To understand why we have chosen the following as our top SEO tips for 2021 we first must ask ourselves what lies ahead in the marketing industry? We all know that Google is constantly updating their algorithms and guidelines to change how the game is played which tends to keep us on our toes regarding best practices. However, is there a chance they will flip it on its head in the upcoming year? Highly unlikely.
With knowing Google isn’t going to move the goalposts, we can determine that the one constant throughout Google’s plethora of updates…is quality. So as long as we remain to produce quality content and user experiences the fundamentals will likely stay the same.
Taking all that into account, it makes it easy for us to calculate what the most beneficial elements of SEO have been to date and whether they are likely to change in the very near future. In this case, we think not.
If you’re familiar with digital marketing; which I can only imagine you are considering you’re here, you will know by now that search engine optimization plays a crucial part in the success of almost any business. Without correct optimization, you will only make it harder for yourself to rank and attract visitors, especially in a world that’s becoming more digital day by day. The digital transition will likely result in an increased number of online competitors and no doubt some of these will utilize the process. The sooner you integrate SEO into your strategy, the higher chance you have to dominate the results page.
This is exactly why we have put together this list of 2021 SEO tips. We understand that not all business have the time and budget to hire a professional and will often take it upon themself to implement, and so we thought we would save you a little extra and tell you exactly what to focus on to make the most out of your efforts. Granted, this may be dependent on your business model and industry, but for the most part, you can’t go wrong. One thing you must remember, however, is it’s not an overnight battle and takes time and patience…a lot of it.
Probably one of the most important SEO tips on this page is to have some variation of a blog or guide on your site. It’s an incredibly easy way to utilize the power of content marketing whilst also providing a better experience for your visitors.
Each new piece of content allows your site to directly target new keywords and phrases and get your brand to dominate the industry. Blogging is also often incorporated into a businesses funnel to be used as a selling tool.
Once you are ranking for relatable keywords with informative content you will find a lot of opportunity within these articles to link off to your products or services. This will also help with your internal linking, another incredibly powerful process that we will talk a little more about later.
Original content will additionally contribute to your backlinking profile. A business that consistently produces high-quality content will often find that it naturally piques the interest of others, this can on occasion result in another site or even publication linking out to your content and providing a backlink.
Starting a blog may seem like a daunting task, but done right will revolutionise the performance of your site.
It’s not even a process that you need to put a lot of thought into to understand how it can be useful. Just picture your industry and write down 10 of the most frequently asked questions you get.
Chances are you can turn most of these answers into a post. Granted it may not be as easy as that and a little more research is needed, but providing you have produced a good piece of content and optimized it well, your business now has the potential to rank for any of these queries on Google.
For example, let’s say you run a baking equipment business through an online store. You sell all the necessary equipment to decorate and bake a range of foods, including 3 different types of flour. In this situation, a customer may be unsure what type of flour they need for the type of food they are cooking, they could click each one, read the description and make the comparison, but the likely outcome is they flick open another tab and Google the following “type of flour for a chocolate chip cookie”.
The user clicks the first result, reads the short article and makes a decision. They then notice the article links out to all the products they need…You’ve just lost a sale.
There’s a number of situations where having an informative, high-quality piece of content can benefit your site.
Writing a guide on these sorts of questions will open your presence to a much broader audience and drive them towards your website, even if it’s not for a sale right now. Funnel them into your mailing list and keep in touch, chances are when they do need some baking equipment, ‘you’ll be their guy’.
Modern technology also has an impact on the importance of a blog. It’s no secret that voice-driven devices such as the Alexa and Google Home have become an increasingly popular means of search in recent years, and they are only going to grow from here. Many news outlets even predict that up to 50% of engine searches will be controlled this way by 2020.
Optimizing for this technology can provide a whole new channel of traffic.
2. Custom Content
Making a video is usually something that businesses tend to overlook. It’s hard work, usually a little difficult to get to grips with and for some; including myself, downright embarrassing. However, the power of producing a video is unrivalled. According to Insivia viewers retain 95% of content in a video compared to only 10% when reading it in text form! Hubspot also states that over 52% of marketers agree that video provides the highest ROI for their business. People just love consuming media, especially when its custom made.
Granted making a video is a lot easier for some companies than it is others, but you shouldn’t let that discourage you. If there is one thing Google loves, its highly ranked YouTube videos. So having your very own video on the front page of your site will provide a very strong ranking signal and often help push the needle.
Google primarily ranks these videos based on pure stats such as views, comments & likes. Although that isn’t the only thing it picks upon. When producing a video you should make sure it contains keywords relating to your site and aim for a length of around a few minutes at the least. There are a number of tactics you can use to help the performance of your YouTube video, backlinko has a great article you should give a read!
Now that we have covered one of the more important aspects of custom content we mustn’t forget the rest. Every piece of content you publish has a much higher chance of converting if your using custom content.
This includes anything such as thumbnails, images, and writing.
Taking advantage of this process will also give your business the opportunity to rank for each one of those aspects.
