Why Is SEO Important in 2021?
In 2021, there’s actually no need to state that SEO is important. Every entrepreneur knows that, but what it needs to be stressed is the fact that SEO is continuously changing.
There were some dramatic changes on the SEO scene in 2021, so if you’re looking for ways SEO is going to benefit your business, here is a comprehensive guide that will help you achieve your goals.
Is SEO Still Relevant?
Whether you have a brick-and-mortar business or a blog, getting more customers is done in the online world nowadays, which means that SEO is still a focal point of discussion when planning your traffic strategy
A bit more than half of all website traffic comes from organic search results. Organic searches deliver formal trafficked websites than any other channels, including display advertising and social.
The percentage of traffic that is a result of organic searches has risen consistently over the last years and there are no signs that this trend is going to slow down.
What did indeed change over the last 10 years is the way businesses need to approach the SEO game. Gone are the days when you could just do some keyword research and write a blog post stuffed with said keywords only to see stellar results several weeks later.
So, if you’re still thinking that just throwing some keywords into your content is going to cut it in 2021, you are sadly mistaken.
There has never been a better time to improve your SEO game, so read on for the best new strategies that will help your rank in 2021 and beyond.
Featured Snippets Are Now Dominating Search Results
Featured snippets have been all the rage in the past years and today you can see them dominating search results in the vast majority of niches.
These are basically a summary of an answer that the user gets in response to a search query.You can see displayed at the top of the SERP result, above both organic and paid ads.
Even though they have been around for a couple of years, featured snippets have led to significant changes in the results pages in 2019 and 2021, and today almost half of the search results in no place because users are now able to get their answers straight from the featured snippet.
Ahrefs did a study of 2 million featured snippets, and concluded that featured snippets are now getting more traffic than the first organic search result.
So, what can you do to get your content featured in the snippets?. You should aim for question based search queries and keywords and do a thorough research on the questions that people ask related to your content in order to be able to offer them an in-depth answer.
Knowledge Panel for Personalities and Brands
Google has been allowing personalities and brands, also known as entities, to claim their own knowledge panel starting last year. This is a feature that is very closely tied to the featured snippets and rich results, because it allows users to edit and control the information that they want presented in search results.
There are multiple benefits of claiming your knowledge panel for your brand, because you will allow users to gain quick access to our website while also displaying trust and authority signals.
Moreover, this has a significant impact on SEO because it can provide your company and personal brand with additional visibility.
The Year of the BERT Algorithm.
At the end of 2019, Google released its most recent major search update, the BERT algorithm, with the intent to help the search engine better understand the users’ online search intent.
The change of algorithm has impacted approximately 10% of searches, according to Google, and it resulted in more relevant search results.
The algorithm was rolled out in October 2019 for English-language queries and it will eventually expand to all languages, but it’s not sure what the timeline for that is.
Currently, Google uses a BERT model algorithm to improve the results in featured snippets in two dozen countries.
The main reason behind releasing this new algorithm is to make it possible for the search engine to distinguish between nuances so it can provide more relevant results.
As you can see from the screenshot below, thanks to the BERT algorithm, Google can now better understand that the person is looking to get an answer specifically related to “someone” picking up a prescription, and not just for general information about filling prescriptions.
Source: Google The Keyword Blog
As you can see, the user intent is the focus of the BERT algorithm, and is probably here to stay and evolve because Google is now finally providing users with answers for their specific questions and not just something based on the keywords they use in their queries.
“SEOs need to understand the nuance of what this means with their content as well as have a firm grasp on Google’s past updates leading to this trend,”Jenn Mathews, Senior SEO Manager, Groupon, pointed out for the Search Engine Journal.
SEO Competition Is Fierce
One of the first things you notice when analyzing SEO in 2021 is the fact that the competition has gotten fiercer than ever.
Everybody is working hard at optimizing their websites for search engines and is increasingly difficult to rank in managers simply because many of your competitors are increasing their budgets in their quest to stay ahead of the game.
This doesn’t mean, however, that you won’t be able to rank in 2021 and beyond if you are not one of the big players in your niche.
It simply means that you will need to concentrate your efforts better and do more research than before in order to target the right search intents to suit the BERT algorithm.
