            <p>A place for website’s main content</p>

        </main>

        <footer>

            Footer information, links, etc.

        </footer>

    </body>

</html>

What is the main advantage? Semantic HTML helps in getting a featured snippet of your website on search results pages.

According to my research, most featured snippets are taken from the <p> element.

Look at this keyword “Why people fall in love”.

Example of semantic search SEO trends 2020

Now take a look at the HTML version of the answer.

What do you find? The featured snippet is taken from within a <p> tag element.

Unfortunately, I’ve seen businesses hiring writers who don’t have any basic knowledge of HTML and end up publishing content that doesn’t rank well.

They write on Microsoft Word or Google Doc, and they use different features to make an article look better, but at the cost of poor HTML structure.

Need a real example?

Take an article written in MS Word and I paste it into the visual editor of WordPress. It looks something like this:

Such a messy code isn’t likely to be featured as a snippet by Google.

3. Schema implementation

As of November, 45% of websites on the internet don’t use Schema at all.

Stat showing schema implementation as one of the big SEO trends in 2020

This is a great opportunity to increase your organic traffic as few businesses are utilizing this great traffic source.

And here’s what a search listing with featured snippets look like:

You can mark up any information with schema tags that are relevant to your business, such as reviews, ratings, and prices as compared to normal snippets which only contain a title, URL, and meta description. The greatest benefit of utilizing rich snippets is that they attract more clicks because of the larger real estate they take when displayed on SERPs (as well as providing additional useful information for searchers).

For some people, the implementation of schema tags appears to be a daunting task…But it’s not! Google tag manager makes this process very easy. Check out this tutorial which breaks down schema tag implementation step by step.

4. Voice search

Voice search is becoming more useful to users because it’s more personalized. Now, you can talk to your personal assistance as if it were a real human. 

SEOs have been talking about voice search for a decade, but they still don’t know how to optimize their content for it.

If you want to be picked up by Google Assistant, you need to optimize for featured snippets because more than 40.7% of the voice searches are taken from featured snippets, according to Backlinko.

Why is voice search the future?

The reason is simple…people have become lazy. People love to shop online. And people love to chat with friends instead of meeting at a physical location. 

So how do you optimize your featured snippets to be presented in Google Voice Search? Simply write the answer to the question but be sure that specific words from the questions are mentioned.

Need an example?

Look at the keyword below. The words in the question are included in the answer. This has helped to get the snippet featured.

Featured snippets may contain:

  • Paragraphs
  • Numbered lists
  • Bullet lists
  • Table featured snippets
  • Youtube snippets

You should try to use as many of these formatting types when writing your answers. Check out this detailed guide on getting featured snippets picked up by voice search.

5. The speed update

This is a pretty common trend, so why did it make this list? Because despite Google addressing its importance, corporations continue to ignore it.

So what has Google done so far?

  • Made speed a ranking factor.
  • Investing time and money on AMP technology across Google.
  • Built the new speed feature in Google Search Console.

  • The latest chrome version now labels slow websites with a “shame” badge.
    The shame badge

So why is Google coming down hard on page speed optimization? Does it really matter? Well, Amazon is a great example of the importance of page speed optimization. They found that every 100ms of latency cost them1% in profit – that’s a staggering $ 4 million dollars in sales.

That’s a tenth of one second! Imagine what Amazon could achieve if it increases its speed by 1 second!

Ever wonder why this happens? It’s because our brain makes decisions in milliseconds, not seconds.

6. Creating branded queries

Branded queries are a direct sign of your business’ credibility since users are searching for your brand name in Google.

According to the ranking factors report by Brian Dean, branded search is a ranking factor.

The founder of Backlinko has created an astounding SEO blog that has become a brand in the SEO industry. 

These branded queries provide a hint to Google that users love their blog which has helped them gain higher positions in the SERPs.

Have a look at the below Google Analytics report, 40% of monthly traffic is coming from returning visitors. It’s become a brand.

Moreover, you can also use Google Search Console to see your branded search queries by clicking New>Query>Type your website name>Apply from the Performance Report.

But the real question is how will you make your website a brand?

There is no secret. You’ll need to focus on providing excellent content to your audience that no one else can provide.

According to my experience, blogs with their own unique voice and personality (that no other blog can replicate) have the highest chances of becoming a brand.

