Weekly Wisdom Special Part 2: What NOT to Do in 2020

Alex Tsygankov

Dec 31, 20197 min read
What NOT to Do in 2020
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Itamar Blauer

Itamar Blauer

Digital Marketer

Don't Create Irrelevant Content

2020 is almost here, but today I am going to tell you what you shouldn't do in 2020 when it comes to SEO. And this is something that I see businesses doing so much, is putting out content on their websites, or on YouTube, on social media, that doesn't directly relate to their service offerings or their service pages.

The real reason why this is bad is that when people are on your website, you don't want them just to be interested in your content, but you want them to also convert. So, all the content that you are creating in 2020 needs to be directly relevant to the services that you are offering. And then hopefully, you guys take this on board, and it means that your content will be much better because it helps drive people down the funnel.

Ross Tavendale

Ross Tavendale

Managing Director at Type A Media

Don't Forget to Get the Basics Right

We have seen in 2019 that voice was a nothing burger. We spoke about it a lot as SEO people but didn't really see massive impacts. That being said, all the technology that underpins what makes voice a thing will be much more important going forward.

I am not going to give you the usual, "Oh, look at natural language processing and BERT and AI," and all that sort of stuff because you can't really do anything with that information. What I will say though is try and have a look at your content and how it actually interlinks. I am not talking about an HTML link from this page to that page; I am talking about the entities on this page and how they are related to the entities on this page, and how they talk to one another. Ultimately, in 2020 the same rules apply: solid technical foundations, excellent on-page copy, and links, links, links.

Jason Barnard

Jason Barnard

Digital Nomad, Speaker, Event Host, Podcast Host at Kalicube.pro

Don't Focus on Blue Links, Focus on Rich Elements

Here is what not to do in 2020: don't remain obsessed with ranking blue links. There are three reasons. Reason one, it is a crowded, mature market; everybody and their dog has a basic blog article on the topic you are writing about, and some of them have a boatload of quality inbound links and historical advantage over you.

Blue links are highly competitive and getting more and more difficult to get because, number two, blue links are dying out. They remain dominant on the SERPs in terms of sheer numbers, but they are quickly being replaced by rich elements such as news, carousels, events-related searches, featured snippets, people also ask, knowledge cards, and many, many more. These are taking over and killing the blue links.

This is the gold rush. Google wants to put these rich elements on the SERPs. They want to give the answer right there on the SERP. These are amazing opportunities for you.

Not only are there more and more opportunities, but the competition is much less fierce than for the blue links. Just make sure you get some branding in there. You might not get the click, but you get the free brand awareness.

Reason number three, blue links are boring. In short, continue working on ranking your blue links but switch your obsession to rich elements. Thank you.

Evan Facinger

Evan Facinger

Director of Sales and Marketing at Foremost Media

Don't Just Look at Your ACoS %

Don't just look at your ACoS listed in your Amazon advertising campaigns. You see, Amazon advertising, that is going to impact your organic search ranking on Amazon, so it is going to lead to more sales. What you want to do is look at your total sales. And don't just look at a low ACoS as a good thing; sometimes having a higher ACoS is going to mean a higher profit, so make sure to run the math.

Don't Just Reduce Your Bids to Lower ACoS %

If you are looking to lower your ACoS, don't just automatically reduce your bids. See what happens is, when you start to lower your bids, you end up getting fewer impressions, sometimes even no impressions. It also lowers your ad position, and in the end, that is going to end up decreasing your conversions, which leads to a higher ACoS.

Bartosz Góralewicz

Bartosz Góralewicz

CEO at Onely

Don't Go After the Latest Trend

2020 is going to bring quite a lot of changes, just as 2018 was a year when a lot of new trends emerged. But one of the things, regardless of all that, I would recommend you to do in 2020 or don't do, is don't go after the latest trend.

One of the examples in 2019 being everyone focusing on BERT update that was completely not actionable for SEOs instead of focusing on, for example, massive issues with indexing their content. So you would see webmasters with 30% of their website indexed in Google going after some natural language processing hype that actually if you dig deeper, is not really actionable.

