A Guide to SEO in 2021: The Best Practices & Rules to Follow

A Guide to SEO in 2021: The Best Practices & Rules to Follow

Cultivating a strong online presence is essential to the continued success of your brand. To help accomplish this, entrepreneurs take advantage of the utility that search engine optimization (SEO) has to offer.

Since trends are constantly changing, though, you’ll need to keep yourself updated with what methods are worth your time.

Let’s explore a comprehensive guide to SEO that can drastically improve your online performance. 

Core Web Vitals

Those who are familiar with SEO also understand that Google frequently changes certain metrics about its search engine. Periodically, Google tweaks its algorithm in order to become more efficient. This results in brands needing to adapt their SEO tactics.

But, Google is planning to make a drastic change in May 2021 known as ‘Core Web Vitals.‘ These are specifically related to the overall usability of a webpage and include attributes like page stability and load speed.

The end goal is to be able to quantify the quality of the experience that a user will have if they visit a particular website.

As a result, website owners will need to adhere to these new standards in order to avoid ranking penalties. Once core web vitals go into effect, those who are already prepared will likely see a significant boost in their ranking.

This will be due both to satisfying the Core Web Vitals criteria and the fact that competitors in their industry may have their rankings lowered. So, keep this in mind during the coming months so that you can ensure that you reach your projected performance metrics. 

Emphasize Local Search

More people than ever before now use their smartphones to complete Google searches. As a result, people are far more likely to use their phones for searches when they are away from home.

A common scenario could involve someone Googling the best locations to get a certain type of food while they are out running errands. From here, they will typically choose a business that has both a high rating and key info listed on Google.

To elaborate, a top contender in the above scenario would be a restaurant with a 4.5/5 rating that also lists its hours of operation. So, you will need to ensure that your audience is able to find your business on Google while using their phone.

To get started, it’s essential to create a Google My Business page in order to compete with other local brands. Ensure that you fill out as much information as possible on your account. 

But, this will only take you so far— you will also need to emphasize local keywords within your content.

Using the above example, let’s assume that a restaurant specializes in authentic Mexican food. There’s a strong difference between the keywords ‘Mexican food’ and ‘Mexican food Los Angeles.’

In this case, one of your keywords could be ‘best place to eat Mexican food Los Angeles,’ which is something that would align with queries mobile users are likely to search. 

The Role of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is going to play a significant role in 2021. This is due mainly to the fact that Google’s ‘Rank Brain’ algorithm utilizes artificial intelligence in order to adapt to user behavior. Over time, this allows it to provide users with more relevant, higher quality results.

Since this algorithm is specifically designed to provide users with the best results possible, you will need to have a strong understanding of your audience in order to create relevant content for them. Otherwise, you run the risk of being passed over entirely as this AI continues to develop.

In general, you should thoroughly research factors such as:

  • Annual income
  • Key pain points
  • Ethnic background/primary languages
  • Hobbies/interests
  • Geographic location/time zone

The more you understand about your target demographic, the better chance you have of Google algorithms ranking your content highly. This also means that you will need to continually research your audience, as industry/social trends and consumer behavior shift as time goes on.

Voice Search 

As previously mentioned, it will be a common occurrence for people to use their smartphones to complete a Google search. But, this will also affect their queries as a whole.

When people use voice search functionality, they tend to phrase their words differently as opposed to writing them. In general, their queries will be longer and more specific since it’s easier to speak than it is to type (especially on a phone).

So, someone who is looking for authentic Mexican food in Los Angeles would likely use voice search to say ‘What restaurants have the best authentic Mexican food in Los Angeles?’

If they were to type this query instead, they might search ‘best Mexican food LA.’

Capitalizing on how your audience uses voice search technology will establish a brand new way for them to discover your company, something that can drastically increase your sales numbers in the future. 

COVID-19 Has Forever Changed How People Shop 

It’s no secret that the pandemic has drastically reshaped the entire world. But, it has made a particularly notable impact on e-commerce.

Now that people are used to spending so much time online, they’ve become more efficient at finding the information that they’re looking for. This means that it is highly likely they will conduct more research before they make a purchase.

This behavior is further supported by the fact that many people do not have as much financial freedom as they did in the past. As a result, companies need to highly prioritize how accessible certain information is.

For instance, it’s more important than ever before that your audience is able to easily find comprehensive info about your products and services. The same can be said about information related to your brand as a whole.

