The COVID-19 pandemic changed people's lives around the world. Socialization and shopping activities shifted online with the implementation of lockdowns and physical distancing measures. For many businesses, the change to increasingly remote and digital work might be how their business is conducted way into the future. Therefore, now is the right time to intensify digital campaigns to keep your company in your current and potential customers' focus. There is an increase in organic searches, which shows the importance of building SEO campaigns to get the desired search results.
According to this BrightEdge report, with the changing landscape with shifts towards paid and organic searches as the most significant contributors to website traffic, it is increasingly important to refine your Search Engine Optimization strategy to get the best results for your business. We'll show you why SEO is more important than ever and share the best SEO practices in 2021.
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Top Reasons Why You Should Focus on Your SEO to Drive Your Business
- Evergreen content will remain essential – Focusing on evergreen content within your industry will remain crucial and accumulate views over time. As a good practice, you should combine evergreen with trending topics to generate traffic and prepare for the future at the same time.
According to SEO specialist Jill Whalen, excellent SEO work will only get better over time. Businesses should only adopt their search engine strategies to the changes in the ranking algorithms by search engines.
- Search will continue to grow – As experienced during this pandemic, paid and organic searches dominate online platforms and probably do so in the future. Marketers also believe in SEO as the most stable and substantial strategy to promote a brand, product, or service. They also agree that SEO is a cost-effective marketing channel that can produce results.
This 2020 survey showed that 65% of advertisers believe businesses will invest more in advertising campaigns to produce direct sales. This result makes SEO the overwhelming platform of choice for most marketers in both the B2C and B2B sectors.
Another survey found that a large percentage of agency and marketing professionals in the U.S. maintained their budgets for their SEO campaigns in 2020 compared to other efforts like paid social media, digital video, and display advertisements. SEO-focused marketing campaigns are on the rise.
- SEO platforms optimize telecommuting – The pandemic resulted in the emergence of many SEO platforms as enterprising companies scrambled to meet the needs created by the remote work boom. These platforms also helped improve B2B companies' efficiency that is leveraging SEO in their marketing efforts. The growing success of B2B marketers working at home will likely boost the demand for SEO platforms.
The use of SEO as a marketing tool is increasing, independent of COVID-19. According to Orainti founder and international SEO consultant Aleyda Solis, we will see growing importance and use of structured data due to the increased number of mobile searches and voice control for Google Assistant. She also projected growth in predictive search features and the adoption of a more technical SEO ecosystem.
- SEO provides a competitive edge – Another reason for SEO to be indispensable is how it allows small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to compete against their bigger rivals. It provides SMEs with a competitive edge since they usually only have one business to focus their SEO efforts on, compared to their larger competitors. If you are an SME, SEO is the best tool you can use to raise brand awareness, establish trust, and engage with your potential market at an affordable price.
Based on a Hubspot study, brands that post at least 16 times per month generated 450% more leads than those who published a maximum of four posts. If you want to take advantage of SEO, create high-quality evergreen content, and focus on both COVID-19-related and industry-related search terms.
- SEO will support future business campaigns – Focusing on your SEO strategy now will bear fruits later. It will serve as the foundation for building your campaigns in the future when many businesses will operate more like before the crisis. You should include ways to help your customers strengthen your relationships and establish their loyalty to your brand.
According to Conductor's vice president of digital strategies, Patrick Reinhart, this is the right time to plant trees for SEO as they will provide shade on sunny days in the future. Businesses should create content dealing with the current situation and the future. In his tweet, Lane R. Ellis claimed that B2B marketers who advance their SEO campaigns would help them achieve expanded search success after the pandemic.
Best SEO Practices to Utilize for Your Business in 2021
SEO's effectiveness as a marketing tool will largely depend on your ability to make your target keywords rank well on Google and other search engines. You must strive to reach the top 10 and appear on Google's first page to achieve results. Why? Based on a HubSpot study, 75% of users only looked at their first page results during their search. Here are some of the best SEO strategies you can use to make your posts rank on Google:
- Use keywords in your URL – A well-structured URL increases your content's visibility to search engines and your visitors. Creating an excellent URL makes it short, easy to read, and includes your primary keywords. You should also avoid using stop words to make it concise and to the point.
