As every business rushes to build an online empire and survive this significant and unknowable change to the economy, the number of “SEO for Beginners” and “SEO Basics” posts are proliferating. These days, every business leader wants to know how to gain control of Google’s search results, build a bigger online audience, and thrive in this exceedingly Digital Age.

Unfortunately, many of those so-called step-by-step guides aren’t exactly accurate to what businesses actually need to do to survive and thrive in the world of SEO. Here’s a more updated and practical version of SEO Basics for 2020.

Consider the Goals for an SEO Campaign

Any new business project should start with goal setting. Goals direct a business’s efforts in almost every way: They help businesses build a strategy, they determine what factors to track, and they indicate when a company has reached success. A business without goals will lack direction and will find it difficult to obtain success in any endeavor. However, it is possible for businesses to select the wrong goals for certain projects, which can interfere with overarching goals for the organization and counteract mission statements — not to mention fail to provide the results that businesses want and expect.

SEO goals will vary from business to business, depending on a business’s exiting online profile and its ambitions for its website in the coming years. Some worthwhile goals to consider in 2020 include:

  • Increase in traffic. Organic traffic is one of the best benefits of SEO, and it is also a metric that indicates SEO success. To set a realistic goal for growth, businesses should research their current traffic; a low starting point means a high percentage increase is a worthy aim.
  • Build better backlinks. Building backlinks isn’t particularly hard, but increasing the quality of backlinks is a difficult and valuable practice. Businesses can strive to obtain links on authoritative, high-quality websites for better SEO outcomes.
  • Improve domain authority. Authoritative websites almost always rank highly in search results, so increasing a business’s domain authority is a good tactic. Improvements to authority tend to occur through improvements to content, internal linking, and website load speeds as well as consumer trust.

Read More: The Benefits of SEO for Local Businesses

Typically, SEO goals will change over time, but as long as a business has a good idea what they want to achieve through SEO practices — more audience visibility, a better brand image, etc. — it will start its SEO journey on the right foot. It is important to note that knowing how to achieve these goals isn’t particularly important because the next step in this updated SEO guide is…

Find the Right SEO Firm to Outsource to

Corporate brand

Savvy business leaders in 2020 wouldn’t try to manage their own accounting books, build their own mobile app or keep track of payroll and benefits to employees — all of these tasks are either devoted to in-house employees or else outsourced to a qualified and trustworthy firm. Yet, still in 2020, business leaders believe they can DIY an incredibly technical and undeniably important field like SEO.

SEO is much more time-, energy- and knowledge-intensive than most business leaders comprehend at the beginning of the experience, and without an experienced and skilled SEO at hand, many SEO endeavors crash and burn. While there are many ways for businesses to utilize a true SEO professional, undeniably the best way is to hire a third-party SEO agency.

SEO agencies employ several if not dozens of workers with years of experience in digital marketing in general and SEO specifically. They are trained in the technical aspects of SEO and have robust tools for deploying tactics and tracking success. Though an SEO firm is more expensive than an SEO freelancer, they offer more power and perspective than one SEO working alone, and SEO companies are much more affordable than trying to onboard an SEO team for in-house services.  

Companies should survey a few SEO agencies in their area, comparing costs, client care, available services and the like to ensure their SEO partner meets or exceeds expectations. Then, after a few meetings to establish an SEO strategy and plan of action, business leaders should sit back and let their SEOs work.

Trust in SEO Experts

Business leaders in 2020 have so much on their plate already that adding anything related to SEO is likely to be exceedingly overwhelming. Quality SEO firms will send regular updates on progress toward predetermined SEO goals, which should be enough to assure business leaders that SEO is on the right track for success. In truth, there is no need to manage in-house SEO tools or hover over an SEO firm’s work; in time, SEO success will come if business leaders put their trust in the right SEOs.

Read More: Top 5 SEO Trends For 2020