Online user habits are constantly changing: just think of the rise of e-commerce in recent years or the increasingly frequent use of Instagram and TikTok. Whenever a major change occurs, Google is forced to readjust its algorithms based on the new needs of online searchers. To do so, the search engine is wont to abruptly change the tables, causing restlessness among site owners and SEO agencies. This guide to SEO 2021 comes from the analyses and studies conducted by our team of SEO Specialists, who have identified what the search engine's main moves will be over the next few months. Follow these 6 techniques: they will help you improve your organic ranking right away, gaining more visibility online and acquiring new business opportunities directly from the Web.
#1 MOBILE-ONLY INDEXING: HOW IS YOUR SITE FROM MOBILE?
In the world of SEO, the year 2021 opens with a great innovation: mobile-only indexing, with which search engine algorithms will index (and, therefore, position) only content that can be viewed from mobile. What does this mean in practice? If you have hidden some posts, some images, some pages to navigation from smartphones or tablets, it is likely that you will lose ranking. This is because Google will give the highest priority to all those contents viewable from mobile.
Your site's ranking will also depend on how visitors see your pages from mobile devices: if navigation is made difficult due to technical frictions (for example, slow image loading) or other elements (fonts too small, need to scroll horizontally), it's likely that your site's pages won't take off on the SERPs. The first thing to do for SEO in 2021, then, is just that: perform a thorough SEO audit of the site, going over what content is not viewable on mobile (and make it viewable) and all those issues that may prevent smooth navigation from smartphones and tablets. Once the frictions are resolved and the User Experience is improved, you can proceed with the other techniques that will characterize SEO in the coming months.
#2 Content eat: Is your content authoritative?
In the last year, especially with the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, fake news has proliferated on the Web. For this reason, during 2021 Google will further accentuate the attention towards the pages or articles published on the sites, which will have to answer to the acronym EAT: expertise; authoritativeness; trustworthiness. In practice, the content must be considered of the highest quality by the algorithms that scan the site.
So how do you make sure your content always meets what Google expects? Here are a few tips:
- Study the Buyer Persona, i.e. the target audience you're targeting. This will allow you to empathize with their needs and provide the best answer to their questions;
- Treat topics related to your core business. If, for example, your site is about travel, don't write articles about fashion: Google could evaluate the topic as discordant and, therefore, penalize you because - according to the search engine - you don't have the right experience to deal with it;
- Insert data and citations from authoritative sources. The best way to give value to any content you propose is always to inform yourself as best you can before writing it: collecting statistical data and opinions of important exponents of the sector allows you to offer a better communication to your audience and to gain Google's trust.
#3 voice search: are your keywords natural?
According to some statistics taken from dbswebsite.com:
- 27% of those who surf the internet use voice search;
- Already in 2018, 25% of Americans' homes were equipped with a smart speaker (Google Home, Alexa,...), a number destined to increase year after year;
- In 2020, 30% of web sessions kicked off with voice search.
All these data help us understand how vocal search (or vocal search) is becoming increasingly important on the Web: thanks to the Google Assistant, Siri, Alexa and many other devices equipped with artificial intelligence, the language adopted online becomes increasingly natural. The user, in fact, converses with the voice assistant exactly as he would with a friend: the request is no longer, for example, "weather tomorrow", but "what will the weather be like tomorrow?". As a result, your 2021 SEO strategy will also need to adapt to this important change.
To meet the new needs of users, who expect clear and immediate answers, choose keywords characterized by a direct, simple language. These keywords will necessarily be long-tail keywords, i.e. composed of at least 4 terms. Generally, they will start with one of the 5 W's (What? Where? Who? When? Why?) and will contain the verb. Therefore, they will be, in fact, complete sentences. By ranking for keywords of this type, you'll have the opportunity to further expand your leeway on the SERP, getting rankings for keywords of similar semantic value. An example? By ranking for "what are the easiest cakes to make?", you'll also be able to find space on the SERP for the terms "easy cakes to make", "easy cakes" and the like. By doing so, you'll be able to meet the demands of both those who use voice search and those who search in a standard way.
