The growing influence of social media sites may have caused some to wonder if the importance of search engine optimization is waning. The existence of paid ad programs for all of the major social media sites plus search ads on Google would only serve to strengthen this belief. Be assured, however, that letting your organic search engine optimization efforts take a backseat to other online promotional techniques would be a big mistake. Here are some search engine optimization stats for you to consider.
- According to Google, organic search results are five times more valuable than Google Ads. This is a big admission from the company that gets about 85 percent of its revenue from its paid ads.
- As important as social media and other online outreach has become, you should know that Google still processes 3.5 billion searches on any given day. This translates to about 40,000 searches every second.
- A search engine is the starting point for approximately 93 percent of online experiences.
So, the above stats should dispel any notion that maximizing your SEO efforts is, in any way, a waste of time. There are a couple more things you should know when it comes to understanding how critical it is to be effective in your search engine optimization efforts. In about 28 percent of cases, searchers on Google click on the first organic search result. The click-through rates go down rapidly from there and really tank if your listing under a targeted keyword is on the second page of results.
SEO Tips for 2021
Now that you know that SEO is still as important as ever, we’ll go over some tips and strategies that search engine optimization experts are recommending for 2021. Some may be time-tested tips that still work well and others will be increasing in their effectiveness for 2021 and beyond.
1. Focus on Brand Optimization
When doing SEO, remember that you’re trying to do more than simply get clicks through to your website. You are building your brand. For this reason, integrate your brand’s name with keywords in content so that people are seeing your name and starting to associate it with the types of products or services you sell. Beyond search engine optimization on your website, you’ll also want to optimize your brand across the digital landscape. This means inserting your brand, along with any logo that helps identify it, across your social media accounts as well.
2. Don’t Forget Voice Search in SEO
With the prevalence of mobile devices and digital assistants, the days of only needing to do search engine optimization for typed queries are long over. There are times when no one has the patience to type in a search. A perfect example of this is when you’re on the go and pull out your phone to search for something. Chances are, you are just going to speak your search into the phone. Also, digital assistants are becoming more ubiquitous throughout the nation and the world. Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are two prominent examples of these. There are approximately five billion digital voice assistants worldwide, and the numbers are only expected to go up. If you’re not allowing for these devices in your search engine optimization efforts, you’ll be losing untold sales to potential customers who never find you.
Frequently, people will speak a bit differently than how they will type. Optimizing for voice search needs to take these differences into account. The following search engine optimization tips should help.
- Focus on questions. Voice queries will often be in the format of a question. If someone is wandering around town and gets hungry, they’ll pull out their phone and ask, “where is the nearest restaurant.” Also, they might be in the mood for a more specific type of dining experience. This is where our next tip comes into play.
- Target long-tail keywords in voice search engine optimization. If the person in the above search example is in the mood for a specific type of cuisine, then their query might be something like, “where is the nearest Mexican restaurant.” Of course, the example of “where is the nearest restaurant” is a long-tail keyword as well, but the more specific you can be in targeting it to your exact offerings, the better.
- Use more conversational content for voice search engine optimization. People tend to be more formal when typing words compared to when they are speaking them. Keep this in mind when you are writing pages of content for your website that are optimized for those using voice search. Pages of content geared toward voice search engine optimization should have more words with contractions and be written in a personable tone.
3. Make Mobile Users Your Top SEO Priority
The importance of mobile SEO started with the Google algorithm update back in 2015, which was known as Mobilegeddon. If anything, mobile has only gotten more important since then. Over half of all purchases take place on mobile devices, and about four-fifths of shoppers use their phone inside a physical store to search product reviews or compare prices.
Some search engine optimization experts even go so far as to say that your mobile site will determine your rankings. For this reason, if you have separate mobile and desktop websites, you should consider combining them into a single responsive website. Google has a tool to help you gauge how mobile-friendly your site is. Simply type, “Google mobile-friendly tool” into Google, and the top result should be a field that you can type your URL into, and then you click the “run test” button. On the following page, there will be resource links to click on for additional information.
4. Organize Your Keyword-Infused Content Into Topic Clusters
With continuing improvements in Google’s algorithm, its goal is to discern user intent in order to help get them the information they need. One example of Google’s difficulty in accomplishing this is the existence of homonyms. These are words that are spelled the same but have completely different meanings.
