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SEO Strategy Guide: Beat Your Competition in 2020 – Search Engine Journal

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1. Search-Intent Oriented Content

The web has a content problem. There’s just too much of it.

Search Google for literally anything, and the total number of results will be in the hundreds of millions – and it’s an everyday thing.

What’s more, nobody expects all of those results to be good.

However, users expect to see something good on the Page 1 of Google.

Can you imagine digging through those millions of results to find only a dozen that deserve to be displayed there?

That’s what Google does every day, over 79,000 times per second.

Now, users might not occupy themselves with how Google is getting it done. But you, as a website owner, are different: you need to know the ins and outs of online search because you have content to promote.

How does Google decide which pages deserve to be at the top?

There are over 200 major ranking factors, but it all boils down to one thing: who’s the best at being helpful to users. Or, in SEO terms, at satisfying user search intent.

So how do you pull that off?

Have a Clear Grasp of What Exactly You Are Offering to Your Users

There was a reason you created your site in the first place. This reason is the foundation of your entire plan.

It could be selling products, or spreading information such as news and research, or maybe entertaining visitors with your original content.

What makes the “why” behind your creation so important?

If you can name it with clarity, then it brings you to the next step of the plan: the kind of people you want to come to your site.

Your relationship with them is going to decide your site’s fate – they are your target audience.

Once the “why” and the “who” are decided, they are followed by the “how”. The reason there are many different types of websites is because some of them are better suited for specific tasks than others.

For example, ecommerce stores are the best for selling products, and blogs are great for sharing articles.

If you aren’t using the best way to present your content to users, you should rethink this part before everything else.

Many site owners stumble on this first step because they don’t think about what they are doing.

Be better than that.

Pick Keywords That Will Lead Users to Your Content

Users try out all sorts of search phrases in Google, and only a precious few of them will be any good for your site.

The trick is to find those few phrases and turn them into your chosen keywords. So, how do you know you’ve found what you need?

  • They clearly reflect what you have to offer. Short, vague keywords like “buy boots” won’t be of any use to you. Even if a miracle lets you outrank the big brands, you’ll still risk bringing in users who don’t want the kind of product you have. Try optimizing for more specific phrases like “winter boots for women”.
  • They have a high search volume. The more people use a search phrase in a given area, the more people you can turn into your users. Keywords with a low search volume can also be useful, but only when you use many at once to make up for their individual low potential.

You can find search intent-oriented keywords with the Get Suggestions tool.

Proceed to Create High-Quality Content

In spite of how hard it is, people are getting better at making great content, and the quality standards keep rising.

Fortunately, the core principle remains the same: give users the best version of the thing they are looking for.

How do you make such content?

  • Research what the users want, as accurately and in-depth as you can. Users always want more details. If they can get those details from you, then you already have an advantage.
  • Make your content visually appealing. As humans are visual creatures, you should know how to make a good first impression and make it last.
  • Provide the best user experience you can. Let nothing on your site get on the users’ nerves. You are supposed to be helping them and making them feel welcome.
  • Address the users’ pain points. If you revive their problems in their heads, it will make them hungrier for the solutions you are about to offer.
  • Give detailed solutions to the users’ problems. Often users don’t know about all the pitfalls they can encounter on the way to their goal. Be sure to include solutions to those issues too: that’s what real experts do.
  • Seal the deal with a call-to-action.

And if you connect relevant pieces of content on your site with links, you can turn the user journey into a cycle, ensuring they’ll keep using your site (at a later time, if not immediately).

It will be even easier for them the next time, since they are already familiar with the whole process. Example: “people also buy” on ecommerce sites.

2. Keyword Research & Optimization

Have you figured out how to make your users’ dream content?

Great job! You have a good reason to be proud of yourself if you have pulled it off.

Now it’s time for the next step: helping users find your content in search engines. This part requires keywords.

In the previous section, it was said that your content needs to be tailored to users’ search intent. The same applies to keywords.

Phrasing reflects what exactly users are looking for, so keywords phrased with a specific intent in mind are the best at bringing in the audience you need.

Examples:

  • Plumber in my city: Your site is for users from your city who need plumber’s services.
  • How to remove rust off my sink: You provide instructions for removing rust stains from metal surfaces in bathrooms and kitchens.
  • Sell my old books: You buy books (and likely other things too) from people who don’t need them anymore.

What’s the best way to find such keywords?

Most likely, you will be starting with some ideas of your own. But you won’t know if those ideas are good unless you somehow test them out.

