“Content affects everything in SEO,” Crowe said. “From your site structure and internal linking strategy to the types of links you build.”
To succeed in 2020, you will have to write something that is relevant and valuable, said Tony Wright, CEO, WrightIMC.
“This means that SEOs need to learn how to write or hire people who know how to write,” Wright said. “Google’s editorial discretion isn’t perfect yet – there will still be content that ranks that shouldn’t. But the day is coming when the best content will win.”
Make it your goal to have the best content on the web for your topic, or at least an important subset of your topic, said Eric Enge, General Manager, Perficient Digital. By doing so, you will be future-Google-proofing your business.
“This allows you to compete effectively for long-tail searches (which still remains about 70% of all search queries), will help build your site authority and demand for your content, and can be done in a directly ROI positive way,” Enge said. “In addition, this type of approach to content is exactly what Google is looking for to satisfy user needs and represents the type of market investment that Google will likely never make, because Google is about doing things with massively scalable algorithms.”
Jesse McDonald, Global SEO Strategist, IBM, and Jessica Levenson, SEO & Content Strategy Consultant, both said 2020 is the time to move away from the obsession with keywords. Stop targeting individual keywords, chasing pageviews, and “spraying and praying” with content.
McDonald said to focus more on topics.
“The goal of switching the mentality to more of a topic-focus is to create content that addresses an entire conversation holistically as opposed to just worrying about the single keyword a page should be targeting,” McDonald said.
Levenson said to adopt a deliberate and methodically organized cluster of content that delivers comprehensive and intuitive topical experiences while meeting business objectives.
“Know what answers the user needs next,” Levenson said. “Boiled down:
- Understand who your audience is and how they search.
- Understand the intent behind the questions they are asking or problems they need to solve.
- Give them solutions or answers in the formats they prefer via on-point, quality, and authoritative content.
- Execute in this fashion for every stage of their journey to create a satisfactory topical experience that serves their needs again and again.
- Iterate because just because you do it well once doesn’t mean intent won’t change or someone else won’t do something better.”
Another thing to watch out for, according to Aja Frost, Head of Content SEO, HubSpot: content cannibalization.
“I’d recommend auditing all of your content for overlapping rankings and merging, redirecting, and archiving as needed so every page ranks for a unique set of keywords,” Frost said. “If your website covers the same topics again and again, even if you’re covering these topics from different angles, your pages are going to knock each other out of the results.”
In 2020, it’s time to take a hard look at the quality of your content – and optimizing that content for users rather than search engines, said Michelle Robbins, VP Product & Innovation, Aimclear.
“In a way, the key to staying successful in search marketing 2020 is the same as it ever was – put out good content, with consistent brand messaging, in all your channels,” Robbins said. “As the search engines become ever more adapted to natural language understanding, the best-written content – in all forms – will win the day.”
And in the world of international SEO, the time is now to invest in good localization of content, said Motoko Hunt, President, AJPR.
“Many global websites have poorly translated content that hasn’t been edited for the local tongue,” Hunt said. “It’s not the placement of the keywords, it’s about how well your content is written for the local audience.