SEO Strategies for 2021 and Beyond!

So, it’s the start of a new year, and small businesses everywhere hope this will be the best year yet to date. These days, every business strategy needs to include a good helping of SEO to gain exposure and bring in new traffic and customers.

But SEO in 2021 is looking tricky. Over the past several years, Google has been gradually plugging the holes in their algorithms to prevent site owners from manipulating them to get to the top. Things have become much more advanced, and no longer is it sufficient to stuff your site with keywords or build countless inbound links of dubious quality.

Though Google did away with those strategies a long time ago: it’s just even worse now going forward into 2021. Even guest posting (where site owners write content for other sites in exchange for links) is no longer safe, as Matt Cutts has been warning against over-using that strategy too.

So, what’s left? What can a business owner do to get to the top of search this year? Read on, and we’ll attempt to shed some light on this increasingly tricky question.

The Mobile Experience is Critical

It was a monumental year in mobile marketing, and that’s because 2014 was the year mobile searches finally surpassed desktop searches. It’s pretty evident that Mobile is “kind of a big deal now,” and Google places a lot of importance on the mobile experience for their users.

We know Google is putting a lot of emphasis on Mobile because they’ve added a mobile usability section in Google Webmaster Tools so users can test their site and see how it performs on a mobile device.  Additionally, Google has been penalizing sites that generate errors for mobile users.

Businesses that don’t offer a mobile-friendly experience will see their conversions plummet and see a significant drop in search engine rankings throughout 2021.

The ‘In-Depth’ Post and Content Marketing

Lately, Google has started curating their search results to a degree by highlighting news articles and ‘in-depth articles.’ Of course, you can try hard to get your content featured in this section, but that’s not what’s important.

“What’s important is that it tells us Google likes in-depth content” That means long-form writing that covers multiple angles of a given subject and links out to other resources.

Writing this type of content for a blog is the definition of ‘content marketing,’ becoming more popular among webmasters. At the very least, you should look at moving from 500-word articles to 700 or 1,000. But make sure to break it up into bite-size paragraphs to avoid scaring off your readers.

Schema.org Markups

If you checked out that link explaining how to get your content to feature as an ‘in-depth article,’ you will have noticed that writing lots of detailed content isn’t the whole story. Also outlined here is the importance of adding schema.org markups, which will allow Google to identify your content’s nature. Think of this as an extended version of title and meta tags that lets you show Google key facts, company logos, publishing dates, and other useful details.

These markups also allow Google to include your content in its’ knowledge graphs’ and show more information alongside your listing in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). With the correct use of these markups, you can theoretically increase your CTR (click-through-rate) without even getting higher in the rankings.

Simultaneously, these markups are only likely to become more critical going forward as Google and other companies clamor to provide us with digital assistant services. It’s this information that Google Now, Siri and Cortana will eventually be able to give you recipes or let you know times via voice command. If you want to future-proof your online presence this year, this would be a very good place to start.

Social Media Integration

This has been ‘the next big thing in SEO’ for the last ten years, and it’s only continuing to grow in importance. For starters, if the continuous algorithm updates have taught us anything, relying 100% on SEO for business is folly – it’s crucial that you also have traffic coming in from other sources, and social media is a perfect example.

Likewise, social media can help give your site more social indicators and organic looking recommendations that Google might be listening to more and more. In their most recent report of crucial factors for SEO, Moz found E-A-T an important indicator for Google. Likewise, Facebook and Twitter can also help to boost the street cred of your site.

Of course, there are other advantages to social media too. For starters, Google Business listings will impact your personalized results, which will bypass the regular listings. And looking to different, larger communities – Google is now also taking notice of Reddit, it seems. Many bloggers have noticed that Reddit plays an important role in their site promotion, while Google has even added Reddit posts to their ‘news’ section.

All the Rest

There are many other factors to keep in mind for 2021, which are developing much the way they were expected to. SEO is no longer one dimensional and has become fully integrated with other aspects of marketing. Likewise, many techniques that worked previously continue to work, like updating content, optimizing speed, and building quality backlinks.

Breaking it Down

That might seem like a lot to take on board, so let’s break it down into some actionable points. Here’s all you need to consider going forward in 2021:

  • As usual, SEO in 2021 will consist of adding great content to your site regularly, keeping your website fast and responsive, and generating organic backlinks
  • In-depth content with lots of links to external authorities is the order of the day. ‘Content marketing’ is the best form of internet marketing this year.
  • Google is clamping down even more on ‘manipulative’ techniques – even guest posts must be used sparingly
  • Make sure you are using schema.org markups to tell Google more about your content and to be in with a chance of getting featured
  • Generate natural links from social media, post to Reddit and other online communities

There’s no doubt that the SEO game has evolved, with even more focus on the user experience. But while many things change, some stay the same: A focus on relevant, high-quality content, well-presented no matter where your user happens to be.

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