The higher overall volume of all my purchases also means that the standards for quality will be much higher. This is facilitated by companies making a direct effort to increase customer satisfaction while shopping online.

In 2021, you’ll need to ensure that your online sales platform is both safe and intuitive. If your audience has trouble making a purchase or doesn’t feel comfortable in putting their personal information, you’ll miss out on countless sales you would have otherwise made.

Video Content

YouTube has one of the largest user bases of any website on the entire Internet. Now that social media giants Facebook and Instagram have fully incorporated video, you simply can’t neglect the number of people that you can target through this type of content.

Many brands will require a significant amount of adjustment— most companies aren’t familiar with creating high-quality video content. But, it is highly worth the effort due to the sheer amount of brand exposure your company will get.

Additionally, video content can also help your presence on Google by including a written summary that Google’s algorithms can use.

One of the main benefits of video content is that you have a large amount of freedom when it comes to what you produce on the above platforms. For example, you could create a video that provides insight into a product or service that you offer, discuss current industry trends, or even offer a look at how your company operates.

Not only will you be able to target your audience more effectively, but you can also cultivate a following on these platforms that you can leverage later on. 

Mobile Is More Important Than Ever

Since more and more people are using their phones for Internet searches, you’ll also need to consider their experience on your company’s website.

Unfortunately, many brands tend to neglect properly formatting their websites for mobile devices. This can easily result in things like images that don’t load correctly, improperly formatted text, and slow loading times.

Once Google’s Core Web Vitals come in to play, you even run the risk of having your site ranking significantly lowered.

Additionally, Google does not plan on loading content that would typically require a user to swipe or click. This means that you’ll need to modify this functionality for mobile devices in order for your website to load correctly.

Additionally, Google will not provide support for infinite scrolling on mobile devices. Instead, you’ll need to use paginated loading.

Study Your Analytics

Due to all the changes that will arise during 2021, it’s imperative that you consistently check your website analytics in order to get a solid idea of how your company is performing. This will allow you to double down on the strategies that are working while revising those that aren’t.

Frequently consulting or analytics will also provide insight into user behavior, such as where your traffic sources are coming from, how long people stay on certain pages, etc. In general, you’ll want to devote time at least once per month to take a look at your recent performance and make any necessary changes from there.

Zero-Click Searches + Long-Form Content

In recent years, Google has made a significant effort to help users find the information they’re looking for without actually having to click on a particular website. This appears in the form of text at the top of Google search results that provide an answer to the user’s search query.

In 2021, it’s projected to google will take even further efforts to make this the norm. Although this can indirectly hurt the performance of sites that rank on Google first page, it objectively streamlines the user’s search.

Instead, your company should shift toward creating content that cannot be answered by a short blurb at the top of Google search results. In practice, this is known as long-form content and it’s typically at least 1000 words in length.

By providing a large amount of high-quality information in this manner, your audience will have an incentive to visit your website. Additionally, you should focus on keywords for this content that require a thorough answer.

A common example we can expect to see is long-form content that provides information on how to complete a task, prepare for a certain occurrence, etc. The more useful your content is to your audience, the better chance you’ll have of driving traffic to those pages.

Regardless of how you react to zero-click searches, you should prepare for a slight dip in overall traffic since previously published content may no longer be clicked on as often. 

Featured Snippets

Fortunately, you can use zero-click searches to your advantage by working to have your website secure the renowned ‘featured snippet’ area of Google’s results. You might also know it as ‘Position Zero.’

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For those unfamiliar, this is a segment at the top of Google’s first page that includes an article blurb and images that are meant to help answer a user’s query. Not only does having your brand in this location increase your overall brand notoriety, but it also drastically improves the chance that you will receive traffic for that particular keyword.

There are plenty of shady individuals who will guarantee that they could help you get your content listed as a featured snippet. The truth is, though, that there is not an exact formula to accomplish this. But, you can optimize your chances by following all of the above trends so that Google ranks your constant as highly as possible. 

This Guide to SEO Can Drastically Change Your Business

So, it’s highly recommended that you explore how it can work for your company. From here, you’ll be able to use this guide to SEO to hit metrics you never thought possible for your brand. 

Want to learn more about what I have to offer? Feel free to reach out today and see how I can help.

A Guide to SEO in 2021: The Best Practices & Rules to Follow

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