Is SEO Worth it in 2021?
‘Is SEO still relevant in 2021?’, ‘Is SEO Dead?’ and ‘Is SEO worth it?’ are all frequently asked questions within Google.
As a result of many people having to work from home and also shop online within the UK throughout 2020 and at the start of 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions, now more than ever, SEO is a must for businesses of all sizes.
A recent report by Openreach (who supplies a large number of UK based broadband ISPs such as BT, TalkTalk, Sky Broadband and hundreds more) has revealed that broadband usage across their network of ISPs “more than doubled” in 2020.
When all industries, sectors and niches are becoming ever more competitive online, search engine optimisation (SEO) is extremely relevant.
But will this trend continue, or will people return to type once the lockdown restrictions are relaxed?
According to research conducted by Dr Phillippa Lally and published in 2009, the time it takes for people to form new habits ranged from 18 to 254 days. With this data, it is safe to say with the restrictions in place throughout 2020 and also at the start of 2021 within the UK, many consumers have formed new habits, and internet usage and online shopping are here to stay!
When an effective SEO strategy is implemented, SEO enables businesses to increase their sales by generating prequalified leads as a result of ensuring that their website is in front of their perfect clients as and when they are searching for a solution to their problems.
The effective utilisation of SEO helps business owners increase their sales and grow their client base by generating prequalified leads from consumers and business owners 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year.
How Does SEO Work?
Frequent updates to search engine algorithms and an increased understanding of SEO, in general, has contributed to a far more nuanced search engine optimisation landscape, which means that a multi-faceted approach is the only way to secure meaningful success. So, to give you an idea of what a strong optimisation strategy will look like in 2021, let’s explore some of the steps you will need to take to put your website in the best possible position to succeed in 2021 and beyond.
SEO is a process that optimises your online presence to ensure that it secures a high ranking position in the organic search engine results pages (SERPs). Both an art and a science, a strong SEO strategy will ensure that you secure maximum search visibility, which will boost your organic traffic and improve key sales and conversions metrics.
Data indicates that around 86.5% of all UK searchers begin their search journey utilising Google:
- Additionally, the sites occupying the first five positions in SERPs secure more than 60% of all clicks.
- Maintaining a strong ranking position is vital for all businesses looking to drive success both now and long into the future.
As Google consistently wants to deliver the most relevant, highest quality content to each searcher, it is continually investing in developing more advanced algorithms. As it takes steps towards prioritising user experience (UX), staying away from black-hat SEO techniques, which are approaches designed to game the system and secure fast results regardless of the risks, is becoming much more important.
To build a robust online presence that is crucially sustainable, your focus should consistently be on your human audience whilst also ensuring that you’re following the best practices set out by Google and the other major search engines. This approach should include creating relevant content that educates and resolves your ideal audience’s problems, which includes relevant references and links, delivering a first-class user experience, and ensuring your content is well-structured using appropriate headings, titles, and meta tags.
There are certain technical aspects of an SEO strategy that cannot simply be implemented without the required expertise and skillset, which is why having a professional optimisation team on your side can help you to secure the best results whilst avoiding the potential of being hit with a Google penalty or falling foul of a future algorithm update that could see your site demoted or even worse removed from the organic SERPs altogether.
How Do I Improve My Google SEO Ranking?
There are two core categories of a strong SEO strategy: on-page and off-page. It is important to carefully consider both when making refinements designed to enhance your ranking position.
- Content Creation: In terms of enhancing your on-page SEO, investing in high-quality, relevant, and highly valuable content is imperative to ensure your online presence is visible to your ideal audience. Creating content for your unique audience will help you increase your site’s relevance and authority, which will boost the organic traffic to your website.
- Keywords: Your content should also feature natural inclusions of your target keywords and their derivatives. Ideally, your keyword should feature in the page URL, page title and a heading and/or sub-heading. However, it is essential to avoid keyword stuffing, so all keywords must be user-friendly and look natural within the wider context of the piece. Readability is much more important than anything else, so don’t sacrifice user experience for supposed ‘SEO tactics’!
- Metadata: When your website is developed, it is important to ensure that every page contains space for metadata. This will contain important information about each page’s content and context and is something search engines use when determining and categorising what a page relates to!
Metadata is also an essential part of ensuring that your site consistently prioritises usability. Your title metadata will be displayed in SERPs as a headline, whilst your meta-description should succinctly describe what users can expect to find when clicking through to your site in a highly appealing way.
- Alt Tags: As search engines don’t experience websites in the same ways that we do, it is vital to ensure that all visual media has accompanying text descriptions. This will also ensure your site is accessible to everyone, including those who use screen readers and/or text-only browsers.