Here are some tips to make your blog a brand:

  • Keep the website name easy to pronounce, easy to spell, and easy to speak.
  • The shorter the domain, the better (and .coms are best).
  • Promote your brand name on social media like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
  • Write your own unique content. Branded topics perform substantially better than non-branded ones (like the “Skyscraper Technique” by Backlinko).
  • Survey your visitors and customers to understand what they need from your industry. 

7. Cumulative optimization

Cumulative optimization is the process of continually optimizing your website and pages until you achieve your goals. The idea is that you never stop making improvements and analyzing your customers’ needs and wants.

Let’s talk about a case study by Ahrefs.

Ahrefs attempted to rank number one for the keyword “free backlink tool”, but they failed. The webpage kept at the 8th position on the SERP despite them doing the following:

  • On-page SEO
  • Page speed optimization
  • Image optimization
  • Internal linking
  • Paid traffic
  • Guest posting

The first rule of optimizing is to ask the question, why are you optimizing in the first place? Maybe you’re not getting the rankings you deserve, maybe you’re not generating sales, or maybe it’s something else. Whatever it is, make a note of it.

Once you’ve identified your issue, you need to type your keyword into Google and observe the top-ranking pages. Specifically, you should observe:

  • On-Page SEO with comprehensive content analysis
  • Off-Page SEO with no-follow and do-follow backlink breakdown

Ahrefs recognized that the top-ranked pages were providing backlink tools free of cost, but Ahrefs’ cost seven dollars (as a trial demo). 

A week within the day Ahrefs made their backlink tool-free (which allowed anyone to check the backlinks of any website – along with other useful information), Ahrefs gained the number one ranking. They didn’t create a new page, they simply updated their existing page.

That’s why if you’re not getting the desired ranking for your page you’ll need to audit the page and find out what you lack that could be holding you back.

8. Video SEO 

Businesses that utilize the power of video marketing get 49% more revenue year-over-year than those that don’t.

The reason? People love watching videos. 

Leading blogs in the SEO industry like Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Backlinko focus on making videos to generate quality leads.

Small businesses don’t focus on making video due to it being expensive But thanks to freelancing platforms it’s become cheaper these days. Moreover, you can use video tools that can help you further to create engaging videos.

You’ll need to understand that making videos on just any topic isn’t an effective way of video marketing (you must fuel it with keyword research).

Keyword research is a crucial step in finding topics that can be picked by YouTube and Google. 

You can also find great topics on YouTube. Go to any channel in your industry, click “Sort By”, and choose “Most Popular”. You’ll end up with a list of topics that are popular – create videos for those.

Another fantastic way to find topics is by YouTube Search Predictions.

*Note – Do you want to copy the keywords from the suggest list all at once without any tool? Click on “Report search predictions” at the bottom of the suggestions list. It will pop up like this:

Once you do that there will be an option to select all keywords and copy.

Are you eager to make successful videos? Follow these tips:

  • You have five seconds to persuade users to keep watching your video.
  • Retention is a ranking factor. If you are getting more views, but only a few users are watching the entire video.
  • Most of the views on YouTube come from suggestions. It means you need to invest time to make a good thumbnail to attract users.
  • Invest in writing a script. Nothing can beat a good script. As an example to learn, watch the best videos in your niche and download subtitles.

9. E-A-T centric website

E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness three factors help Google whether to trust a site.

Recent Google algorithms have penalized many health sites because misleading health information can lead to the death of a person. Many blogs hire cheap writers to write thin content and then rank those blogs with black hat techniques.

Google hired more than 10,000 search quality raters to discover thin websites, and they follow the instructions mentioned in the official PDF.

Every SEO should read this entire document to have a better understanding of the future of SEO.

Healthline strictly follows the instructions in the document and gets traffic in millions.

But how?

As we know, “Expertise” is the number one element. Healthline only hires professionals who are experts in their niche.

The second element is “Authoritativeness”. Healthline provides strong references to prove the authenticity of a topic. 

“Trustworthiness” is the third element and it looks at the website’s UX and UI, age of the website, reputation on social media and online reviews.

It indicates when you should focus on:

  • Hiring expert writers in your niche. Not all writers are equal. If you write yourself, make sure you follow the E-A-T rule with an impressive author bio.
  • Must have an “About Us” page to show your testimonials from clients, awards, and qualifications. 
  • Content should be written to help users, not Google. If you make your users happy, Google will reward your website with higher rankings.

