Surely, in 2021, there’s little need to state just how important SEO is for any business. Ever since search engines became an everyday feature of our lives, companies and organisations have been trying to find ways to ensure their content, products and services feature highly in the search results. Over the years, SEO and the way search engines sift through results has become more complicated and nuanced.
What might this mean for SEO in 2021 and beyond?
Do we still need SEO in 2021?
Incredibly, just over 50% of website traffic comes through organic search results. This comfortably beats all other non-organic search channels, including paid searches (5%) and social (5%). For business services, the figure was significantly higher, with 73% of all website traffic coming from organic search results.
These figures have risen consistently over the past ten years, and there’s little indication that it’s about to slow down. As a result, it’s imperative that your business has a well-considered and implemented SEO strategy.
The old approach to SEO no longer works
In the past, it was often considered enough for businesses to produce content stuffed with a few relevant keywords that within a few weeks would send your business website shooting up the search engine results. Over the years, the means by which search engines sift and sort through pages has become much more intelligent. These days, search engines look for quality, informative content with a range of features as well as keywords. So keywords placed in what is essentially gobbledygook is unlikely to offer much in the way of a return. SEO is now part of a broader content strategy that seeks to add value to your brand by providing quality information that your customers are looking for. Developing this body of SEO-friendly information on your website is the secret to success in 2021.
How search engines work
Search engines have three primary functions:
- Crawl – They scour the internet, exploring content and looking over copy and code for each individual URL they find.
- Index – Once the content is found and understood, it’s then indexed. This means it then stands a chance of appearing in search results for relevant queries.
- Rank – Finally, a search engine will use a set of criteria to judge the relevance of the indexed content. It will then display the results from the most to least relevant.
So a prerequisite of appearing in search engine results is to ensure that your content gets crawled and indexed.
SEO is about more than just site rankings
Although your site rankings matter, it’s not the principal reason for taking care of your SEO. The goal should be to attract more traffic and then to convert that traffic into leads and customers. Providing quality content that takes care of keywords without overdoing it can help with this process. SEO content, like any other, should add value to your website and to the visitor experience.
SEO doesn’t require you to pay for ad space
As the data suggests, organic searches drive far more traffic to your website than online advertising. As traditional printed media has less impact, online channels such as social media are trying to fill the gap. The truth is, time spent on SEO can be far more effective than advertising.
The quality of leads is superior to those generated by advertising
People who arrive at your website as a result of search engine results usually do so because they are looking for something. This might be a place to stay, a particular product or for more information about products, processes and services. The more of these questions your content can answer, the more traffic your website will receive. Because your website visitors are looking for something in particular, they are more likely to become customers than visitors who casually followed an advertising link.
Build trust and brand loyalty
The kind of highly-tailored and intelligent SEO that will propel your business website to the top of the search rankings is also helpful when it comes to building trust and brand loyalty. Your SEO content should be answering questions that your customers are asking. Producing this content can also help you to gain an understanding of your customers’ needs. To provide content that answers questions, you need to understand what these questions are.
Google’s ‘featured snippets’ function is geared towards this kind of quality content. If you ask a question, you’ll see a paragraph of text appears in answer to a question placed into Google. This answer will appear towards the top of the search results and will be more readily noticeable. The site that provides the featured snippet will receive considerably more traffic than its competitors. Provide SEO-friendly content that answers questions and you’re more likely to appear in a featured snippet. The other consequence of these snippets is that the first pages of search results will include fewer links to relevant websites as a result. So even if you’re not providing the featured snippet, you’ll need to ensure your SEO works harder to make the first page.
Don’t get left behind
Failure to provide tailored, SEO-friendly content for your business website will see it gradually become anonymous. Search engines are looking for regularly updated websites that provide high-quality content which answers the questions of their users. Now more than ever, SEO matters. As it outranks other means of generating traffic by a considerable margin, failure to invest in SEO will see you lose out to competitors who are doing just that.
2021 is the year to invest in SEO
With search engine criteria growing more complex, the introduction of new intelligent algorithms and the predominance of search engine results driving organic website traffic showing no signs of slowing, 2021 is definitely the year to invest more energy into intelligent SEO. By doing so, you’ll help to drive more traffic to your website, build brand loyalty, develop trust among your customers and establish your business ahead of your rivals. Intelligent SEO content adds significant value to a business and shouldn’t be regarded as an afterthought.