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SEO in 2020: Some Hidden Truths

Most marketers think they already know everything there is to know about search engine optimisation. The truth is SEO is far more complex than many of us let on. And Google is not helping at all. From algorithms to machine learning, the search engine giant is often mum about the details. SEO specialists can give you an overview but only Google is privy to the nitty-gritty. Not so long ago, duping Google’s crawlers with keyword stuffing and temporary backlinks was a walk in the park. These days, natural language processing takes centre stage while “black hat” SEO strategies are sure to backfire. Google is keen to place the most relevant pages at the top of search results and keeps improving over time. But to what extent will business owners be affected? What are the best ways to carry out SEO in 2020?

Keep Tabs with Every Google Update

In a span of one year, expect countless algorithm updates from Google. While last year's updates pushed for Google Voice, nothing much happened in terms of search. It's the same as before. With the amount of content published online across more than 1.7 billion websites (based on recent data collected by Statista), competition for page one rankings for target keywords is stiff. Your company will have to choose between two options: grow exponentially or specialise in a niche market.

How Far Can SEO Go in 2020?

To serve this article's purpose, let's suppose you own an SEO company in Sydney, Australia. Let’s say you want to target broad and highly searched keywords like “SEO company" and “SEO.” While millions may be searching for these terms, and their popularity is indisputable, they’re also among the most difficult keywords to rank for. What does this imply for you, being the owner? Not only will you require an ambitious content strategy and loads of highly authoritative backlinks, that means your content production will be crazy hectic each month. And that's not all. You also need to collaborate with influential sites and blogs to make sure your backlinking strategy works. The ROI will be there if your plan is to just throw in money, but it's undoubtedly costly and may take more time.

Is a Niche Market Still Feasible this Year?

In this case, you’re a used bike shop owner. Your budget is pretty limited. You can’t possibly compete with “SEO” or “SEO companies.” Major keywords are too broad and saturated to accommodate start-up websites or new optimisation efforts. What's your possible move? Consider going niche. Settle for a smaller segment for the meantime so you can reach your target audience faster and with the least possible cost. Less competitive keywords are the gold mine you need to dig. Instead of trying to capture the entire SEO market, go for location-based keywords like “SEO in Sydney” instead. Be more niche by being specific: “SEO services Sydney CBD” or “SEO company near me.” Of course, localising your SEO should also go hand-in-hand with improving your website design and informative content that attract the right customers. Getting backlinks from reputable local blogs is also a boon to your optimisation efforts. Take note: finding low-hanging keywords should be your top priority.

SEO is a Process, So Go Through It

SEO is all about the basics — purposeful keyword research, generating informative content and building quality backlinks from real sources (not artificially created by bots). In 2020, the fundamentals of SEO are even more important. Avoid suspicious SEO companies. They are everywhere and it's easy to mistake them for genuine ones. Cover all grounds to verify an SEO agency's identity and immediately avoid any company with outdated or unethical methods.


Arthur Choi

Arthur Choi

SEO Strategist

70% technical SEO, 30% offsite optimisation. Loves to strategise and build organic SEO campaigns for plumbers, excavators and e-commerce clients.

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