So one, don't go after all of the things that you may consider cool without fixing your classics first. And two, make sure that everything in the technical SEO field is covered within your website. Instead of going after all these shiny objects, focus on web performance, focus on information architecture, focus on making your content indexable, amazing. Focus on a lot of basics that most of us still can improve. Thank you so much.

Dan Petrovic

Dan Petrovic

Director at Dejan Marketing

Don't Guest Post and Don't Buy Links from Influencers

Hi everyone; 2020, one thing we need to stop doing, guest posting. It just doesn't make any more sense. It is spammy, it is inorganic, and it just lacks all quality signals. So, when I analyzed things that were going on within my own team, I found that most of the time when the client presses for link numbers, my link builders go, "All right, let's find a website that easily accepts links, pay them some money, get the link through." There is no quality control, and the content is average. And I thought, "Well, this method has no future. We are not earning our links. Anyone can place a link on such a website. This is a liability for my clients. It could cause penalties in the future. We need to stop this."

And this is what happened, we gradually trimmed down the number of people involved with guest posting to a point where it is very minimal, and in 2020 guest posting is truly out the door.

What do we do instead? But of course, one obvious thing remains — influencer engagement, but there is a problem. If everyone starts hammering influencers, what does that do for this industry? So, what I have seen so far is that the same thing is happening, influences are becoming transactional, the organic part is lost, and what we are doing is just glorified link buying. You are basically paying money to get an influencer to advertise your product, and this is not something that sits well with me.

Tony Wright

Tony Wright

CEO at WrightIMC

Four Dont's for 2020

The first thing is looking at your data, don't test too many things at once. Seeing a lot of people that are getting really into data and coming up with some false conclusions because they are testing too many things and have no idea what is actually working.

Second, don't knee-jerk on any algorithm changes. I predict we are going to see a lot of changes in Google and Bing in the next year, and a lot of people are going to panic when their rankings drop. Don't panic; wait to see what happens. I know it is painful; it is painful for everyone, but there is nothing you can do by knee-jerking, and we could make the problem worse.

Third, don't spend your resources on too many shiny objects. There are a lot of people coming out with a lot of theories based upon BERT and other things, and frankly, there are a lot of things we just don't know. Stick with the tried and true stuff until you see something that is proven to work.

Lastly, don't take anyone's word for it; test yourself to see if something works. Sometimes things that work in one vertical don't work in another. Read my stuff about baby algorithms; every site is a little bit different. So don't just take someone's advice at face. Test it and make sure that it works. Have an amazing year.

Amy Bishop

Amy Bishop

Owner at Cultivative, LLC.

Don't Forget to Tell the Right Story to the Right People at the Right Time

In 2020, let's stop working in silos, let's stop focusing only on the bottom of the funnel and last-click attribution. Let's stop judging top-of-funnel channels by bottom-of-funnel standards, and let's stop running top-of-funnel campaigns without a strong middle-funnel program to convert those leads. And last but not least, let's stop blasting one broad message to all of our audiences. This isn't broadcast. We can do so much better. So here is to better performance in 2020.

Dom O‘Neill

Dom O‘Neill

Vlogger at vlogify.net

Don't Forget Audiences are Transient

You need to be respectful of people's time. You need to understand that people aren't watching your content on the telly, on the laptop, in a controlled environment. They are usually watching it on the smartphone somewhere uncontrolled, and at any point, they can be taken away and back out into the real world. But you have got to be respectful of people's time.

And also, people are on the phone. And so, after a minute, the phone starts to get heavy, the screen's quite small, the eyes get tired, and they might be jostled on the bus. They might be in the queue at the post office, and they are just checking stuff out, and their number is called — right, they are gone. So if you are keeping your videos under one minute, you are more likely to say what you need to say to that audience before they get distracted by something else.

Like these tips? Check out Weekly Wisdom Special Part 1: What to Do in 2020. If you like the format of these videos, please let us know in the comments below. 

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Semrush blog editor