SEO in 2020: It Hasn’t Changed (Much)

SEO in 2020: It Hasn’t Changed (Much)

SEO in 2020 both has and hasn’t changed. Let me explain. In 2019, there were three core algorithm updates. One in March, another in June, and the final
one in September. And do you know what happened in each one
of these updates? Probably not. But I can guarantee you that 99.99% of people
watching this video don’t either. And it’s not because the updates weren’t important. It’s because they didn’t affect the fundamental
principles of SEO success. So rather than searching for the latest EAT
hack or trying to optimize for BERT, you should focus on the three most important things
that will determine the fate of your rankings. And that’s what we’re covering in this video today. Stay tuned. [music] Google’s algorithm is always changing. But the one thing that hasn’t changed
is what the algorithm is trying to do. Google’s job is to provide the best search
results for any given query. They need to find pages and rank the ones
that best match and serve the user’s intents. And to figure this out, they use hundreds
of different ranking factors. So there’s really no point in chasing algorithms. Instead, our job as content creators and marketers is
to show search engines that our pages deserve to rank. And the three things that will determine
whether you rank or not are content, backlinks, and indexation. Let’s go through each one of these. First and arguably the most important thing
in SEO is content. No matter how prolific your writing skills are, you
won’t rank unless you’ve gotten your content “right.” And by “right,” there are a few major things to consider. First is search intent. Search intent means the reason behind
a searcher’s query. To figure this out, just do a search in Google
for your target keyword, and look through the titles of the top ranking pages. From these, you should be able to figure out
the three C’s of search intent. The first C is content type. Content type can usually be categorized into
blog posts, product, category, and landing pages. The second C is content format. And this applies more to blog posts and landing pages. A few common blog formats you’ll see are
“how-tos”, step-by-step tutorials, list posts, and opinion editorials. For a landing page, that might be something
like a tool or calculator. And the third C is content angle, which often
depicts the “benefit.” It’s basically your hook as to why someone
should click through to the page. Search intent today is more important than ever. And if you want to rank high, you’ll want to match
the type, format, and angle of other top pages. Second, make sure you’ve covered the topic in full. This doesn’t mean that you have to give every
last detail on the topic. For example, if you’re writing about a topic
like “the best headphones,” you don’t have to mention every single manufacturer and/or model. Instead, look at what the top ranking pages
are talking about. So for “best headphones,” you’ll see that
TechRadar has organized their post by “best [type] headphones.” Like “best in-ear headphones,” “best on-ear
headphones,” and so on. See the article from Digital Trends, and they’ve
followed the same or at least very similar format. You can also use Ahrefs’ Content Gap tool
to see common keyword rankings among the top 3 to 5 pages. Just enter the top ranking URLs here, which
I’ve already done and run the search. And now that we can see keywords that the
top pages rank for, we can extract subtopics and create a thorough page to maximize search traffic So I might want to talk about budget headphones
as well as the best portable headphones and categorize my post that way. Finally, make sure you get the on-page stuff down pat. Things like titles, URL slugs, and heading tags are
basic things in on-page SEO, but they’re important. Rather than going into the details, I recommend
watching our full on-page SEO checklist tutorial which will walk you through all of the important steps. The second thing is to continue focusing
on building backlinks. Links have been and still are one of the strongest
ranking signals. And if you want to rank for anything remotely
competitive, you’ll need to build them. Now, while you might be searching for new
and revolutionary link building tactics in 2020, my recommendation is to stop. Things like broken link building, the Skyscraper
Technique, and guest posting all work really well. What doesn’t work is when you copy other people’s
templates verbatim. By doing that, you’re essentially putting
yourself in a box with hundreds of other people sending the exact same email, which probably
won’t yield the best results. Try and provide value to the person who’s receiving
the email to increase your chances of getting links. We have an awesome playlist on various link
building strategies, so if you’re relatively new to link building or struggling to build quality backlinks,
I highly recommend watching those videos, choosing a strategy for your pages, and executing. Alright, the final piece to ranking is indexation. Search engines crawl, parse, and store information
in a database called a search index. End users are then able to access this information
using Google search. So if your pages aren’t indexed, then it’s impossible
to get your site or pages discovered in search. To check if your site is indexed, go to the
Coverage report in Google Search Console and you should be able to see which pages
Google has indexed. Also, if you haven’t submitted a sitemap,
then you can do that here, too. Now, if you don’t have Search Console setup,
go to Google and search for site:yourdomain. Hopefully you’ll see most of your pages there. If you’re seeing zero results, it means your
site isn’t indexed. If this is you, there are three things you
should look for. First, make sure you haven’t unintentionally
noindexed all of your pages. This often happens with redesigns where developers
will noindex an entire site during development and forget to switch it back when migrating. Just open the source code on your homepage,
and search for noindex. If you see it in your meta robots tag, then
you’ll want to fix that. Second, make sure you’re not blocking Googlebot
or all user agents in your robots.txt file. Just go to And if you see something like this, it means you’re blocking all bots from crawling
any page on your website. And third, check Search Console for a manual action. You can do that by clicking on Manual actions
in the sidebar. Fix whatever it is, and submit a reconsideration request. Now, if you have specific pages that aren’t
being indexed, then you likely have more of a technical SEO issue. First, do the same checks that I mentioned,
like making sure you didn’t noindex the page. Another reason can be if you’re automatically
generating millions of indexable pages. These are most likely going to be low-quality
and will affect your crawl budget. Some examples are forum profiles or faceted
navigation issues on ecommerce pages. There are literally an endless number of things
to check for if your pages aren’t being indexed, but these are the most common. Bottomline: if your pages aren’t in Google’s
index, your SEO future in 2020 or even 2222 won’t be very promising. Now, while things like BERT or using Python
to automate SEO tasks might seem exciting, prioritize and don’t lose focus on these three things that are actually going to get your pages ranking high. Think about it like this. You don’t need to know how running shoes are
made in order to become a better sprinter. You need to strengthen your core muscle groups, practice the fundamentals like starting, accelerating,
and finishing. Most importantly, you need to get out there
and compete with others. In the same way, SEO is all about fundamentals. Focus on the things that matter most rather
than chasing shiny tactics from headlines claiming SEO has completely changed. Now, I’d love to hear from you. Do you think that SEO will be more or less
the same in 2020 vs. last year? Let me know in the comments and if you enjoyed
this video, make sure to like, share and subscribe for more actionable SEO tutorials. So keep grinding away, stay focused, and I’ll
see you in the next tutorial.


