As you may already know, Google updates their algorithms A LOT. SEO guidelines are changed over 500 times a year. This is done not only to keep us digital marketers on our toes, but to improve the quality of search results. While most SEO updates are small and often go unnoticed, Google does make major updates that change Search Engine Results Pages (SERP). We’ve broken down the latest SEO updates for 2021 and how you can take advantage of them to increase your website’s search engine optimization and in turn, website traffic.
Updates to Google’s SEO Guidelines
Google confirmed the roll out of the December 2020 Core Update late last year. These algorithm updates happen multiple times a year, and it is important to keep up-to-date with them. Broad updates are meant to bring noticeable changes in search results all over the world. Site owners can expect to see a positive – or negative – impact on their rankings based on how useful their content is for users. The latest update focuses heavily on rewarding user-friendly sites that contain meaningful content.
Core Web Vitals
The Google Chrome team announced Core Web Vitals earlier this year which is a set of metrics that reflect the speed, responsiveness and visual stability of a website. In layman’s terms: Core Web Vitals measure user experience on a specific webpage. With this new signal incorporated into the algorithm, Google can measure positive and negative user experiences, which directly correlate to the SEO ranking of a website.
The Importance of Page Experience
According to Google, the “page experience” measures the perceived experience of users while they interact with a web page on a desktop and mobile device. It helps make the browsing experience enjoyable for all users. Basically, Google wants the top searches to be sites users enjoy. They have evolved the SEO algorithm so it rewards sites users find the easiest and most helpful at the top of SERP.
Defining Brand Queries
Optimizing your SEO starts with defining your brand queries. These keywords must be set properly on your website to ensure SEO will rank your website when customers Google your brand name. This helps drive relevant traffic to your website, as well as improving the experience of users looking for information. Since technologies and innovations are focused on giving users the best experience possible, this metric can do wonders for businesses and site owners.
Optimizing Your Website SEO
The Importance of Branding
Building a recognizable brand is one of the ways to get attention online and will help improve your SEO ranking in 2021. Defining your brand helps users build a connection with your business.
Branding encompasses details of your business that users are exposed to. This starts with brand name and logo, and gets more detailed from there. Everything works towards providing users with a memorable and enjoyable experience. Attractive logos, optimal design, and even a catchy slogan can work wonders for business recognition. For example, Nike’s infamous tagline “Just Do It” and swoosh logo are immensely important aspects of their branding. Customer’s recognize that symbol and phrase, even in passing, as Nike.
Differentiation strategies (like USPs) play an important role in branding. Tiffany & Co. differentiate themselves with handcrafted, stunning and timeless designs. Their iconic blue boxes have become a trademark of the company. You don’t have to be a big brand to be recognizable, just find what makes you different from your competitors and promote it.
Analyze Your Website Design
Website design is about more than just the colour scheme and images on a site. Now more than ever design is a large part of your website’s overall SEO ranking. Heat mapping is a tool you can use to help identify any website design flaws. Is the most popular section at the bottom of the page? Do a majority of users think an icon is clickable? Your website might look pretty, but if users can’t navigate through it easily, your SEO score will reflect that.
It is also important to ensure your website is running at an optimal speed. Your load times should be less than 3 seconds, but in a perfect world they would be closer to 1 second per page. Bogging your website down with unnecessary widgets will greatly impact the load times, so don’t go crazy with them when you are building your website.
Expertise-Authoritativeness-Trustworthiness or E-A-T
Google emphasises the importance of E-A-T when evaluating websites for their SEO ranking. SERP prioritize websites that users deem trustworthy and authoritative. You need to be providing thorough and helpful content to your users, with external links and references. If people can trust your source and other websites can agree with your content, they’ll keep coming back for more. Eventually, you will become the trusted reference for others to cite which will help your SEO rank immensely.
Adding videos to your website
Videos continue to thrive as dynamic content for businesses to share online. Google will feature videos relevant to keywords on their Video search pages, but only if the content is treated properly. Ensure all videos are tagged with appropriate keywords, titles and descriptions so Google can identify and rank the content. It isn’t only YouTube that appears in the Video section of Google, so make sure your SEO is up-to-date so users can find your videos online.
Now I could go on and on about SEO forever, but the reality is that it is a never-ending battle. You could apply SEO to every aspect of your online presence, that is the goal at the end of the day. But we recognize that it is a difficult goal to attain, especially with Google’s constant updates.
Need more help with SEO? We’re here to help! Reach out to us today.