Is SEO still effective in 2021?
This question arises often.
Today, marketers are failing to get higher ranks on search engines following the top SEO strategies.
It happened as Google makes almost 10 or more changes every day to its updates. These algorithmic changes make it toughest for the websites to rank on organic results.
Hence, the age-old SEO techniques marketers are using today are providing even worse effects.
So is SEO dead?
The definite answer is NO. SEO is still effective but the techniques which were believed to be fruitful are no longer working today.
Why SEO is Still an Eminent Digital Marketing Strategy?
Here are some statistics that will show you the role of SEO in digital marketing.
In 2021 there are more than 56.5 billion indexed web pages on the internet.
However, the number of internet users is much lesser than the number of web pages available. Today, 4.66 billion people worldwide use the internet.
Hence, there are more resources available online than the demand. This means thousands of websites are competing for a niche, and you need to surpass them to get noticed by your potential customers.
Furthermore, it is revealed that organic results bring more than 53% of web traffic.
This percentage is quite higher than paid searches through which a website gets only 10% of traffic, whereas social channels contribute only 5% of visitors.
Thus, if you want a sustainable online presence, you definitely need to SEO your site.
Earlier, SEO involved some common and easy practices. Naturally, ranking higher on SERPs was the matter of implementing a few tactics.
Now Google makes the SEO more complicating to ensure visitors get the best information online from the vast resources available.
To get rewards from your SEO efforts you need to focus on few key ideas.
- Quality over Quantity
With the advancement in search algorithms, search engines such as Google and Yahoo are more focused on qualitative signals rather than quantitative signals to determine the appropriate position of a piece of content in the search result pages.
With the introduction of the BERT update, the traditional concept of keywords gets a hit. Now, marketers have to focus on the search intent rather than stuffing loads of generic keywords.
Again, the backlinks have also lost its power. So making strategies to gain stacks of backlinks for each page to uplift the site rank would not work these days. On contrary, they get you penalized by the search engines, and you might even not be able to recover from these penalties.
The better strategy to build backlinks is to obtain fewer yet quality links and try to create content that resonates with users and makes them click on your website.
- SEO takes longer time to get results
The chances of your rankings for a keyword just after a few days of publishing a piece of content are negligible.
Search engines tend to rank websites rather than a piece of content itself. In other words, search engines profile a website and see how well a website and its content is doing rather than focusing on just a particular piece of content.
This overall health of a website is often known as domain authority (DA), whereas the overall health of a page is known as page authority (PA).
Now the question is how we can get higher page authority along with a high domain authority. So, we need to understand what elements affect your DA and PA.
DA is a reflection of the number of quality backlinks given by other websites which have high DA. Additionally, the PA of a page of a website is taken into account to predict the DA of a website.
To get quality backlinks and pages with higher PA we need quality content and adequate exposure without search traffic.
This all takes resources and time. So it will not be just to assume that SEO can bear quick results.
- Content is the king
You need to create quality content to come anywhere near to the first page of search results.
So the quality of content can’t be compromised.
Moreover, various ranking factors are directly and indirectly linked with the quality of your content.
These factors include bounce rate and retention time of a page and they help search engines to decide if the page has good and relatable content.
Another aspect of good content is its shareability.
With the increasing influence of social media, search engines are bound to take the number of social shares as a factor of ranking.
This is because people tend to share what they find most useful or entertaining.
So after understanding the basic idea of shareability, you need to start creating content to provide relative and useful information to the end-users rather than creating content to reach #1 Google search results.
SEO Best Practices to Boost Rankings
Continue reading to explore the trending SEO practices for dominating Google ranking in 2021.
Create Content for Humans Not for Robots
Gone are the days when the inclusion of relevant keywords in the content was enough to surpass your competitors. Keywords are helpful to make search engine bots, understanding the topic of such content.
However, they won’t help you in increasing your ROI and conversion. If the website visitors leave the page after reading only the first few lines of your page, it will automatically drop its position in the search rankings.
Helping your readers should be the prime goal of your site. Communicate with them in a language that they can understand easily.
If your audience finds only keywords in your copy or if the content is written in a language that is really hard to grasp, they won’t stay there for a long time.
You can use several tools to understand the readability score of your articles, such as Hemingway App, Readable.com, etc. Again, Yoast SEO is an awesome tool to analyse your writing based on readability and SEO score.