That’s where SEO tools come in. This is a job for a keyword finder like Get Suggestions.

SEO Strategy Guide: Beat Your Competition in 2020

Just enter what you have in mind and press Search. The Google global searches column will show the search volume for every keyword in the table.

Sort the table by this column to make it easier to find the best keywords.

If you plan to rank in and get traffic from a particular region, you can narrow your keyword search down to a specific geographical area in the Settings (or by clicking on Add location).

In this case, the Google global searches will be called Google local searches.

Note the All keywords filter. Clicking on it opens a menu where you can opt to show only regular keywords or only question keywords.

The Question keywords filter is particularly useful if you want to optimize your site for voice search.

There are a couple more ways to find keywords.

  • From Google Search Console: If you have connected your WebCEO project to your Google Search Console account, it will start drawing data from Google. Then you can check out the Keywords from Google Search Console tool for all the various queries that bring your website traffic after being found in search. It will also show the usefulness of each query through statistics such as click-through rates and average ranking positions taken from global data over the past 30 days.
  • From your competitors: This is a two-step process. What keywords do your competitors use to optimize their sites? First, enter their URL address in the Spy on Competitors tool to find out. Add the keywords you’d like to rank for yourself to the keyword basket, then open the Competitor Rankings by Keyword report to check their rankings for those keywords. If you see someone rank poorly for a good keyword, start using it yourself – it’s an easy way to outrank them.

That covers keyword research.

Once you have a list of keywords you want to use, it’s time to optimize your site for them. Make sure to include everything from your list at some point!

  • Page URL addresses.
  • Titles.
  • Meta descriptions.
  • Image filenames, ALT attributes and captions.
  • H1-H4 headings.
  • Anchor texts of internal links.
  • Other text.

3. Competitor Research

How do you measure a site’s success?

You can judge it by its rankings, traffic, conversions, and the revenue it makes.

Ultimately, this SEO strategy is supposed to make you more successful than your rivals in the niche.

I bet you already have your eye on a few competitor websites that you want to beat. And that will be much easier if you can view their metrics whenever you want, too.

There’s also the possibility they aren’t really your rivals, and you need to be fighting someone else.

What’s the word for beating someone at their game only to find out you have won nothing?

“Awkward” is the nicest thing that comes to mind.

Let’s remove all awkwardness from your path to stardom.

Our starting point is the Dangerous Competitors tool.

Click on the Settings button.

SEO Strategy Guide: Beat Your Competition in 2020SEO Strategy Guide: Beat Your Competition in 2020

  • Keywords tab: Enter the keywords you intend to rank for.
  • Search engines tab: Select the search engines where you want to rank.
  • Mirrors & Subdomains tab: Enter the URLs of your site’s mirrors and subdomains (if you have any). It will let the tool know that they shouldn’t be considered competitor sites.
  • Competitors tab: Enter the URLs of the competitors you already know.
  • Search results tab: Check the boxes of all types of search results you want to scan.
  • Local searches tab: Select regions like states, counties or provinces to show keyword demand for (if you want to rank somewhere in particular and not just globally).

Once you’ve finished filling everything out, click Save.

SEO Strategy Guide: Beat Your Competition in 2020SEO Strategy Guide: Beat Your Competition in 2020

The tool will generate a graph and a table. Look for the sites that are above yours in the table. They can be your real, most dangerous competitors.

Note the “most likely” part. To be completely sure, visit those sites personally and see if they really specialize in the same field as you.

Irrelevant sites may appear if they happen to rank for the keywords you’ve entered without actually sharing a target audience with your site.

With this, you have discovered your true rivals. Fight them with every trick in the book:

  • Creating content.
  • Promoting content.
  • Providing a superb user experience.
  • Building a cordial relationship with users.
  • Optimizing your site.

And watch the metrics which reflect your progress: there’s no better way to find out if something is wrong.

  • Rankings: compare your ranking positions to theirs for your chosen keywords in the Competitor Rankings by Keyword
  • Backlinks: check the Competitor Link Profile report for everyone’s link profile statistics, including the total number of backlinks and domain authority.
  • Traffic: the Competitor Traffic report has everyone’s traffic data for the last 12 months.

Another hugely important matter: competitor backlinks.

If you can look them up, you can find a huge number of sites where you can build backlinks to your own site.

How do you do that?

Just feed your rivals’ URLs to the Competitor Backlink Spy.

SEO Strategy Guide: Beat Your Competition in 2020SEO Strategy Guide: Beat Your Competition in 2020

Then sort the table by the Domain Trust Flow column to put all the best potential link sources where you can see them.

