Search engine optimization is an ever-evolving process & with every Google update, you have to re-evaluate your SEO strategy to make changes to your website and improve your SEO rankings.
With the right keyword research and tools, you can tap into what your potential customers are looking for and develop content that solves their problems. You can also create content that guides the prospect down the path to a sale or a conversion. SEO-optimized websites load faster, are easy to browse and surf, and can be easily viewed on different screen sizes.
SEO also helps build brand awareness for your business as search engine users are more likely to trust a site on the first page of search engine results pages (SERPs) than other brands. 81% of shoppers research their product online before purchasing. Hence, digital marketers know that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the most crucial investments to grow your business online.
After knowing the importance of SEO and how it helps your business, comes the next big question:
How to implement it?
You can appoint a reputable SEO agency or digital marketing agency as they already have highly experienced professionals that know how to get results. In case you don’t want to go through that route, you can also learn and implement SEO strategies yourself.
As a website owner, you should know the key SEO tools even if you are outsourcing to contractors or a digital marketing agency. SEO can be more efficient and effective when the right tools are employed, so we’ve put together five of the most powerful SEO tools which can work like magic for your business.
1- Google Analytics
Google Analytics is the most widely used website analytics application. It helps you understand the performance of your website and traffic sources.
Often, we believe that most of our traffic is routing mainly from our Homepage, but in Google Analytics, you can check the URL of the other pages that are getting traffic which helps you make data-driven decisions in your business.
The navigation path followed by visitors on your website may be entirely different from what you had planned. From the Navigation Summary in your Google Analytics dashboard, you can see where they came from and which page they visited next.
If you have a frequently updated blog, it will undoubtedly generate traffic from informational and conversational search queries. Blogs are visited frequently on websites, and once we understand which of our blogs are ranking higher, we can develop more useful content and opt-ins around those blog posts. Companies that blog get 55% more web traffic on average. Another stat says that 57% of businesses have acquired a customer through their company blog.
Firstly, segregate your overall traffic based on the source or medium it is coming from. After filtering the traffic, the first section that appears is the landing pages that led people from Google to your website. As you can see from the screenshot given below, the homepage received only 852 views while the other pages (the top three) received thousands of views.
GA gives you a straight breakdown of the queries that are bringing users to your website and which pages are performing best.
With the help of Google Analytics, you are not shooting in the dark while developing your content. Rather, you know what is already performing and can boost that further to enhance the results.
2- Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free tool built by Google that gives you tons of information needed for an effective SEO strategy. It helps you rectify errors as well as strategize and optimize your search engine rankings. It primarily generates three types of reports: Performance, Coverage, and Enhancement.
Its “Performance” report contains the necessary pieces of information you need to plan an effective SEO campaign. It provides you with the data like what keywords your site ranks for, what position you occupy in those keywords, how often people are clicking your result, and which other sites have linked to your content. It also tells you about crawl errors, manual actions, and whether your site is mobile-friendly or not.
The Coverage report shows insights about your site’s URLs that Google has indexed over the past year and displays all indexed pages in your sitemap.
The data generated through Google Search Console can help your business to discover new opportunities. It helps to boost existing performance and learn how exactly people are coming to your website. It’s a reliable tool for businesses that depend on their website to get leads through organic traffic.
3- Google Keyword Planner
There are many tools to help you find keywords related to your business, but Google Keyword Planner is arguably the most powerful one, and free too. But to use it, you need to have a Google Ads account.
This tool helps you find and create a list of keywords for your upcoming PPC campaign.
It also helps you to identify the list of relevant keywords in your niche which has high search volume. You get two different tools within the Keyword Planner: ‘Discover new keywords’ and ‘Get search volume and forecasts’.
Discover new keywords helps you to find new keywords. Firstly, enter products or services closely related to your business.
Once you’ve entered your information into one or in all three fields, click Get Results and, you will get the Keyword result page.
The Get search volume and forecasts are helpful when you already have a long list of keywords and are interested to check their search volume.
You can easily choose keywords based on three criteria: Search Volume, Commercial Intent, and Organic SEO competition. This tool can be used for blogs, press releases, conference agendas, podcast transcripts, in short for any page that has text.