Wrapping up

SEO trends keep changing with the advent of machine learning and artificial intelligence, but the main mission of Google remains the same – to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

So don’t let your competitors have all the fun. Execute these aforementioned SEO trends and watch your site climb the ranks.

Here is a short summary of what we just covered

  • Using Google’s NLP tool to optimize your content
  • Implementing Schema to cover more space and clicks from users
  • Making use of featured snippets to get traffic from voice search
  • Speeding up your site to avoid Chrome shame badge
  • Writing quality content to entice users to remember and search for your brand on Google
  • Focusing on improving a webpage that is not performing well until it achieves abetter ranking
  • Making interesting and compelling videos
  • Making your website E-A-T Centric (that is, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness)

What do you think the future of SEO will look like in the year 2020? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below.

Ata Khan is Co-Founder of Xoobo, a digital marketing agency that is on the bleeding edge of the industry.

The post Quantum supremacy and nine SEO trends that’ll flip 2020 on its head appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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10 Tips for improved guest blogging in 2020

December 31, 2019 No Comments

As link building becomes a more cautionary practice it’s necessary to get a clear idea of how to acquire the best links for your website, in light of this guest blogging in 2020 can be a good method. 

Although Google has openly placed more scrutiny on guest blogging, there is undoubtedly still value in acquiring a link from a recognizable high-authority site in your niche. That being said, it’s not easy to secure links from top sites-especially when you need to scale up your efforts. Many sites only offer nofollow links and with growing competition, there is no shortage of good writers to populate these blog sites with high-quality articles.

This doesn’t mean that all hope is lost in the world of guest blogging. It just means your efforts need to be planned and strategized. Here are some top tips to get the most out of your guest blogging in 2020.

  1. Create a master list of guest blogging sites
  2. Qualify relevance
  3. Qualify authority
  4. Check search visibility
  5. Combine outreach tactics to land opportunities
  6. Research your target sites blog
  7. Strategize your topic
  8. Create an enticing storyline with your headings
  9. Submit infographics
  10. Make your links count

1. Create a master list of guest blogging sites 

Be extremely organized with your approach to guest blogging to streamline the process. Create a master list on a spreadsheet in order to keep track of your efforts. Record the sites you’ve made contact with, the dates you’ve submitted articles or pitches and any notes on the efforts you’ve made to help you avoid duplicate efforts.

Start with a pre-existing list 

There are dozens of sites that have created a list of the top guest blogging sites for multiple industries. You can start your master list with the most popular authority sites in your niche by exploring a few pre-existing lists. 

A few examples that offer a list of guest blogging sites are Lilach Bullock, Izideo, Advanced Web Ranking, and Solvid. This will start you off with a solid base of top sites to work from that are well known within your niche. 

Scrape Google

It’s impossible to know about every website that offers guest blogging without doing some background research. One method of discovery is to use command operatives to scrape Google.

Use the following commands paired with a keyword to find guest blogging sites:

  • “inurl” will tell Google to look for keywords in the URL
  • “intitle” will find sites with the keyword in the title

Mix and match commands to produce different results:

Inurl: “digital marketing” + “write for us”

Intitle: SEO + “guest post”

Check out guest post sites from your competition

It’s no secret that you can use any backlink report to get the inside scoop on the strength of your competitions backlink profile. Use Moz, SEMRush, Ahrefs or any tool of your choice to produce to see what links your competition has acquired. In the digital marketing space, a typical backlink profile will yield a number of guest blogging sites your competition found in which you can also submit an article.

2. Qualify relevance

If there were no authority transferred by links, what sites would you link to? This type of approach to link building will help you seek out the sites that are highly relevant to your website without being blinded by domain authority.

It happens quite often that at first glance a website DA will influence your perception of the quality of the link which is not always an accurate indication of whether that link will benefit your site. 

Make sure the website you are submitting to is in your niche or a direct vertical. Confirm they are publishing content similar to yours so that a clearly defined relationship can be established that indicates relevance to your content.

3. Qualify authority

The DA of a site is the first indicator of a quality link. Although it doesn’t provide the entire picture of what makes up a quality link, you can use this indicator to prioritize your submission sites. 

Use the Mozbar for a quick view of a website’s metrics before making a submission.

Using Moz bar to find high DA sites for guess blogging in 2020

Target sites that will have a positive impact on your authority. Certain keywords will require links from higher DA sites and others you can get away with links from lower DA sites. 