- Optimize your website to satisfy your users – Google puts a premium on the quality of user experience in its website rankings. Make sure your pages are responsive to ensure your visitors' satisfaction and improve your reputation with Google.
Some of the strategies to optimize your website include achieving excellent page speed, eliminating intrusive popups, and using subheadings, screenshots, images, and videos in your content. Also, utilize white space to improve the readability of your content.
- Develop content that aligns with search intent – To increase your content's visibility with Google, align it to search intent or user intent. To achieve this, familiarize yourself with the types of search intent and use the right action words when writing your content. The common types of user intent are navigational, informational, commercial, and transactional.
In navigational intent, the user's motive is to look for specific apps or websites, while in informational, the aim is to look for particular data or information. In commercial intent, the user is looking for a product or service, but with no decision yet. In transactional intent, the goal is to purchase. When creating your content, always remember to align it with the user intent.
- Create interesting title tags and meta descriptions – Google's algorithm gives importance to a content's title tags and meta descriptions during the search. The title tags directly impact your content's visibility during search queries, while meta descriptions can affect click-through rates (CTR).
When creating your title tags, make them concise but descriptive. You should also include your target keywords and should match them with search intent. Also, refrain from using the same title tags and avoid keyword stuffing.
When writing your meta descriptions, keep them to a maximum of 160 characters, and they should reflect the main topic/s of your content. Also, make sure to create a unique meta description for every post, use action-oriented words, and include your target keywords.
- Utilize optimized images – Images can help increase your website's overall appeal and visitors' user experience. However, if not done correctly, images can adversely affect your page loading speed and user experience. To achieve the best results, you need to optimize your images.
To optimize your images, you should use JPEG or PNG image formats, compress them to speed up loading, and include an alt text to make them visible to Google. You can use free tools like ImageOptim, ShortPixel, and TinyPNG, to compress your images. You can also use the lazy loading strategy for non-critical pictures and videos to optimize page loading time. You can use the free tool a3 Lazy Load plugin to lazy load your videos and images.
- Write long-form content – Another best practice for SEO is posting long-form articles (3,000+ words) on your website. Based on a SEMrush study, long forms perform better than others on Google's ranking. In the study, long-form content shares, traffic, and backlinks are higher by 400%, 300%, and 3.5% than average-length articles, respectively.
When writing long-form content, you should use target keywords that balance keyword difficulty and search volume. Use long-tail keywords and mid-tail keywords strategically to reach your target customers.
- Use authoritative backlinks – Another critical factor used by Google in ranking web pages is backlinks. However, backlinks from spammy websites can hurt your rankings. To avoid this, make sure to build authoritative backlinks for your site.
An effective strategy to get high-quality backlinks is by investigating and copying your rivals' link-building techniques. You can use tools like SEMrush's Backlink Gap Tool to examine your competitors' backlink profiles and create a plan to steal their authoritative backlinks.
- Include internal links – Internal links play a crucial role in improving your Google ranking if appropriately used. These links create an information hierarchy for your site and inform Google about the topics of your content. To optimize your website, link your low-performing pages to the top-performing ones. Make sure the top-performing pages are relevant to the content you are linking to.
To test the quality of your internal links, you can use tools like SEMrush. These tools can help you identify and resolve the internal linking errors on your site.
- Maximize your page speed – A nonresponsive page may frustrate your users and compel them to leave your website. To avoid this, you should optimize your page loading speed to satisfy your users. To check your speed, you may use free tools like GTMetrix and Google's PageSpeed Insights. These tools will also recommend strategies and fixes to speed up your page's loading time.
Your SEO campaign allows you to engage with your audience and prepare your business for 2021. Incorporating the SEO best practices in your campaign will increase your pages' visibility to a high number of users. However, our SEO experts are always willing to help if you are not sure how to do it.