There are 3 billion Google searches every day, and 20% of those have never been seen before. Every month around more than 20,000 companies do wonderful things with AnswerThePublic, and over 200,000 people from all over the world use it every month for content ideas, ongoing search monitoring, keyword research, and much more.
It is a keyword tool that visualizes search questions and suggests autocomplete searches. The categories consist of the 5 Ws (What, When, Where, Who, and Why) plus how, can, are, which, and will.
You can use 3 free searches every day, which means around 21 searches a week. You can pick the data or visualization view based on your needs. Hide the suggestions that aren’t useful to you, so you don’t have to waste time on them.
It represents the data in nice visuals and allows you to get to know your audience better. AnswerThePublic analyzes the questions that users are asking. This insight is valuable for your SEO strategy as it helps to target keyword research and helps you answer questions that can get you into Google’s featured snippets. With these valuable insights, you can create content that enjoys optimized ranking on SERPs. This type of content attracts more audiences and plays a crucial role in generating more organic traffic.
Woorank is an SEO and website analysis tool that enables you to create detailed reviews that are easy to understand and assist in finding the best steps to optimize your websites. It is user-friendly and offers free and paid options to keep track of your website’s performance.
When you log into Woorank, you can easily create a review by entering the URL. There are two options available Advanced and Standard Review, and both these options provide you with a sufficient amount of data.
You can do an unlimited amount of standard reviews while the number of advanced reviews is limited. It can track down website rankings and see how well they are performing. It presents you with a detailed SEO audit for all the essential ranking factors like secure and accessible websites, mobile-friendliness, page speed, technical SEO, and much more. With Woorank, you can have these details in a few seconds, whereas retrieving this kind of information manually can take hours.
The SEO audit is a report of your website’s health. You can use this information to fix any bugs or mistakes that may harm your rankings. Woorank has properties like website reviews, keyword tools, site crawl analysis, marketing checklist, and competitive analysis. Hence, it is the ideal tool that allows you to analyze your website, whether you’re an SEO agency, digital marketing agency, or website owner.
In a year alone, Google makes upwards of 3,200 updates to its search engine algorithms. The SEO strategies that worked for one company won’t work automatically for the others. Whether you are looking for an SEO company in Sydney or New York remember that no business and their needs are exactly the same. So, choose the best SEO company with full-scope SEO services to achieve your desired results.
Even though SEO campaigns may not necessarily drive results overnight, by sticking with the best SEO strategies and using the right tools, you can build an impressive online presence. The right SEO tool will help improve your rankings, and once you are in the top spots, you’ll continue to generate profit with lesser time, effort, and expenses.
How will SEO change in 2021? Well, it’s no secret that Google loves updating their SEO algorithm. And only the companies that can adapt to the changes in the search engine landscape will be the ones who thrive.
SEO is the process of improving your site to increase its visibility for relevant searches. When you optimize your content the right way, you’ll see your content ranking on Google and every other search engine.
Whether you are looking to boost your website traffic, start online marketing, build a presence online, or start a digital marketing and SEO agency, this guide will help you get started on the right foot. This article contains the best SEO practices for 2021, so you can improve your site’s performance in the search results, get more traffic, leads, and sales.
Let’s have a look at all of them one by one.
Rank for Featured Snippets
According to SEMrush, 6.83% of all search results have a featured snippet. These are the results that show up on the top of search engine results pages, typically after the ads but before the ranked results. There are different types of featured snippets including paragraph, numbers, bulleted list, table, YouTube videos.
Here is how a Numbered Featured Snippet looks:
How do these snippets help SEO rankings?
These snippets make content consumption faster as well as easier for users and keep traffic on Google’s search result page. Therefore, Google promotes such content and awards it by keeping them at the top of search results with high visibility. It is nevertheless beneficial for websites to implement it because you have a chance to be featured, which would eventually drive tons of traffic to your website.
According to the data from Ahrefs, featured snippets, on average, get around 8.6% CTR while the top organic result gets 19.6% of the traffic. This is extremely impressive and shows the power of a featured snippet in getting search traffic on your website.