You can do so by targeting longtail keywords and a writing quality content that answers the questions users might have to give you a chance to have your content selected for featured snippets.
Optimized Content Is More Important Than Ever …
Even though SEO is extremely important in 2021, content is still king and always will be. In fact, content is the lifeblood of SEO, as it affects everything from your site structure to your link strategy.
If you want your SEO to be on point, you need to learn how to write high-quality, optimized content, or hire someone who knows how to do it.
The day when the best content will win the SEO game is near, so if you still have content on your website that is not well polished and on par with that of your competition, the time to act is now.
Your goal should be to have the best content possible for your topic if you want to be able to future-proof for any upcoming Google updates.
Besides allowing you to remain relevant, having high-quality content on your website will allow you to compete effectively for long tail searches while also building your site authority.
… But Old Strategies Are Dead in the Water
SEO is certainly not dead, but you can bet some old SEO techniques are!
Over the past few years, Google has taken step after set-to get rid of poor quality content that has absolutely no business on ranking on the first page of results.
And yes, this means that today you are organic rankings need to compete with more elements if you want to get clicks.
The good news, however, is that these changes bring in a lot of new opportunities if you are creating high-quality content, and maybe implement visual SEO as well.
Google has evolved into a more sophisticated, much smarter search engine and has great tools that allows it distinguished between poorly optimized, borderline spammy pages and high-quality content.
In light of these changes, many of the SEO practices that worked a couple of years ago are not only dead, but they might also hurt your domain authority and rankings if you still tried to implement them.
What are some of these practices?
Well, among them you can find:
- Copying content from another source, which is classed as duplicate content
- Acquiring spammyback links to your site
- Keyword stuffing (this is a definite no-no and it can hurt you badly)
- Not having your website optimized for mobile devices
- Having a slow website that crashes constantly
- Using click made headlines
Google is now updating its algorithms quite frequently, and this means that SEO best practices have to evolve constantly.
It is important to keep in mind that many SEO experts have a hard time keeping up with best practices. You should do your own research whenever you want to implement a new SEO strategy to see if that is still valid or frowned upon.
A good example would be buying thousands of backlinks on Fiverr. That might have worked five years ago but today it won’t do you any good. In fact, you might end up being penalised by Google.
Fiverr offer for 100K backlinks — just don’t do it!
Catering to Search Intent Is Essential in 2021 and SEO Is the Best Way to Do It
The BERT algorithm, as mentioned above, showed us that Google is on the path to become much better at understanding the context of searches and the user’s intent behind them.
What does this mean for SEO?It makes it even more important than it was before because now websites need to publish content that matches the intent of the user in order to get higher priority in searches.
SEO is still critical, but applying the old strategies is not going to cut it anymore because now it is not important to use a specific keyword multiple times in your content get Google to notice you.
Instead, you should aim to create content that is highly optimized to answer the questions that the users while providing as much value as possible.
Let’s see an example.
Suppose you are trying to rank for a keyword such as “B2B digital marketing.” You should first do a quick Google search of this term to see what pages are currently ranking in the search results. This will give you an idea of the type of content that you need to create to outrank your competition.
After doing your research, craft content that is particularly optimized to provide an answer to what the user intended to find. For example, if you are writing a blog post, you can start by defining what B2B digital marketing is, how it works, where to find essential information about the topic, etc.
On the other hand, if you are writing a service page on B2B digital marketing services that you are offering via your company, you can focus on exactly the type of services users can get if they contact you, together with making it super easy for them to get in touch with you. It’s also throwing in some client results and any reviews you might have that make you an authority in the domain.
Work On Your On-Page Optimization
If you’re only doing one thing to improve your SEO strategy in 2021, this should be on-page optimization.
This is a type of SEO you can implement on your website while still having full control over the process and the end result.
There are two types of on page optimization strategies you should tackle.
The first one is technical SEO, which includes tweaks that will improve the performance of your website.
Some of the approaches you can consider when it comes to technical SEO include making sure you have a mobile friendly site, a fast loading speed, site maps, a correct site architecture, an SSL certificate, and an implementation of schema markup if applicable.
The second one is content optimization, which includes doing a thorough keyword research that will allow you to find topics around which to build your content.
