SEO strategy used to mean “I want to be number one for this keyword” or “I want to be at the top of the page when people search for this word”. This strategy makes sense for a simple website … launched in 2001.
But it’s almost 2021. SEO is evolving, as it would with any technology. Human behavior (should) evolve with it.
With 2020 being an economic year, it can be difficult for marketers to spot changes in technological and human behavior in order to identify the right SEO trends to implement. If you feel the same way, thinking about the trends that have taken place in the marketing world so far can help you find answers.
SEO so far
The changes made to search engines over the years were aimed at redirecting SEO efforts on website structure to simpler elements, namely content. The Panda algorithm, introduced in Google search in 2011, marked a big change for SEO. The algorithm ultimately triggered a continued focus on relevance and content improvement, with links to website pages and other details receiving secondary consideration.
The changes were also intended to counteract “black hat” tricks intended to manipulate search engines into ranking a site high, such as buying links. Without these extreme illegal approaches, site content would appear more naturally aligned with user search engine queries.
Another big change is the evolution of the way people can view content, following the widespread adoption of smartphones (and to a lesser extent, tablets). The content had to adapt to adapt to the new formats of the mobile devices introduced. The devices also offered a variety of presentation structures for users to interact with media: long or short content, audio versus written text, video versus digital images. Add in voice search – launched for Google in 2011 – and the way people searched for information online has occurred in a much larger context.
Related article: Does Google Panda’s Pounce have bite?
What optimization needs to be done now
So what aspects of SEO should marketers focus on right now?
Refine keyword phrases
Marketers should start by focusing on refining target keyword phrases to match user and search intent. Customer intent has changed in many areas, particularly as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Customers had searched for products and services nearby in recent years, making it a habit to add the phrase “near me” when searching from a smartphone. But changes in the products and services searched this year can mean changes in search volume.
Focus on keyword clusters
This involves another step – a need to focus on keyword groups, variations of a sentence that contains a main keyword. It helps to map the relevant content on the pages.
For example, let’s say your bakery has apple pies to go along with specialty ingredients for customers who like to bake on their own. You can use the search results in Google Search Console or Bing Webmaster to search for grouped phrases like “apple pies for sale”, “slices of apple pie”, and so on. “Apple pie” the basic keyword in the cluster. You can then have content on one page for baking supplies, another for ordering a slice of pie.
The development of keyword groups can also highlight ideas for Search Network advertising campaigns. The ability to use digital ads will certainly exist in 2021, despite declining ad spending in some industries in 2020; eMarketer reported a decline in advertising spend forecasts, after adjusting for the worst case scenario, then revising again in anticipation of long-term spending renewal.
The silver lining of this expected digital advertising environment is the time marketers now have to revise their keyword groups incorporating current search trends, customer personalities and needs, and make other adjustments to as the search volume changes.
With this in mind, marketers should be looking to increase the frequency of their SEO reviews, reviewing analytics reports to identify any opportunities to further optimize content or implement ad groups in them. digital campaigns every quarter. Comparing keywords by average search position in Google Search Console or Bing Webmaster, for example, can reveal topics you should support with more content or strengthen with a digital ad campaign.
Related Article: How To Inspect Search Engine Analytics For Better SEO
Remember the page speed
Another area to focus on is page speed analysis. The variety of page features means that there can be a number of causes for a slow page load. SEO practitioners need to dig deeper into page structure to see if anything can be done to improve page crawling.
Page speed analysis can help establish the correct lazy loading technique for website and app page elements. The page speed information, which I describe in an article on Core Web Vitals, can be helpful in understanding how pages load. You can also use the URL Inspection Tool in Google Search Console to inspect a live URL or even request that a site page be crawled again.
Inspection helps plan lazy page loading. Lazy loading is a technique in which images and additional code are loaded into the browser asynchronously. This layout loads larger page elements more efficiently and overall faster, improving the customer experience. In short, good page speed correlates with how sites are processed for mobile-first indexing.
Keep track of what you’ve done
A history log can keep track of SEO changes that have already been attempted or when technical changes such as a link audit have been performed. The log can be logged in the Google Analytics annotation, as well as in your collaboration documents, whether it is an Evernote file, a Dropbox file, or in GitHub.
Phil Britt noted in his article Closing the Consumer Trust Gap that the trust mission is key to building human and transparent content that builds customer trust. A good SEO strategy is part of this mission. Making sure your SEO home is in order at all times helps support how a brand respects the trust of its consumers.
Pierre DeBois is the founder of Zimana, a digital analysis consulting firm for small businesses. It examines data from web analytics and social media dashboard solutions, then provides web development recommendations and actions that improve business marketing strategy and profitability.