4. Check search visibility

The search visibility of a website indicates how well the site is performing by ranking for keywords and driving traffic. A site that has good metrics won’t necessarily be a good link if it doesn’t have any visitors reading its content.

The authority gained from a link is an important aspect of link building, but the overarching goal behind the practice is to build streams of relevant traffic and awareness of your website. 

5. Combine outreach tactics to land opportunities

Not every site will advertise that they accept guest posts but that doesn’t mean they won’t be happy to publish some great content you’re offering. Adam Envoy was able to secure 8 DA60+ sites in 15 days in his guest-posting project and attributed a portion of his success to targeting site owners with an outreach email before proposing a guest post. 

Use LinkedIn and Facebook to make initial contact with content managers and editors and let them know you’re interested in link building and guest blogging. In most cases, you will get a response that will lead you to the right person and a link building opportunity. 

Even if you don’t get the desired response, making contact is the first step in building a mutually beneficial relationship further down the line.

6. Research your target sites blog

One of the top reasons why site owners don’t respond to an outreach email is because “They didn’t read my blog”. Get a feel for the type of content they’re publishing by scanning through titles and reading relevant content. You can pick up on trends and characteristics that will make your pitch much more targeted to your prospect’s website.

7. Strategize your topic

Choose a topic that hasn’t been covered in-depth on your prospects’ blog. This presents more value for a blog owner to be presented with the option of adding content their site is lacking. 

The topic you choose to write about should be something suited to your strength. Apart from making a list-style article, dive deep into a relevant topic that can be broken down and optimized for a specific keyword topic. Writing optimized SEO content is a bonus for publishers when the article is already primed and ready to rank.

8. Create an enticing storyline with your headings

Most online readers are scanners by nature, in fact, 43% of people admit to skimming through articles when they read them. which is a trait you can capitalize on with an original title and descriptive subtitles. Your outline should reflect a storyline that clearly describes the content of your article.

The first impression of your article an editor (and their audience) will have is the headline of your proposed article. This should clearly convey to the reader what they will get from reading your post and how will it will benefit them. Use headline strategies that are proven to improve click-through rates by appealing to the various types of readers.

Follow up the headline with your main points emphasized as subtitles. Make your article actionable and complete for a person who scans through your content.

9. Submit infographics

Although the numbers will show that infographics peaked in 2014 and 2015, they are still an effective means of creating backlinks. In many cases, infographics receive exceptional consideration as a guest post because publishers know that the potential to attract backlinks improves tremendously.

Stat showing why infographics work for guest blogging in 2020

Image source: Moz

Use an infographic tool from companies like Venngage, Visme or Piktochart to add more appeal to your article submissions.

10. Make your links count

The links you insert in your article should provide value to the reader by taking them somewhere that enhances their understanding of a particular point or topic. 

Contextual links are more valuable than the link in the author’s box. Make sure to give yourself a link to content that is relevant to your article. Avoid being overly self-promotional by making sure the links you give yourself are truly beneficial to the reader. 

Keep in mind excessive anchor text to the same page will result in a negative effect on your ranking. Mix up your links to appear natural with a brand link, long-tail, and naked URL wherever applicable.

Promote previously published articles

Link to previously published articles to increase the DA of those pages and create more powerful links to your site. 

Linking to articles you’ve published is less conspicuous than linking to your own site, which gives you more leeway in the number of links you create. 

The value of your work as a future guest author increases when site owners see you link to your published work thereby promoting their site as well.

Link to prospects and influencers

Make it a point to link to the people who are in a position to help you in your backlinking strategies. Separate yourself from the masses by showing an influencer quality links you’ve sent to their work. Keep track of the links you accumulate and make it part of your outreach strategy to build powerful alliances and partnerships.

Enjoy the benefits of guest blogging

There is no doubt that despite the scrutiny placed on guest blogging by Google, it is still one of many effective methods of link building

A well-executed strategy will provide your site targeted referral traffic as well as improved authority and ranking ability. Use guest blogging opportunities to brand your business, demonstrate thought leadership and build mutually beneficial relationships through your link building efforts in 2020.

Christian Carere is an avid contributor to the digital marketing community and a social media enthusiast. He founded Digital Ducats Inc. to help businesses generate more leads and new clients through custom-designed SEO strategies.

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Four SEO myths to shake off in 2020

December 25, 2019 No Comments

If you’re in charge of managing a website, you’re probably always looking for ways to make your site smarter, faster and more relevant to users so it ranks higher in organic search results. Though, due to the unpredictable reputation of SEO, there have been many SEO myths circulating around how to achieve higher organic rankings.