Useful tools that you can use for your keyword research include both free and paid options. The Google Keyword Planner is a very handy free tool, but if you want more results and the ability to find the most profitable keywords easily, you should work for paid tools such as that provided by Ahrefs.
Don’t Forget About Off-Page Optimization
Even though SEO starts with on page optimisation and the creation of killer content that incorporates carefully selected keywords, you shouldn’t forget about off page optimisation.
This process is often referred to as link building, and is done away from your site. Its main purpose is to increase the authority of your site and domain in your niche, and the bad news is that you don’t have much control over it.
The best you can do is create amazing content that will entice higher authority websites to link to your page and thus signal to Google that you have indeed high quality content.
Building high quality links requires a strategy (actually more than one), but one thing that you should absolutely not do is buy links from places that are advertising them in bulk.
The best thing to do is not buying any links at all, but increase your reach via other methods.
Some basic white-hat link building strategies that work for SEO in 2021 include:
- Getting listed in trustworthy directories
- Submitting your site to local listings
- Giving testimonials
- Inserting links in your profiles
- Leaving comments on other people’s blogs (but within reason and only on websites that are relevant to your niche)
- Promoting your content
- Including links in your video submissions
- Answering questions on Quora
- Guest posting
You should always remember that not all links are built equal, which means that they can have a different impact on your website depending on where they’re coming from.
Some links will give you a SEO boost, while others will increase your side authority. You can also get links that become valuable sources of referral traffic, which in time can help you grow your revenue.
Let’s Talk About Content Length
There are lots of discussions among SEO experts when it comes to the length of the content you need to publish for best results in 2021, but one thing is sure — length definitely matters.
Pages with articles that have 2000 or more words generally get more readers than significantly shorter ones. This happens because a long article gives you enough space for the content to be comprehensive enough and answer all the questions a user might have.
Moreover, the more time users are spending on a particular page of a website, the more likely Google will reward that particular page with more organic traffic. However, keep in mind that the usefulness of the content always comes first.
It’s always a good idea to publish high-quality content consistently and make sure that it is long enough to answer all the questions users might have while also implementing your keyword research results in line with best practices.
Develop a Multichannel Approach to Increase Your Traffic
There’s an old saying that best applies to marketing — “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”
It’s never a good idea to rely on a single traffic source to drive business to your website, because if the particular channel you are choosing dries up or disappears altogether, your entire business is going to be at risk.
As such, even though Google organic search is not likely to go anywhere anytime soon, it’s important to use SEO alongside some other traffic channels. This way, you can continue to generate results through your existing campaigns while also working to develop a new and consistent stream of leads.
Nevertheless, keep in mind that SEO is never a strategy that you can set up and forget about it, so even if you do develop a multichannel approach to increase your traffic, never forget to update your SEO strategy regularly.
If you decide to make SEO a secondary strategy and focus on content creation that you promote through other marketing channels, it’s still important to have a cohesive strategy, even if it’s not your primary one.
The good news is that you can easily outsource your SEO,so that focus on other aspects of your business while still reaping the rewards of optimizing your website and keep it in line with the current best practices.
Time to Improve Your Domain Authority
Speaking of domain authority, increasing it should be another focus if you wants to increase your SEO strategy for 2021.
There are hundreds of factors that determine search engine ranking of a website and one of the most important that Google uses is domain authority.
This is a metric that has increased in importance over the years after it was developed by Moz. If you have a high domain authority, you are more likely to earn a higher search engine ranking, which results in increased web traffic.
Moreover, analyzing your domain authority is also a good way to measure your SEO efforts and compare them to those of your competitors.
There are multiple steps that you can take in order to increase your domain authority, and some of them start right from the moment you decide to set up your website. By choosing a domain name that is relevant to your website, you let Google know more about your niche so you can rank properly in the near future.
But if you already have a website, you can increase your domain authority by creating linkable content. Make sure all your content is relevant to your brand and audience as well as being very well written, to give another authoritative site reasons to link to it.
Another important step is improving your internal linking structure, which is basically as important as earning external links.
Internal linking is the best way to direct visitors to what they’re trying to find on your website, thus improving their user experience. You can suggest other related blog posts or simply link to other articles naturally when mentioning topics that you have already covered at some point.
Finally, don’t forget to remove bad and toxic links that come from better sources and may end up hurting your domain authority. You can use a link plugin or manager to see all your links in one place and remove the toxic once with ease.
