SEO is still very relevant in 2020, and even though the methods that are used have changed over the last five years, the fact still remains that without SEO you will probably not get into the top positions on search engines. SEO used to be about keywords, and making sure that certain words or phrases (or variations of phrases) were used in content in order to allow Google to understand that this what what your article was about. In 2020 (and especially after the BERT update in 2019) Google in more interested in “search intent” over keywords. This means that if you are doing your search engine optimization correctly, you can even rank in high positions for searches that involve keywords that you never used in your content!
SEO is the acronym of “search engine optimization,” which is a process by which elements of a website are manipulated in order to come up higher on search engines for specific search phrases. These phrases are identified as being important for the business in that customers would use these words to find businesses that sell the things that you do. A good example of this is potential customers using Google to search for the phrase “Las Vegas SEO” to find a list of businesses like this one. Coming up in a first-page position for that search phrase would potentially lead people to click on the Google result that is presented and lead them to a page on our website, where they can get information that will help them decide if they should hire us. In the past, we would concentrate on using that specific phrase in different elements of the webpage like in the title or description. We would also attempt to use that phrase (or a variation of it) in the text itself as well as within the code that creates links on other websites. SEO concentrated on these elements because they produced the high-page results that were desired for these search phrases. Over the years, Google has changed to becoming less reliant upon keywords and more understanding of what the content itself is about. This means that you do not have to actually use a specific phrase in the text for Google to understand that your content is about that subject.
The most recent changes to the Google algorithm have put more emphasis on “search intent” and less on the actual keywords and phrases. Through a complex process involving tracking and machine learning, Google analyzes the types of websites and pages that people spend the most time on when they search for something specific. It then tracks the other types of phrases that people search for, and the websites they navigate through to. This gives Google an understanding if the people searching for a specific phrase are getting the information they are seeking from a specific website, and also compiles a list of additional questions that person may ask. Through this process, Google learns which pages are answering questions that people have, and what additional information may also be needed by that person. Google then positions the content into it’s results that answer these questions, using snippets from articles to actually answer the question right on Google’s results and also listing organic results that people can click-through to more expanded information. Google will also provide a list of additional questions that people searching for information on that subject will ask, and provide answers to those questions the same way. This is Google understanding the “intent” of the person searching as well as the “intent” of the webpages to answer that question fully.
So how do you perform SEO effectively in 2020 knowing Google is looking for “search intent?” The answer is simple, when you create content for a website you must now concentrate on answering specific questions that potential customers have, as opposed to trying to create content that “uses certain words.” The questions and answers should be contained on unique pages within a website that deal only with that question and information associated with it. Use that page as the landing page of the website and assume that customers will never move beyond it. This means that the page itself has to give the potential customer all of the information to answer their question as well as information to potentially convert them into YOUR customer. SEO in 2020 is not dead, it has just become more difficult.