There’s little need to convince you about the importance of SEO in 2020. SEO has shown to work for decades now, and it will continue to do so.
The question isn’t whether you should invest in SEO, but how you can do it successfully. You can use dozens of SEO tactics—from esoteric tweaks meant to “hack” Google’s algorithm to traditional white-hat techniques—but few work consistently over time.
In this article, we’ll go over seven ways you can improve your SEO visibility by following Google’s current algorithm and rank your site in 2020 and beyond.
Use LSI Keywords
Long gone are the days where you could grab one keyword and stuff it all over a page. Google has developed complex algorithms that use the latest NLP (Natural language processing) techniques mixed with big data and machine learning concepts.
One of these cutting-edge concepts is Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI). LSI is a mathematical method that increases the capacity of an algorithm to identify the hidden (latent) relationship between words (semantics) to understand their meaning and improve their retrieval (indexing).
A Google research paper showed that their algorithm uses “words frequently occurring together” to understand a page’s topic. There’s no longer a need to optimize a page for keywords in plural or singular, or using “phrase-match” keywords for “exact-match” ones; Google’s algorithm can understand these subtle differences quite well.
When you optimize a page for a keyword, you want to go beyond your exact-match keyword and focus on their related keywords. By using LSI keywords, Google will understand your page’s meaning and rank it for your chosen keywords—not just one, but thousands of variations of it.
Let’s imagine you were the author of this article, and you decided to optimize it for the keyword “SEO visibility.” Your keyword research would most likely deliver only a handful of keywords to optimize this article; instead, Google will read this article and find that you also mention words like “SEO tips,” “SEO tactics,” and more.
When it came to ranking this article, Google would position it for your original keyword and all of the other LSI keywords it found. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t optimize the article for “SEO visibility;” rather, it means you should think beyond your main keyword.
To find your LSI keywords, start by auditing your content with an on-page SEO checking tool. Find all the keywords your site is currently ranking for and analyze how you have optimized your pages.
Then, search for new keywords with the help of tools like:
With your newly found keywords, optimize your pages as you’d normally do while mixing your desired keyword with LSI ones. If you need help carrying out your on-site optimization, use a tool like TextOptimizer, whose technical capabilities aim to improve your keywords’ optimization to better match the search engine’s expectations.
Optimize Your Site for Intent
It’s clear that you need to clarify your pages for LSI keywords, but this leaves behind a critical factor in your optimization: search intent.
“Search intent or keyword intent is the reason why people conduct a specific search. Why are they searching? What are they trying to achieve through their search?” explains Cornelia Cozmiuc.
When you optimize your site for intent, you help Google fulfill its mission, which is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
Google needs to show the most relevant, useful information to its users. If they show a page that perfectly matches their user’s intent, their users will be happy, and so will be Google.
To optimize your pages for intent, start by categorizing your keywords into three groups:
- Commercial keywords: Keywords that feature words like “buy,” “coupon,” or “discount.”
- Informational keywords: Keywords that feature words like “how to,” “tutorial,” and “guide.”
- Navigational keywords: Keywords related to a specific place, brand, or website.
According to a research study, 80% of your keywords will be informational, with the other 20% being equally distributed between commercial and navigational ones.
Optimize your pages for the keywords that best fit each of these categories. In most cases, your optimization will look like this:
- Product pages: Optimize them for navigational keywords—your product’s name—and commercial keywords—e.g., “buy [product name].”
- Blog posts: Optimize them for informational keywords—e.g., “how to learn SEO.”
- Home and about pages: Optimize them for navigational keywords.
Create Content that Fits Google’s Algorithm
It goes without saying that content is an essential component of a modern SEO strategy. In the past, Google used primitive techniques to measure content’s quality, which led to “black-hat” SEOers to abuse the algorithm.
In 2020, Google measures a site’s content quality by analyzing several attributes from every page in its index, which includes their:
- Purpose: It includes serving information, educating, selling, and more.
- Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (EAT): The content should show expertise from the author, from an accepted and reliable source.
- Main Content (MC): That’s the part that contributes to fulfilling the page’s purpose.
High-quality content must have a purpose, it must serve it properly, and it should do it by leveraging expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. In other words, when you create content, you need to:
- Find the sources for your statements
- Quote every source truthfully
- Present your content properly—good UX, fast speed, and responsive design are a must
- Avoid any grammar mistakes
- Update the content often
- Make it readable—use large, clear fonts, break your content into short paragraphs, and more
If you need help writing your content, make sure to use modern writing tools, which will make your content creation process much easier and effective.
Develop a Content Creation and Promotion Plan
To improve your SEO visibility, you need to create content consistently. Most importantly, you need a content plan that meets—and exceeds—Google’s quality expectations.
