The end of each year is a time for reflection, both personally and professionally.
One of the things I start to see in my email inbox and online are expert predictions on 2021 trends around everything from social media marketing to SEO (search engine optimization).
Search engine optimization is the process of attracting organic (free) traffic from the search results in search engines. You want people who are typing keywords relevant to your business into the search engines to see your site right away.
If your business doesn’t appear high-up in the organic results, potential clients won’t even know you exist, and they’ll go to a competitor.
Some of my clients have been wondering if search engine optimization is still relevant. The answer is YES! I know 2020 has been a challenging, stressful year. Many small business owners have had to cut their budgets and are wondering where to best spend their money going forward.
Customer behavior changed, too. McKinsey & Company referred to it as the “homebody economy” in their research on consumer behavior during the pandemic. They defined it as “Most intend to leave home to shop for necessities but maintain low engagement in shared services.”
Here are some of the searches that went up in 2020, according to this infographic:
- Toilet paper near me, hand sanitizer near me
- Hand washing technique
- News mediums (online updates about COVID-19)
However, that doesn’t mean that if you don’t sell toilet paper or write news stories you’re out of luck!
Here’s why optimizing your website with the right keywords and content will be essential going forward:
- Consumers who are staying home are seeking out local businesses. People still want to order food, buy clothing, shop for gifts and save on everything from electronics to mattresses.
- Search engine optimization is evergreen, while COVID-19 won’t be around forever—even if it feels that way. Good search engine optimization leads to long-term results.
- There’s more to search engine optimization than traffic. The purpose of optimizing your site isn’t just to increase your website traffic. It can boost your qualified traffic.
That means if someone finds your website using a relevant keyword they’ve typed into the search box, and you serve them valuable content, products or services, they’re more likely to stick around and turn into a lead or sale.
Maybe they fill out a form to download an eBook, sign up for your eNewsletter or purchase something from you. You now have a qualified lead or a customer that you can nurture over time.
Read: How Much is Cheap Search Engine Optimization & Website Design Really Costing You?
If you are, step back and really think about it. I know, it can be appealing to see those rock-bottom prices and big promises, but these low-cost solutions can end up costing you so much more in the long run.
In this Tea Time Tip: Marketing For Busy Entrepreneurs, I explain the true costs of “cheap,” “low-cost” and “inexpensive” when it comes to your business website and search engine optimization options.
Read more on our website.
Three of the latest SEO tips for more traffic, leads & sales
So now that we’ve looked back at 2020, let’s move on to some top SEO trends for 2021.
- Voice search will be big.
I’ve shared some voice search optimization tactics in the past. Because people are staying home, they’re increasingly using digital assistants such as Alexa and Google Home to find what they’re looking for—from weather updates to local businesses.
Or, they’re using the voice function in Google search (look for the microphone icon) because they’re driving or their hands are full. For example, I asked Google “Where can I buy a birthday cake?” and got these local results.
The search engines are looking for natural language, so if you want to keep on top of SEO trends for 2021, you’re going to have to brainstorm the types of questions people might ask that include your target keywords.
- Local search will dominate
Optimizing for local search is already incredibly important. But in 2021, you could be left behind by your competitors if you don’t make it a central focus.
There’s so much emphasis on shopping locally, and small business owners need our support more than the big-box retailers! This consumer shift to buying locally is here to stay, so make sure you’re ready to welcome your neighbours by:
- Regularly writing and posting new local content like blogs and how-to guides
- Getting back links on other local business sites
- Making sure you’re listed in Google MyBusiness
- Adding a link to your business on Google Maps
All the latest SEO tips I’ve been reading say the same: take the time to review your website and add local keywords, content, links and images and you’ll be better-positioned to attract loyal, local customers.
Tip: In addition to optimizing your website, look for opportunities to list your local business. BC Buy Local makes it easy for consumers to find small businesses online and using the hashtag #BCbuylocal.
- Video optimization will be necessary.
Another of the top SEO trends for 2021: video. Video is growing at an amazingly fast rate. YouTube now has more than one billion users. It’s predicted that by 2022, 83% of the world’s internet traffic will be video.
To be successful, marketers need to think beyond YouTube as a “video site” and see it for what it is: the second largest search engine in the world. To be successful on this platform, you need to have compelling content and titles, and optimize your video channel name and description in a user-friendly way.
The same goes for videos on your site, too. Ensure your videos are optimized in terms of keywords, size, CTAs (calls-to-action), upload speed, descriptions and closed captioning.
From the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in online searches to optimizing for mobile, there are so many more SEO trends for 2021 than I can cover here!
However, if you work with a professional marketing company and start with these three SEO trends for 2021, you’ll be set up for a more successful year.
DISCLAIMER: This article was written by a third party contributor and does not reflect the opinion of Born2Invest, its management, staff or its associates. Please review our disclaimer for more information.
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