2020 SEO Survival Guide: The Top 2 Tips Every Small Business Needs to Hear
Did you know that 93% of all online experiences begin with a search engine query? Rather than go to your small business website directly, many potential customers who are searching for products and services like your own are asking Google for assistance. That means Google could be your best referrer of new leads — or it could be your competitions’. Whether search engines refer you over your competition depends on your site’s level of optimization, which is where SEO comes in.
If you’ve been frustrated by SEO in the past, you’re probably not doing it right. You might be using outdated techniques since Google has been known to change its algorithm on a regular basis. This article is going to break down the steps you need to take to optimize your site for search engines in 2020.
The main two techniques we’re going to focus on are writing high quality, long-form content and promoting that content to influencers in your field who can build up your site’s authority.
Content Quality Is More Important Than Ever Before
You may have heard that “content is king,” but never has that saying rang so true as in 2020. The web is quickly becoming a heavily saturated place, with over 2 million blogs posts published online every day. In order to give their users the best experience, answering their questions and providing relevant information, Google must be able to sort out the good content from the bad. One factor it takes into consideration is the length and depth of the content. The more the better. Recent data shows that Google strongly prefers blog posts of at least 1,500 words.
There are a few reasons longer posts are generally ranked higher. The first is that they are more likely to be heavily researched and highly informational. Longer posts leave more room for the writer to go into detail on a topic, positioning them as an expert in their field. Another reason is that it extends the visitor’s time on page. It’s believed that Google considers time on page an important ranking factor when determining which content should be featured on the first page of the search results. Remember, too, that the search results are dependent upon the keywords typed in the search query; longer content leaves more room for more keywords and a greater volume of a specific keyword in the text without sounding spammy.
Speaking of spam, more words do not mean more fluff. As previously stated, Google wants to provide users with highly informational content, and the search engine is smart enough to know when content is thin and vague. Don’t write long blog posts for the sake of length. This won’t do you any favors when it comes to our next tip: building backlinks.
Promotion Is Critical to Build Your Backlink Profile
According to Brian Dean of Backlinko, “Long-form content gets an average of 77.2% more links than short articles.” So, yes, creating solid, long blog posts will make executing your link-building strategy a whole lot easier. But too many business owners are prioritizing the wrong things, spending much more time on content creation than on promotion. In reality, the ratio should be reversed. Writing the blog posts is just one small step; the real hustle begins when it’s time to distribute that content.
Simply posting a blog online isn’t going to make much of a dent in your digital marketing strategy. Even if the content is full of important keywords, the post will likely sit there collecting dust. The internet is made up of two main ingredients: content and links. You have the content. Now it’s time to add the links.
Think of a backlink like a vote for your website. Like in any election, votes don’t come sweeping in on their own. You have to campaign for them. You have to prove yourself worthy. You have to make yourself known.
Promoting your content through email outreach is one of the best ways to build both your brand and your backlink profile. Email may sound like an antiquated technology because it’s been around so long, but it’s because it is so ingrained in our modern society that it works so well. When was the last time you went a full day without checking your inbox? Do you get alerts on your mobile phone whenever a new email comes in? We bet you do.
Start building a list of opted-in email addresses — people who follow your brand and have given their contact information willingly because they value what you have to say. Email these people whenever you release a new blog post. If they like it, they’ll read, comment, and hopefully, share. If you’re lucky, they’ll post a link to it on their own website. These are the people you want to reach out to first because they are most likely to engage, and that engagement will act as a social signal to Google that your content is valuable.
Next, build a list of online influencers in your industry. Email your content to them, highlighting the fact that you have a shared audience — people who visit their sites would benefit from your content. Ask them to share your link on their site. Or, you can offer to write a custom guest blog for their site. Most link creators will be willing to allow a link to your site in that guest blog because you are providing them with well-written, heavily researched, in-depth content that will improve their site.
Again, a backlink is like a vote. It tells Google that the website at the end of that link has value. But not all votes are created equal. A link from a high authority site will be weighed more heavily than a link from a site with low authority. Domain authority (DA) or domain rating (DR) are used to determine a site’s strength. It’s a number between one and 100, with 30 or above generally being considered strong.
But authority isn’t the only factor that counts. If a site with a high DR and virtually no relevant ties to your site links to you, it won’t matter much. For instance, if you are an e-commerce sporting good store and you get a link from a fitness blog with a DR of 10, that may look better in Google’s eyes than a link from a horoscope website with a DR of 50.
Where to Begin
You might be thinking, “This may very well work, but who has the time?” True. You have a business to run. We don’t expect you to drop everything and start a digital marketing campaign on your own. That’s why we recommend hiring an SEO company. Digital marketing professionals experienced in search engine optimization follow the near constant shifts in Google’s algorithm. They’re prepared to adjust their strategies when needed, and they have a team of content creators and outreach coordinators on hand to keep all those moving parts in sync. They may also outsource to a white label SEO firm who has connections with publishers across the web, ready and willing to build links to your site. These resources are vital to the success of an SEO campaign in 2020.