A content plan is made up of all the content you publish—and will publish—over time in all your marketing channels, including your blog, social media accounts, email campaigns, and more. This content plan will help you:
- Define the keywords you want to target
- Optimize your content to each keywords’ intent
- Create content that meets Google’s quality attributes
Along with a content plan, you need a promotion plan that defines the tactics you will use to distribute your content after you publish it. Your content promotion plan should include:
- The link building tactics to use
- The sites to guest post on
- The email outreach campaigns to carry out
You must create both plans at the same time as they complement each other. A content plan alone won’t attract any traffic, while a content promotion without content is an oxymoron—how can you promote content if you have no content?
By creating a content creation and promotion plan, Shane Barker could 12x his organic traffic in two years. His strategy included various forms of organic content promotion and distribution channels to get his content noticed, including:
- Guest posts
- Social media
To increase your social media reach, you can use a tool like Viral Content Bee, which automatically promotes your content from popular accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Optimize Your Images
Visual content is an ideal complement to your written content as it improves your reader’s experience. What’s more, they can help you boost your organic traffic.
By optimizing your images for SEO, you will improve Google’s capacity to understand your pages’ meaning, thus increasing your rankings. Also, you will rank your images in Google Images search.
When it comes to optimizing your images, you want to:
- Optimize image files: There are three file types: JPG, GIF, and PNG. The first one tends to render lower quality images but decreases their size, which improves your page speed. The other two are optimal for animated and high-quality images, respectively. As a rule of thumb, use JPG files as they are smaller in size and allow faster loading times.
- Compress image size: Page speed plays an important ranking factor. Images tend to be the largest page elements, so you can increase your speed and rankings by reducing your images’ file size. Use TinyJPG to compress your images’ size quickly.
- Optimize your alt-tags and image name: The alt-tag describes the meaning of your images to Google’s bots. Make sure to add your keyword in your images’ alt-tags and in their file names. It will improve your on-site optimization and help your images rank in Google Images.
Create and Optimize Videos
Ever since Google added videos to first-page search engine results, using videos has become an effective tactic to increase your SEO visibility.
By creating and optimizing your videos, you will attract traffic from Google and YouTube, the second largest search engine in the world.
To start creating videos, repurpose your blog content. Take your most popular content and create videos. Start a YouTube channel and upload your videos there.
Take the keywords you have picked in your content creation plan and use them in your video’s title, description, and tags. Then, embed your video to your blog post.
Don’t expect to create a perfect video on the first try; instead, aim to create a video that speaks to your viewers, following the content quality attributes described before.
Track Your Competitors for Link Opportunities
The last piece of the SEO puzzle is link building. When it comes to picking a link building tactic that best serves your interests, you want to take the path of least resistance and capitalize on low-hanging fruits.
A simple link building tactic you can use is tracking your competitors to find link building opportunities that you can use later in your email outreach campaign. By analyzing your competitors’ backlinks, you can find unique insights on:
- The link acquisition tactics they use
- The content types that work best
- The growth profile
Make a list of all your competitors, and add them to an SEO tool like Nightwatch. All backlink tools give you updates on new opportunities that arise on all your competitors.
Export all your competitors’ backlinks and analyze them. Look at the sites that linked to them, how they linked to them, and how often they do it. You will soon start to see patterns that shine a light on the best type of link building tactic to use in your industry.
You can also use SEMrush, a leading SEO tool, which offers a “Brand Monitoring” feature that helps you find brand mentions both you and your competitors get regularly.
In the first case, you can find sites that mention your brand but forget to link to your site and reach out to ask for a link. In the second case, you can find sites that mention companies like yours but haven’t, and pitch them to add you to their content.
Robbie Richards recommends “entering all forms of your business name (including common mistakes, misspellings, etc.) to track mentions.” Then, he suggests finding the website owner and reaching out using a template like the following one:
Start Improving Your SEO Visibility Today
SEO takes 12 to 24 months to work. To improve your SEO visibility, you need to start implementing the tactics mentioned here before it’s too late.
Success in SEO requires patience, hard work, and consistency. Using an effective SEO tactic alone won’t do it; you need to work on them every day for a long time until your efforts start compounding.
Once you do, you will slowly see the results coming in, and that’s when you will realize you are on the right path. Are you ready to boost your organic traffic?
About the Author: Ivan Kreimer is a freelance content writer who creates educational content for SaaS businesses like Leadfeeder and Campaign Monitor. In his pastime, he likes to help people become freelance writers. Besides writing for smart people who read sites like 60 Second Marketer, Ivan has also written in sites like Entrepreneur, MarketingProfs, TheNextWeb, and many other influential websites.