By Gemma Pisano

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a key factor in the success of your business. SEO drives organic traffic to your site and can greatly increase your online visibility. In short, an effective SEO strategy can be the difference between your site being on the first page of Google or in no- man’s-land on page 12. Of course, you know this. You’ve spent hours on end researching SEO algorithms and feel confident that you know all the ins and outs. So why are your results starting to dwindle?

Google is constantly making adjustments and improvements to their search engine algorithm. In 2020 alone, there were around a dozen algorithm updates. While these constant updates are undoubtedly improving the quality of search results for users, businesses can begin to struggle. The SEO strategy that had been working perfectly, now isn’t bringing about the same results. Herein lies the question: how do we stay on top of the ever-changing world of SEO? Here are some tips on keeping your SEO strategy reliable, successful and up-to-date.

User Experience Rules All

How potential customers navigate through your website is essential for SEO. There is nothing quite like the frustration that comes with a website loading for one second too long – we’ve all been there. Users who experience slow load times are more likely to hit the back button than they are to wait, which in turn signals to Google that your site did not offer what the user wanted. Google’s top priority is providing users with a quick and easy experience, so if you’re site cannot offer that… to the back of the line you go.

So, ​Tip #1:​ Make sure your site is loading ​fast.​ Like, chasing after the ice-cream truck on a hot summer day, fast (okay, definitely faster than that but you get the point). A great rule of thumb is that your website content should load in less than 2.5 seconds, but the faster the better.

Between the technological dependency of society and a global pandemic, mobile-friendly websites in 2021 are a must. With mobile search volumes at an all-time high, your customers are more likely to view your website on their mobile phone than they are on their computers. Furthermore, businesses are getting creative and utilizing QR codes to allow for easy access to their websites with the snap of a photo. However, accessibility and speed are meaningless if the content is not displayed correctly.

Tip #2:​ Make sure your mobile website content flows easily and that all buttons/links work as they are supposed to. Remember to test on a variety of mobile devices (IPhone, Android and beyond!).

When developing your SEO strategy, remember: Happy users = Happy Google = Happy results!

A Very On and Off Relationship

In 2021, content is still “king” and at the center of all effective SEO strategies. After all, if your page does not have what users are looking for, they will scroll right past you. Don’t be afraid of putting long-form content on your page but be sure that it reflects your brand’s personality and is visually appealing for readers. Including internal links is a great way to keep users on your page for longer, which is what Google’s algorithm likes to see.

Tip #3:​ Make sure users are getting the most out of their time on your site. Publish top quality content that contains keywords and title tags that let Google know what your content is about. Optimize high-authority links in your content to supply readers with more useful information as well as telling Google that your page is reputable and relevant.

Breaking News! Off-page SEO strategies are just as important as on-page. Off-page SEO means having a significant presence outside of your website. This presence can be increased by being active on social media, increasing the number of reviews for your business, and having a significant amount of backlinks to your website.

Tip #4:​ Make sure your business’ social media accounts are interactive and engaging. They will serve as another tool for increasing awareness and bringing more traffic to your site. Next, encourage your customers to review your business. Google reviews are best but reviews on any site will be beneficial. Lastly, the more backlinks you have to your site, the better. Backlinks are links that send users directly to your webpage from another. These links can be from your own social media, business directory websites or any other website.

EAT Your Vegetables

Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness are the ingredients to implement a highly effective SEO strategy. Google uses EAT formulas to determine the ranking of your website. Google strives to provide users with the most authentic and accurate information that they can trust. So, it is important that your website content exemplifies everything that EAT stands for because Google will thank you.

Tip #5:​ ​Continually check that content on your website is up-to-date, functional and factual. The changing times in society should warrant changing content. Don’t be afraid to add new content by credible authors and/or creators to keep your website fresh.

Voice Searching Is a Thing Now

Technology has become so advanced, we can now have conversations with robots (this is either exciting or terrifying – you decide). Whether you’re saying “Alexa” or “Hey Google”, voice searches are growing in popularity and can be used as another way to increase SEO in 2021. You’ve likely already come up with a list of keywords for your business, these same words will be important for optimizing voice search results.

Tip #6:​ Take your keywords and turn them into a question. Do research about your keywords and what questions people are asking about them. Be creative in finding ways to integrate these questions and their answers into your website content. Remember that voice searches flow more organically than internet searches. Meaning, the searches are more like a real-life conversation than a shorthand internet search.

SEO discussions tend to be very Google-focused. However, a majority of in-home voice assistants are Amazon’s Alexa, which uses Bing. Believe it or not, this can be used to your advantage. Bing has less search volume than Google which means that there is less competition for you to access users.

Tip #7:​ ​Don’t forget Bing! Widen your SEO strategy to include Bing if you want to reach a wider audience and possibly have an upper hand on competition.

The overall goal here is for users to ask a question and for your website to provide the answer (albeit, through a creepy robot voice).

Before I Leave You

These are just a few things to keep in mind while you plan your SEO strategy for 2021. SEO trends are dynamic and can often feel overwhelming to stay on top of. Just remember, with new complexities come new opportunities. Industry and technology advancements only provide you with more ways to use SEO to further the success of your business.