- Be Link-Worthy: In terms of off-page SEO, building a healthy backlink profile is critical. To secure links from high-quality, relevant and authoritative external websites, you need to invest in the creation of a website and creative and informative content that is link-worthy. This means delivering a seamless UX and consistently publishing content that other site owners believe is valuable and want to highlight to their audience.
- Improve your Site Speed: Internet users have become accustomed to accessing the information they’re looking for almost instantly. Ensuring your site loads efficiently will help you retain a larger percentage of your potential traffic and consistently deliver the UX they expect. Search engines also actively reward fast-loading sites as they understand how important speed is to users.
In fact, from May 2021 page speed and user experience will become an even more important key ranking factor within Google.
How Long Does it Take for SEO to Kick In?
‘How Long Does it Take for SEO to Kick In?’ is one of the most common questions every SEO professional is asked.
Although we recognise that, naturally, you want to know exactly how long it’s going to take before you start seeing results, it’s a frustrating question because it’s one we can’t provide a definitive answer to right away. There are many variables involved in SEO, not only in terms of your own site but also concerning the optimisation strategies your competitor brands are using. In addition to ensuring that you are doing your utmost to secure the best possible ranking positions, consideration must also be given to ensuring that your efforts are out-performing your competitors.
The three factors that play the biggest role in the length of time it will take for your strategy to kick in are content, links, and competition.
- Content: The more effectively and efficiently your content helps to solve the problems your audience is facing, the quicker you’ll find your site soaring up SERPs for keywords and phrases that are relevant to the solutions you provide. It is also a good idea to implement a content schedule because Google values sites that are frequently updating with new content. Besides being a sign of relevancy, fresh content also encourages search spiders to crawl your site more often.
You should also create content that utilises the ‘They Ask, You Answer’ methodology, create content that satisfies a user’s requirement and provides them with a solution o their personal or professional problem.
How people utilise search engines to locate the information or solution to their problem has significantly changed over the past couple of years. People no-longer use one or two words to search for information; they are utilising long-tail phrases and asking questions as the population continues to become more web-savvy.
- Links: We’ve already touched on the importance of links, and the process of building a robust link profile can be relatively complex. Although the more links you secure, the sooner you will see an improvement in your ranking position, the reality is rather more nuanced here. As high-quality links are more difficult to secure, they carry more weight. So, building a smaller link profile from more authoritative websites will have a more significant impact on your rankings.
- Competition: If you are operating within a hyper-competitive niche, the chances are that it will take longer for your SEO strategy to start delivering the results you really want to see. If you are part of a niche with markedly less demand, you will likely secure a prominent SERP position more efficiently. It is worth noting that sites occupying the top-ranking positions are likely to be utilising the expertise of search engine optimisation professionals.
During the first month, your optimisation team will work to understand your business’s nature, conduct a comprehensive website audit and complete the keyword research process to ensure you are targeting the most effective search terms and phrases. During this period, some teams might also make some modifications to your website’s back-end and ensure that your site is fully responsive.
Next, your SEO team will use their initial research to compile a prioritised list of target keywords, which will likely include a selection of lower-volume, long-tail keywords that are easier to rank for. This will closely inform the content creation process, and following publication, key metrics will be closely monitored to put together an accurate picture of the results your strategy is generating.
In general, you can expect your SEO efforts to take between four months and one year to reach their full potential, but you will likely start to see a series of tangible results much sooner. These initial results can be used to refine your strategy further and drive even more impressive results over the long term.
Is SEO Worth Paying for?
With so much information regularly posted online relating to SEO and digital marketing, ‘Is SEO Worth Paying For?’
Most of the information commonly posted online covers SEO fundamentals, with far more knowledge and experience required to implement all aspects of a successful strategy.
It is important to understand the nuances of Google’s search algorithm to ensure you are implementing techniques that won’t leave you exposed to the potential of being hit with a costly penalty, working in partnership with search engine optimisation professionals who are immersed in the field and have hands-on experience will help you to ensure your SEO investment is delivering the best possible return on investment (ROI).
Working with a search engine optimisation professional or agency will ensure that your SEO strategy is based on solid foundations. So, in addition to analysing and evaluating your current ranking positions, your team will conduct a comprehensive program of keyword research and deep-dive into the structure of your site to identify areas for improvement that will drive tangible results.
If we have piqued your interest and you would like to learn more about how to implement a robust SEO strategy with the ability to make a significant difference to your bottom line throughout 2021, here at Search Creative, we’ve got what it takes to support your business in achieving ever greater heights. So, please don’t hesitate to reach out – we’re eager to hear from you.