For example, as we mentioned above you can rank your custom videos on platforms such as YouTube, providing another channel of traffic, you can also do this with images and thumbnails through platforms such as social media and Google Images.
Custom content is also an incredible catalyst to your backlink profile, people love to share valuable information such as infographics, and these often get embedded on other sites.
To most, this is a given and you can skip this step if need be, but to the people out there just starting out with digital marketing, this is an SEO tip that not’s only useful for 2021, but will likely be crucial to your strategies for many, many years to come.
Throughout my time in the SEO industry I’ve seen a myriad of websites; old, new, colourful, informative, but unless you actually have an expert at hand, most business doesn’t consider SEO at all. I have come across some of the most beautifully designed sites I have ever seen and they’re rotting away, lost in Google’s SERP. It goes to show, no matter how much you spend on web design it doesn’t do a thing if people aren’t going to see it.
So, a very short but very effective tip…when creating your website or any new piece of content, keyword research MUST be applied!
A few years ago in a search engine far far away, keywords were the most important part of any sites SEO strategy, unfortunately, these were eventually abused and are no longer as effective due to Google’s algorithmic changes and guidelines. However, that being said, they still provide an enormous value.
Keywords in their very essence are simply words that relate to your website and will be used for ranking. For example: if you owned an eCommerce store selling T-shirts, your entire online presence would be revolved around keywords relating to your industry, such as “T-Shirts for men”, “Women’s Clothing” and so on. Although, it’s not quite as simple as that. Each key term has different metrics that we use to determine whether or not they will provide value to our site or that particular piece of content.
There are a few tools out there you can use to view and analyse these metrics, personally, I prefer Ahrefs and Google themselves.
Just to point out while we’re here, it’s not recommended to include as many keywords and phrases as you possibly can. As we mentioned above people began to abuse such tactics and even resulted to unethical means, such as filling their page white and including as many keywords as possible in a white text, so that they weren’t visible to the human eye but were picked up by google. Can you imagine doing that now? Crazy right.
So, as a result of this google now penalizing you for having more keywords on your page than you physically need, so don’t cram them into every sentence. Place them when and where they are needed so your content appears as natural as possible.
One of the harder and more time-consuming SEO tips would be increasing your backlink profile in 2021.
Backlinks are simply links from other websites and pages linking to your own. The higher number you have, the higher traffic you will get in return. Again, the same research process as your keywording needs to be carried out. There are various metrics that need to be looked at before deciding on whether the backlink will be valuable or detrimental to your site.
Even though it’s important to get as many backlinks as humanly possible, it’s always about quality over quantity. Having one from, let’s say, Forbes, is worth more than 10 from lower quality and authoritative sites. This can be a painful and very challenging process to complete to a high standard, and make no mistake a very long one.
To get a backlink you must get another site to agree to put your link on their page. Doing so takes a lot of effort and it may even be weeks before you get your first result, but it may be a useful tip to get to know the owners of the websites you wish to backlink from in order to increase your chance.
You may be sitting there thinking how is this even possible? Just think of it as making a friend, send them a message, compliment an article they’ve recently written or the services they provide and try to have a more organic conversation. After establishing a connection simply ask them if they would mind linking you in one of their articles that relates to your business. Showing a little interest can go a long way when trying for backlinks.
This is only scratching the surface however, don’t expect to get popular sites to give you a free link for just saying hello!
There are 101 different approaches you could take to acquire a backlink, and it’s worth reading up on these to make sure you’re getting the most out of your time.
5. Meta Data Optimization
Meta data is a very short and simple process that simply cannot be overlooked.
It’s used to help Google understand what your website/page is about and what it should rank for.
You will need to fill in your metadata such as title, description and slug. It’s important that these reflect your content and include some of your main keywords on that particular page.
This data is what you will see on Google’s results page when searching for a query. You can see what it looks like with the example above.
The next step would be to optimize the metadata within your pages, such as your title tags and URL. These will need to follow the same guidelines as above, include your keywords but above all else, make sure it reads naturally and clearly states what your content is about.
Heading tags can get a little confusing at times so you will want to make sure you have a clear idea of how your content will be structured before you write it. Your main heading must always be a H1 tag, and there should be only 1 of these per page.
As for the rest of the heading tags, you will want to use them in descending order throughout your content. Try to keep all headings on the same level using the same tag and move down a number each time the content is “under” the previous header.
As a best practice, all main headings should be kept as H2. For example, if you’re writing an article for the top 10 movies this year, that will be your H1 tag. Then 1 through to 10 are all at the same level of importance, and so should all be tagged as H2 and so on.
6. Social Signals
Social signals provide a good and healthy signal to your site. With a popular social platform often comes authority and trust amongst its community, and so is relayed through its link to your site increasing its trust too. The more you can prove to Google you are a trustworthy and legitimate business, the more chance you have of moving the needle.
Its always a good idea to get set up on as many social platforms as you can; providing they are beneficial and can be utilized to your business of course, and link them back to your website. You can often do this through the social site’s description.
