There have been certain trends in search engine optimization (SEO) that will continue well into 2021 and the decade ahead. While some have to do with developing technology that’s giving people more to do with content, the biggest transformation seen in SEO is the intent behind optimization.
Old-school SEO used to be about optimizing for search engines, with large amounts of content and a mountain of keywords. Today, SEO is all about optimizing for people instead of search engines, which will help you get ahead on Google and other platforms. If you can develop content that people want with certain SEO strategies mixed in, you’ll be able to succeed with your campaigns throughout 2021.
The following is a complete guide to help you develop a winning strategy as you plan for the next year.
The Types of Content You Need to Utilize for SEO in 2021
In addition to blog posts, product or service pages, video ads, and other types of content businesses have been utilizing since the dawn of digital marketing, there are other types of content to consider producing in 2021. As new technologies develop and advance, you’ll be able to engage customers more than ever with new capabilities.
You can concentrate on conventional content and keyword research all you want, but interactive content can be the key to increasing engagement and driving sales. Whether you introduce quizzes in emails or create content that’s customized based on viewers’ input, there are many ways to use interactive content to connect with your audience.
If people can’t see your ads, you may be able to use audio ads to complement visual ad campaigns. Similar to radio ads, audio ads can play during breaks while streaming audio programs such as Spotify. They can also show up in the form of sponsor ads on podcasts, in which the host of the podcast might promote your products or services while functioning as a trusted influencer.
VR and AR
Contemporary virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) capabilities make it easy to present prospects and customers with more interactive videos or experiences. For example, you could use VR to allow people to explore a virtual showroom composed of videos or images of your physical showrooms or computer-generated spaces. AR is useful in giving people a taste of your products by essentially projecting them in a physical space using the customer’s mobile device.
How to Optimize Your Content for Good SEO
Some traditional SEO practices will continue to work in 2021, but there are some newer developments that you should also implement if you want to consistently outrank competitors.
Create Content for Position Zero
Ranking for the first position on the first page of Google search results isn’t good enough if you want to grab everyone’s attention. You should also try to rank for “position zero,” which includes answer boxes, Rich or Featured Snippets, or other pieces of information that Google may present before the rest of the results it finds. For instance, someone may perform a search for “brownie recipe,” which may cause Google to present a short list of basic ingredients from a top-ranking result, eliminating the need for the user to ever leave Google.
Items are often likely to appear for mobile searches and voice searches, making it necessary to do what you can to optimize for them.
Using schema markup code, you can give Google some context for certain types of content, which can enable the search engine to more accurately match your content with relevant search queries in Featured or Rich Snippets. If you can also optimize content to provide brief answers to popular questions or short lists, these could also wind up in “position zero.”
Use Predictive Analytics
Businesses used to be stuck with historical analytics to determine how best to market to their audiences. However, Google has made it possible to use what are known as “predictive analytics” to allow for more accurate predictions. Google enables you to look at customer behavior using certain predictive metrics that measure the probability of future purchases. Based on the data presented, you may be able to make a more informed decision when modifying your marketing strategies.
Optimize for Voice Search
The increasing popularity of tools like Google Assistant and Alexa are making it easier for people to perform voice searches. Going back to the point about “position zero,” many people are likely to yield those results when searching with virtual assistants. If you want to make sure people find your content using a voice search, try to include conversational questions in your content that people might ask. You should then write content that Alexa, Siri, and other programs can read to the user.
The Need to Optimize for the User
As mentioned, the biggest thing to keep in mind when optimizing for SEO is that the user is the most important factor. If you’re trying to rank for Google, you’re not going to experience the same success as you would years ago with old-school techniques. It’s all about trying to make people happy with your content and giving them the information they need, with the trustworthiness and authoritativeness they demand.
The following are a few ways to optimize primarily for your target audience.
Focus on Providing Information People Want
Give people the answers they want to their questions, first and foremost. Try to answer those questions in as little as three seconds or fewer. Through a combination of text and visuals, people should be able to find what they’re looking for without hassle when browsing your content.
Optimize Load Speed
When it comes to loading times, the magic number here is also three. If your pages take longer than three seconds to load, people are much more likely to leave your website and browse elsewhere. By compressing or eliminating images, using a good page structure, and optimizing for mobile users, you can keep people from leaving out of impatience.
Use a Responsive Design for All Devices
More and more people are using mobile devices to browse the internet on a regular basis, whether to perform a quick search on Google or to make a purchase. If you want to give mobile users an optimal experience when on your website, make sure you utilize a mobile-responsive design.
Other Tips for Good SEO in 2021
Now that you know the essentials of content optimization and the importance of optimizing for people instead of machines, here are some additional tips to help you perfect your SEO strategies.
Create High-Quality, Fresh Content
Google loves high-quality, fresh, and unique content. If you want to get the best results from your content marketing strategies in addition to technical SEO, write and produce great content that’s easy to digest. At the same time, avoid stuffing your content with too many keywords, especially awkward phrases that don’t really work in any context. Keywords like “best search marketing Georgia” simply don’t work the way they used to, especially since Google now recognizes context clues without the need to use exact-match terms.
Track Metrics Based on the Goals You Set
Make sure you have specific goals in place when developing SEO strategies, which will help determine which metrics actually matter when measuring the results of your campaigns. Do you want to bring more traffic to a certain page? Page visits might be the key metric to examine. Is your goal to convert more leads toward the bottom of the sales funnel? Conversion rates matter most.
One feature making it incredibly easy to gauge the performance of your content and get more insightful data is the Search Console Insights feature in Google Search Console.
Build a Network of High-Quality Backlinks
Backlinks are one of the most important ranking factors in SEO, and they will be just as integral throughout 2021. Make sure you develop a backlink strategy that helps build high-quality backlinks. You can submit guest posts on reputable industry blogs or magazines, or simply produce great content that people will naturally want to share.
Taking all of these aspects into consideration as you develop your strategy can help you determine how best to approach your campaigns. You’ll be able to implement winning SEO strategies that appeal to both search engines and your audience.