Keep Your Audience In Mind When Building or Restructuring Your Website
User experience is very important for taking your SEO game to the next level. Whether you are just building your website or restructuring the architecture of an existing one, you should do absolutely everything by keeping your audience in mind.
Defining your audience means that you should try to walk into your customers shoes and determine their goals, challenges, and problems that they want to solve with your help.
You can do so easily by gathering data about your audience, but you shouldn’t forget to talk to real people who are using your website or products so you can get a better idea of how an actual user sees your business.
By understanding what your customers want and the reason behind their behaviour you can create a website that answers their questions and intent.
You should, of course, build your website in a way that pleases Google as well, but the main focus should be your audience. Plus, since Google is more concerned with visitor intent more than ever, it can be difficult to mix the two and create a product that is attractive for customers and easy to rank in the search engines.
A Stellar UX Goes a Long Way
By paying close attention to various analytics including bounce rates and the time users spend on your pages, you can design a stellar UX that makes the website easy to navigate.
Make sure each of the pages on your website has a specific purpose and that your linking game is on point, so users can easily navigate from one page to another.
UX is an essential part of developing a sound SEO strategy, as it is very important to attract your visitors and keep them engaged for as long as possible. Don’t just work for search engines guidelines, but for your visitors as well, and you will be able to reap the benefits in the long run.
Focus on SEO for Long Lasting Results
SEO is a marathon, not a sprint, and focusing on the long-term results is beneficial not only because search engine algorithms are constantly changing, but also because increased search rankings depend on constant application of SEO practices.
Many business owners perceive SEO to be a one-shot thing that you set up once and then forget about it. In reality, even though you may get high search ranking for some time by adopting this strategy, the results may slow down or disappear altogether if you slow down your activities related to SEO.
SEO is highly dependent on fresh content. This is the core element of every successful campaign, and if your content is not updated constantly, it loses its relevance. This means that regular content generation should be an integral part of your long-term SEO strategy.
SEO Can Help You Build Credibility and Trust
The right SEO strategy can make your brand stronger and better recognized. Your goal for 2021 and beyond should be to appear at the top of search results when people search for relevant keywords and phrases that are critical to your business.
If you manage to appear at the top of the search results, most users are sure to be convinced that you are the best choice and act accordingly.
Use the correct title and meta description tags for your website to transmit a powerful statement and strengthen the trust and credibility of your brand.
A strong SEO presence is bound to lead to increased engagement, traffic and conversations about your brand, which is invaluable for small and medium-sized businesses.
You can focus your efforts on local SEO if it’s relevant for your business, so you can get traffic from specific sectors and regions. By doing so, you can expand your brand’s message and introduce it to was manageable as possible that are highly likely to use your local services.
Enhanced Acquisition for Locally Focused Businesses
SEO remains one of the best customer acquisition strategies for businesses with a local focus in 2021. By outranking your local competitors, you can easily bring more customers in the door.
Moreover, by implementing local SEO strategies correctly, you can reach prospective customers and clients who are looking for the type of services you are offering in your local area.
Because Google tailors in search results to your geographic location, if you optimize your website correctly, it shouldn’t be difficult to dominate the local search results for your particular niche.
Besides writing killer content that includes relevant keywords, you can also optimize locally focused business website by gathering positive reviews from past clients, filling out your Google My Business profile, and conducting backlink outreach to increase your visibility.
Even though some traditional marketing approaches may become obsolete in the near future, SEO is definitely here to stay in 2021 and beyond.
Whether you have years of experience in improving your SEO strategy or are just getting started, it’s now more important than ever to make sure your SEO game is on point in order to be able to reap the rewards in the long term.
By writing and promoting content that is tailored to your particular audience and optimizing your website for longtail, high-traffic keywords, and doing efforts to be featured in Google’s snippets, you can boost your brand’s authority online and also expand your reach.
If you’re looking to boost your business’ SEO, our SEO Agency in Philadelphia can help you achieve your goals.
By using the services provided by our SEO Agency in Philly, you can quickly increase your organic leads and overall revenue.
Do you think it’s a sound investment?
Contact us today so we can discuss the best methods to make your business thrive through the power of SEO.