Now, let’s learn how to get your snippet featured on the Google search result page.
Some of the key ways to optimize featured snippets are:
- Organize your content in a structured way.
- Opt for eye-catching pictures.
- Create answers to frequently asked questions.
- Write dedicated headings to answer featured snippets
For in-depth learning on optimizing content for Featured Snippets, read this article by Optin Monster.
Mobile Continues to Gain Importance
Google gives preference to the sites that are fully responsive and adapt to different screen sizes for a better online experience.
Most developers and webmasters are building their sites on desktop, but around 73% of internet users are accessing those sites through their mobile devices.
The trend towards mobile-friendly and responsive sites will continue to gain further traction in 2021. If not done already, you should take some immediate measures to make your website responsive and easier for users to browse on smaller screens as well.
To check whether your website is mobile-friendly or not, visit this Mobile-friendly test by Google.
Alternatively, you can also run a mobile-friendly analysis of your website at Rank watch.
Master Search Intent
Understanding the user’s intent when they type a keyword in the search engine is important for webmasters, as it helps them to rank their website higher in the search results.
User’s intent and behavior are changing all the time and so is the algorithm behind the search engine.
Therefore, creating content that’s a 1:1 search intent match is going to be a must in 2021.
You can follow the steps below to match your content with the user’s intent:
- Figure out your Target Keyword’s Search Intent.
Sometimes the user’s intent is clear, like when they type in the keyword ‘compare’ or ‘buy’.
But usually, it’s not always the case. You’ll have to look more deeply at the keyword search intent from the search results.
For example, take a keyword like, Avocado Oil.
Someone searching for that term could want to buy oil, or maybe they want to learn more about Avocado Oil and its benefits.
Well, according to Google’s first page for that keyword, most people searching for Avocado Oil are looking for information, not to purchase an Avocado.
- Now, after you have identified search intent, create content that matches the search intent.
The length of your content is also very important because content with more than 2000 words leads to higher ranks in SERPs. A well-researched and detailed piece of content also demonstrates authority on the topic and helps you in getting high authority backlinks.
- Re-optimize old content for search intent.
If you identify that your old article is not getting much traffic or not ranking on the first top 5 pages of SERPS, then think about re-optimizing it. Keep the user’s search intent in mind and include content that is more useful for readers.
Rise of Video Content
Video has been steadily gaining importance in the past few years, and it is now one of the most easily consumable forms of media on the internet. In fact, according to Cisco, 82% of internet traffic will be online videos by 2022. So, it becomes imperative to develop and optimize your video content as an integral part of your digital marketing strategy.
Videos can be uploaded to Youtube as standalone content or can be embedded in your website too.
As mentioned above, the video featured snippets are really prominent on search queries beginning with How-to tutorials, DIY videos and other forms of educational content. These are the three most important things to keep in mind to get your video content in featured snippets.
- Clearly mark sections in your video. It helps Google to use different clips from your video in a snippet.
- Optimize your video for SEO with title, description, and tags to clarify what your video is all about.
- Include titles in your video to help Google understand the content better.
Domain Authority used to be a metric to predict ranking based on the number of backlinks. But now, Google has confirmed that it also evaluates the site on EAT Principle. EAT stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.
In other terms EAT is Domain Authority 2.0. A Domain Authority score ranges from 1 to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a higher ability to rank.
- Google mentions that content written by people who are experts on a particular topic will be more valuable than the content written by random freelancers.
- To increase the authority of your site, try and get cited on lots of other trusted websites and get other people to mention you and your site as a valuable
Getting Ahead With Right Keywords
Keywords are the linchpins between what people are searching for and what content you are providing. You may have heard that keyword-targeting is dead. But, in reality, keywords will always remain an integral part of the SEO strategy. You want to be sure that the keywords you are targeting are the right ones and satisfies the intent of the user.
There are four ways to categorize search intent, and you want to optimize your content for all types of searches.