4. Page Speed Optimization

Something has been bothering me for the longest time. So, electricity travels at the speed of light, right?

The Internet runs on electricity, and data packets move at the same speed. Then how come there isn’t even a single website which can load at the speed of light? It’s unfair.

Of course, humans cannot comprehend such tremendous speeds anyway. So we are perfectly fine with the next best thing, which we usually describe as “in the blink of an eye”.

That’s how fast we want websites to load, and we get really upset when it doesn’t happen.

Fortunately, some people are slow blinkers. That must be why most users are comfortable with a couple of seconds of loading time. Any more can cause a problem.

Scan your site with the Page Speed Insights tool to check its loading speed. If the score is low (100 is excellent), there are plenty of ways to make your site load faster:

  • Host your site on a fast server.
  • Host your site on a CDN.
  • Optimize your images’ dimensions.
  • Save your images in the right format.
  • Compress images.
  • Use fewer elements.
  • Merge elements.
  • Use gzip compression.
  • Leverage browser caching.

SEO Strategy Guide: Beat Your Competition in 2020SEO Strategy Guide: Beat Your Competition in 2020

5. Technical Audit

Errors are a nuisance no matter where you encounter them. Users won’t be appreciative if you let your website go.

Would you let garbage pile up in your office where everyone can see it?

Of course you wouldn’t; it would be disrespectful to the people who visit you.

The place where you receive your customers should be kept clean and run like a well-oiled machine. Websites are the same.

What kind of issues on your site could be hurting user experience?

  • Broken links
  • Broken images
  • Broken redirects
  • Server errors
  • Missing meta tags
  • Indexing issues
  • Crawling issues
  • Orphaned pages
  • Dead-end pages
  • Schema markup errors

Look at how many things can go wrong when you are not even looking. But you can’t possibly keep an eye on your site every waking hour.

Good thing there are fully automated tools for such tasks, isn’t it?

I can recommend a couple. The first is the Technical Audit tool.

SEO Strategy Guide: Beat Your Competition in 2020SEO Strategy Guide: Beat Your Competition in 2020

You can use it to detect the most common technical issues with your site, and then you can just proceed to fix them.

To make your job easier, you can (and it’s heavily recommended) set this tool to scan your site automatically as often as you want.

Once a week is good, but if you’d rather do it more or less often, it’s up to you. It’s all in the Scan Schedule.

SEO Strategy Guide: Beat Your Competition in 2020SEO Strategy Guide: Beat Your Competition in 2020

You can even set the tool to send you alerts when you get site errors.

For that, click on Reports -> Email Alerts in the top menu.

The other tool of importance is the On-Site Issues Overview.

SEO Strategy Guide: Beat Your Competition in 2020SEO Strategy Guide: Beat Your Competition in 2020

This tool detects SEO errors on your site, such as issues with meta tags (short, repeating or outright missing). It, too, can be set for automatic regular scans and email alerts.

What else do you need to keep your site free of errors?

The Robots.Txt File

If you don’t have one in the first place, the On-Site Issues Overview tool will tell you, but there may also be issues with the file itself.

Be sure to check that it’s formatted correctly and that it allows search engines to crawl your site’s content, and prevents them from crawling pages you don’t want to appear in search.

Sitemap

If you haven’t uploaded a sitemap, its absence can be picked up by the On-Site Issues Overview, too.

Use a validating tool to make sure your sitemap is formatted correctly.

Also, if your site has more than 50,000 pages, you are going to need at least two sitemaps.

Schema Markup Validator

If you are using structured data on your site, you should always test your marked-up pages for errors before rolling them out.

Google has a free Structured Data Testing Tool you can use anytime.

SEO Strategy Guide: Beat Your Competition in 2020SEO Strategy Guide: Beat Your Competition in 2020

Want to See Steps 6-10?

To see the complete list of the most effective SEO tips and tactics, please download the SEO Strategy Guide: Beat Your Competition in 2020 below.

This guide was created exclusively for WebCEO users who wish to make the next decade one of their biggest triumphs. Sign up now to enter a bright future!

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Apple may have ditched encrypted backups, but Google hasn't – Android Central

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A bombshell report from Reuters suggests Apple ditched end-to-end encryption for iCloud backups at the behest of the FBI. Citing several former Apple employees and FBI officials, the publication notes that Apple planned to switch to end-to-end encryption for iCloud — putting it on the same level as iPhones and iPads — but reversed course after consulting with the FBI.

iCloud data is also encrypted by default, but Apple holds a key to decrypt it. So in a scenario where an iCloud user is locked out of their account for whatever reason, Apple has the ability to decrypt the contents of that iCloud library. It is this reasoning that Tim Cook gave in defence of the move last year:

We do this because some users lose or forget their key and then expect help from us to get their data back.

