The art and science of search engine optimization (SEO) have evolved a great deal over the past several years. Web developers and social media consultants who do not keep up with the latest SEO trends risk having their pages downgraded in search results and losing visitors and revenue. Jesse Willms, an Internet entrepreneur, explains some of the different ways that businesses can use SEO in 2021 and the positive ways in which these can impact their business.
Recent Changes to SEO Practices
Google’s latest core update in May 2020 upended many of the old SEO techniques and forced page developers to take a fresh look at the ways in which they were promoting their pages. In the May 2020 update, the focus of Google’s search algorithm changed from a keyword- and metadata-based system to a system prioritizing quality content. In order to succeed, web assets need to showcase expert knowledge and bring the viewer updated, useful, and clear information.
Google provided the acronym EAT to demonstrate what kinds of information it would promote on its search engine:
- E: Expertise
- A: Authority
- T: Trust
Google prioritizes pages that carry a stamp of approval from real industry experts. Simply rehashing an authoritative post’s conclusions and applying it to a new situation is not enough to rank the page highly. The page should have attention-grabbing information that is not sensationalized, shocking, or exaggerated in nature. The page should carry original analysis and information that cannot be found anywhere else online.
Understandably, many web content creators find that these criteria are hard to meet, leading to lowered search results rankings. Fortunately, there are new ways to enhance SEO using different channels online.
Social Media and SEO
Social media can help to engage an audience. It provides a call to action that prompts people to click, share, like, and comment on posts. When content is shared, this can result in more backlinks, boosting SEO rankings. If a page has an active and current social media presence, it can also demonstrate trustworthiness.
Reviews and Reputation
Together with page content and social media, the Google algorithm promotes pages that carry high rankings from Google Places, Yelp, Facebook, and TripAdvisor among other review sites. It has become even more important for businesses to closely monitor and respond to all of their reviews online, and to try to make things right when a visitor has a problem. If a company has too many negative reviews, it will be pushed down in the search rankings.
Another item promoted by the new Google algorithm is the citation. This consists of a company’s name, address, and phone number. This helps to reinforce the fact that the business is a legitimate operation with a physical presence. Citations can also appear on mapping apps and review sites. It is important to have a physical location mapped on Google Maps and Apple Maps at a minimum.
More Advanced SEO Techniques for 2021
SEO trends continue to evolve every time Google pushes out a new update, and savvy marketers have found many ways to improve their page rankings using new techniques. Here are three of these new techniques and examples of how to use them.
1. Journalist Keywords
When envisioning the type of keywords that should be included on a page, it is a good idea to think about “journalist keywords.” Think of the keywords and key phrases that a journalist might search if they want to know something specific about your field. For example, if a page is sharing information about different brands of pet food, it might be a good idea to highlight the key phrase “pet food rankings.”
You can also find “journalist keywords” by looking at your page statistics. These statistics can show you which keywords and phrases have the most hits for your page. Be sure to include a version of the most popular key phrase in your page title and search snippets.
2. Utilize Podcasts
Podcasts are a great way to bring positive attention to your page. Podcasts can reach a diverse audience, and they are easy and inexpensive to set up. Showcasing interviews with industry experts is a great way to get started. Podcasts generally put links to a company’s webpage into their listings, providing a useful backlink.
3. Optimize “People Also Ask” Questions
The “People Also Ask” section has become a prominent part of Google search listings. When a user poses a natural-language question to the search engine, it returns results with not only the answers to the question, but also four related questions. It can be tedious to click through and discover all of the “People Also Ask” that could be useful. Fortunately, there is a free online tool that helps to scrape these questions from the search listings.
SEO Changes Frequently
It is always a good idea to keep a close eye on Google’s upcoming releases regarding their search engine rules. Studying and following these rules can lead to more backlinks, better search engine placement, and more business.
Jesse Willms emphasizes the need to keep up with SEO changes and warns that pages that do not comply with all of the new rules will find themselves left behind.