- Navigational: when trying to find a particular site
- Informational: when searching for the answer to a question
- Investigational: pre-purchase searches
- Transactional: when users actually want to buy
Apart from search intent keywords, there are three other types of keywords, and amongst them, Long Tail keywords are the ones that are easier to rank. Below is the brief description of the 3 types of keywords
- Short keywords: Are no more than 1 or 2 words, with a high search volume. (Ex: WordPress Themes)
- Medium keywords: Are 2 to 3-word phrases with a medium search volume. (Ex: WordPress Themes for Blogs)
Long Tail keywords: Are phrases of 4 or more words with a low search volume. Most web traffic comes from long-tail keywords. (Ex: Free Responsive WordPress Themes for Blog)
Google features such as Google Autocomplete, People Also Ask, or Related Searches can be a great source to explore long-tail keyword ideas.
For more free Keyword tools, visit the blog by Ahrefs.
Visual Search is a Game-Changer
Visual search is changing the search marketing landscape, as improved visual search functionality is being built into platforms such as Pinterest, Bing, and Google.
According to a report by Google, Google Lens has already been used 1 billion times. Pinterest gets 600 million visual searches per month. People are increasingly conducting more visual searches than ever before.
Today, Google Lens can identify 1 billion objects. And that number is growing every day. Visual search is super helpful for shopping, directions, identifying landmarks, translation, recipes, and much more. Visual search is poised to take off in 2021.
For more information on Visual Search as a game-changer in SEO, read this blog by W3 Lab.
As the human attention span is declining, SEO in 2021 will be more focussed on visual content with visual search on the rise. Each year, Google introduces more than 3000 small changes to their algorithms, and each year, trends emerge in this volatile sector that nobody has been able to predict.
Stay on top of algorithms but, don’t dwell on them as important as they are; the fundamentals have never changed. The right SEO tools can help you get the information you need to guide a smart SEO strategy. The most important point on SEO strategy will always be to develop insightful and useful content for your audience.
3.2 million blog posts are published every day, that means that roughly 34 articles are read every second!
If you’re a business owner with an active website, you don’t need the above stats to understand that your content is forever competing with millions of other websites trying to rank specific keywords on Google…
Nor do you need us to tell you that SEO has 20x more traffic opportunities than any PPC ads.
As a savvy entrepreneur, you already know the importance of SEO and the results it can bring, and the reasons you’re here is to learn the ropes of SEO and exponentially increase your website traffic.
Every digital marketing expert, SEO agency, and the social agency has loads of information to share but here’s something that no one is telling you…
The search engine’s job is to help users find the most relevant piece of information assisting with one’s query. Therefore, if your site is optimized for humans, it is optimized for the search engine also.
In this article, we bring you the top 7 SEO tactics which are crucial for every beginner.
Top 7 tactics for SEO beginners
1- Website Speed
How many times have you waited for more than a few seconds for a site to load? Can’t remember? Me too. It’s because we have a small attention span of eight seconds.
Even a delay of one second can affect your conversion rate by 7%.
Now that you know that a slow speed spoils the overall user experience, let’s look at it from an SEO angle.
A site with a longer load time will have a higher bounce rate, sending a negative signal to the Google algorithm.
Feel free to use this Google tool to find the speed of your website for desktop and mobile.
Once you know your page load time, here’s what you can do to improve it:
- Deactivate and delete the plugins that no longer serve any purpose. You can find all plugins in your WordPress dashboard area.
- Use the Smush plugin to bulk-compress the size of your images
- Download a website cache plugin
Here’s a detailed and practical guide on how to increase your page load speed.
2- Secure Website
Just search anything on the internet and you’ll notice that all the page 1 results are HTTPS sites.
HTTPS gained importance for the first time when Google announced it as a ranking factor in 2014. Today, having an HTTPS site is almost essential. Visitors to an HTTP site are shown frequent “not secure” warnings. If you’re still running an insecure website, you may have noticed high bounce rates.
Here’s a detailed guide on how to install HTTPS on your site.
3- Keyword Research
Word on the street is that keyword targeting is dead. The reality is that keywords aren’t only just required for SEO alone. They reveal a lot about your audience and what they are searching for.
What doesn’t work nowadays is targeting an individual keyword or targeting a single page for a single keyword. On the other hand long-tail keywords and queries do work.