Want to learn more about this topic? Read our article on marketing in the age of voice recognition.
#4 google search console: are you using it properly?
Google Search Console is the search engine's platform that provides website owners with useful tools and resources to improve a site's performance on the SERP.
The platform is completely free and easy for anyone to use. But what benefits can it bring to your site? What functions does it have exactly?
The first one concerns the possibility to preview how your site could appear in the search engine and to understand how it is set up, through the "Search Appearance". You can then notice the presence of meta title and meta description or duplicate content, which can hinder your site's ranking on Google. Search Console therefore allows you to easily identify errors that Google finds in the process of indexing and crawling your site.
Another important function of Google Search Console is the keyword function: the platform shows you not only for which keywords your site appears in the SERPs, but also the current position, the average position over a customized period of time and the general trend. In this way, you can always evaluate the performance of your pages and act promptly if you see sudden drops in ranking, thus avoiding heavy penalties. But that's not all: this feature also allows you to view those keywords for which your site gets impressions even though it is not brilliantly positioned. These are keywords with high potential. Let's see why.
For the keyword "which are the easiest cakes to prepare?" we are in 25th position; yet, impressions (i.e. the number of times our result is seen by users) are very high. This means that, in many cases, the user can't find what he's looking for in the first pages of the SERP and proceeds to search in the following pages. By creating an ad hoc content for that keyword you will have the possibility to position yourself higher, to multiply the number of impressions and to gain new visitors. All this would be impossible, however, if you did not have a platform that can reveal exactly the keywords for which you can get ranking.
#5 the competition: are you analyzing its moves on the web?
Performing an SEO analysis of your competitors is essential to monitor their performance and understand how to take action so you can improve and innovate your website. Questions you should ask yourself include:
- What have my competitors done to be successful?
- Have they created generic content, leaving room for changes to be applied?
- Which content has more clicks and which has less?
- Which keywords do they rank best for?
An advanced SEO audit covers not only your site, but also competitor sites. Beware: these are not necessarily "real", physical competitors, but also online ones, those that are physically hundreds of miles away but can interfere with your 2021 SEO strategy. By identifying the keywords for which they're getting the most visibility online, you can create content optimized for those keywords that looks better than theirs. Not only that. Thanks to the study of backlinks, i.e. the links to the sites of your competitors, you will be able to select all those sites that could link to your pages, improving the overall authority of the domain. If you want to know more, follow our guide to backlinks for SEO.
#6 pillar page: does your content follow a strategy?
The pillar page is a page that deals with a topic in a generic way. To the pillar page are connected, through links, blog posts that deal with the same topic in more detail: these contents are called "cluster content".
The task of the pillar page is to define a content marketing strategy that pursues 2 macro-objectives:
Guide the user through more in-depth information from time to time, actually improving the experience in contact with our reality;
To create content connected by links, which then allow a more effective, rapid and accurate scan by search engine crawlers.
An example of pillar page taken from our site concerns the articles dedicated to marketing. We have chosen as "parent page" the one optimized for the keyword "marketing strategies". Within it, "daughter pages" were linked, such as "offline marketing strategies", "web marketing strategies" and "marketing strategies examples". The results on the SERP were more than satisfactory. Here are a few of them.
#1 organic position for "offline marketing strategies" (after some Google suggestions) out of more than 900,000 results.
#1 position and #2 organic position (after rich snippet) for the keyword "marketing strategies" out of nearly 24 million results.
Doing SEO in 2021 means paying maximum attention to navigation from mobile devices (smartphones and tablets), whose use will be even greater in the coming months, and to the quality of content: responding to the acronym EAT also means thinking strategically about a path of immersion in information by users and an ideal search for keywords. This is what Google is asking of us in 2021, but without forgetting the most common SEO techniques. By following these rules, success on the SERP is assured.
Would you like an advanced SEO audit of your site and a subsequent strategy to reach the #1 position in the coming months?