To help your brand succeed in 2020 by optimizing your website for greater organic visibility, here’s the truth about the top four SEO myths.

SEO myth #1 – XML sitemaps automatically improve your search rankings

The XML sitemap’s main job is to help search engines crawl and index the pages of a website. Search engines especially like to see fresh pages added to the sitemap, as it indicates that the website is up-to-date and may be more relevant to online users. The real question here is, does the XML sitemap help boost a website’s search rankings?

According to the Google Webmaster Central Blog, an XML sitemap does not have a direct effect on the rankings of a website. Submitting a sitemap helps ensure search engines like Google know about all the important URLs on a website. This can be especially useful when certain web pages are not easily discoverable by crawlers. To put into layman’s terms, an XML sitemap will augment Google’s crawl and discovery process and may result in an increased presence and visibility of a website, but it will not automatically improve a site’s organic ranking.

SEO myth #2 – Too many keywords = poor organic rankings

There’s been buzz around the SEO industry for years when it comes to keywords, more specifically, keyword density. How many keywords are too many? Will Google penalize my website for over-optimizing it with keywords?

Despite what many online forums and articles may elude to, there is no one-size-fits-all option when it comes to keyword density. In 2014, John Mueller of Google said,

“Keyword density, in general, is something I wouldn’t focus on. Search engines have kind of moved on from there.”

At the end of the day, if the content on your website is natural and helpful to users, don’t spend too much energy trying to calculate the perfect number of keywords for a web page.

SEO myth #3 – Having a secure website isn’t that important

Okay, kids. It’s 2020. Let’s talk about the importance of having a secure website in today’s day and age. Website hackers are only getting smarter. Malicious cyber intruders will exploit every unprotected resource they can between your website and users. For this reason alone, it’s critical to protect your website by equipping it with a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to help monitor and transfer data safely and securely between two points. In other words, the days of HTTP are over and it’s time to make the move to HTTPS.

Also known as Hypertext Transfer Protocol, HTTP is a protocol that allows for the communication between different systems across the web. HTTPS, or Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, use an SSL certificate to create a secure encrypted connection between servers and browsers. This helps protect sensitive information from being stolen as it is transferred over the web.

There are SEO benefits to making your website more secure as well since one of Google’s top priorities is making sure that their services use industry-leading security. In 2014, Google announced that all HTTPS websites would receive a minor ranking boost over those using HTTP.

SEO myth #4 – Google will penalize your website for duplicate copy

Before we dive into the duplicate copy controversy, let’s take a step back and discuss the difference between algorithm devaluations and penalty devaluations. When Google releases new algorithm updates like Penguin, Panda, Pigeon, and Layout, different websites will see different results. Each time an algorithm is updated, one site may see devaluations, while another may see an exponential increase in organic traffic.

Penalty devaluations occur when Google decides that your website is in violation of the Webmaster Guidelines. When a website appears to use deceptive or manipulative behavior to gain traffic, Google may respond in a negative fashion by devaluating the site’s ranking in the search engine results page.

When it comes to duplicate copy on a website, the common misconception is that Google will penalize the site. The reality of the matter is that Google does not have a duplicate content filter. If there are multiple pages on a website with the same content, Google will simply decide not to rank all pages for the same query. Crawlers will choose which page to rank for what, which can have a negative impact on organic rankings.

Conclusion

Don’t let these common SEO myths sideline you as you work toward ranking your website for organic success. As Google and other search engines continue to tweak their algorithms to give users the most relevant search results, it will be important for content marketers and SEO experts to stay on top of the latest SEO trends and updates.

Claire Beutel is a Senior SEO Strategist at R2i.

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2020 PPC Un-Resolutions: What Not to Do in the New Year

December 15, 2019 No Comments

Keep your PPC accounts in good shape for 2020. Here are 5 common PPC mistakes to avoid.

Read more at PPCHero.com
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Top eight SEO trends for 2020

December 14, 2019 No Comments

As new businesses spring up each day, the competition for the reader’s attention heightens. Staying on top of the latest SEO trends will enable you to meet specific requirements that search engines use to rank websites.

Google makes hundreds of changes to its search algorithms every year. While most changes are minor, they could affect your search ranking. These are some of the SEO trends I expect to see in 2020.

