Even if you’re a startup, you know about SEO. The challenge is, though, while you’re massaging your SEO strategy, the search engine algorithms are upping the ante. The SEO techniques you’ve been using may not get you to your goals in 2021. For example, previously, many experts suggested that the way to secure your spot in SERPS was to produce mega amounts of content. Content is still important, but it’s not enough. You need a much more surgical approach to SEO. Here are our top 13 SEO tips for 2021.
1. Create a Great User Experience
User experience (UX) is one of the top SEO buzzwords in 2021. If visitors become frustrated navigating through your website, they’ll exit and go to a competitor. Your product or service may be better, but consumers want to find what they’re looking for as quickly as possible. A high bounce rate will not help you with Google rankings, nor will it bring the ROI you’re looking for.
Use tools such as heat map software to help you identify visitor behavior. You’ll see what areas of your website attract visitors, where they hop off, and why. Hotjar is an excellent tool to help you analyze your UX.
2. Get Ready for Artificial Intelligence
Google’s AI algorithm, RankBrain, has been operational for a few years now. One of its developers, Greg Corrado, says the algorithm is improving as it continues to learn. Its success means that artificial intelligence is something to keep in mind this year and in the future. Not much is known about how RankBrain is functioning. Experts believe it’s capturing UX signals, measuring click-through and bounce rate metrics.
Improving your user experience will be increasingly important as AI becomes a dominant player in Google’s algorithms.
3. SEO for 2021: Local Search Listings
Consumers may be home-bound right now, but they’re still searching for local goods and services. Local SEO has become critical to reaching consumers who prefer neighborhood or nearby companies and service providers. It’s one way to stay ahead of the growing zero-click phenomenon that tanks many brand’s SERP results.
The way to get started is by opening a Google My Business page. Use your relevant keywords across the listing, secure some powerful backlinks, and be sure to post updates and new content weekly to keep the listing fresh.
4. It’s Not Quantity; It’s Quality
I recently heard Neil Patel say that it doesn’t matter if millions of viewers are landing on your website or reading your blog articles. Are they clicking on your CTA buttons? In other words, is your SEO content turning into sales or appointments? If your goal is to drive as much traffic as possible to your blog so you can optimize, then attracting thousands of readers every month is what you want.
Define your goals and then create a winning SEO 2021 strategy that will help you meet them.
5. Content is Still King
This is not news. Delivering impactful content has always been the way to work yourself up the Google rankings. The more people who connect to your content, the more attractive you become to search engine algorithms. High-quality doesn’t mean keyword stuffing, though. SEO in 2021 calls for less but more strategically placed keywords, particularly if you’re producing short articles.
Focus on producing more long-term content. In fact, according to a State of Content Marketing Report by SemRush, long-form content of more than 3,000 words garners three times the traffic and four times more shares than shorter articles. Your content still needs to be engaging, useful, and relevant to your target audience.
- Link to authoritative sources and make your content easily sharable.
- Write an inviting introduction and summary with key points for those who want to scan and share.
6. Focus on Long-tail Keywords
Long-tail keywords are 3-5 word phrases that do not garner high search traffic. Use them to bring niche visitors to your website. For instance, rather than “buy sandals,” use “buy sandals from recycled plastic” or instead of “best vacation spots,” use” best vacation spots on a low budget.” Tools such as Ahrefs Keyword Explorer and Google’s auto-suggest can help you create long-tail keywords to up your content marketing game.
7. Optimize for Voice Search
According to Google, 27% of the global online population uses voice search on their mobile devices to find what they’re looking for. If you don’t optimize your website for voice search, you’ll lose out on a significant percentage of your potential consumer base. When writing content, think about how someone phrases the inquiry when speaking into their mobile device. For example, most consumers will begin their question with the words, “where is…” “how do I…” “when is…” and so forth. Begin some of the paragraphs in your article with these phrases.
8. Don’t Forget to Write Meta Descriptions
It seems unnecessary to include meta descriptions on this list. You’ve been doing it forever. Did you know that research shows that 30% of websites forget to add meta descriptions to their posts? A well-written, SEO-enriched meta description will result in the clicks you need to reach your marketing goals.
Use keywords in your meta description and make it enticing so someone will want to click to read more.
9. Internal Linking Is Key to Your SEO Success in 2021
Including links to previous blog articles will increase your SERP ranking. Be sure to link to articles that have been performing well so far. You may love the article you wrote, but if almost no one has clicked to read it, you’ll be linking to content that hurts your Google ranking rather than improving it.
Links to previous articles demonstrate to the Google algorithm that you have developed expertise in that subject.
10. Your SEO Strategy Must Include Video Creation
YouTube has more than 1 billion active users. Cisco predicts that video will outpace all other types of content in terms of consumption. If you’re a startup or small business, you can easily create videos yourself using online platforms. Video on your landing page will increase the length of time visitors stay on your website, a fact AI will notice.
Be sure to optimize your video content, too—Use relevant keywords in your video titles, YouTube channel name, and description.
11. Create Measurable Objectives
To some extent, your SEO 2021 strategy is going to a bit experimental, especially if you’re a startup or small business. You’ll want to apply the basics of search engine optimization, but be flexible. Measure the results, see what’s working and be prepared to pivot if necessary.
Take advantage of Google Analytics, Google Search Consoles, and other digital tools to measure your performance.
12. Perform Routine Maintenance to Improve Your SEO for 2021
Crawl your website to look for any SEO issues that may be slowing you down or causing algorithms to bump your site down in search results. You can use many tools to do this, such as Screaming Frog, DeepCrawl, and SitecheckerPro. Your crawl report should identify at a minimum:
- Broken links
- Meta robots
- 404 pages
- Duplicate content and meta descriptions
- Broken internal images
13. Be Certain Your Links Display on Mobile
Optimizing your website for mobile should be one of your top SEO tasks for 2021 if you haven’t done it already. The majority of consumers are digesting digital content on their mobile devices rather than desktops. Google has graduated to a “mobile-first index” in recognition that the vast majority of internet users are reading and downloading from mobile devices. Be sure your footer and navigation links are visible on a mobile device too.
SEO Tips for 2021 Recap
- Improve your user experience
- Gear up for artificial intelligence
- Remember, everything is local
- Focus on quality over quantity
- Content still rules
- Use more long-tail keywords
- Optimize for voice search
- Don’t skip the meta description
- Embed internal links in your content
- Develop measurable SEO strategies
- Routine maintenance
- Everyone is on mobile. Make sure your website is optimized.