According to Reuters, Apple was considering switching to end-to-end encryption wherein it won’t be able to recover data even when served with a court order. However, the company ultimately decided to not do so:

More than two years ago, Apple told the FBI that it planned to offer users end-to-end encryption when storing their phone data on iCloud, according to one current and three former FBI officials and one current and one former Apple employee.

Under that plan, primarily designed to thwart hackers, Apple would no longer have a key to unlock the encrypted data, meaning it would not be able to turn material over to authorities in a readable form even under court order.

In private talks with Apple soon after, representatives of the FBI’s cyber crime agents and its operational technology division objected to the plan, arguing it would deny them the most effective means for gaining evidence against iPhone-using suspects, the government sources said.

When Apple spoke privately to the FBI about its work on phone security the following year, the end-to-end encryption plan had been dropped, according to the six sources.

It isn’t clear if FBI was able to persuade Apple to not switch, or whether the company decided of its own volition. What is clear though is that Apple has the means to provide law enforcement agencies access to your data should a court require it.

Our favorite VPN service is more affordable now than ever before

Here’s where Google comes in. The search giant quietly enabled end-to-end encryption for Android backups back in 2018, with a Titan security chip housed in Google’s datacenter ensuring data integrity. The system ensures that only you have access to your data, and should you lose your client device (your phone), there won’t be any way to recover the information as Google doesn’t hold a decrypt key. Here’s how the system works:

Starting in Android Pie, devices can take advantage of a new capability where backed-up application data can only be decrypted by a key that is randomly generated at the client. This decryption key is encrypted using the user’s lockscreen PIN/pattern/passcode, which isn’t known by Google. Then, this passcode-protected key material is encrypted to a Titan security chip on our datacenter floor.

The Titan chip is configured to only release the backup decryption key when presented with a correct claim derived from the user’s passcode. Because the Titan chip must authorize every access to the decryption key, it can permanently block access after too many incorrect attempts at guessing the user’s passcode, thus mitigating brute force attacks.

The limited number of incorrect attempts is strictly enforced by a custom Titan firmware that cannot be updated without erasing the contents of the chip. By design, this means that no one (including Google) can access a user’s backed-up application data without specifically knowing their passcode.

Basically, your phone PIN or passcode acts as a decryption key for the Titan module, and without it you won’t be able to access your data. So if you are looking for end-to-end encryption for backups, Google is the way to go.

A key distinction here is that the system only works for application backups and not content stored in your Google Drive. If you want to secure your data in Drive, you should look at Cryptomator or try rclone if you like to tinker.

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Galaxy Flip: Why I'm excited for the Galaxy Fold's smaller sibling. It's not just the novelty – CNET

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The Galaxy Z Flip could be announced on Feb. 11.


Giuseppe Spinelli/LetsGoDigital

With the tablet-like Galaxy FoldSamsung’s embraced the saying, “Go big or go home.” But its second foldable phone — rumored to be called the Galaxy Z Flip — is almost guaranteed to be cheaper, smaller, vertically bending and outfitted with half the cameras. I couldn’t be more excited. 

There’s something about foldable phones that still feels magical to me, a sensation that’s hard to come by after nearly 14 years working with phones. I thought I’d seen it all: phones that flip upkick outflex, even phones shaped like a circle. But a screen that’s both thin and strong enough to bend in half without breaking feels like the future come to life. 

Where the Galaxy Fold was a luxury device designed to make a splash as the first major foldable phone, the Z Flip (internal code name: Galaxy Bloom) will take on the Motorola Razr as a more affordable phone that highlights not the luxury, but the practicality of a foldable phone. It’s likely Samsung will unveil the Galaxy Z Flip at it Unpacked event on Feb. 11.

For Samsung, the Z Flip will give the company a dramatic lead in the foldable space, with a large premium device (the Galaxy Fold) followed by a simpler phone with a smaller screen. That’s two pathways for Samsung to secure interest from early adopters. For the rest of us, there are several practical reasons to train our eyes on the Galaxy Z Flip, or whatever it winds up being called, that go way beyond the novelty of a foldable phone.

galaxy-z-flip-render-2galaxy-z-flip-render-2

An artistic render of how the Galaxy Z Flip could look.