1. Voice search: People search how they speak

“Google, can you find the nearest taco place near me?”

There were 33 million voice search queries in 2017 alone. Data from March 2019 shows that 20% of mobile queries are voice searches.

As voice search becomes increasingly popular, more people will type search queries the same way they speak.

Notice that most of these search queries are long-tail and very specific? Users want an accurate answer to the exact question they asked.

Users who search long-tail keywords are in the consideration stage and are more likely to convert than someone in the awareness stage.

Bullet lists Increase your chances of ranking for voice queries, and most voice queries are local. Hence, optimize your website for local SEO.

2. Featured snippets will continue to dominate search results

A featured snippet is a summary of an answer to a search query. Google displays it at the top of the SERP result, above paid and organic ads.

They’ve been around for a few years and have led to significant changes in Google’s search engine result page. Almost half of all searches result in no clicks because users get the answers they need directly from SERPs. In fact, an Ahref study of 2 million featured snippets revealed that featured snippet gets more traffic than the first organic search result.

Aim for question-based search queries and keywords. Use questions from the “people also ask” section as it offers insight on related questions for a more in-depth answer.

3. More marketers will leverage influencers for SEO

17% of businesses spent over half of their entire marketing budget on influencers. The statistics highlight the importance of influencer marketing for companies, especially those in fashion, beauty, ecommerce, travel, and lifestyle.

Online users are overwhelmed with ads. They are looking for authentic information they can trust. Most times, the source of that information are reviews from influencers. They are more likely to trust information from an influencer than an ad.

So, what’s the relationship between influencer marketing and SEO? Working with an influencer helps you generate traffic, increase your online visibility and amplify your content reach.

Many companies do not see the return on their investment in influencer marketing because they don’t plan or execute their sponsored content properly. Your marketing fails if it doesn’t align with the needs of your audience.

To get the most bang for your buck, partner with influencers in your niche who already engage with your target audience. The backlinks you gain from influencer sites also show authority to Google and enhances your SEO efforts.

4. BERT is here to stay

BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) enables anyone to train their own question answering system. This is the first major change Google has made to its search algorithm since RankBrain in 2014. 

BERT will impact one in ten queries. SEO marketers who apply BERT models increase their chances of ranking on the first page for featured snippets in Google SERP.

BERT will have the most impact on conversational queries where prepositions like “to” and “for” matter to the meaning of the search query.

Just to clarify, you can’t optimize for BERT. Google uses BERT to improve its understanding of natural language.

But you can optimize for the intent behind search queries because intent matching is crucial to creating successful content.

Before writing copy, analyze the top ten content ranking on the first page of SERP for that specific keyword. Is the result informational, transactional or navigational? Create content that matches the user’s intent based on your analysis.

5. People will want digital experiences

44% of companies have moved to a digital-first approach to improve customer experience. Whereas, 56% of CEOs said the improvements led to revenue growth.

Page load speed is an important ranking factor. Great content means nothing if your web page doesn’t load quickly or you have a complex user interface. 

Successful businesses understand that building a long-term relationship with customers hinges on customer experience, and customer experience invariably affects search ranking because only users who have a good user experience will spend time on your website.

Focus your user experience on helping customers find the information they need. Make it easy for visitors to proceed to the next step.

To provide the best user experience, you’ll need to wear the visitor’s shoes to identify roadblocks that cause poor experiences. Do not use complex words they do not understand. Lack of clarity in your messaging also increases the bounce rate and negatively impacts your site’s SEO.

6. Video will be the new king of content

Google loves video. It’s a crucial part of your SEO strategy and digital marketing efforts. According to a Forrester Research, video is 50 times more likely to show up on the first page of SERP than a web page with plain text. Also, 62% of Google universal searches include video.

Create helpful YouTube videos that support existing content on your website. It’s not a guarantee for first page results but you’ll enjoy higher traffic when Google indexes your video.

Embed videos on your website to get more traffic. Remember to optimize your video to your blog’s width. Add copy on the page to help Google understand what your video content is about.

7. Content length will determine search rankings

Only high-quality content can help you beat the competition to page 1 ranking. But you will also have to consider quantity alongside quality.

There’s a lot of arguments around the ideal length of a blog post.  Research shows that the average length of the top 10 results is at least 2,000 words. That’s because web pages with long-form, high-quality content enjoy more visibility.

However, your content must comprehensively answer the question the user asked as well as questions related to the main search query. 