Here are some free tools to find what your ideal customers are searching for:
a- Answer the public
Answer the public is a keyword tool that visualizes search questions and suggested autocomplete searches in an image called a search cloud.
If you’re writing on the topic- content marketing, then running a simple query will give you popular questions asked around content marketing in a visual format.
Here’s how this clever software looks.
Another great tool is Buzzsumo.
Buzzsumo allows you to run a search audit and find popular content ideas trending on different social media platforms.
For example, if you’re writing on the topic- ‘content marketing’, then a simple query will give you top trending topics around those keywords
3- Quora/ Reddit
4- User Intent
Marketing today is customer-centric. Understanding user intent is imperative to creating content that your audience actually wants to read.
Coschedule skyrocketed their traffic by 594% by aligning their SEO content strategy with user intent.
Here’s how it works-
Say, you’re looking for a quick recipe for a sandwich and the top-ranking video/ blog shows a watch time of 20 minutes. If you are looking for a video with the intent to prep a sandwich ‘quickly’ (based on your intent of getting something in your mouth fast) that 20min piece of content is probably missing the mark. Based on your intent you’ll be more likely to click on a 3/4-minute quick guide. Each and every click the link gets will help the content automatically crawl its way up the rankings harnessing the power of user intent content.
Once you know what your customers want to hear from you, you must then understand the underlying reason beneath it.
There are three major forms of user intent-
Informational: When people search for a piece of information to learn something
Transactional: When people look for a product or service with the intent to buy.
Navigational: When people look for a particular website or redirection link.
So, what is the best way to discover User Intent?
- Have a topic of focus around what you want to write; then take a look at the SERP result to find what type of content is ranking in the first place. Chances are, these are the content pieces that have triggered the user intent well and answered their queries to their satisfaction.
- Another smart way to find user intent is your Google Analytics. Navigate to Google Analytics> All Traffic> Channels and now click on the organic search. Here you’ll find the keywords that people are searching for. If you see your company name in organic searches, these are navigational search terms. Similarly, you can also find informational search terms like ‘hire a blogger’. That means people are looking for information on how to hire a blogger, maybe its pros and cons and average salary, etc.
5- Quality Content
Do NOT create content to rank high. Create content to help your audience find the answer to their questions and help them make the right decisions. A good SEO agency will always prompt you to avoid getting into low-value tactics like creating multiple geo-pages of the same product and having thin content on all.
Provide valuable information on your site.
Finally, review and update content on your site regularly.
6- On-Page SEO
A law firm witnessed a 62 percent increase in organic traffic by merely updating H1 tags. Another company increased its organic traffic by 48 percent by cleaning up metadata and internal linking structure.
So what are the key on-page SEO areas of focus?
- at the beginning of the Title Tag
- in the URL string
- in the Title description/ metadata
- Keyword in the Heading and body text
Have proper headings in your article: H1, H2…
Big chunks of dense text are scary.
Having headings makes your content easier to scan with the intent to act as a breather. As a result of that, the readability score of your content goes up.
Internal link building is also crucial for on-page SEO and your overall digital marketing. You must add a relevant article to your blog posts to always keep your readers engaged. Not only will this help the users problem-solve, but it will also increase the time spent on your blog. Consequently, this will send another positive signal to Google.
7- Earn high-quality links
Inbound links will remain the lifeblood of search engine ranking and online marketing, no matter what. Links from high authority sites to your site send positive signals to Google – and always WILL!
So how do you encourage good sites to link back to you? Here are a few ways:
A- Create high-quality content
B- write expert roundups and submit requests to high-authority sites to share them with their audience
C- Focus on the clients’ success stories. They may like to share it on their sites
D- Publish surveys and real data studies
Every year we have major ranking shifts and new factors that go to impact Google indexing.
In 2015 it was mobile usability. In 2016, the focus shifted to content development. HTTPS websites regained importance in 2017 after a major drop-off in 2014. The following year, the focus changed to mobile speed.
In short, ranking factors will keep on changing. But here is one thing that never will –
Google will forever keep rolling out new updates (roughly every few months) so it is your job to keep well informed and stay ahead of the game.