Assertive SEO in 2021 and Beyond
Search engine optimization has been around for more than two decades. However, as technology improves on a daily basis, it’s only normal that the rules and trends are not the same as they were in the ‘90s.
Metrics change over time but the need to draw an audience to a business never disappears. That is why companies constantly have to research the latest SEO practices or turn to professionals in order to stay on top of their digital marketing efforts.
In this article, we will mostly be talking about Google seeing as how this giant has established itself as the biggest search engine on the market and authority in the field that most others will follow.
With that in mind, here are some things to keep in mind when looking to attract the right kind of visitor that will become a paying customer and even an unofficial brand ambassador.
#1: Search Engine Results Pages will continue to look different
Anyone using the internet for over a decade is aware of how different SERPs look. Google is constantly adding new features and updating its results pages.
While the first thing that comes to mind might be the dark mode that was recently introduced, there are plenty of small things that regular people tend to overlook but frustrate marketers.
For example, older search engine optimization strategies included marketers packing content with keywords. If a company used the right keywords and had more than its competitors, they would have ranked higher on the SERPs as these pages revolved mostly about keywords.
However, these days, it’s not as straightforward. The algorithm Google uses is always changing so in order to keep up with the times and have a stellar website, companies have to adjust their approach non-stop.
#2: Content has to be meaningful to be king
The phrase that content is king has been heard countless times when it comes to search engine optimization. However, sometimes, it’s not enough to just write articles on a regular basis and include backlinks.
While backlinks are used to validate a piece of content’s worth, adding too many keywords in an article is what causes the issue here. Content that is crammed with keywords has proven to perform poorly on Google and other search engines.
When companies simply use their content for keywords, without actually providing readers with any useful information, it is recognized as thin content that is unlikely to be validated by humans.
Instead of including every single keyword that is related to the content, it’s now vital to include organic backlinks to rich, high-quality content. The key here is creating quality content in the first place, to have something to link.
If the articles are informational, other blogs will also want to use them as links, which will also help companies build authority in the field. This approach helps build organic traffic as well as validate the page for search engine algorithms.
#3: Being in the top 10 is no longer a great feat
It comes as no surprise that all these changes were necessary due to ever-evolving technology. What was once standard has gone through many changes that have been made to make the browsing experience faster and more enjoyable for the masses.
For example, it’s been more than 10 years since Siri was initially released. Since then, the world has been introduced to Bixby, Alexa, Google Assistant, Cortana, and so many other virtual assistants. How they operate has also influenced the way search engine optimization is done.
These cyber-butlers typically answer people’s questions with a single statement that is seen as authoritative. What that means is that being in the top 10 of the search engine results returned is simply not enough for a business to get noticed.
What is more, oftentimes, the single returned result is not completely correct and that is not good enough. If people are not bothering to read through the other results and get the correct information, the spread of false information can have a detrimental effect.
This can be attributed to the so-called all-seeing and all-knowing algorithm actually making educated guesses instead of knowing information with certainty.
#4: Knowledge panels mostly contain all the necessary info
In search of the single answer that will be correct, Google introduced the feature known as knowledge panels. These panels within the search results are there to present the search engine’s top answer to a person’s question.
As these contain plenty of information, many searchers will never think of looking further into the topic and will stop researching after reading a panel. Is this something that a small business can use to its advantage?
Well, knowledge panels are a bit controversial because Google is deferring to another source to provide information on the subject. So, for instance, when looking up one of the latest Marvel movies – Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – on Google, individuals will get a panel on the right side that provides them with various information regarding the title.
For this, Google is using Marvel Studio data. So, while the movie is now classified as action/adventure/fantasy, if someone at Disney headquarters decided to change it to a romantic comedy, Google would respect this bizarre decision and update their panel. Other info that can be found is how highly the film is rated by various critics as well as the audience.
However, as most businesses don’t have the power of Marvel, the question remains how they can adapt to this approach and establish themselves as an authority in their field.
#5: Using structured data helps corroborate information
On the other hand, not all is lost. There have also been some recent developments that allow businesses to corroborate their brand presence.
Structured data, for example, is metadata used to tell search engines how to interpret content and what to put in knowledge panels. By using structured data, businesses are able to specify if their content refers to their organization, product, or some other category.
For instance, this is used to show a search engine the difference between Yves Saint Laurent (designer) and Yves Saint Laurent (brand) or Shakira (album) and Shakira (singer).
For companies to make the most of this feature, they need to add schema structured markup to their website’s home and about pages. By doing that, they are confirming to a search engine who they are and what they do.
Google and other search engines seek to confirm a business’s name, address, official website, and social media accounts as well as identify images and logos that will be displayed when someone looks up the said company.
Fortunately, as many companies tend to outsource SEO, Australian businesses can turn to experts for web design from Sydney that surely know how important including structured data is. They also know not to leave empty pages that are supposed to hold structured data or to add structured data about information that’s not visible on the website.
#6: Acting like a brand assists in establishing authority
Seeing as how Google’s results are leaning toward brands, the best way for a company to be noticed is to act like a brand.
It’s quite simple – people are more likely to trust established brands so search engines favour them, which in return makes people think of those high-ranking results as more trustworthy. That means that companies are encouraged to adopt some brand-like practices in order to be noticed.
For one, having a presence on social media is vital for establishing a brand image. However, many companies make the mistake of signing up for every single available platform while they don’t actually have the time to keep them all updated.
A lapsed or suspended profile makes things worse so it’s recommended to only make profiles that can be maintained regularly. Social media networks are vital in creating a brand image that will help prevent brand confusion.
Then, another mistake is trying to cover all possible related keywords. Companies will fare much better if they manage to find a niche they identify with and focus on it. The narrower the field, the higher the chances of becoming an authority figure.
#7: Being the first and last click
Companies also want to be the first result searchers opt for and boost their click-through rate (CRT) as it is not completely clear whether clicks are used as a ranking factor.
Some aspects that can affect the CRT of a business include the title, meta description, rich snippets, and URLs. As all of these things can be easily adjusted, companies should make the most of this as clicks are traffic, no matter if they go toward the rank or not.
On the other hand, being the last click is also important. That means creating content that contains the best result for the searched keywords so that visitors don’t have to go back to the results pages and look for a better solution.
For that to happen, a company needs to match a user’s intent and provide them with complete information and a great user experience while being authoritative.
Using search engine optimization is going to be a necessity long after 2021. Companies that want to reach their target audience have to stay on top of the latest practices.
About the Author!
Nick Brown is a blogger and a marketing expert currently engaged in projects for Agseosydney. He is an aspiring street artist and does Audio/Video editing as a hobby.