There may also be social platforms you could create even if you don’t plan on using them. This way if you decide to invest in Instagram for example in 2 years time, you won’t find that someone else has taken your handle.
Although having a social presence at all can aid your rankings, consistency helps immensely. Uploading an article or posting on social media once a month, then twice a month and then maybe missing a month, isn’t going to help your credibility. Consistency is key. If you know anything about social media, you will also know that consistency is a huge factor in its algorithm and helps show your posts to more people.
There are plenty of tools around the web designed for this specific task, such as Hootsuite; however, they do usually cost a monthly fee. Personally, I believe it’s always worth an investment if it helps your presence. It’s also an incredible time saver as you can plan your posts out weeks ahead and schedule them for when you need to.
7. Mobile optimization
Mobile optimization has been a crucial part of SEO and digital marketing in general for some time now, and it’s only progressing.
As technology advances more and more people move to their phones for day to day tasks whether that’s surfing the web or running their business on the go.
Mobile optimization has now become the norm rather than an exception. A couple of years ago Google had confirmed that mobile search queries had overtaken those searched via desktop. BrightEdge reports that 79% of all keywords rank differently on mobile devices compared to those on a desktop; this is why optimization is extremely important for all devices.
Don’t make the mistake, however, of just optimizing it for SEO. You will also need to take into account that each device is a different size and resolution, and also varies in hardware performance, so don’t make your website too fancy for mobile or you could risk loosing out.
If you take a minute to think over the differences between a desktop and mobile device, you can see that there are a number of aspects that may need to be optimized for it’s performance in the search engine. Don’t let this fall down your todo list.
8. Local SEO
Local SEO is a small part of this article but something that has started to become a big part of search engine ranking. It’s getting increasingly important to let Google know where you are.
Now we know that not every business has a location or would benefit from providing one, so this will prove most beneficial to those that are selling local products or services. This could be a plumber in London for example.
Local SEO is simply letting your customers (and Google) where you are. You can do this by adding a map to your site, or an address, anything to show your location. The next step would be to create and optimize your Google My Business listing. This will give you the opportunity to provide more information about your business and the areas it serves.
There are a number of SEO tips you can use to better help your efforts in 2021, so it might be a good idea to take a look at this quick local SEO guide.
But how does this help my rankings exactly? Well, by letting Google know all this information and making sure its optimized correctly, increases your chances of effectiveness with the relevant audience and drives the right kind of traffic to your site. This way if your a plumber in London, your inbox isn’t filled with people of Birmingham asking you to fix their sink.
It will also increase your rankings for location-based queries, such as “electrician near me”, or “car detailing west midlands”.
9. Reduce Bounce rate
A bounce is when a visitor comes to your website and almost leaves immediately without clicking or moving to another page. Every site has a bounce rate, a great one is considered less than 50% and almost unusual. Most blogs are estimated to have an 80% bounce rate.
So how do we fix this?
Simple, make them click. The majority of people I’m sure will agree that having pop-ups and things thrown at your face is an immediate excuse to press back and find somewhere else for your answer. However, adding an interactive element such as a poll or quiz, or even a video is a great way to keep visitors entertained enough to stick around for a little longer. Obviously, a poll or quiz may not be ideal for your website, so have a look around, see if you can come up with some unique ideas to reduce that bounce rate of yours.
There is a lot of discussion around whether or not Google considers bounce rate as a ranking factor, but even if it doesn’t, getting visitors to stick around is only a good thing!
When you’re analysing your bounce rate, make sure you’re looking at relevant information. It’s not always entirely accurate.
What we mean by this is that a visitor may have clicked off your site right away because they have found the answer they are looking. This is great for your content value, but terrible for bounce rate, so it’s always a good idea to set up some parameters in Google analytics so you’re keeping an eye on the right metrics and not worrying about the overall number.
10. Internal Linking
Internal linking is an incredibly powerful process and in reality, isn’t that difficult to get right. All it requires is that you interlink your pages within your website. As usual, keep this natural and only link to other pages when it’s valuable to the visitor.
For example, if you’re writing an article about the benefits of SEO, you could link out to another piece of content you have written showing exactly what SEO is. Add buttons or links to entice people to click through to your many wonderful pages. Linking your pages together doesn’t just even up the numbers for the sake of having a nice looking graph on your analytics, it boosts the authority of your entire site which helps to rank for more keywords and phrases.
By default, your homepage will have a much higher page rank than any other page on your site so make sure to utilize this.
When your linking to other pages, use your keywords as anchor text. An exact match anchor always carries the most weight, but be careful not to overuse it.
It’s not easy to rank at the top of Google, and it’s certainly not a quick process either, but definitely a worthwhile one.
As we know many businesses out there don’t have the time or energy to carry out an entire SEO strategy, so we hope by reading this you will have figured out which will be most beneficial and time-worthy to you, and if you can, try to make use of them all. It’s also a great idea to have some sort of checklist for SEO handy as you go along.