Give Stress on Page Speed
Does your website load completely within 3 seconds?
If not, it is the time when you should focus on page speed optimization.
It is very frustrating for users if they have to wait for a long time to see the content of your page. As a result, it ends up with a bad user experience and a higher bounce rate.
As Google emphasizes the user experience most, Google had declared page speed as one of the top-ranking factors in 2010.
Checking and improving page speed is not a hectic task.
Google Page Speed Insights is a free tool to check the page speed. It also suggests you several tips to improve it.
You just need to put your website URL here to analyze your page loading time and how you can reduce this time.
Use External Links
People often avoid this practice, thinking it would take the web traffic to the other websites. However, it is not the truth.
When you link to useful and relevant resources in your articles, you actually help your audience to understand the topic more precisely. And this is the prime goal of your blog.
Besides helping your webpage users, outbound links also provide you a lot of value.
First, it is one of the important SEO factors, increasing your SEO score.
Secondly, you can contact the website owners to notify them about such links. If they share your content on social media platforms or recommend your site to their followers, you also will get few more traffic to your site.
While linking to other websites, just make sure that those sites are authoritative websites, having a higher DA score.
Again, those sites must be updated.
Say you are writing content in 2021. You should not link to a webpage that has last updated the content in 2013 or in earlier years.
Create a Solid Backlink Profile
Though, thousands of links from directories don’t provide your site a positive result, acquiring high-quality backlinks still has great significance.
If you want to know how to get quality backlinks for your site, read this guide.
While making a strategy for link building, go for both dofollow and nofollow links to create a natural link profile.
65:35 is a good ratio for dofollow and nofollow backlinks.
Do Mobile Parity Audit
Mobile parity refers to the equality of the information provided by a website to its desktop version and mobile version.
As Google is giving priority to the mobile version of a site, the webmasters need to bestow the same or even better experience to the smartphone users.
However, webmasters often eliminate bigger paragraphs or a few links on the mobile version.
The reason behind this is it is difficult to read and comprehend big blocks on mobile phones. Again, the mobile version supports only 54 links, whereas the desktop version can hold up to 61 links.
For this, smartphone users still get less data as compared to the desktop version.
Hence, it is important to do a parity audit to check whether the mobile version of your site is giving fewer details than the desktop. And if so, you need to take required actions to provide equal facts.
Outdated SEO Practices to Avoid in 2021
Now have a look at some outdated SEO practices that you should not attempt in 2021. Probably these SEO tactics have proved to be fruitful earlier but will not work these days.
Creating Bulk Content
It is a common thought that you need more and more content to get copious backlinks. Out of that idea, people often focus on quantity rather than the quality of the content.
Today you need to create long-form content to add value to your site. Thousands of short-form content with inadequate information will not serve your purpose at all.
Oodles of Guest Blogging
People often consider guest blogging as a worthwhile link building tactic. However, it should be done correctly. If you are posting guest blogs to an irrelevant site just because it has a higher DA score, you need to stop now as Penguin update checks the quality and the relevance of each backlink.
Exact-Match Domain Name to Drive Traffic
It was an old trend to use the main keyword of the site as the domain name.
Say you sell wristwatches. So you have created a website with the domain name “buywristwatch.com”
This type of domain name can’t be established as a brand. Thus, there are chances that Google may mark your site as spam.
Using the Same Anchor Text Everywhere
You often optimize your anchor text with your keywords. It is a good SEO practice. However, marketers often abuse this technique to rank higher for a particular keyword.
While getting inbound links, the anchor texts of such links should include different keywords relevant to your site. Your brand name or mere the URL of your site can also be used as anchor text.
Building Links for Home Page Only
If you consider your home page to be the most valuable page of your site, you need to think again.
Basically, you need to have inbound links for all pages of your site. 1 to 2% of your inbound links should be linked to your home page. The rest of the links should be pointed to your other internal pages.
Though there have been a lot of changes, SEO is still effective and can add value to your site.
As organic search is the leading source of traffic, you should emphasize SEO strategies to drive more traffic to your web pages.
Today, SEO is all about providing good user experiences and building strategies based on user intent.
Hence, think from the user perspective to take approaches that can make your customers happy, avoiding the easy black-hat tactics.