Global lockdowns transformed many things in 2020. Remote working skyrocketed among many other things like online purchases and online entertainment, subsequently changing online search interests and habits.
In 2020, search engines changed in some aspects to adapt to evolving searching habits and combat common problems like misinformation surrounding the pandemic. It’s no secret that COVID-19 related searches dominated search engines in 2020. However, there were still many other developments that shaped search.
SEO is, therefore different in some ways today because of what happened in 2020 and preceding years. Here’s what SEO experts propose you should focus on throughout 2021.
Conversational keywords/keyword phrases and questions are the way to go
People are using voice searches more. In fact, statistics show that over 50% of all smartphone users are experimenting with voice technology on their devices, and 27% actually use voice search. SEO experts like Jessica Rhoades of Create IT Designs state that voice search has raised prominence for conversational keywords as people ask Google questions and search for information using conversational language. With voice search on the rise, website owners should focus on conversational content that isn’t too formal.
Website owners also need to answer more questions as most searches now (whether conversational or not) are usually questions. According to Search Marketing expert Duane Forrester of Industry Insights, Google is focusing more on answering questions regardless of the type of content. According to Forrester, Google’s AI and Machine Learning systems may still be focused on keywords but answering questions through keywords is what will count in 2021.
Video and speed is more important than ever
As attention spans decreases globally to 8 seconds which is below that of goldfish (9 seconds) according to a recent study, the importance of more engaging content can’t be overemphasized. According to SEO expert Nate Nead of Seo.co, video and speed are more important now than ever. Mobile site speed will be critical in 2021 as well as the presence of on-page elements like videos that keep the attention visitors.
According to Nead, pages should load in less than three seconds. Videos should also be present in on-page elements. Most importantly, including video amongst other content is enough as opposed to shifting to a video-only strategy. Using video platforms like YouTube and Instagram and optimizing captions and titles should be part of your 2021 SEO strategy.
Relaunch/refurbish top content
2021 is also the year to relaunch top-performing content as opposed to creating brand new content. Old content can become “stale” according to Zyppy.com SEO expert Cyrus Shepard, formerly of Moz.com. After a few years, people forget about great content. However, that doesn’t mean the content should be discarded or disregarded. Relaunching such content will keeping the same URL will help with SEO. This should involve activities such as updating research, expounding on topics by creating long-form content, updating broken links, adding new links, refurbishing content using the top keywords, adding relevant on-page videos, etc.
Focus on building a brand and be bold
Neil Patel has a broader SEO strategy for 2021. Neil’s strategy for conquering SEO in 2021 includes building a strong brand that subsequently leads to hire ranking. According to Neil, brands offer solutions to problems.
While this strategy has worked for Neil Patel, it requires patience and hard work. However, search traffic undoubtedly improves in the long run. When using a brand-building strategy for SEO, Neil stresses the importance of monitoring brand growth via tools like Google Trends.
You’ll also need to do something bold. Neil Patel’s strategy for building bold brands doesn’t include typical brand building strategies like speaking at conferences or blogging. While such strategies help, he advocates for trying something bolder to complement typical strategies. For instance, you should think of brands like Apple or Tony Robbins, although Neil Patel prefers corporate brands over personal ones.
What’s more, focus on an opposing approach. If you follow your competitor’s SEO blueprint 100%, you won’t create a bold brand. Instead of focusing on how to maximize your ROI like most people, genuinely help people. Offering real value creates strong brands and is great for SEO in the long term. Neil Patel also stresses the importance of creating more, longer valuable content. While others are creating 300-word blog posts that are rushed, write rich 10,000-word guides.
With unique, bold strategies like detailed long-form content and genuinely helping your website visitors, search engines can make rulebook exceptions for you and rank you higher than a typical blog with a near-perfect keyword strategy.
Summary: Is SEO still relevant in 2021?
Absolutely. SEO still determines if a site or blog gets traffic online to a large extent. Perfecting SEO is therefore an ongoing endeavor and the SEO experts mentioned above offer some valuable insights. While there are more SEO experts, the above opinions offer valuable guidance on how to approach SEO throughout 2021. Act fast and cautiously while maintaining a flexible approach. Most importantly, follow SEO experts who have achieved the kind of results you are looking for.