Search Engine Optimization - 19 Nov 2020
What Will Influence Your SEO Strategy in 2021?
It seems that we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief – the end of 2020 is drawing near and it’s time to think about moving forward. While the global impacts of the Coronavirus won’t suddenly disappear with the ushering in of a New Year, it is certainly the right time to reflect upon what has become our “new normal” and to find ways to emerge from the ashes with renewed clarity and focus.
The Coronavirus pandemic spared virtually no one; businesses both large and small struggled to find creative ways adapt, with some flourishing and many others floundering. However, no matter which category your business fell into, 2021 is the right time to refocus your efforts and to switch gears from survival mode back into expansion. For some businesses, that will mean protecting their position from increasing competition, as more companies look to re-enter the market, and for others it may be a matter of separating themselves from the pack.
When it comes to business growth, one often overlooked and underestimated component is the importance SEO plays as part of your overall marketing strategy. Many companies mistake SEO as a simple strategy aimed at improving online search rankings, done mostly through cramming as many business relevant keywords as possible into company websites and content, however SEO is actually far more sophisticated and far more complex than just using the right keywords.
So what does all this mean for your SEO strategy in 2021?
If you have ever searched for anything on the internet, you have experienced the influence of some form of SEO, however the best SEO is the kind that isn’t obvious, but rather a product of natural, organic searches and relevant information users actually find useful. To combat the overwhelming abundance of poor quality content flooding the web, search engines like Google have vastly improved their algorithms to help improve user experience, and if you haven’t updated old SEO strategies, you may quickly find yourself landing lower and lower on result pages.
Google’s Featured Snippets
Google is constantly changing the way it selects and presents information, and the snippet is the latest change. A snippet is essentially a feature box presented at or near the top of the SERP that quickly provides, at a glance, the answer to a user’s question. This benefits users looking to quickly get an answer to their search query, but equally benefits businesses as an estimated 55% of website clicks come directly from these snippets.
While there is no way to guarantee that your business will be selected for a feature snippet, there are things that you can do to increase your likelihood of being featured, and a strong SEO strategy plays an important role.
Voice Search Optimization
SEO optimization and keywords were born from the desire to improve search rankings based on internet users’ online searches. However with the increasing popularity of voice command searches, the way people search for information has changed dramatically. Search queries have become more targeted and conversational in tone. Simple keywords have lost some of the ability to capture these more complex online search phrases, being replaced by informative content that can answer specific user questions.
What this means for businesses is that relevant, informative content is now more important than ever. If you are not providing targeted answers to a variety of specific user queries, you may not be showing up in many online searches.
Artificial Intelligence and Online Searches
While it may once have been relatively simple to trick search engines into ranking your website high on SERPs, AI has made it much more difficult to pass off mediocre content as relevant. This sophisticated technology has the ability to distinguish between pertinent and poor information with razor like precision. And AI capabilities are only just beginning to impact SEO; with the ability to learn and grow, there is no longer any room for sub-par content.
If you have been putting of any investment in your SEO development, now is the time to get ahead of the game. Time has shown that innovators are rewarded, while laggards often find it difficult to catch up. Updating your SEO strategy now can position your business as an industry leader, before your competition gets there first.
Mobile-Friendly is the New Online Normal
The trend toward mobile browsing is by no means a 2021 development, however nearly half of all web traffic coming from mobile devices and the trend continuing to rise, now is the time to optimize your content for mobile devices. In 2019, Google launched its mobile-first indexing, which rewards mobile optimized websites with higher rankings and penalizes those which are not mobile-friendly.
In order to improve your SEO rankings, your website must adapt to accommodate mobile browsing. This can be achieved through responsive web design, quick load times, and easy to maneuver navigation tools.
The Coronavirus will have lasting ramifications long after the pandemic is under control, and for some businesses, the “new normal” will be a permanent shift in the way their businesses operate. With people spending far more time online, there has been a dramatic shift in consumer behaviour and preferences, and while the move towards online platforms was well under way before the pandemic, it is now clear that the trend is here to stay.