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SEO in 2021

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  • SEO in 2021

    It’s time to take our annual look at what’s ahead for SEO professionals in 2021.

    If you want the TLDR, here it is via Lily Ray, SEO Director, Path Interactive:
    “Above all, a great SEO strategy should start by putting yourself in the user’s shoes and asking yourself if the content is truly valuable, the brand is trustworthy, and the website is easy to use (especially on mobile).”

    So true!

    But there’s much more to dig into when we’re talking SEO in 2021.

    So what SEO strategies and tactics will work and help you dominate in the SERPs and earn more revenue in 2021?

    This is the question we ask every year here at Search Engine Journal.

    This year, I asked 42 of today’s top SEO professionals for their thoughts.

    Here are the top 10 trends you need to know in 2021, according to the experts.

    Want all the SEO trends now? Download our new ebook: SEO Trends 2021.
    Trend #1: Focus on User + Search Intent

    In 2021, it’s time to focus user and search intent.

    For real.

    While this is hardly a new trend or concept, every year it’s important to refocus because searcher intent and behavior is changing all the time. Especially after the year that was 2020 when so much rapidly changed.

    “At the core, Google (and other search engines) is a place to go when people want to answer a question or to learn more about something,” said Jenn Mathews, SEO Manager, GitHub. “When we understand the nature of why people search and help them with content that provides the answers they are looking for then our business benefits from it.”

    So what does this mean for your SEO efforts in 2021?

    According to Britney Muller, SEO Consultant & Data Science Student, Britney Muller LLC, it means SEO pros will need to transition away from traditional best practices that will hold less value as the algorithms get stronger (e.g., trying to write meta descriptions for every single page) and focus more on better understanding what’s happening within the SERPs/searcher intent.

    “Google houses the world’s information and they know what the majority of people searching ‘x’ seek,” Muller said. “Paying closer attention to search results will give SEO pros a leg up in creating competitive content in the way that searchers desire to consume it.”

    And many other of our SEO experts agree with Muller. This includes Andrew Dennis, Content Marketing Specialist, Page One Power.

    “Google is already showing you which results it thinks serve users’ intent, use this data for your own strategy,” Dennis said. “For me, SERP analysis will be an important practice not just in 2021, but moving forward as search intents change and Google continues to become more sophisticated to keep up.”

    It’s clear to Marie Haynes, CEO, Marie Haynes Consulting Inc., that if you want to win at SEO in 2021, you’ll need to do a stellar job of providing information to users.

    “Google will get even better at recognizing when a searcher is looking for expert advice and will rank those posts above articles written by content writers who are lacking E-A-T,” Haynes said. “The SEO pros who will be successful in 2021 will be those who can truly understand how to meet a searchers’ needs.”

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    Here’s advice from Adam Riemer, President at Adam Riemer Marketing:

    “Brands are going to need to forget about themselves and cater to their visitors.

    This includes:
    • Copy that addresses the visitor’s needs and concerns and not copy that talks about your products, your company, or why your product is good.
    • A quick website that renders and stabilizes fast.
    • Not making people work to find your content or to spend money with you. No forced pop-ups, registrations, etc.”

    With Google focusing more on satisfying user intent, Steven van Vessum, VP of Community, ContentKing, said it’s more important than ever to focus on learning what a user is looking for.

    “In terms of the actual answer – but also their preferred content type (e.g., video, podcasts, or PDF),” van Vessum said. “Because figuring out queries’ user intent by hand is very time-consuming, keyword research tools that let us quickly do this at scale will overtake those that do not.”

    Alexander Kesler, CEO, INFUSEmedia, offers some additional advice on understanding the search intent of your ideal buyer and driving meaningful revenue for your organization.

    “Analyze the search data and on-site journey of any organically acquired leads – not just the search terms that they used to find your content, but also on-site search and highlighted keywords for all pages that they visited,” Kesler said. “Aggregate that data and map it to a content journey.”
    Trend #2: Customer Analytics, Retention & Lifetime Value

    SEO used to be (mostly) about driving traffic. But SEO has evolved into much more.

    As Miracle Inameti-Archibong, Head of SEO, Erudite, noted, in 2021 you will be pushed more and more to make the traffic you have to work harder in order to close the gaps in revenue and demonstrate ROI.

    So, in 2021, data on behavioral analytics will become the hottest commodity.

    “With Google evolving faster and faster to give instant satisfaction, taking responsibility beyond visits, as well as marrying up UX, conversion, and revenue have become even more important,” Inameti-Archibong said. “Keyword volume will take a back seat and it will be more behavioral analytics – what your customer is doing, how they are doing it, and how we can get them to do more of it quicker – and reverse engineering that to the content you produce.”

    John McAlpin, SEO Director, Cardinal Digital Marketing, agreed. He pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that keyword research isn’t always helpful when the world is in constant flux.

    “In order to differentiate ourselves, we’ll see SEO pros dialing back keyword research and elevate first-party user research,” McAlpin said. “ This research unlocks hidden opportunities with service offerings and content ideas that keyword research may not tell us.”

    With fewer dollars to go around, businesses will need to focus far more on customer retention and increasing customer lifetime value (LTV) than ever before, said Stephan Bajaio, Chief Evangelist and Co-Founder, Conductor.

    “Your post-acquisition content must answer the questions, concerns, and needs your customers are expressing in search and you need to show up for those terms. If not, you will risk others influencing them away from your brand,” Bajaio said. “It will be about understanding your customer best and providing them with valuable content, or risk losing them to someone who understands them better… introduced to them by their trusted friend Google.”

    Izzi Smith, Technical SEO Analyst, Ryte, expanded on this idea. She encourages companies to provide stronger customer and self-support services online.

    “First of all, establish a process with sales and support staff to ensure that you are aware of important and incoming questions or requests that can be resolved with help articles,” Smith said.

    “Dig into your Google Search Console keyword data with common question modifiers to find relevant, existing topics that should be catered to. Make sure these are answered concisely and factually and published to a related FAQ topic page,” she added.

    Bottom line, according to Smith: “Help centers and FAQ sections should be created with UX at the very forefront, and should not be a single, unmaneuverable page of questions.”

    One of the keys to attracting and retaining customers comes down to a single word: value.

    That’s why Julia McCoy, CEO, Express Writers / Educator, Content Hacker, said you should make value a heavy focus in 2021.

    And a big part of that comes from your content.

    “it’s easier than ever to lose grasp on the real reason we retain the trust and attention of our audience: by giving them value,” McCoy said. “We retain interest and build trust with our readers when our content is the most comprehensive, practical, and useful piece they’ve interacted with when searching Google. That kind of content requires focus, time, commitment, investment, to create.”

  • #2
    There’s much more to dig into when we’re talking about SEO. There are different strategies and tactics. They will work and help us dominate in the SERPs and earn more income in 2021. I`d like to ask a question about short links. Should I use short links for SEO, and if so, can I use this service ? BTW they have awesome blog. Thank you all in advance.