If you’re looking for the best SEO strategies in 2021 then you likely already know that SEO (aka search engine optimization) is perhaps the most valuable and consistent digital marketing channel available to small businesses as they focus on long-term growth.
For digital marketing experts, online visibility and brand awareness are fundamental aspects of a successful marketing campaign. This is what makes SEO such an essential and effective part of any small business marketing strategy. It allows you to attract customers to your digital space for free.
But, it’s worth noting that SEO and what constitutes “good SEO” continues to evolve as the digital landscape in which we live evolves as well. This means that, as a small business owner, staying on top of the latest updates can get quite stressful. We get it; it’s stressful even for us sometimes.
However, just focus on the fact that, of people who conduct local searches online, about 28% of those searches turn into sales or conversions. We’ll continue to focus on the ever-changing SEO strategies that most benefit you. Speaking of which, let’s dive in.
7 SEO Trends to Watch in 2021
If, after conducting a thorough SEO audit, you find that you’re not meeting your online marketing objectives, take a look at these seven SEO strategies and trends. They’ll help you form a small business SEO strategy that will propel you to success (and if it doesn’t, just get in touch!).
1. Artificial Intelligence & SEO
Today, AI is radically changing the way people interact with content online. Google’s AI algorithm is one such example. This algorithm, called RankBrain, plays a fundamental role in Google’s ranking factors when presenting search engine results pages (SERPs).
So, how do you optimize SEO for RankBrain? Although Google doesn’t share too many details about it, experts like us consider user behavior, experience and history to be determining factors. These aspects could include factors such as average clicks and even the amount of time visitors spend on certain pages.
Note that user behavior is listed first. Never forget, especially as a solopreneur or small business owner, that it’s crucial that you’re posting high-quality content that is engaging for users. You should aim to captivate and engage readers with well-organized content. From there, you’ll be able to work on earning backlinks and decreasing your bounce rate, both of which help enhance your SEO efforts.
2. The Rise of Voice Searches
Voice search technology has come a long way since people began asking Siri silly questions just to get a silly answer back. With the rise in popularity of virtual voice assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Assistant, more and more people continue to conduct internet searches via just their voices.
As a small business, how can you take advantage of this trend? Rethink the keywords you’re using. Try to think about how your target audience might search for your product or service using their voice. They’ll likely use different words than they would if they were typing. Try to identify longer phrases, such as those used by people in everyday conversation.
In general, voice searches tend to work much better with longer, more natural-sounding phrases. On the other hand, when people write, they usually tend to abbreviate. For example, a person might conduct a voice search: “What are the new strategies for SEO in 2021?”
3. Mobile-Friendly Content
This has always been important. However, as we continue to move into a world where most people rely more on their smartphones than a desktop or laptop computer, mobile is getting more attention.
Google implemented mobile indexing for this very reason, which means that the search engine gives priority to the mobile version of a website, considering it as the “main” version instead of the desktop version.
Google made this implementation based on projections for the year 2025, in which it’s projected that 73% of users will access the internet only through mobile devices. What does this mean for you? Just make sure your mobile content is user-friendly, legible, and optimized. It’ll help ensure that Google can crawl your URLs.
4. Google’s Eat Principle
Regarding SEO, Google has reiterated on many occasions that the quality of the content is essential for success in ranking. To ensure that you’re publishing high-quality content, follow Google’s EAT Principle, which stands for:
When writing blogs, for example, think about what kind of information is of the most value to your target audience. For us, we focus on ensuring that the tips we write in these blogs are up-to-date, easy-to-implement, and effective. We’re not talking about SEO strategies in theory; we’re actually giving you strategies that you can implement. Talk about high value!
Other tips include linking to reputable sites with high domain values, writing content that’s so cool that other high-quality sites link back to you, and updating your content every six months or so with newer stats and information.
5. Longer Content & SERPs
According to recent studies, shorter posts between about 300-900 words gain 21% less traffic and 75% less backlinks than articles of average length (around 900-1,200 words). Now, don’t panic! This doesn’t mean that you should be churning about 1,200-word articles every week (although it wouldn’t hurt).
It just means that, if you’re going to invest time and money into hiring a blog writer or enhancing your SEO efforts purely through content, it’s going to be more beneficial in the long-run to focus on longer content that provides lots and lots of value. The goal of this practice is to provide users with relevant information that keeps them engaged and interested.
Now, how can this be achieved? First, you need to divide your content into sections with H2 and H3 subtitles to make it more staggered and easier to read. Lists are great and so are photos that break up longer texts. And, finally, make sure your content is easy to understand and share.
6. Google Discover
Google Discover is a new tool powered by Google’s AI that is “intended to help you discover content from around the web that pertains to your interests.” This content recommendation tool identifies and preserves user behavior patterns over time, gradually learning their habits. With this information, Discover can identify the most appropriate content that the user is likely to be interested in.
For your website or content to appear, you don’t need to do anything special (just make sure that your entire site is indexed with Google). The content is classified and recommended based on algorithms that review the quality of the content along with the user interest and intent.
7. Image Optimization in Search
Image optimization has long been a crucial component of effective SEO. While you should be creating the right ALT image tags for every image on your website, this new SEO strategy for 2021 goes a step further.
New trends show that it’s also a great idea to rely on high-quality images with a custom file name. Tag it with some relevant keywords before you upload it into your blog or website. Be sure that the words you’re using accurately describe the photo and also relate to the page that you’re publishing it on.
With the right image description and ALT tag, crawlers will classify the image and (if added to your site map) make your entire site even easier to crawl and show to the right users.
Enhance Your SEO Efforts in 2021
Whew. We just threw a lot at you. Given this long list of trends for search engine optimization, it’s pretty clear that SEO is becoming increasingly complex, right? The days of simply optimizing keywords and meta titles are long gone. So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by small business SEO then it’s totally fine.
That’s what we’re here for! Schedule a free consultation to talk about your business, go over your existing efforts, and see what you can do to enhance your SEO in 2021 and get your business in front of the right people.