Forget 2020 SEO Trends, These Classics Stand the Test of Time

Trends come and go. But classic SEO strategies will always serve you well. Here are three proven strategies that every website owner should focus on, no matter what else is trending.

Classic string of pearls and tie clip.

The Total Package

The only thing that’s constant in a search engine results page is change. In fact, Google made more than 3,000 changes to Search in 2018 alone.

So building a whole-SERP strategy should be part of any SEO program every year.

SEO is not just about implementing the basics on a site. It also requires thinking past the blue links to get more real estate on the entire SERP.

Just take a look at the search results for any given query — what do you see? Today, many features fill the page.

Chart showing the features on a search engine results page.
Image source: SERP Features Monitor, Searchmetrics 

Each feature represents a search vertical or SEO technique worth mastering. By doing so, you can get more visibility on Page 1 and more chances to drive traffic to your owned media.

So for your most important search queries, understand what types of content are likely to be featured. For example, how-to queries may be more likely to show video results. So, create content strategies to supply those queries with video answers.

Video result for how-to search query.

Research shows that a Google Search user on a desktop will navigate to the top left of the search results page and then scan down to find the result that is most useful to them.

So be mindful: what’s featured at the top of the SERP for the queries you want to be found for — is it a video? Featured snippet? Something else?

(For more, check out our tips on optimizing video, images, and other multimedia.)

Technically Speaking

Google is always going to place importance on website functionality because it impacts Google’s experience crawling your website. It also impacts the user’s experience visiting your site. Remember that your users are Google’s users, too.

Technical SEO works to optimize a website’s infrastructure so that search engines can better crawl and index content. This includes everything from externalizing JavaScript or CSS to including robots.txt files, reviewing server configurations, and much more.

It was just last year that Google’s Gary Illyes said on Reddit that he wished SEOs would stop focusing on updates and get back to the basics:

i really wish SEOs went back to the basics (i.e. MAKE THAT DAMN SITE CRAWLABLE) instead of focusing on silly updates and made up terms by the rank trackers, and that they talked more with the developers of the website once done with the first part of this sentence.

For more, see this primer on technical SEO.

Perfectly Imperfect

For all you perfectionists out there, here’s some relief: You don’t need to be perfect in SEO to succeed. You just need to be the least imperfect. What do I mean?

Search engine algorithms are a best-kept secret. We’ll never be able to reverse-engineer them entirely. So the best we can do is be the least imperfect compared to our competition in the search results.

In other words: Do what the websites in the top results are doing, but a little bit better. Get as many on-page and off-page factors right as possible. If they have 15 out of 20 SEO tactics implemented well, do 16 tactics very well.

Because we have not found any great multi-site analyzers, we built our own — patent pending even. Audit tools like those found in our SEOToolSet® and our new WordPress plugin for SEO help you dissect the top-ranking pages for any keyword. Then you can be the least imperfect among them and beat your competition.

FAQ: What are the key components of a whole-SERP strategy in SEO?

A holistic approach known as a whole-SERP strategy is imperative to effectively dominate search engine results pages (SERPs). This strategy involves several key components, each pivotal in enhancing online visibility and driving organic traffic.

Organic Search

The foundation of any whole-SERP strategy is organic search optimization. This involves on-page SEO, high-quality content creation, and technical SEO to ensure your website ranks prominently in organic search results.

Paid Search

Complementing organic search is paid search advertising. Crafting targeted pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns can help you secure valuable real estate at the top of the SERPs, ensuring your brand is seen by a wider audience.

Featured Snippets

Understanding how to optimize for featured snippets is crucial. By providing concise, informative answers to common questions within your content, you increase the likelihood of Google showcasing your content in the coveted “position zero.”

Structured Data Markup

Leveraging structured data markup ( can enhance your search results with rich snippets, which directly display additional information, such as reviews and product details, in the SERPs. This can significantly improve click-through rates.

User Experience Optimization

A seamless user experience is paramount. Ensure your website is mobile-responsive, loads quickly, and easily navigates. Google rewards sites that provide exceptional user experiences.

Local SEO

For businesses with a physical presence, local SEO optimization is essential. Claim and optimize your Google My Business listing, encourage customer reviews, and ensure your NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) information is consistent across the web.

Content Diversification

Diversify your content strategy to include text, videos, images, and infographics. Different content types appeal to a broader audience and can secure placements in various SERP features.

Incorporating these components into your whole SERP strategy will help you conquer the complex and ever-changing landscape of SEO. Remember that SEO is an ongoing process, requiring continuous monitoring, adjustments, and staying abreast of industry trends.

Bruce Clay is founder and president of Bruce Clay Inc., a global digital marketing firm providing search engine optimization, pay-per-click, social media marketing, SEO-friendly web architecture, and SEO tools and education. Connect with him on LinkedIn or through the website.

See Bruce's author page for links to connect on social media.

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10 Replies to “Forget 2020 SEO Trends, These Classics Stand the Test of Time”

Thanks for sharing these great insights and information. I feel that if we do the basics properly and create strategies with a user-centric approach, we would get better returns from SEO in the long run. Worrying too much about algortihm updates will not help in solving the problem.

Thanks Bruce for this article. Too many marketing executives today seem to have basic understanding of how SEO works and can’t understand why their companies aren’t getting the results they think they should be getting. I think you are right on here, and the more this is pointed out, perhaps more of those C-level marketers will begin to grasp the truth about SEO.

Thanks for sharing these strategies with us. I really appreciate your efforts to write this blog.

great work! your blog is very useful in any era and you are right trends always fluctuate if your strategy according to trends then you will be changing your strategy trend to trend. Glad to read your blog keep sharing informative content :)


Thanks Bruce for this image, it’s very clear and I am going to add videos and lets see.

Bruce, what do you have to say about AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) in 2020? Is it still necessary when someone can simply make their website load fast without implementing AMP? Check out the loading speed of my blog nd tell me if i need it: https: // blog

I am struggling to move my website above directory listings for local SEO. My website is one year old. It is indexed. mobile friendly and I leave trusted do follow back links daily.

Owner CEL Financial Services
IRS Registered Tax Preparer
Registered bonded California CTEC Tax Preparer

Are the meta keywords tag still a not a ranking consideration for Google?


Paula Allen

Vpnwelt: The meta keywords tag is not a ranking factor for Google or Bing.

Bruce Trethewy

Thanks Bruce for this article. Too many marketing executives today seem to have basic understanding of how SEO works and can’t understand why their companies aren’t getting the results they think they should be getting. I think you are right on here, and the more this is pointed out, perhaps more of those C-level marketers will begin to grasp the truth about SEO.


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