The world is still trying to adapt “the new normal” after the nightmarish corona crisis, which left many businesses around the globe stranded and changed the way of living for the masses. There is no denying that things at the moment may take a while to get back to the normal state. (or the new normal, as it’s called now)
The Coronavirus pandemic waged war on the global economy by forcing entire countries into lockdown and disrupting multiple supply chains. During that time, many businesses were thrown into a limbo state where the business week came to a grinding halt, forcing them to rely on government aid packages to pay employees and maintain cash flow. Some businesses managed to weather the storm and develop new methods of serving their customers, which helped offset the damage, but many more were incapable of operating at all.
Whatever side your company fell on, there’s no denying the importance of a strong strategy for jump-starting your business as we begin returning to normal operations. One of the most critical (yet overlooked) factors of this strategy is SEO or search engine optimization. Neglecting this can have a dramatic impact on your company’s bottom line, especially as we begin making headway against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Most companies tend to think of SEO as the search rankings on popular engines such as Google, DuckDuckGo or Bing, but that’s a generic take on the formula. The actual premise behind SEO lies in organic traffic that moves as naturally as possible through the search engine formula and is tied directly to your company’s website. These search engines take an analytical snapshot of your website and its content, such as videos, images and text, to determine if the information is relevant to the audience. These methods are becoming more sophisticated by the day, especially as companies like Google continue to fine-tune their search algorithms.
With more people working from home and turning to Google for answers, it is more important than ever that businesses have information available that helps customers as they research and consider purchases and needs.
SEO is the best way to get the information your organization has into the hands of people searching.
Recently, “The World Economic” research has revealed that consumers are connecting to businesses way more than before through the new digital framework. As a result, this has already ushered a whole new era of Online or Digital marketing and makes it an even more critical aspect of any business than ever before. Both long and short term SEO strategies are becoming a must-have need for any organization to thrive in the present time.
As the old saying goes: the early bird gets the worm. This goes double for prepping your company to emerge as an industry leader in comparison to your competition. Covid-19 will soon be a thing of the past, especially with multiple vaccines already in development. A year from now, the story will be different and waiting to get back in the game at that point will be a mistake. The time is now, and the time is right to take advantage of the missed opportunities left open by your competitors and rise to the top.
Make sure your customers know you’re there, and you mean business! A strong SEO strategy is paramount in achieving this goal.
Top SEO Trends for 2021
1. Featured Snippets: The New Google Page One
Featured snippets are special boxes where the format of regular listings is reversed, showing the descriptive snippet first.
Typically, when asking a question on Google, a “no-click search” or “featured snippet” shows in a box on the search results page. This box contains an image and an answer to your question. Thus, you do not need to click through to an article.
Providing useful information that will be used for these snippets shows that your website contains valuable content. The trick is to provide enough helpful information while still enticing the searcher to click on your website for more details. Not only are they incredibly useful, but they also now drive about half of Google’s search engine clicks. Around 55% of website clicks from its results pages come from these handy little snippets.
The bad news: You can’t choose page content as a Featured Snippet. Google’s automated algorithms choose snippets and elevate them to the top on results pages. The good news: You can create detailed informational content that’s easily read at a glance. That content may have a better chance of becoming a snippet.
So, where do you start? Keep in mind that Google’s algorithms usually pick content that quickly and answers specific questions. Consider searches and build content around it. Like “How often should I visit my dentist?” or “How much water should I drink every day?” Some search terms that generate snippets can be even shorter, like “measure for pants” or “weight loss steps.”
People often feel inundated by intrusive ads and are looking for information they can trust and authentic reviews. This has led to a rise in influencer marketing. People are much more likely to engage with a respected and well-known person than an ad.
But here’s what you need to know, big celebrities aren’t the only ones with substantial cred as influencers. You don’t even need to be a fulltime influencer to gain a large following. Consider BuzzFeed TV producer Kelsey Impicciche: When she’s not creating content for the media giant, she’s posting popular videos on YouTube and streaming her gameplays on Twitch under her username kelseydangerous. With over 509,000 YouTube subscribers and 228,000 Instagram followers, Impicciche has a vast platform to leverage.
How this pertains to SEO?
Hiring or partnering with an influencer can help you amplify your content reach and generate even more traffic to your website. They can also help you build valuable backlinks. As you know, backlinks are one of the most important factors that Google uses when evaluating a web page’s ranking.
When developing your influencer marketing strategy, consider what type of content you want them to create and how it can link back to your website. And be sure to partner with influencers that are relevant to your industry and your audience. If they are an authority figure with a strong digital presence, their backlinks can be gold. If you invest in influencer marketing, you’ll not only improve brand awareness and generate leads, but you’ll also boost your search engine rankings.
3. Secure Websites: Safety and Privacy Are Crucial
User safety is another trend that doesn’t seem to have much to do with SEO, but it is imperative to the website user experience. If a user doesn’t feel safe visiting a web page, then they’re very likely to leave quickly. Or if they see a “Not Secure” warning appear, they may decide not to proceed to your page. As a result, high bounce rates could affect the position of that page in the organic search listing.
It’s crucial to enable HTTPS protocol for your site. HTTPS gives website users a secure connection that is both encrypted and authenticated. According to Google, HTTPS “helps prevent intruders from tampering with the communications between your websites and your users’ browsers.”
Google wants to provide its users with a secure browsing experience, so those that implement HTTPS may experience a minor SEO boost.
If you’re trying to collect personal information from your users on your website via a web form, then you have a responsibility to protect their privacy.
It’s imperative to assure your users that their data will be protected for as long as they stay on the page. There are still many vulnerabilities on the web, but every day there are new security measures that can be implemented into your website.
