An effective SEO strategy is key to success in marketing. There’s a reason why marketers try to improve their SEO knowledge and why businesses spend time and money on the practice. However, there’s a difference between half-heartedly implementing some SEO techniques and actively trying to get your website to the top of valuable search results.
In the marketing world, plenty has changed and evolved over the years. However, one thing that remains constant is the importance of SEO. But what will work best? What are the techniques that businesses and marketers will employ the most? We have a detailed list here!
The last couple of years we have seen a focus in user experience. This trend is here and is not going anywhere. If you want to boost traffic, you need to focus on the user and provide a positive experience for all. Not only does user experience influence customer happiness, but also plays a role in ranking.
When Google Search ranks websites, it keeps several different factors in mind. One of these factors being user experience. While using Google, different aspects of the user experience now come together for Core Web Vitals, which is a group of metrics based on this very area.
In the coming year, the user experience will move beyond keeping customers happy and actually contribute to search engine rankings. As a business or marketer, you can ensure that pages load in good time, that navigation is simple, and that the website works across all devices. Additionally, you can also work towards stable loading. There’s nothing more frustrating than going to tap a link and then the page moving under the finger or mouse (suddenly, we’re heading to a different page and have to go back again!).
To make things easier, check out the Core Web Vitals report in the Google Search Console. Here, you’ll learn how well the website performs against the ranking signals. Often, the best way to assess the user experience of your website is to view it from an objective perspective. If you struggle, ask a friend or family member to use your website and note the positives and negatives.
You’ll need to pay more attention to the keywords you target on all pages across your website. In recent years, keyword cannibalization has been a growing problem. This issue is where multiple pages are competing for the same keywords. Of course, one page has to win and the other receives less traffic. Why compete with yourself when you can use different keywords and compete with others?
If you notice keyword cannibalization on your website, there are a few things you can do to resolve the problem. Firstly, if it is two blog posts, you could merge them and create one detailed guide instead. Alternatively, you could choose a different keyword for the page. For those who can’t merge pages, we recommend adapting the context, keyword, and anchor text.
In some cases, one page is seriously outdated, and the business chooses to just delete it entirely. To manage this problem more effectively, we recommend starting a spreadsheet listing each web page and their keywords. From here, it’s easy to manage keyword cannibalization and choose a unique keyword with new pages. By doing this, you optimize search engine performance and increase overall traffic.
For those that have a library of old content, your content strategy probably has two sections. One consisting of creating new content, and the other repurposing and optimizing older content. However, many go wrong with the creation of new content.
In 2021, you’ll need to do more than blindly create articles just because you think the audience will have some interest. When creating a blog post or video, you need to ask the following question:
‘Why am I creating this content?’
If you can’t justify it, there’s no need to go any further. At first, you might feel a little lost, and be unsure of how to proceed. This is actually good because it means you’re no longer willing to produce content just for the sake of it. At this stage, it’s time to perform a keyword gap analysis.
The goal of this research is to find keywords that you aren’t currently optimizing for, but your competitors are. When a competitor optimizes for the keyword and you don’t, this creates a gap in your strategy which means it’s time to create content in order to compete.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to conduct this analysis manually. Instead, we have tools like the Keyword Gap Tool from SEMrush. After inputting your domain, you then add the domains of competitors and allow the tool to work its magic. You’ll see a list of keywords and where competitors are active against your own performance. Along the top, you’ll filter results by keywords that are ‘Missing’ or ‘Untapped’ on your own website.
While Untapped keywords are used by at least one of your competitors from your chosen list, Missing keywords are used by ALL competitors but not by yourself. Once you start to use these keywords, you should see an improvement in website traffic.
With semantic search, the goal is to listen to what each user really wants and provide them with the appropriate results. For example, those searching to buy are looking for different content to those searching to learn.
The good news is that with semantic search, we appear for consumers at the right time. The bad news is that optimizing for semantic search is still in the early stages and isn’t easy. Think about the way that users search and why they do so. Do they look for answers? Can we provide them with detailed articles ready for when they have questions? Here are some top tips for increasing traffic through semantic search:
Voice search will continue to grow in 2021. If you haven’t started to optimize for voice search already, now is the time to devise a strategy for your target market. Every year, more people search using their smartphones or smart speakers (such as Google Home and Amazon Echo). According to Moving Traffic Media, around half of all searches will be of this nature by the beginning of 2021. Can you afford to miss out on all this traffic?
It is important to note that people who use voice search generally use longer sentences than online. Therefore, you should optimize content for long-tail keywords (where competition is actually less intense). You can also optimize for voice search by using schema markup best practices, Answerthepublic, setting up your account on Google My Business, making content conversational, and making a detailed FAQs page.
Back in the day, Google results meant 10 links on the first page. Now, users find answers to their questions without even clicking on one of the results. Although PAA (People Also Ask) doesn’t appear in every search, it happens around four in every ten searches. You can use this to your advantage by optimizing for PAA, in order to appear several times on the first page of results.
By appearing as a top link, your content is in the PAA section, and you have more opportunities to either receive a click or gain credibility by answering a question. To get started, try the SEMrush Position Tracking tool and enter the target keywords then filter by PAA. You can also use the Keyword Overview platform to help generate content ideas if you’re struggling.
No matter what happens in the world of SEO, you must never forget the basics that have allowed us to reach this point. With search intent on the rise, you should focus on People Also Ask. However, this shouldn’t come at the cost of consistent content schedules, organized link building, optimizing for mobile devices, or choosing a keyword for specific reasons.
Additionally, all businesses these days should have a blog to complement their advertising strategy. Always pay attention to analytics and use tools designed to give insights much faster than traditional methods. By combining these new techniques and remembering the basics, there should be an opportunity to thrive when it comes to SEO in 2021. You increase website traffic and, hopefully, make more sales after what has been a difficult 2020!
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