Are you looking to start a small business next year? Or are you already managing one and are searching for ways to expand your market reach?
One of the most effective ways of doing so is by beefing up your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.
And with the ongoing pandemic, we can’t stress enough the value of SEO. Being a cheaper alternative to paid advertising, SEO can help you save more money in these trying times.
We invite you to check out this definitive guide to SEO in 2021. So if you’re looking for a beginner’s guide to SEO or you want something to update your current SEO knowledge, stop what you’re doing and shift your complete attention to our complete guide to SEO optimization.
Start with Realistic Goals
You cannot reach your SEO targets without setting proper goal-setting. And in 2021, we emphasize the need to make your SEO goals realistic.
And by that, it also means being realistic about the possible outcomes.
But the key to proper SEO goal-setting lies heavily in the industry you belong to. The way you generate your revenue is also a factor in setting your goals.
Do you use online ads and monetize them? Do you earn from affiliate commissions? Then focus more on content marketing and generating more organic traffic.
However, if your focus is on local SEO, look into Google searches that use the words “can I buy,” “to buy,” and “near me.”
Keep your goals clear and realistic and that should keep you on the right track.
Work on Your Landing Pages
When it comes to your web pages, you need to make your landing pages as user-friendly as possible. Let me share an important SEO trend for 2021. Google will put more emphasis on user experience (UX) as it has never before.
This means they want companies to have websites that are easy to navigate. They also want pages with remarkable loading speed (more on this later).
Thus, you need to optimize your website both for desktop and mobile use. You need to ensure that your audience sees the same thing in their smartphones and desktops.
Most people use smartphones as their primary tool for online shopping. Hence, you need to make sure that your entire website is mobile-friendly.
Keep your pages short and your texts clear. Also, place the buttons and other tools strategically. Always have a clean layout and make ease of use your priority.
Core Web Vitals
Since we’re talking about search engine rankings, let’s go back to one of Google’s most important pronouncements. The company’s core web vitals will be one of its major ranking factors beginning May of next year.
What in the world are core web vitals? These are sets of metrics that concern web page experience. You can divide these metrics into three. First input delay (FID), largest contentful paint (LCP), and cumulative layout shift (CLS).
Once they put these three metrics in place, they will place more consideration on your website’s interactivity (FID), loading (LCP), and visual stability (CLS). Score high in these three then you increase your site’s chances of ranking high on Google searches.
Furthermore, Google also noted that they will “prioritize pages with great page experience.” This applies as long as your website adheres to Google News content policies.
So how do you improve your core web vital scores? It’s important to note that the steps to improving your scores depend on your website. However, there are basic steps that will get the ball rolling.
First, you want to open the Google Search Console and hit “Web Core Vitals.” From there, you’ll see how your web pages fare on mobile devices and desktops.
The good thing about the Google Search Console is that it shows you how many poor URLs you have. It will also show how many URLs are performing well and how many need improvement.
Maximize Your Backlinks
Another important element you need to fortify next year is your use of backlinks. Your goal is to build your backlinks without having to pay for any of them.
Building backlinks are among the toughest tasks in boosting your SEO. However, you can take things one step at a time. Don’t hesitate to look for the best SEO packages that include this in the deal.
For starters, look for relevant directories and articles. Find out if they mention your website and URL to your site.
Also, you want to look for your domain name, brand name, and domain name and see if there are brand mentions that do not link. You also want to check if there are misspellings on your domain name.
Do some outreach and turn those unlinked mentions into backlinks. But when you do, make sure the links will add value to your site. Additionally, don’t be too pushy.
Audit Your Site’s UX Aspects
Now you understand the importance of UX for 2021. Focus now on your core web vitals, and you’ll be on the right track. But with the ever-changing Google algorithms, you need to stay on top of your site’s UX various aspects.
You achieve this through detailed auditing.
Begin by using a heat map software that will help you track your site’s user engagement. On the flip side, you also need to find out what is causing your users to disengage from your website. There is a funnel feature in Google Analytics that you can use for this one.
Also, we recommend that you use the Mobile-Friendly Tool of Google. This will help you validate how user-friendly your site is for Google users.
The good thing about this is that our premium SEO services can give you an initial overview of how your site is currently faring. In turn, you will have a better understanding of what to do and the direction to take.
Master Search Intent
Aside from focusing on your users, you also need to pay attention to is search intent. This is the reason why a user visits Google and other search engines and inputs their queries.