Before the existence of innovative smartphones, people searched by plugging words into search engine boxes on their desktop computers. Keywords were born from this behaviour. With the growing use of mobile devices, voice searches are becoming a popular trend among internet users. These searches are not only done on phones, but they can also be performed on home voice assistants such as the Amazon Echo, Samsung Smart TV, Voice Pod, etc.
But how do voice searches change SEO?
Voice searches affect SEO in a big way since it’s all about asking questions via voice instead of entering search queries. Subsequently, the terms have become more conversational and targeted.
However, when using voice searches, the search engine must do a lot more work to get the relevant information that the user is looking for at that moment, making short choppy keywords not so important anymore.
This change is imminent, considering that by the year 2020/2021, it is expected that more than 50% of all internet searches will be initiated through voice. Therefore, your content should adapt to this new trend to stand out in the current search engines.
5. Mobile Accessibility: Optimization Plus Content
A website that does not have a mobile version may lose most of its users in the coming years, as mobile web pages are a growing trend that will get even more popular in 2021. Especially since more people around the world are obtaining smartphones as more cell phone towers are being built with better connectivity.
However, technology and how people find information through their mobile devices is getting so advanced that it’s not enough to have a mobile website. The interface has to be easy to read, grab people’s attention and then have the ability to answer their questions or at least keep them entertained.
Studies show that 4 in 5 consumers conduct local searches on search engines using their mobile devices. And as you can see below, searches on smartphones are 88% while searches on computers and tablets combined make up 84%.
Since more people are searching from their smartphones than from a computer, it’s crucial to have a mobile version for your website to reach the most amount of people interested in your product.
Your pages must be optimized for mobile devices if you want to keep up with your competitors. And keep in mind that the higher you are in the Google mobile page index, the more prominent your page will be.
6. Click-Through and Dwell Time: 2 Critical Metrics
As people become accustomed to lightning-fast internet connections and information at their fingertips, website and email click-through rates (CTR) and dwell time (aka the amount of time a person spends on a web page before bouncing out) will matter even more to the success of your SEO efforts.
Both metrics are important as they show great insight into the satisfaction of the web searcher. The length of time that someone lingers on a page or other links the person clicks on can inadvertently tell you, the marketer, how interested they are in your content and if they are finding the information they need.
The more time spent on a page generally indicates how satisfied a person is in finding what they are looking for. We expect search engines to place more excellent value on dwell time in 2021.
One thing to note is that in SEO, dwell time is different than CTR in that CTR tracks the number of people who clicked on a link based on the number who saw the SERP, whereas dwell time is more interested in what people do after they click on the page, not the number of people who click on it.
7. Artificial Intelligence: Personalizing User Experiences
Currently, Google is considered the best internet search engine available, and they are continually updating their platform to improve user experiences. But are there other search engines that compete with Google?
While it’s unlikely that Google will lose its popularity, there are other search engines out there.
Platforms like Amazon require you to optimize your content based on their standards, along with smaller search engines like YouTube, DuckDuckGo, and Bing.
So before posting content on your website, ensure that you can have a good rating on other search-enabled platforms.
9. High-Quality Content: Helpful, Relevant and Timely
We all have more than once skipped past or muted ads on YouTube or scrolled past an ad on Twitter or Instagram. Haven’t we? Yes indeed! Then you probably aren’t surprised by this statistic from Newscred Insights: 91% of total ad spend is viewed for less than a second.
That’s why creating high-quality content is an essential element of effective SEO strategies. Users want content that is relevant, helpful, and timely—and that is what Google tends to reward with higher search engine rankings.
People head to search engines with questions, and your web page needs to deliver answers.
Content must be well researched and follow a logical structure that makes it easy to navigate and read. Informative and quality articles are the only type of content that will grow a website’s popularity in 2020 and beyond.
Online consumers are quick to detect and ignore web pages or blog articles that are highly sales oriented.
According to the Economist Group’s “Missing the Mark” Report, “71% of readers say they were turned off by content that seems like a sales pitch.”
What people want is educational content delivered to them in easy to digest forms, such as blog posts, videos, podcasts, infographics, etc.
No matter how good your content is, none of that matters if your web page doesn’t load quickly or if it has a complex user interface.
It’s proven that internet users leave a web page if it does not load in a few seconds, this being a significant factor in the world of SEO. In fact, a 1-second delay in page load time can result in a massive loss for your business.
Once you improve your page speed, you also must focus on the user experience. Navigation should be logical and easy to understand. Don’t use words or jargon that are unfamiliar to your audience. While you may think something is creative or innovative, you have to put yourselves in your viewer’s shoes. Would they understand what you mean in a split-second? If not, they’ll bounce from your web page and return to the SERP. High bounce rates will negatively impact your search rankings.
These factors are the difference between your webpage being in the top positions of a search engine or not.
Google Core Web Vitals Update/ Page Experience Ranking Signal
To provide fast, intuitive page experience, Google is introducing a new ranking signal called Page Experience signal, which is expected in 2021. The upcoming change incorporates page experience metrics like load time and interactivity.
Watch out for our detailed blog on this next week.
Don’t Limit Your Strategies and Options.
SEO is essential today for businesses irrespective of the industry. Although this doesn’t refer only to the use of keywords—it also entails optimizing content for users.
After all, Google is a search engine that processes information based on how search users behave, and it’s getting more accurate, which means that each year new trends appear that change the way information is published on the internet. This ensures that all users can get their questions answered in a matter of minutes (or even seconds).
If you’re already familiar with these trends, then that’s great—it’s time to double-down on them so you can generate more targeted traffic from Google. But if you still have questions and need help with SEO services, contact us today.