Does your business have an SEO strategy? If not, it should! When done well, SEO is an effective digital marketing tactic for attracting customers to your online platforms. In today’s age of digital transformation, the world of SEO is constantly evolving. Fast. Marketing teams must stay on top of SEO trends and use them to build future strategies. In this article, we’ll share with you some essential SEO trends for 2021 and how you can use them to prepare your strategy accordingly.
Let’s get started!
Recap: What is SEO?
Search engine optimization (SEO for short) refers to the practice of increasing traffic quantity and quality through organic search engine results.
More website visitors = more sales.
We went into more detail about SEO and how it works in this article.
Why does your business need an SEO strategy?
Search engines want to provide the best and most relevant results to their users.
With 68% of online experiences beginning with a search engine and 1.74 billion websites on the internet, SEO is how search engine providers sift through endless content and rank them according to an algorithm.
92.96% of global traffic comes from Google search results. Optimizing web pages according to the Google algorithm as opposed to other search engines, like Bing or DuckDuckGo, is the priority for most SEO specialists.
53.3% of all website traffic comes from organic search. With this statistic in mind, it’s clear to see why businesses of all shapes and sizes can benefit from implementing an SEO strategy. If you want to achieve higher rankings, SEO is your new best friend.
What are the advantages of an SEO strategy?
Some of the major advantages of integrating SEO into your inbound marketing strategies include:
- SEO attracts quality traffic: By targeting users who are actively looking for information related to your products or services, you attract quality traffic. This increases the chance of your marketing messages translating into leads and sales.
- No costs: The average cost of pay-per-click (PPC) on the search network lies somewhere between $1-2. SEO doesn’t involve paying for ads, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t an investment required. Researching and writing quality content requires an initial investment, but after that, it can continue to attract visitors long after it’s published.
- Leads to a better UX: Providing relevant information supported by relevant photos or videos that are easy to navigate and accessible on all devices will lead to a better user experience and increased likelihood of generating leads and customers.
- Builds brand authority: Higher ranking = better credibility.
- Improves close rates: SEO leads achieve an average close rate of 14.6%, compared to the average close rate of outbound leads which is just 1.7%.
10 best practices to build your SEO strategy for 2021
1. Focus on high-quality content
High-quality content is a decisive factor in any website’s rank popularity. Google doesn’t rate poorly written content (for good reason!), and it’ll de-rank your content if it doesn’t meet users' needs. That’s why 57% of SEO experts rank content creation and content marketing as the number one way to drive the best results in search marketing
Businesses must create valuable and relevant content for each stage of the funnel; the better the content, the more people will come back to your website again and again.
Make sure your content meets users' needs. It’s not enough to rely solely on keywords anymore, it’s about quality, structure, and the nuanced details of your content that search engines pick up on.
If you want to improve your content marketing strategy moving into 2021, you should:
- Create buyer personas to better understand who your audience is and how your content can benefit them.
- Develop content in the formats that your audience is most familiar with, whether it’s social media, video content, podcasts, or website blog posts.
- Hire an exceptional SEO copywriter or content writer to make it easier for yourself!
2. Fulfill the Google EAT principle for higher rankings
Carrying on from our first tip about high-quality content, we can conveniently segway into our next point: Google EAT principal.
EAT is an acronym for Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness.
At a basic level, it means that content must be of a certain caliber to be ranked on the first page of Google.
Brand websites need to be nurtured with EAT in mind to achieve higher search rankings, increase brand awareness, and build a loyal customer base who will return to your website again and again.
3. Cater to the user intent with semantic search
Semantics involves the relationships between words and what they mean in certain contexts.
Why is this important for SEO? Because Google’s goal is to provide the most relevant search results for a searcher’s query. It uses semantic search to identify context, meaning, and intent to deliver the most apposite results.
Addressing semantic search involves creating content designed to answer questions that your target audience would pose. It includes optimizing for topic clusters, rather than just keywords, and using structured data to inform your content decisions.
