The Ultimate Content SEO Checklist for 2020
SEO has changed a lot in recent years and will continue to change in the years ahead.
Search engines are getting smarter, users are changing how they search, and search engine specialists are pushed to stay on top of their game.
But one thing remains of huge importance to SEO: content. Content will always be king. It’s just how we approach that content that must continually evolve as the people and search engines accessing it evolve.
1. Addressing Searchers Intent vs. Just The Keywords
Whatever words or phrases someone types into a search bar, there is always an intent behind it. There is a goal; a type of content they hope to find.
There are 4 main types of search intents to look for: informative, navigational, transactional and commercial investigation. Optimize content beyond keywords to address intent as well.
2. Answer Questions
More and more, people are searching as if they’re speaking. For example, if someone wants to know how to create a mobile app, they’re far more likely to search “how to create a mobile app” than “mobile app creation.” This is partly due to the growth in voice search, but also happening in typed searches.
In fact, we’re moving more and more towards question-style searches as the years progress.
As you build your content strategy, ensure you are directly answering questions and optimize your content for question-style searches.
3. Create Original Content
When I ask other experts in the field about the best backlinking strategies, the most common answer is to be original and create unique content.
Original content is important for both search engines and humans. Regardless of any positive impact on backlinking, it is your safest bet to not get penalized for duplicate content.
4. Create Content with Google’s Mission in Mind
You need to think about searchers’ intent, but also Google’s intent. Their mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
Google will always evolve towards their mission. So, make your content accessible, useful and linkable, and Google will reward you.
5. Create Engaging Content
Google knows how engaging your content is, and rewards it.
The main ranking factors for 2018 were all user related: time spent on site, bounce rate, pages per visit, etc. All these metrics relate to users and how engaged they are on your site.
Make content people want to spend time with.
Video, images, text, gifs… product descriptions, reviews, helpful tips, useful articles, fun facts, media coverage, quizzes, your grandmother’s famous sugar cookie recipe… Is it relevant? Is it fun? Accessible? Linkable? Useful? Engaging? Get it up there! Diversify your content and your content type. Users like it, Google likes it.
7. Create for humans
Never create just for search engines. Never feel like you owe your SEO expert a list of keywords in your content or title tag or anything.
Yes, search engines will see it first. But it’s the human interaction that matters most. Create for humans because no matter how optimized your content is for the engines, if people don’t spend time with it, the engines will stop noticing.
8. Be legit and make sense
Search engines are getting smart. Really smart. Like, robot-overlords-are-not-that-far-off smart.
Let’s say I’m writing about “the best neighbourhoods in Montreal”. Google will actually grade my authority and article integrity based on if I reference actual neighbourhoods, such as NDG, St-Henri, Jean Talon, etc…
Google knows that these are legit neighbourhoods and will look for them. If it doesn’t find any, the article is not deemed worthy.
9. Check your grammar
Despite the valiant efforts of far too many people, “your” and “you’re” still are not interchangeable.
As part of evolving search engine intelligence, they are also getting sensitive to our (perceived) intelligence. There is a level of credibility associated with proper grammar and search engines know that. Check your grammar. Twice.
10. Ensure structural integrity
Structured sites lead to structured content. Working on your site with structure in mind pays off by keeping you safe from cannibalization.
Categorize and tag your site so that you address all topics in a niche and granulated manner.
Search is all about finding good, relevant, accessible content. What you put out there and how you put it out there matters. A lot.