You’ll often hear people talking about the importance of applying best SEO practices when setting up a website for the first time.
But while optimization built into the architecture of your website is important, that’s by no means the end of the story. It’s crucial that you see SEO as an ongoing process susceptible to change.
Take September 2019 for instance. A Google core algorithm update led to huge changes in search rankings, across all industries and categories. Companies that were not regularly reviewing their SEO status risked entirely losing the rankings they’d worked hard to develop.
Don’t get caught out in a similar situation.
In this post we’ll explain the most important SEO practices you should be implementing in 2021.
SEO: the basics
If you’re unfamiliar with search engine optimization, it’s the process through which you organically improve the ranking of your website and pages on search engines like Google.
For small to medium-sized businesses, your website’s keyword SEO performance can make or break your business. It can either unlock the door to thousands of customers or ensure your business is never found.
With eCommerce burgeoning in recent years, competition over popular keywords is fiercer than ever. It has never been more important for businesses to get SEO right.
The following tips and advice have been designed to help as many types of businesses as possible. They’re based on the latest and emerging trends in SEO, so are sure to keep you ahead of the curve.
Keep in mind that all the practices mentioned on this list are most effective when used with a website builder with SEO at its core, like Zyro, as well as reliable web hosting.
And remember that not all hosting providers are created equal. Check this data-driven analysis of the best U.K.-based web hosting providers to find the right one for your site.
Top 7 SEO Tips and Strategies for 2021
1. Take advantage of video
It’s no secret that video content increasingly dominates internet usage, and that trend is only on the increase in 2021.
Cisco reports that:
- Online video will make up 80% of all online traffic by 2021
- 43% of people say they want more video content
- More people pay close attention to video than any other kind of online content
As well as its prevalence, one of the big innovations driving the importance of video to SEO is how the Google algorithms are getting increasingly adept at giving video content the ranking it deserves.
As the algorithms are better able to understand the content of videos, it can then make them appear in more relevant searches.
Where possible, companies should be considering adapting content to video, and making sure those videos are optimized for search.
2. Focus on user experience
If you’d spoken to an SEO marketer just a few years ago, they would have told you that user experience (UX) design was the responsibility of a whole different department.
Historically, marketers sought to generate incoming traffic without paying much attention to the UX on their own sites.
This is changing since Google’s AI RankBrain now takes into account the way that users interact with sites. This means UX now affects SEO directly.
You need to look at your customers’ journeys through your site and optimize your pages to make them easy to navigate, simple to understand, and make it quick for visitors to find the information needed.
Using a website builder like Zyro can help.
Not only is UX easy to design, implement, and change, but integrations with tools like Google Analytics and Hotjar heatmaps help you understand how visitors interact with your pages on Zyro.
Recommended reading: What Makes a Good Website? A Complete Guide
3. Spy on your competition
While it has always been a good idea to keep an eye on what other companies in the same space as you are doing, with SEO, there are technological solutions to do this.
There are a lot of new tools on the market that will allow you to reverse-engineer your competitors’ SEO success.
Tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush both show marketers how well their competition is doing, and give some indication as to how they’re doing it.
Implementing these insights can be done in two ways:
- Sometimes, companies will want to emulate their competition to minimize the distance between them.
- In other situations, these tools can help you work out a unique selling point that will set you apart.
If you’re doing half-decent SEO already, there’s a good chance that your competitors are looking at what you’re doing to give themselves an edge.
Don’t let yourself fall behind.
4. Structure your content
Multi-channel marketing has become standard in many industries.
- Online stores
This means that a business’s messaging and points of sale are increasingly likely to be scattered across multiple platforms on the web.
It’s worth recognizing, though, that even Google algorithms sometimes have a hard time understanding the context of short pieces of content (such as successful Tweets).
To ensure that your content across all channels is performing as well as it can for SEO, it’s useful to structure your content so it can be best understood by search algorithms.
The full approach is best described in this article. The idea is to make pages easier to understand by search engines, via advanced mark-up techniques.
5. Mobile SEO
Mobile SEO is not a new trend, but it’s one that many small businesses struggle with.
One big misconception is that “mobile SEO” is just the same as SEO, but on smartphones. In reality, as this article indicates, mobile SEO is a more complicated issue.
There are essentially three approaches to mobile SEO:
- Responsive web design, in which you use the same URL and HTML, but change the display depending on the user’s browser.
- Dynamic serving, in which the business’s server sends different HTML and CSS to the same URL, depending on the user’s device.
- Separate URLs, in which mobile users are redirected to an entirely different URL with HTML appropriate for their device.
Websites built on Zyro, for instance, are all responsive. Thanks to the builder’s drag-and-drop functionality, every website can display on any device as standard.
Recommended reading: How to Make a Mobile-Friendly Website (2021 Guide)
6. Evergreen content
We’re sure the experienced SEO marketers out there will be screaming that this is not really a new idea for 2021, but it’s worth pointing out that it’s still important.
Up until recently, a lot of content and SEO marketers saw posting as a numbers game to get shares. Churning out hundreds of pieces of content a month in the hopes they’ll achieve a level of virality was the norm.
Unfortunately, as this new research indicates, social sharing of content is down 50% in the last few years. This is likely due to content saturation among users, who are bombarded with it daily.
What this highlights is the importance of producing authoritative, evergreen content.
Instead of making a short-term viral splash, you should be aiming to make your content the go-to place on the internet for the information it shares.
Do this by making it high-quality and highly relevant.
7. Advanced analytics
Whilst the tips above will improve your SEO, the only way you will know if they are working is through analyzing traffic data effectively.
Google Analytics has been a mainstay for SEO marketers for years, and remains important. However, an increasing number of tools are utilizing the power of AI to leverage insights.
As this article points out, successful SEO managers are turning to new tools to improve their understanding of search, like:
- Needl. A Google Analytics add-on that discovers patterns in search behavior.
- Canecto. A tool that delivers reports on content optimization and customer journey.
- Archie. A tool that acts like Siri for Google Analytics, allowing you to make search-related inquiries.
These kinds of AI tools represent the future of SEO.
The bottom line
Advanced SEO tools used to be reserved for marketers who wanted to go above and beyond. However, they’re increasingly becoming a necessity for anyone who hopes to remain competitive in the search arena.
The tools, tips, and strategies mentioned above will all certainly help improve your approach to SEO, but it can’t be stressed enough how much everything starts with your website.
To give yourself the best headstart on effective search engine optimization, we strongly advise you to create a beautiful website.
You’ll remove much of the hard work required to optimize your website from the start, and have the perfect platform from which to implement more advanced strategies.
Recommended reading: 13 Most Popular Types of Websites You Should Know