For example, you may have a business selling Android phones. As a keyword, this can be confusing for Google to interpret. This word would be searched by someone looking for this type of phone. However, it will also be searched by someone looking up an android in science fiction. This is where it helps your search engine optimization efforts to coordinate your various pages of content into related themes.
You would do this by having a primary page, known as the pillar page, that will be the one of central importance on your website. This might be the main page on which you have your phone models listed for sale. This could have related pages of content linked to it that may deal with similar topics. These could include a buying guide on what phone is best for you, tips on getting the most out of your phone and similar topics. This SEO tip helps Google know what your website is actually about, which enables it to show it to users who are looking for exactly what you offer.
5. The Power of Long-Form Content
In the field of SEO, it has been discovered that longer content accrues more backlinks. Longer articles or blog posts tend to go more in-depth into a subject, which makes them exude more expertise, authority and trustworthiness. These three words form the SEO acronym E-A-T. Long-form authoritative articles and blog posts on subjects help to establish your expertise in the subject. This, in turn, makes you appear as a trustworthy source in your field. This expertise causes other sites to link to these pages whenever someone needs more information on a topic they are discussing.
Realize, however, that you’re not always going to want your posts to be 2,000 or 3,000 words or longer. The number one rule of search engine optimization is to satisfy the intent of the person using the search engine. If someone inputs a fairly simple and straightforward search query, it might only take a post with a couple of hundred words to answer their question. A mix of longer and shorter content should cover all your bases in SEO.
6. Use YouTube to Improve Your Google SEO Visibility
You’ve undoubtedly seen that videos come up in many Google search results. Most of these will be YouTube videos since it is the biggest video search site with over two billion monthly users. It’s also owned by Google. If you can find a way to integrate video content into your marketing efforts, it will definitely be worthwhile. You will just need to keep the following two points in mind.
- Create and Post SEO-Friendly Videos – You need to give each of your videos a title that appeals to search engines with appropriate keywords while also compelling potential viewers to click on that thumbnail. Make sure the video’s description also has keywords related to the topic at hand since search engine spiders have no way to read a video.
- Use Enticing Thumbnails – When a video comes up in search results on Google or YouTube, the thumbnail for the video and the title below it are the first things they’ll see. Needless to say, you want to make the image and any text on the thumbnail grab the user’s attention, so they’ll be sure to click on it. Click-through rate is also a search engine optimization factor.
7. Don’t Forget the Basic Step of Sound Technical SEO
This is one of those search engine optimization factors that, while not new for 2021, you still need to keep in place. We’ll assume you have technical SEO basics, such as fast-loading webpages, an XML sitemap and intuitive navigation, in place on your site. You can be following all the latest trends in SEO but still have your site lagging behind if it’s not technically sound. You should make sure that your site incorporates the following pointers.
- Have AMP enabled. AMP stands for accelerated mobile pages. This differs from a webpage simply being mobile-friendly in that AMP pages are stored by Google in their own cache to help them load as fast as possible for mobile users.
- You need a secure website. Google will punish your website in the search rankings if it’s not secure. This means visitors to your site need to see that “HTTPS” at the beginning of all your webpage URLs. The “S” in this case means secure. Any time and effort spent getting an HTTPS certificate will be well worth it. Beyond search rankings, users like to see they’re dealing with a secure website so that they have some confidence any data they input will not be intercepted or stolen.
- Invest in SEO tools that help you evaluate your website’s search performance. This means getting and using crawling software. These programs emulate the crawlers Google uses so that you can see how easy your webpages are to crawl and index. They’ll find things such as broken links, duplicate content, bad titles or descriptions and other technical errors that may hinder Google in crawling your website. If Google can’t crawl your site, then all other search engine optimization efforts aren’t going to help.
SEO in 2021 and Beyond
The above advice is not meant to be comprehensive of all you’ll need to know about SEO trends in 2021. A search engine optimization guide this thorough would require a book-length treatment. It should, however, give you some places where you can tweak your SEO efforts and maybe make the difference between the fourth listing under a valuable keyword or a first-place listing. In search engine optimization, every little bit of progress adds up to more visibility for your brand and more sales and growth for your company.
D2 Branding provides exceptional search engine optimization services in Tulsa, Oklahoma and the surrounding areas. For a complimentary 15-minute marketing consultation with D2 Branding, call us today at (918) 520-8012.