    Hey ahref quick question .. if my competitor has 5000 links total (only 500 do follow) and I’m looking to outrank them for a keyword seo, do you think obtaining high UR quality links (20-30) will outrank then for that specific keyword ?? I’m trying to quantify how many high quality (good dr / ur) do follow links I’ll need to gain to be competitive . Also (which do u think is most important .. a high dr backlink or high ur backlink) thanks guys !!

    Another GREAT video, Sam Oh. I like how you emphasize SEO fundamentals. It's just won't change.
    However, I would state this…the focus should be on creating QUALITY content to rank WITHOUT backlinks FIRST. That should naturally attract backlinks. In other words, backlinks should ALWAYS come second in any content marketing campaign.
    Anyways, that's my two cents on this topic…

    On my site robots.txt page contains the following information:

    User-agent: *

    Disallow: /wp-admin/

    Allow: /wp-admin/admin-ajax.php

    Sitemap: https://mywebsite/sitemap.xml

    Is everything right so far? Or is something wrong?

    Sam, You are awesome in explaining hard topic in a simple way. Thanks a lot for this awesome video. And 1 one question for you please reply, my robots.txt file showing like this-
    User-agent: *
    Disallow: /wp-admin/
    Allow: /wp-admin/admin-ajax.php

    Please tell me sam, it is right or wrong

    Hi Sam, thanks so much for posting this content! You really were things in a way that's easy to understand. I actually work on the paid search side, but I find that my landing pages often require very similar setups in order to increase my relevancy and to keep costs down.

    Focus on the fundamentals. Thanks Sam. You really get specific and actionable, things to keep doing, things to check. And most importantly, how to fix them. Thank you.

    Hi, How important are "citation" on a scale of 1 to 10 compared to backlinks (especially for Google 3 Pack) if backlinks get "8" (if you agree: 0) how much would you give for "citation"?

    I was hoping you'd comment on the removal of a slot in the SERPS if awarded the featured snippet and how it might be important to your traffic to implement the no snippet tag to maintain traffic.

    Well said, Sam 🙂
    I think this video aligns perfectly with Ahrefs's latest blog post –

    Google have already come out and said that having a page
    that copies everyone else is not necessarily the best thing to do – it’s means
    that you end up with lots of cookie-cutter pages that don’t ‘pop’.

    It’s important to make sure that you have the best possible
    answers to queries and content hat users will actually want to read, but going
    out of your way to match the ‘type, angel and format’ of competitors is a little
    too simplistic and may actually be counter-productive if you get lost in a sea
    of clones.

    One area that has changed for me in SEO in 2020 is using FAQ keywords. I first found them using Ahref's keyword tool. They rock!

    This is why I watch your stuff… BS & no 'shiny object syndrome'.
    I would be lying to say, like many others, I have never been wow'ed & pulled sideways by 'The Magic SEO Button' – JUST $27!!…with it's subsequent 22 upsells!
    Thankfully, that was a long time ago…..but never forgotten!
    Cheers! – Nigel

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