So you want to build a webpage that is well optimized in 2020. A noble goal, but an often confusing one. There is so much misinformation across the web about what constitutes good SEO and which techniques gain the most clicks. Luckily, the winning formula is a simple and effective one: you just need to have quality content and acquire links from other websites. Sounds simple enough, right? Read on to learn some quick tips that can get you started building stronger webpages in the new year.

Let’s Talk Links

Hold off on the content issue for now. Let’s get into the proper way to boost your clicks through links. This seems to be the topmost factor for Google rankings. In the past, some creators have used automated tools to boost their link acquisition. This may seem like the way to go, except that Google heavily frowns on this practice. Automated link acquisition is a good way to get your webpage punished by the search engine giant through a manual action, the equivalent of an Internet timeout. A manual action means that a human person who works for Google has reviewed your webpage and discovered inconsistencies between your practices and Google’s rules for quality content. Basically, the company determines that you are trying to “game the system” not with quality but through manipulation.

How to Avoid the Dreaded Manual Action

The first step in avoiding these penalties is to get rid of any notion of automated link building. Google looks for quality links rather than the sheer amount of links, so this approach is old-fashioned anyway. Those webpages that show up at the top of your screen when you run a query? Yeah, they aren’t necessarily the ones with the most backlinks from other websites. Instead, they are the ones that Google’s various search engine algorithms deem to be of higher quality. Here’s how to get your webpage up there on that coveted first page of searches.

  • Write Good Content. The best way to generate links and click-throughs from other websites is to make sure that your webpage has quality content that truly informs the audience about the topic. Most content creators look for quality, authoritative sources to cite on their own pages, and that could be yours if you craft your content well. More on that later.
  • Internal Linking. Generate some of your own traffic by having internal links between pages on your website. Start by identifying some of your most linkable assets. These may not be the pages that draw the most readers to your site, but they should satisfy three main criteria: a unique voice or point of view, entertaining facets like quizzes or games, and useful information like a how-to guide.
  • Do the Leg Work. This is the hardest part, and you’re not going to like it. Building links is difficult, time-consuming work. You will need to reach out to other websites’ owners about your content to acquire links. Offer to write guest posts, ask for reciprocal link-building… do whatever it takes. But just don’t use an automated function, or you will be hit with a manual action.

Crafting Quality Content

Alright, now it’s time to discuss what makes your webpage content good. This is important for creating opportunities for links, but it is even more crucial for making your audience regular visitors to your site. Below are a few ways to improve your content.

The Pyramid Style

Generic content won’t do the job. You need to have a unique, well-written page that is written using web writing best practices. Answer the question asked by your article, or provide the information promised by the title of your page, at the very top of the article. Known as the pyramid style, this way of writing ensures that visitors get the content they need right away, and then can read on as you expand and provide more details. If they have to read paragraphs without getting an answer, they’re going to look somewhere else instead.

Keywords are Key

The importance of your keyword research cannot be overstated. Spend time looking at top-performing keywords for your industry. These can be “seed keywords” for your content, and you can generate more from those basic ideas. For example, a personal injury attorney’s site can use keywords like “personal injury lawyer,” “car accident attorney,” “car crash lawyer,” “car wreck attorney,” etc. as seeds. From there, you can expand those keywords out to ideas like “traumatic brain injury lawsuit,” “paralysis lawsuit,” “wrongful death claims,” and other related concepts.

Building strong SEO means more traffic to your website, better Google rankings, increased ad revenue, and a larger audience for future opportunities. Let 2020 be your best year yet by remembering these two simple aspects of strong webpages: high-quality content and copious links from other websites.