The year 2020 is over, and 2021 has begun. What does this mean for the SEO industry and what should we all be doing to improve our SEO methods this year. 2020 was a tough year for everyone, including SEO Copywriters. There were at least two significant algorithm updates for Google that negatively affected many websites.
As Google, and other Search Engines continue to evolve, it is our job to keep up with the times. This year, SEO techniques are expected to remain relatively unchanged. However, one of the biggest hurdles to overcome with be fiercer competition in the online space. This means we all need to be on the top of our game and ensure the highest standards of quality. Let’s take a look at how to tackle 2021 from an SEO perspective and what we can do to impress Search Engines.
Quality is King
Gone are the days when large numbers of low quality, keyword-rich pages would see your site at the top of the search results. Search Engines are constantly becoming smarter, and only recommending high-quality content. In 2021, this trend is set to continue, with quality being one of the most important factors in getting a site to rank.
We’re not just talking about the quality of writing either. The technical quality of your website needs to be beyond reproach as well. Webmasters need to make sure there are no broken links, redirects, broken images, and more. All of these factors will be considered by Search Engines before they decide you are worthy of being on the first page.
The way we access information is constantly changing and evolving. Go back a few years, and the primary way of doing so was through your pc or laptop. In recent years though, people have been doing most of their browsing from their smartphones or tablets. The fact that mobile devices have become the primary way of accessing the Internet is now reflected in the way Google works.
Mobile First indexing has been a thing for some time. However, 2021 is going to be the first ear where Mobile First will be 100% be the default. Google will primarily judge your site and your content based on how it performs on mobile devices, regardless of how much traffic the desktop version is getting.
Webmasters in 2021 need to pay special attention to their mobile sites. We all need to pay attention to how the mobile site works, how it looks, is our content easy to access on mobile, and so on. It might also be a good idea to go a step further and keep this in mind when doing keyword research.
Core Web Vitals
For quite some time, page speed has been an important consideration by Google’s algorithms. If you wanted a site to rank, you needed to make sure the page was able to be loaded quickly. In 2021, this is going to become even more important. A new Page Experience algorithm is expected to be introduced around May 2021.
This update is expected to make Page Speed an even more important ranking factor. In order to prepare for this update, we all need to make sure our Page Speed is as good as possible. To assist us with this, Google added Core Web Vitals to its search console in 2020.
This tool will allow webmasters to determine all pages on their site with Page Speed issues and work on resolving them. If your competitor’s sites are getting faster, your site is getting slower by comparison. We need to make sure our sites are keeping up with the competition.
User Experience Is Key
Recent years have seen User Experience become a key factor in ranking websites, and 2021 will be no different. You can’t expect your site to rank if it is difficult to use. Webmasters need to ask themselves if their site is simple and easy to use, if readers can find what they need quickly, if your brand is recognizable, how you’re using images, and so on. The better the user’s experience, the longer they’re likely to remain on the site.
Look at Site Structure
Most websites were not created with some grand plan in mind. As the sites grow naturally over time, it is very easy for them to become quite messy and disorganized. This is perfectly natural and has happened to many sites over the years. We recommend going through your sites and paying special attention to the site structure.
Make sure all your content is placed in the correct, logical place on the site. This is beneficial for your users, as they can more easily find additional information if they require it. However, it is also beneficial for Search Engines, as a proper site structure can aid the bots. You should also look at old and outdated content and decide what to do with it. Remember, you can always delete it. Finally, pay special to your interlinking and cornerstone strategy.
Using Structured Data and Schema
If you haven’t started using Structured Date and Schema code, we recommend doing so immediately. This code is of great use to Search Engines, as it helps them to understand what the page is about. You can also make your site look more appealing in the Search Engine Results by using the right Schema code on the appropriate pages. The good news is that adding Schema code to your pages has never been easier. There are tools, like Yoast, that can easily add FAQ or How to Play code to your site.
Remember Search Intent
If you want to get a page to rank, you need to ask yourself why is someone making a specific search query. Understanding the intent behind the search is key to making sure the page answers the user’s intent. If you understand what the user is trying to accomplish, you can make sure your page successfully provides the answers they need. Are they looking for information, services, or to buy something?
As Search Engines grow more advanced, they are getting better and better at recognizing user intent, and is able to recommend sites that provide the answers the user is seeking. In addition to this, once you consider and understand the intent behind a search, you can refine your keyword research.
Redoing Keyword Research
A lot can change over the years, and it is important to keep this in mind. We highly recommend that you redo your keyword research for your pages in 2021. You’ll probably find out that things have changed significantly since you last did the research.
By not doing this research, you’ll be missing out on numerous opportunities. We can also promise you that your competitors will not let these opportunities pass them by. Figure out what has changed with your target market and how people’s language has changed? Also, keep in mind what has changed with the way your audience is conducting their searches.
Re-examine Top Pages
We all know by now that SEO is constantly changing and we need to change with it. This is why it is important to re-assess your top pages and see where you can improve. Look at the content on the page. Are there any sections you need, or need to remove? Is your content too long or too short? You can also consider taking several shorter pages with weaker content and merging them together to form one really strong page.
Also, keep an eye on keyword cannibalization. You don’t want to be competing against your own pages. Keep an eye on the search results for your focus keywords and make sure you only have one page showing up in the search results.
The next 12 months are shaping up to be quite interesting for the SEO field. We can expect more changes to Google’s core algorithms, and we need to be ready to adapt. We need to ensure that we are staying on top of our keyword research and redo it for 2021. We also need to make sure our sites are perfect from a technical viewpoint, as well as having high-quality content. If we make sure we’re doing all this, we can handle any SEO challenges the next year throws at us.