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Time to Learn! What SEO Taught Us in 2019 (And What 2020 Holds)

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2019 was a big year for SEO. There were updates, blocked keywords, and algorithms galore. It’s time to learn what 2020 holds.

One of the things that marketers have turned to is SEO. It’s gotten more attention over time because it drives better results than social media or display ads.

SEO has changed dramatically over the years. There have been so many changes in 2019 alone, that it can be difficult to keep up. That makes your ability to rank higher much more challenging.

What were the biggest SEO lessons from 2019 and how can you apply them in 2020? It’s time to learn! 

1. SEO is Always Changing

What’s the top SEO lesson from 2019? Don’t get too comfortable. If you were fortunate enough to rank high for great keywords, you can bet that Google is going to change its algorithm to knock you out of high rankings.

In 2018, Google made more than 3000 changes to its algorithm. In 2019, there were core updates in June and September.

You can expect more changes in 2020 and you’ll need to pay attention to these trends. You can expect Google to use artificial intelligence to try to understand exactly what users are looking for and provide those results.

2. Snippets are Getting a Lot of Attention

It used to be that you needed to rank in the first three search results to get a lot of traffic. That’s changing quickly.

Google introduced rich snippets to give users the results they need without clicking through to another website.

It’s working. Almost half of searches don’t result in a click to a website. Click through traffic has dropped mostly because of rich snippets.

What do you need to do? Get your site ready to appear in rich snippets. You want to make sure that you have structured data on your site, so it can appear in results.

3. User Intent Matters

Do you know what user intent is? It’s the intention that a searcher has when they do a search online. What search engines are trying to do it understand the context of a search.

Think of it this way: every time a person conducts a search, they have a goal for that search. It can be informational, such as researching a product or to find out a random fact. They could be looking for something specific, like a particular store or where to buy a product.

This can impact how you run SEO because you need to make sure that each page on your site helps users achieve their goals. The more you match your site with a user’s goal, the better your results will be. 

4. You Have to Maximize Performance

Your website is the hub for SEO, and search engines are not going to send traffic to spammy-looking websites. They invested a lot of money to build trust and a brand.

They’re not going to blow that goodwill by having unsecured, slow websites show up at the top of search results.

Your website has to have a few things going for it to be considered for good results. Your site has to be mobile-friendly. Google rolled out mobile-first indexing in 2018, which means that it will crawl a mobile version of your website.

As more and more people use mobile devices, sites that load slowly or don’t look good on mobile devices will suffer.

A slow website can hurt you in a number of ways. It will impact your search results and it will cause users to leave before your site loads. That’s traffic that won’t return to your site.

Finally, security is a priority. Google made HTTPS a ranking signal several years ago, and the importance of using this protocol on your site is more important than ever.

5. Quality Content is King

For years, marketers have said, “Content is King.” Over the years, people have generated so much content, that search engines have had to figure out what good content is from bad content.

That’s why quality content is king. It’s no longer enough to have good or mediocre content. You have to have in-depth articles that help users solve a problem.

Your job is to match your content with a user’s intent and follow that with great content that gives them what they need.

How can you tell what good content is? Take a long look at Google’s quality rater guidelines. It’s a 200-page document that the company uses to make sure that the search engine’s algorithm is providing good results.  

6. Don’t Rely on One Way to Get Traffic

Bloggers and business people make one major mistake in marketing their respective sites: they rely on only one source to drive traffic to their site.

That leaves them at the mercy of an algorithm. One sudden change could severely damage your business.

Let’s say that you get the bulk of traffic from a high-volume keyword, such as “keto recipes.” An algorithm change can knock you a little lower down the first page, leaving you in the lurch.

You want to diversify your traffic in two ways. The first is to diversify the number of keywords that drive traffic to your site. The second is to find a secondary source of traffic outside of SEO.

When you diversify both your keywords and traffic sources, you won’t freak out every time there’s an algorithm change. You just have to expect that changes will happen and prepare for them.

Time to Learn What’s Next for SEO

It’s time to learn what lies ahead for SEO. When you look back over the changes of the past year, it’s easy to figure out what lies ahead.

The most important thing you can do is to build your site that’s technically sound and gives users what they need. When you focus on your users and provide them with useful articles, you’ll see results.

Do you want more SEO tips? Come back to this site and check out the latest SEO news.