It’s a representation of what users are looking to complete or execute. It can be a search to find something or a search to learn more about something.
It can also be a search that eventually leads to a specific action. Most commonly, this action involves purchasing a product.
The key to optimizing for search intent lies in how your web pages and their keywords match your users’ search intent. For example, if you have a page that aims to attract people who are looking for “advanced poker tips,” you need to ensure that your page does come with several poker tips.
The key is to identify some keywords that you wish to target. Thereafter, conduct Google searches on those keywords. A good tip is to look at what the search engine page results (SEPR) are showing.
Identify the specific category the keywords fall under.
Do they belong to the category of “finding something”? Or do they fall under the “learn about something” bucket? Or perhaps belong to the “take action” bucket?
After determining their respective categories, align your page’s content accordingly.
Look Deeper Into Branded Search Opportunities
Your company’s branding is another aspect that you can boost through SEO. If you already have a company that is up and running, you can begin evaluating your branded search opportunities.
This means keeping a close watch on your brand’s reputation on various review websites.
Evaluating your branding requires looking at key elements. Thankfully, you can begin your evaluation by typing your brand’s name on Google. Thereafter, scour for any negative reviews and bad press about your company.
It doesn’t matter how big or small it is. As long as it’s bad, you need to take note of it.
Next, check the alignment of your social media accounts and site links. Also, your metadata should appear on the SERPs. Additionally, they should describe your brand and products clearly.
And speaking of SERPs, review what’s in the bottom. This is where you will find what users care about the most whenever they type your brand in the Google search box.
Featured Snippet Optimization
Another thing you should practice is targeting and optimizing Google Featured Snippets. These snippets show up on the SERPs generally after the ads and before you see the ranking of the pages.
Also, these snippets usually come with an accompanying video, image, or table. These elements help make the search results more eye-catching for users.
To use this feature to your advantage, you need to come up with effective header tags. Do this whenever you create the structure of your content.
By using header tags, you are giving Google an idea of what’s inside your article. This is crucial since Google doesn’t index websites according to what is only on the top of the page. Instead, Google looks at the comprehensiveness of your content.
It also considers the layout of your page.
With headers, you are optimizing your pages for featured snippets. Also, you are helping readers skim through your content. In turn, you are keeping their engagement level high.
The Emergence of Visual Search
Another important trend you need to keep an eye on next year is the emergence of visual search. This is a technology that uses artificial intelligence to help users find what they’re looking for online. In this case, it uses real-world imagery instead of traditional text search.
Consumers must use Google Lens to enjoy this feature. For example, if they have a friend who sports a rare pair of sneakers, consumers can take a photo of the shoes using Google Lens. The software will identify the pair and pull up information about it.
A visual search can help you if you’re running an eCommerce shop. The same thing goes if you’re carrying items from different brands.
But to maximize the benefits of visual search, you need to optimize your content. This will help your site appear once Google pulls up the search results.
Fighting Low CTRs is a Must
Your website’s click-through rate or CTR will remain to be a key factor in Google’s site rankings. CTR involves measuring how often users see your product listings and ads and click them.
The key is to keep your CTR high. You can do so by optimizing your titles and product descriptions. Use “power words” like “fast,” “today,” “easy,” “best,” and “today.”
Quick SEO Tips to Remember
Since this is the definitive guide to SEO in 2021, we can’t end without giving you some quick SEO tips for next year.
We earlier mentioned the value of your website’s speed when it comes to delivering top-notch UX. 70% of consumers count the speed of web pages as a crucial factor in their buying decisions.
Therefore, check the loading speed of your site. Start with your top-performing pages. Work on decreasing their load times.
Also, we encourage you to produce more videos. Don’t rely on text alone.
Data reveals that 72% of consumers prefer videos to text marketing.
If possible, include at least one video on each of your pages.
Last but not least, you need to follow the latest SEO news and trends. This is crucial, especially for start-ups. Visit different sites and reputable resources on SEO knowledge.
Follow The Definitive Guide to SEO in 2021 Today!
Now that you have the definitive guide to SEO in 2021, you can welcome the New Year with more confidence as you work on improving your website. You will have a clearer direction as you aim to reach your SEO goals.
But we know that boosting your site’s SEO is one tall order.
We’re more than happy to help build yours through our top-notch SEO packages.
Tell us more about your business and together, let’s take the first step to build a more effective website for your business.