As your business transitions into 2021, there will be certain changes in search engine optimization (SEO) to consider as you approach your strategies for the next year. In many ways, the SEO landscape will remain familiar, but like every other aspect of digital marketing, it’s ever-changing. If you can stay privy to the current and upcoming trends and implement them in your strategies, you’ll be able to retain the competitive edge and effectively attract your audiences.
To help you move forward with your SEO campaigns throughout 2021, here are some of the biggest trends to consider.
1. SEO Is About Much More Than Keywords
In the early days of SEO, including a certain amount of keywords in content used to be sufficient for ranking well in search engines, but those days are long gone. While keywords aren’t entirely obsolete, you need to focus primarily on bringing value to your audiences. Google rewards websites with high rankings if people like their content.
If you want your website to rank, you need to produce high-quality content and ensure that it’s accessible. Your website should also provide users with an optimal browsing experience, from appealing web design to easy navigation. If search engines find that people are spending time on your website and that it’s conducive to a pleasant overall user experience, you’ll be much more likely to rank well.
2.Google’s Core Web Vitals Makes Optimizing for UX a Must
One of the specific changes that are making the user experience necessary for good SEO is the introduction of Google’s Core Web Vitals. If you’re unfamiliar with this development, Core Web Vitals will provide people with more insights into user experience through page experience metrics.
Using Core Web Vitals and certain analytics tools, you can optimize every aspect of your website’s page experience, including mobile-responsiveness, image optimization, security, and load speed. As a result, you’ll be able to use technical SEO to not only improve optimization for Google, but for users.
3. Topical Authority Can Help You Stay on Top
One of the best ways to rank well for keywords in your industry is to focus on a certain topic in your content. The more you write blog posts and other on-site content around a specific topic, the more authority you’ll establish around it. As you continue to add content, you’ll naturally incorporate many search queries that your audience is likely to look for on Google. At the same time, you’ll be able to gain the trust of your audiences as an industry leader that offers plenty of value.
If you’re looking for an effective strategy to help you extensively cover a specific topic, consider developing pillar posts. A pillar post is a long piece of content that discusses a particular topic at length. Pillar posts can be thousands of words long and answer just about any question that your audiences might have. In the process of creating a pillar post, you can touch on many subtopics that fall under that main topic. From there, you can elaborate on those subtopics by creating separate blog posts for each subtopic. You can then build a good interlinking strategy by linking back to your pillar post within those supporting blog posts. In turn, link out to subtopic posts within sections of your core pillar.
If audiences like your content and linger on those pages, this can further signal to Google that your website is worth ranking for the many naturally included keywords.
4. Backlinking Is Still Vital
Over the years, backlinking has become one of the biggest ranking factors. If other authoritative and reputable websites are linking back to yours, Google is likely to look at you favorably and rank your website accordingly.
Develop an efficacious outreach strategy to get good backlinks. You can try email correspondence and connect with webmasters to ask if they’d be willing to include a link to your website, submit guest posts to industry-relevant online magazines and blogs, share your content on social media profiles, and submit legitimate comments on articles or other content you enjoy with a link to your own content. You can even answer questions on sites like Quora, linking back to your website while further establishing yourself as a helpful industry authority.
Remember, Google likes both quantity and quality when it comes to backlinks, so try to maintain a balance of both, and avoid black hat techniques such as spamming comments.
5. Mobile Optimization Is More Necessary Than Ever
More and more people are using mobile devices to do everything from performing searches on Google to shopping on various eCommerce platforms. Your website should always be mobile-ready if you want to improve your SEO.
Design your websites around mobile devices and test them for yourself on a range of devices before launching initial designs or redesigns. Maintain a level of simplicity and accessibility that enables mobile users to easily navigate your website and, if using an eCommerce site, buy your products online.
6. Businesses Need to Optimize for Voice Search
Along with the increased use of mobile devices is the growing use of voice assistant devices, including Amazon Echo and Google Home. Smart speakers like these along with mobile voice search assistants like Siri are making it even easier for people to find what they’re looking for without text.
To accommodate voice search, think about how people might search for certain topics or products via voice queries, which often differ from what people might type in search engines. As you develop your content, you can write questions and answers to optimize for both the voice queries and the content that Alexa and other assistants would read back, ensuring it’s readable and conversational.
7. Google Loves Long-Form Content
It used to be possible to rank well with keyword-stuffed pages of around 300 words long, which is the kind of content that many businesses used to produce. However, Google now prefers to see valuable long-form content that’s rich and fresh while encouraging people to view it to completion.
Short-form content is still valuable, but when writing blog posts, service pages, or other content, don’t be afraid to write as much as 2,000 words or possibly more. This goes along with building overall topical authority, but including long-form content that people find helpful can also induce people to stay on your website longer, leading to higher rankings on Google. In short, the more value your content provides, the better you’ll rank in the long run. In addition to text content, this also applies to video content. Valuable webinars, live conferences, and other long-form video content can attract many viewers and boost rankings.
Good long-form content can also encourage people to share it, further supporting your backlink campaigns.
8. Automation Makes Things Easier for Marketers and Customers
With so many automation tools available today, you need to make use of them if you want to stay competitive. Gradually improving artificial intelligence (AI) is behind a lot of the automation tools you can add to your toolkit, improving the user experience and customer communications, among other aspects of online business.
Using the right tools, you can automate email correspondence with leads, make personalized product recommendations to existing customers, or even create custom content that consumers will love. You can also use AI in chatbots to communicate effectively with visitors and answer basic questions. These chatbots can even schedule and help manage appointments or consultations in lieu of a secretary.
More automation means less time wasted on your end, as you’ll free your teams up to build your business and handle the influx of new customers or clients.
9. Scalable SEO Can Further Keep You Competitive
One of the keys to improving your website’s SEO performance is to maintain scalability. You can ensure your SEO is scalable by keeping track of all of the tasks you need to perform, from content development to fixing technical issues on existing pages.
You can also make sure there’s a system in place to alert you in the event of any problems, whether there’s a change in content, rankings, or other elements warranting your attention.
Also, ensure that your teams know precisely how to approach each task to maintain efficiency. Creating an employee resource can help keep everyone on the same page when it comes to methods of operation, helping to maintain cohesion among your teams.
10. Successful Adaptation Will Help You Stay Afloat
In general, the ability to adapt to ongoing changes in SEO will enable you to continue performing optimally. As your business grows and you implement new SEO strategies in 2021 and beyond, try to remain aware of industry updates and keep a lookout for certain developments that you may need to incorporate.
If you can remain perceptive and apply any necessary changes as they develop, you’ll stay consistently ahead of the competition and retain visibility in search engines. In many cases, it may pay to outsource your SEO if needed, which can prevent you from falling behind while maintaining scalability.
Keeping all of these trends in mind can help your business flourish with good SEO throughout 2021.
We can help you build a strong SEO strategy that includes high-quality content, user-friendly web design, and flexibility, you can successfully attract new audiences and, ultimately, drive more sales. Contact us today to get started!