We are nearing the end of a busy year and I thought it would be interesting to think about what I learned about SEO this year.
In doing so, I realized that some of the points I wrote down had been in the back of my mind for a while – but were confirmed this year.
Here’s what I’ve noticed so far this year.
1. Plan what’s coming and implement what works now
I see a lot of SEO pros obsessed with new developments that are or will become important in the future while neglecting what is currently working well.
They are neglecting to really do what it takes to meet their 2020 goals.
Now the important thing is to look ahead and see where the ball is going.
In fact, this is essential to being successful in SEO.
But don’t lose sight of what the needle is moving.
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And don’t stop doing what the needle is moving.
Ultimately, it’s your job to do everything that works now and in the future.
Take everything you learn about new developments that you immerse yourself in, apply it to what you are doing right now, and include it in future plans.
Tip: consequences JH Scherck on Twitter for factual SEO and digital marketing insights.
2. Google has become much stricter when it comes to content
Since rolling out the major core update in May, Google has been much stricter about the content they spend their indexing resources on.
It seems they are done with receiving low quality content.
Rightly so: Most of the content that is created brings little to no value.
The downside to this is that it looks like there’s a lot of collateral damage.
While most established, authoritative websites can still rank anything, the little guy / girlfriend now has to work twice as hard to get into Google’s good pages.
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What makes this even more difficult is the fact that a few weeks later, Google had problems with indexing.
Many SEO pros felt that the problems they were having were related to this, but after they were fixed, their indexing problems persisted.
So what can you do to keep your content indexed?
This is kind of an open door: do whatever you can to make sure your article brings the most value to your visitors and send the right signals to Google to index it.
In a nutshell, this means focusing on creating high quality, well-researched content that matches the intentions of the users.
Make sure you have authoritative sources and references for your claims.
Then create internal and external links and make sure people are talking about your content on social media.
3. GPT-3 will change the way content is created dramatically
In the next few years, the way content is created will change dramatically.
With the rise of OpenAIs GPT-3 and similar ones like MarketMuse’s First Draft, content marketers will take on an editorial role.
AI systems receive the right input and design content.
Then the editors will finalize and publish it.
While GPT-3 can already do some impressive things – including the fact that many Redditors believe it is a real account – there is still a long way to go to produce content that is comparable to what has been written by people .
However, I do realize that the role of a content marketer will change dramatically over the next few years.
4. Google has gotten a lot better at extracting content (recommended snippets and ranking passages)
This year we’ve seen a lot of developments when it comes to featured snippets.
With Google’s recent announcement that it is dramatically improving the ability to rate passages, we’re likely to see more exotic snippets and more zero-click searches.
Google may even combine several passages from different articles into individual answers.
God only knows who gets that click – if anyone does!
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However, as a Google user, I have a better experience if this helps me answer my query much faster.
Tip: Dawn Anderson wrote a lengthy piece that fits exactly on this subject.
5. There is no “One Truth” when it comes to your ranking
Regardless of whether your Rank Tracker is updated daily, bi-weekly or monthly, you will never get the exact positions for your queries.
Simply put, it can’t.
Based on previous search history, location, freshness indicators, experiments Google performed, new content coming into the SERPs, and more.
Rankings are a snapshot of a partial truth, an approximation of what to expect roughly.
I am not saying that there is no longer any use for rank tracker because there is.
They are useful for keeping track of your positions, but relying solely on them is not wise.
Always combine it with Google Search Console and Analytics data to get a better picture of how your SEO performance is doing.
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6. Consistently sending the right signals is key
While it’s not a sexy topic in search engine optimization, consistently sending correct crawling and indexing signals to Google is key if you want to see predictable crawling, indexing, and ranking behavior.
Redirects are a signal for canonicalization, but they’re not the only ones. Internal, external links, sitemaps, hreflang, canonicals, cleaner URLs, etc. play a role. Line everything up, give him time to settle down, and leave cookies and almond milk for Googlebot.
– 🍌 John 🍌 (@JohnMu) July 31, 2020
This is especially true in the current situation in which Google has temporarily deactivated the “Request indexing” function in the Google Search Console.
While this reduces your control, if you follow all best practices about crawling and indexing, you should be fine.
With all the new SEO developments, it is easy to lose sight of the basics such as canonicalization, robot instructions, robots.txt, sitemaps and internal link structure.
You want to prevent Google from having to create its own definition of your canonical URLs.
Read on below
7. Google also suffers from serious bugs
We all know that 2020 was an eventful and all-round rough year for most.
And Google wasn’t opaque either: they had a lot of problems, too.
Especially in the last few months when they had serious problems with their indexing systems.
Here are some recent sample problems:
This shows that even companies that can afford to hire the very best suffer serious flaws.
Maybe Google is returning the Request Indexing feature this Christmas?
We will see!