What is SEO?
SEO is a collection of optimization practices that aim to drive organic search traffic from search engines like Google towards a website. SEO marketing aims to rank on the first page in search engine result pages (SERPs).
Higher rankings mean that you have a higher likelihood of getting discovered and clicked on by more searchers. You appear more frequently for keywords related to your product/service.
Common SEO practices are – link-building techniques, meta descriptions, alt tags, title tags, keyword-optimized content, internal page linking, etc.
Why is Organic Traffic so Important?
As per one study, “over 51% of all visitors come from organic searches”. That means organic traffic trumps all other forms of resources, including social traffic and paid ones.
Here are more reasons why organic traffic matters:
- Over 80% of shoppers will search for a product online before buying it.
- Organic traffic that comes from SEO yields long-term results. If you can manage to appear on top searches, that position will likely be there for a long time (provided you maintain the site well).
- More Sales. For e-commerce businesses, organic traffic produces high ROI as more interested customers can look at and buy products.
- 30% of all mobile searches are local. Out of those, 70% of customers would visit the store physically. The figures tell how important local SEO is for local businesses. Not only can you show your product online, but customers will find you physically at the store.
- People trust Google. It’s that one search engine which people across the globe trust for showing the most relevant results. So having top rankings in Google SERPs will get you 21% of all the clicks.
SEO Strategy: How to Win in 2021
Set Your SEO Goals (& Be Realistic about the Outcomes)
Setting too big of goals could deter you from even getting started. Also, failure to accomplish those goals could discourage you midway. Therefore, be realistic and think about the nature of your business. Think realistically about how much revenue you can generate.
For instance, if your business comes from monetizing online ads or through affiliate commissions, you want to focus on content marketing and traffic from organic results.
Content marketing is also an excellent way to improve conversion metrics and boost traffic from a website via organic search. Done well, it helps build brand authority and trust. John Adam, head of digital marketing at German IT outsourcing provider K&C, says his company has seen “our organic traffic grow by around 30% and inquiries by 20% year-on-year since the beginning of 2021 thanks to a focus on SEO-informed content marketing activities over the last few months of 2020”.
Similarly, if yours is a local business, then local SEO is better for you. In that case, relevant ‘near me’ searches and voice queries should be the focus of your attention.
Create a Basic Measurement System
You must work with a defined set of metrics to measure your results. For example, do you want more engagement? If yes, what percentage? Do you want more revenue? If yes, how much more? Make sure you have a measurement system in place without going too crazy about it.
After that, you must take a few key actions such as:
- First, you must set up a Google Search Console and a Google Analytics account.
- It would be best if you then integrated marketing automation and CRM with all the lead capture sources.
- Finally, do all the additional required research.
Perform Audits to Fix Technical Issues (if any)
This step is crucial for those who’ve owned a site for a while now. Some technical issues can be bad for your site’s SEO health. You can use a bunch of tools like Site crawl by Moz to audit/crawl your site.
Here are a few standard things to look at when you get a crawl report:
- 404 pages
- URL structure
- On-site optimization mistakes
- Meta robots
- Broken links
- Duplicate content
Audit all Elements of User Experience (UX)
User experience is a significant ranking factor. Things like distorted viewing on different screen sizes, poor navigation, and high-loading times can negatively impact the UX. It can also negatively impact the rankings.
Here are some things you can implement to improve UX:
- Use software like Hotjar to track user engagement.
- Use the funnel feature of Google Analytics to find out places where users are feeling disengaged. Please find out the reasons for disengagement and fix them.
- Make sure that all your internal links are functional. Keep the navigation clean and the site well-organized.
- Use the Mobile-Friendly Test by Google to check your site’s mobile friendliness.
SEO Trends to Know for 2021
Voice Search Will Impact Search Queries
A growing number of people own smart speakers with voice activation, such as Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Assistant, and Apple’s Siri. This ever-increasing trend to use voice search is changing the nature of keywords/queries and how search engines understand those queries.
To understand voice search better, you need to incorporate longer keywords with a more natural and conversational flair. For example, people are likely to type ‘ratatouille cooking recipe,’ whereas, for voice search, they’re likely to say ‘how do I cook ratatouille.’
Long-Form Content To Improve SERPs
Anything about 3,000+ word count is considered long-form. Experts tell us that such content is up to 4x more likely to be shared. It is also expected to receive more backlinks than your average-length blogs.
In 2021, it will be smart to focus on longer-form content if you want to achieve higher rankings. But, do that without compromising on the quality. Instead, you must focus on engaging the readers.
Here are some tips to ensure that:
- Use subheadings like H1 and H3 to break up the content.
- Link to authoritative sources
- Make it easy to scan
- Make it shareable
Featured Snippets To Take More Prominent Place
Snippets are the small boxes you often notice at the top of search results. They are an excellent way to steal traffic from competitors and score some coveted places in search results.
If you can manage to score a featured snippet, it could be great for your visibility. Make sure that your snippets focus on Q&As, bullet-points, search-based queries, how-to guides, etc. Use the ‘people also ask’ function for inspiration to create rich snippets.
No matter what anyone says, SEO is here to stay. It’s not going anywhere. So, you might as well brace yourself for these upcoming trends if you are serious about online marketing.