Mainly, it means writing for people.
4. Optimize your content for voice search
Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, and Apple’s Siri are becoming increasingly popular methods of searching, and it’s even been predicted that by 2022 55% of US households are expected to own a smart speaker. Already, 58% of people have used voice search to find information about local businesses.
When it comes to optimizing content for voice search, you’ll need to consider your keywords and identify longer phrases that sound more natural, as people tend to abbreviate when they type.
In 2021, we’re likely to see an increased focus on optimization for voice search as a way for businesses to master SEO rankings.
5. Ensure your website is optimized for mobile
Mobile-friendliness is one of Google’s most important metrics when it comes to rankings.
Mobile search is the most common way people interact with Google and other search engines. Due to smartphone accessibility, mobile data, and improved mobile user experience; 69% of Google searches are carried out on a mobile device.
So why does this matter for SEO? Now more than ever businesses need to ensure their websites are intuitive, fast-loading, and provide a seamless mobile experience for users.
In 2019 Google started determining rankings using mobile-first indexing. This means that Google focuses on the mobile version of a website and considers it to be the primary version over the desktop.
If you want to know how mobile-friendly your website is, you can take Google’s free mobile-friendly test here.
6. Remember local SEO
Did you know that most people use search engines to find local products and services? Think about it. How often do you use Google to find a restaurant in your area, find a shop that stocks a product you want, or check a supermarket’s opening hours?
88% of customers are more likely to call or visit a store within 24-hours of searching from a mobile. This means that businesses who focus on making themselves visible with local SEO are more likely to attract potential customers in-store.
When it comes to local SEO, zero-click search is an important factor to consider. Zero-click searches refer to queries that are answered by the SERP itself.
So how do you ensure your business is featured on the SERP? First of all, make sure you’re using Google My Business. Also, consider your website’s backlink profile to improve the probability of being featured on SERPs.
7. Leverage the power of video
Video is a powerful medium for sharing succinct answers to searchers’ queries. Providing users with ample video content will drive engagement and lead to better rankings.
So how do you optimize your video content for search engines?
Make sure that your video channel, titles, and descriptions provide a user-friendly overview of what the viewer can expect. When optimizing for YouTube, take advantage of the auto-complete feature to access a list of suggested keywords that reveal what people on YouTube are searching for.
8. Create long-form content to improve SERPs
According to Hubspot, articles with word counts between 2,250 and 2,500 earn the most organic traffic, and articles with word counts of 2500+ get the most shares on social media.
Long-form content achieves better search rankings.
That being said, crafting quality, engaging, and shareable long-form content is an art form. So, how can you create long-form SEO content to boost your rankings?
Here are some best practices:
- Break up content into sections using headings and subheadings.
- Link to authoritative sources.
- Keep sentences short and sweet.
- Ensure content is shareable by including obvious share links.
When you create your content strategy, ensure your editorial calendar features regular pieces of long-form content to boost engagement.
9. Inform your strategy with AI trends
In today’s digital age, technology is developing at an unprecedented speed. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are key trends to consider when planning your SEO strategy for 2021.
AI can select the best results for users based on user experience signals like click-through rate and time spent on page. Optimize your content to be valuable, engaging, and organized to strengthen your webpages.
10. Make data and analytics your priority
Data allows you to better understand who your customers are to create targeted campaigns more likely to drive engagement and generate leads. Analytics can help you to understand which URLs are being crawled, and check page loading times, redirects, bounce rates, and more.
There are plenty of SEO analysis tools that tackle all of your SEO needs. Leveraging data and analytics about your website allows you to pinpoint your content’s problems and make data-driven decisions to inform your strategy.
SEO strategy: Next steps for your business
SEO is becoming more complex. In today’s fast-paced world, it’s important to stay on top of SEO and website trends to remain competitive, improve rankings, and grow your business.
Ready to start building your SEO strategy?
We’re here to help. Get in touch and book a free consultation today!