Marketing & SEO tips to get ahead with Google in 2021

05 April 2021   |   by Alex Barratt   |   Marketing, SEO
Marketing and SEO Tips for 2021

Google updates their ranking algorithm frequently. But with all that’s been going on this year with the pandemic, it may be hard to commit time and energy to keep up with these constantly evolving SEO best practices. Fortunately, some quick SEO tips can make a big difference. You just need to know where to start! First and foremost, Google has rapidly developed new technologies and approaches to natural-language processing. Google’s goal is to enable people to search for things in a way that feels natural to them – which will be a huge relief to everyone who uses voice-assistant compatible devices like Siri on iPhones and Alexa on Echo devices to conduct searches. As a result, Google keeps getting better at understanding the context of what a searcher is looking for, so that the search engine results pages (SERPs) deliver exactly what the searcher wants.

Every business wants that number one ranking in a Google search engine results page. Getting that coveted spot isn’t quick, easy or guaranteed.

For search engine marketers, this focus on user intent means if you want your content to rank well, you need to understand what your searchers really want – and you need to make sure your content delivers it. Another big change is the increased impact that page experience has on search engine rankings. Because people vastly prefer websites that deliver a great page experience, Google has been busy adding a variety of user experience criteria to their ranking algorithm, including mobile-friendliness and how quickly pages load.

Yeah, we know, all of this is a lot for marketers to consider. Even if your content is useful and well-written, is it optimized in a way that Google will reward? That’s where our SEO tips come in. We know you’ve got a lot on your plate right now, so we’ve compiled 12 quick and up-to-date SEO best practices you can implement without necessarily investing a ton of blood, sweat or tears. The good news is that even making small changes to how you optimize your content can have a big impact! Great page experiences enable people to get more done and engage more deeply … By adding page experience to the hundreds of signals that Google considers when ranking search results, we aim to help people more easily access the information and web pages they’re looking for, and support site owners in providing an experience users enjoy.

Marketing & SEO Tips to get ahead With Google in 2021

Making small changes to how you optimize your content can have a big impact!
  • (1) Check your UX pulse with Core Web Vitals.
  • (2) Build variety into your keyword strategy.
  • (3) Keep search intent top of mind.
  • (4) Drop the stop words in your URLs
  • (5) Write more accurate meta descriptions and page titles.
  • (6) Format posts for featured snippets.
  • (7) Level up your almost high-performing content.
  • (8) Repurpose older existing content.
  • (9) Add engaging thumbnail images to videos.
  • (10) Build backlinks organically.
  • (11) Make sure your website mobile and desktop versions match.
  • (12) Follow mobile site image best practices

1. Check your UX pulse with Core Web Vitals

With page experience becoming such an important ranking signal, Google has thrown marketers a bone with a new tool – Core Web Vitals – that will help you measure the load time, interactivity and visual stability of every page on your website. This list is the perfect place to start with your revamped 2021 SEO strategy. After all, before you know what you need to fix, you have to first know what’s actually broken.

2. Build variety into your keyword strategy

Historically, marketers have optimized web pages around specific high-search-volume keywords and blog posts around lower-volume, long-tail keywords. These days, that distinction is blurred. Instead, strive for a healthy mix of both across all your site. Additionally, to meet the growing popularity of voice search, look for opportunities to work in multiple variations of your keywords, including synonyms and related keywords, for the best results.

3. Keep search intent top of mind

We already know that Google is getting really good at figuring out user intent to deliver the most personalized and relevant results. Interestingly, the format of your content plays into that relevancy. For example, someone searching for cars will probably rather see a listicle blog post evaluating different car models – not specific car product pages.

4. Drop the stop words in your URLs

Common filler words like “of,” “or” and “the” take up valuable space in your URLs. This makes it harder for both readers and crawlers to skim quickly and can cause lags in your page loading time. Try to keep these stop words out of your URLs unless they are a necessary part of your keyword, and limit your URLs to no more than 100 characters.

5. Write more accurate meta descriptions and page titles

Google has recently updated their search results page to 600 pixels, allowing for longer titles and descriptions on both desktop and mobile. However, be careful with this. Nothing is more frustrating for a searcher than clicking on a link that looks promising, only to realize the content is not at all what was promised page title and meta description.

6. Format posts for featured snippets

The top-ranking spot on SERPs is no longer search result #1. Instead, Google’s Featured Snippets — which show up after ads but before organic results — are the new prime position. There are several ways to land a featured snippet spot, but one of the best ways is to answer a keyword query directly in your content.

7. Level up your almost high-ranking content

Review your content analytics and identify posts that are doing okay with traffic but aren’t as popular as your highest-ranking ones. (A great way to do this is to set up an advanced filter on Google Analytics to show how your keywords are ranking in SERPs.)

8. Repurpose older existing content

To continue with this theme of levelling up your SEO strategy, now is a great time to rework your older content, especially if the topics are still relevant to your audiences today. For example, consider turning an existing blog post into a new video that provides an engaging summary of the key points. Combine multiple blog posts on the same topic into a new ebook that offers a more comprehensive look at the topic.

9. Add engaging thumbnail images to videos

Thumbnail images are the first thing people see when your video is indexed and have been showing up more often in Google searches. Sites like YouTube generate their own previews, but you also have the option to create custom thumbnails. Your thumbnail image should be high-quality and accurately reflect your video’s content to increase engagement and clicks.

10. Build backlinks organically

Backlinks, or inbound links, are still an important part of SEO ranking. But rather than falling into the trap of paying for links via black-hat tactics, instead always be looking for opportunities to create new backlinks organically.

11. Make sure your website mobile and desktop versions match

Google has now switched to mobile-first indexing for all websites. Now is the time to examine the desktop and mobile versions of your website to make sure all copy and content, including text, images, videos and links, are the same on both versions. Use Google’s URL Inspection Tool to see if there are any pressing discrepancies you need to fix.

12. Follow mobile site image best practices

In addition to #11, you’ll also want to optimize all website images for mobile-first indexing. Make sure all images are the proper size and resolution, and that all your formats and tags are supported on mobile. Also, double-check that all alt text, image titles, captions and file names match what’s on the desktop version of your site.

Male avatar
Alexander Barratt

I'm a husband, father, son, scuba diver, mountaineer, adventure photographer, commercially licenced drone pilot, autism dad & climate change advocate. I've a eye on a better brighter, cleaner more accepting future for all of us.

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2 Comments
  • Female avatar
    Ruth Sharkey Reply
    04 April 2021, 2:05 pm

    I'm doing a website in which I want to display a set of images, a portfolio of image types per page but each page will effectively be a clone of the previous. Images wise it's not meant to be comprehensive so probably around 6-10 images. I'd like to have a title and perhaps a short sentence for each image (as an option). What would be your ideas on how to display this sort of information? .

  • Female avatar
    Haley Gardener Reply
    04 April 2021, 2:44 pm

    I want to make a feature on my website where it lists Frequently Asked Question and then at the end of the question you can click a button or down arrow and the answer appears beneath the question and if the click the button again the answer disappears. I've seen this before but don't know what to call it or how to set it up? Any help would be appreciated.

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