Online competition is growing rapidly, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing more people to quarantine at home, resulting in consumers shopping online. While we can’t predict the future, we can assume this competition is here to stay, even when this global pandemic subsides. This means, as a company, you need to focus on your online digital marketing strategy to make your business seen by search engines and consumers.
How do you increase online visibility and organic foot traffic? Through search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is a digital marketing strategy that increases visibility and organic traffic by improving your site with unpaid results. SEO is always changing, mainly because search engines like Google and Bing continually roll out new algorithms.
However, there are certain SEO rules that you should always follow to ensure the quality and quantity of your website traffic trends upward. Read below for our top five SEO rules to follow for 2021.
Create compelling content
High-quality content is one of the most important SEO ranking factors. If your website doesn’t have a blog section, now is the time to create one. Through blog posts, you’re able to build relevancy and write about topics that relate to the industry you’re in, which can help your website become more visible on Google and other search engines.
Take Trust & Will for example. They use their blog, or “learn” section, to inform their customers and those searching the web for Will and Estate services about the different kinds of last testaments there are and what is best for each individual. This is both the kind of related content Google wants to see and that is useful to potential customers.
What makes “good” content? First and foremost, content should be written for people, not search engines. This means you shouldn’t be “keyword stuffing” in hopes of boosting your ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). Instead, use long-tail keywords and phrases, and make sure your content is actually helpful to the reader. By doing so, Google and other search engines will reward your page and increase its ranking factor.
Lastly, make sure your content is user friendly. Break up your content with appropriate headers and subheaders, incorporate photos and videos, and make sure your content is lengthy. It’s recommended to have between 1,000 and 1,500 words for blog posts, and between 2,000 and 3,000 words for long-form articles.
Incorporate Calls to Action (CTAs)
In order to secure leads, you want to ensure you have CTAs on various pages throughout your site. A CTA will direct leads down the sales funnel, getting them one step closer to making a purchase or taking an action, which can increase your sales numbers. CTAs can be used for a variety of purposes, such as:
- Downloading a white paper
- Starting a free trial
- Watching a video
- Getting a free consultation
- Signing up for a newsletter
- Subscribing to an email list
- Follow us on social media
Improve User Experience on Mobile
If you have a website, having a mobile version is a must. More and more people use mobile phones on a daily basis. In fact, roughly 96 percent of Americans have a cell phone, while 81 percent of these cell phone users have a smartphone. Think about your own internet usage, for example. What do you use more often? A smartphone or a desktop or laptop computer? Today, a majority of people use smartphones to conduct on-the-spot internet searches, whether they’re looking for the closest coffee shop or searching for an answer to a question that just popped into their head.
If your website doesn’t have a mobile version, you can be losing a large chunk of quality internet traffic. This is because mobile users don’t want to browse a site with a poor web design that is hard to read and navigate, leading them to hit the back button. Having a high bounce rate, which is the percentage of users who only view one page with a single request, can hurt your ranking.
Optimize for Voice Search
“Hey, Google.” “Hey, Alexa.” “Hey, Siri.” These are just some of the commands you may be hearing people say around you on a daily basis. Virtual assistants, such as Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, and Apple’s Siri, are transforming the digital landscape. Now, people can ask questions and get answers without looking at a screen or taking out a phone. In fact, it’s estimated that at least 50% of all searches in 2020 will be made by voice search.
What does this mean? This means that you need to optimize your pages for voice search. Voice search affects SEO in a few ways. Rather than focusing on short-tail keywords, it’s important to put more time and energy into long-tail keywords and phrases. This is because instead of typing in short snippets into a search engine search bar, such as “closest coffee,” users will ask full-length questions, such as “Where is the closest coffee shop near me?”
So, in order to optimize for voice search, make sure to conduct proper keyword research and look for frequently asked questions and phrases people make, and optimize for those instead of choppy keywords.
Try and Win the Featured Snippet
On Google and other search engines, the featured snippet (or answer box) is the little box at the top of a SERP that holds the answer to a query. It’s referred to as Position 0 because it comes before the first result found on a SERP. Trying to win the featured snippet for a specific keyword can provide an influx of organic traffic, considering featured snippets get about 26 percent of all clicks compared to a regular #1 ranking page with no featured snippet.
As you can see in the image below, an excerpt from Vapor Empire’s homepage is included in the featured snippet, which is positioned above the first search result in Google’s SERP. It’s hugely important that each page on your site is optimized for featured snippets as they are read and clicked on a ton by users.
Some tips for winning the featured snippet include:
- Writing helpful content with new information
- Provide clear answers to frequently asked questions
- Target specific keywords
- Optimize content with H2s, numbered lists, and bulleted lists
SEO is essential for business, especially for those with an online presence. With competition getting fiercer, you need to know how to optimize your site to gain more visibility and organic traffic. At the end of the day, Google’s primary goal is to create a space for consumers to find helpful information to their questions. As a website owner, this means you need to contribute useful information to the internet to fuel Google’s mission. From writing compelling content to improving mobile user experience, these are just some of the essential SEO rules to follow for 2020.