Lengthy articles increase dwell time, which tells Google that users enjoy your content. You build authority and Google increases your ranking for the search query.

8. Mobile search will continue to take over

 87% of internet users are on mobile phones and 40% of transactions occur on mobile. Google moved to mobile-first indexing on the 1st of July 2019 to improve the mobile search experience.

You can’t get far on search engine results if you haven’t optimized for mobile. Think beyond responsive designs to rich snippets.

If you’ve optimized for voice search, you’ve also optimized for mobile. Besides incorporating long-tail keywords for on-page SEO, modify the content structure and representation for technical SEO.

Conclusion

Just when you think you fully understand SEO, algorithm updates happen. Today’s SEO is a holistic process that requires both offline and online marketing strategies to succeed. Invest in SEO as a long-term strategy for lead generation and stay on top of the latest SEO trends to avoid getting left behind.

Would you like to add to this list of SEO trends in 2020? Drop them in the comments.

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Hootsuite social trends report for 2020

December 14, 2019 No Comments

Vancouver, BC – December 11, 2019​ – ​Hootsuite​, the leader in social media management trusted by more than 18 million customers and employees at 80 percent of the Fortune 1000, today released its ‘​Social Media Trends 2020’ report. The company’s fourth annual report on global social trends reveals the biggest opportunities for brands to deliver winning social marketing strategies in the coming year.

“The new year is a time to refocus and energize your strategies for the year ahead,”

says ​Hootsuite VP Corporate Marketing Henk Campher​.

“The social trends we’ve identified at Hootsuite provide the sharpest tools needed to create the most exceptional and meaningful employee and customer experiences in 2020 and beyond.”

Brands are starting to act more like people on social, sometimes interacting one-on-one and sometimes in groups. The key is for organizations to make the experience seamless across both worlds.

Brands are also taking a stand on the most important issues facing our planet, becoming beacons of trust to their employees, who in turn are using social to amplify their company purpose.

And TikTok, the short-format video sharing platform, is shaking up the social media landscape in unexpected and delightful ways. Even if TikTok’s Gen-Z user base isn’t your target, marketers should think about diversifying their audience targeting beyond just the major social platforms.

Campher further added,

“Combined, these trends represent tremendous new opportunities for brands to establish deeper, more authentic, and longer-lasting connections with customers, with social at the center of everything they do,”

Hootsuite’s 2020 social trends for businesses large and small

1. Brands strike a balance between public and private engagement

The rise of private behaviors like 1:1 and group messaging has not diminished the importance of public social media feeds, which remain a critical space for brand discovery and customer acquisition. The key is ​creating multi-touch, personalized, and ​seamless experiences across both worlds, while balancing automation at scale and human connection to build deeper customer relationships.

2. Employers take center stage in a divided world

As our world becomes increasingly divided, employees are looking to their organizations to take a stand. Globally, employers are significantly more trusted than NGOs, businesses, government, and the media. Progressive organizations will take advantage of this new role, building strong internal cultures while amplifying their company’s purpose with employee and customer advocacy.

3. TikTok shakes up the status quo

With more than 800 million monthly active users and a median age of 16-24, TikTok continues its incredible rise. Whether or not it lasts, TikTok’s popularity brings valuable insight into the future of social culture, content, and collaboration. Social marketers should keep an eye on TikTok while using these insights to adapt their strategies on established networks for the next generation on social.

4. Social marketing and performance marketing collide

As social marketers face pressure to expand the scope of their skill sets, established champions of brand awareness and community building must also become fluent in performance marketing, finding a balance between driving short-term conversions and long-term strategies to build brand equity, customer happiness, and differentiation.

5. The social proof gap closes

New social commerce features are bridging the top and bottom of the sales funnel, creating a wealth of data around the conversion side of the customer journey. This bottom-of-the-funnel data can now be added to brand awareness activities, giving an invaluable holistic view of how people move through the entire buying journey.

Conducted in the third quarter of 2019, Hootsuite’s ​’Social Media Trends 2020′ report is based on a survey of more than 3,100 marketers and interviews with industry specialists. The research report includes not only the trends but also Hootsuite’s recommendations for seizing the opportunities that the trends represent, along with comprehensive examples of best-in-class brands getting it right. Hootsuite’s 2020 Social Trends report can be found ​here​.

Hootsuite is the leader in social media management, trusted by more than 18 million customers and employees at more than 80 percent of the Fortune 1000.

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