Giuseppe Spinelli/LetsGoDigital

The first foldable phone with a glass screen?

One rumor suggests that the Galaxy Z Flip will be the first foldable design to use an ultrathin glass screen. That’s momentous if true. The first generation of foldables use plastic displays, which are much more susceptible to damage. 

It’d be interesting to see how completely a glass screen would bend. Could the two sides really fold flat? I’d also love to test firsthand the screen’s ability to keep the electronic display underneath safe from pressure, scratches, drops, dust and water damage.


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The bendable glass that’s shaping up to cover foldable…

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Foldable phones are still a proof of concept

Right now, foldable phones inhabit a zone of uncertainty. They’re expensive, fragile and few. At this point it’s hard to believe that they could replace the large-screen rectangles we carry today, but there are hints it just might work.

The more foldable phones exist — both in design and in total number of units made — the more we can see if they’ll actually take off. Or if they’re just fun, expensive toys. The Z Flip will be one more effort that helps determine the fate of the category.

The variety we see already in early foldable designs is crucial. We’ve seen commercial devices and prototypes for small foldables like the Razr, which can slip into a pocket, all the way up to a 10-inch tablet that folds into three parts

It will be through real-time trial and error that the industry determines which designs work best, how to fix common weaknesses and what it is that people actually want in a foldable phone. Only then can companies collectively begin to perfect them. 

This is Samsung’s chance to prove it can make a sturdy foldable

An embarrassment for Samsung, the Galaxy Fold’s early screen flaws overshadowed its historic debut. Samsung delayed the initial sale date for months, redesigned the phone, scaled back production and dropped two colors. Now with the rumored Galaxy Z Flip, Samsung gets a second chance.

Choosing a radically different design — the Galaxy Z Flip should be a vertical flip phone with a smaller screen than the 7.3-inch Galaxy Fold — gives Samsung an opportunity to apply the lessons it learned from the Fold’s early mistakes. 

Tight seals between the display and the folding mechanism, tamper-proof cover material and a reinforced OLED display will go a long way toward reestablishing its reputation in the foldable space. It should also have fewer cameras and a cheaper price tag than the Fold’s $1,980 starting price.

Finding the limits of a small outer screen

Like the Galaxy Fold and the Motorola Razr, the Galaxy Z Flip should have an external display, and I’m interested to see how Samsung will design it. On both the Fold and the Razr, the screen was relatively small, making it fine for viewing alerts and initiating quick tasks, but less ideal to actually use.

If the Galaxy Z Flip goes even smaller than the Galaxy Fold’s 4.6-inch exterior screen, I’ll have a few questions. Will you still be able to use every app on the outer display and open it to reveal the app inside, or will your actions and activities be more limited?  

I’ll have to wait for its debut to find out.


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Lower prices will make foldable phones more accessible

With the Galaxy Fold priced at $1,980, the foldable Z Flip is expected to cost significantly less. 

Samsung was clear about calling the Galaxy Fold a luxury handset, which somewhat cushioned the news that it would cost nearly $2,000. The messaging was this: It’s worth it for a futuristic device that’s big enough to replace a tablet. 

The Galaxy Z Flip is sure to be another case entirely. One rumor suggested it could cost around $850, which is half the price of the Motorola Razr and more than half the price of the Galaxy Fold. 

We’ll see what happens, but one thing is clear: The more affordable they are, the more Samsung and its competitors will snag more real-world buyers (or “testers”). And the more people who use these early foldable phones, the faster we’ll know where their future truly lies — in pockets and purses all over the globe, or in a museum of futuristic tech that never panned out.

Originally published earlier today.

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Harder Difficulties And Permadeath Return To DOOM Eternal – Nintendo Life

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Updated – Wed 22nd Jan, 2020 03:30 GMT: DOOM has always been known for having multiple difficulty settings that will give even the most seasoned gamer a tough time. When DOOM Eternal is released, it’ll continue this tradition. Shacknews recently went hands-on with a preview build of the game and spotted a “top-tier” Nightmare difficulty, which supposedly adds “roguelike” elements to the game. Most of all, you’ll only get one life per run. So, if you die, it’s a complete restart.

It sounds very similar to the Ultra-Nightmare mode in DOOM 2016, which resulted in permadeath and the player losing their save file the second they were killed in battle. According to Shacknews, the latest take on this mode will encourage players to compete against each other (a bit similar to games like Super Mario Maker 2 and Dark Souls) and allow you to also see how far other Doom Slayers got.

Are you looking forward to the arrival of this game? Comment down below.

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