SEO in 2021 is different than it was in 2020. And it is almost unrecognisable from what it was ten years ago.
Continuously evolving digital platforms and changing user behaviours mean that SEO techniques need to be adapted to suit the current market.
If you don’t keep on top of SEO best practice guidelines, you risk being penalised and losing your rankings. In business, this translates to lost customers and lost revenue.
Here are the most common SEO mistakes to avoid.
Your Site Doesn’t Perform Well on Mobile
All SEO in 2021 is mobile SEO. With Google planning to switch all indexing over to mobile-first indexing by March 2021, ensuring your website performs well on mobile matters now more than ever.
“Google will essentially be ignoring your desktop site. Your mobile site will determine your rankings.”Search Engine Journal
Think about the user and the experience you want them to have. At a minimum your mobile site should be fast, easy to navigate and useful.
You Haven’t Made User Experience Your Top Priority
If the user isn’t at the centre of everything that you do online, your efforts will not yield results. Visitors to your site need to be able to find what they are looking for quickly (usually within a few seconds) or they will leave. Google has always been about the user, so if your website is not providing a memorable experience, is difficult to navigate and provides little value, potential customers will leave or not come back. These tips will help improve your website’s user experience.
You Aren’t Focussing On Your Ideal Customer
To attract consistent, high-quality traffic to your site, you need to define who your audience is, what they want, the problems they are trying to solve and then deliver the answers to them. You can’t be everything to everyone, so keep asking yourself questions until you know exactly who you are targeting.
Your Content is Average
In 2021, your content has to serve a purpose. If you are writing thin content to fill space, or stuffing in keywords, Google will rank these pages lower. Quality content is content that answers questions, meets a need or is helpful in some way. For example, how-to blog posts, video tutorials, checklists and interactive calculators. Think about what problems your customers are trying to solve, what their interests are and create a targeted content strategy. A content calendar will remind you to publish regularly – another essential SEO technique. Avoid keyword stuffing, plagiarizing other people’s work and publishing spammy content at all costs.
You Don’t Have a Linking Strategy
Yes, links still matter, not the number of links you have, but the quality of them. A good link building strategy that results in backlinks from authoritative sites shows Google that your content is relevant and high-quality. This translates into higher rankings. Link building takes time, so be patient. Never be tempted to buy links; you will be penalised.
You Don’t Know What Social Proof Is
Social proof is a phenomenon that leads people to seek the opinions of others before making a decision.
“Social proof is the idea that consumers will adapt their behavior according to what other people are doing. It makes sense, right? When we see a line of customers waiting to eat at a restaurant or a photo of a celebrity drinking a certain brand of coffee, it lends an air of gravitas and quality to the product, doesn’t it?”HubSpot
User reviews, testimonials, social media reviews and mentions, celebrity endorsements and personal recommendations are all examples of social proof.
If you haven’t incorporated social proof into your digital market strategy, you need to start. Building a strong social media presence is a good first step. Google analyzes the way users interact with your social channels – the more engagement, the more SEO benefits.
Hiring The Wrong SEO Company
SEO is not easy, and if you don’t understand how it works, it’s easy to fall for the false promises. If an SEO company makes assurances of front page results, more customers or increased brand awareness without a detailed analysis of your business – run. There are no shortcuts when it comes to SEO, and an experienced SEO consultant will take the time to explain on-page SEO (content, keywords and user experience) off-page SEO (link building and social media marketing) and technical SEO (crawling and indexing).
If you don’t have a strong understanding of SEO or don’t have the time to learn, you need to find a local SEO expert. There are plenty of shady SEO companies out there, so to find the best SEO partner for your business, it’s important to do your research and ask the right questions. Always pick up the phone and speak to a person rather than emailing. This will give you a feel for the company and the quality of their work. Here are a few suggestions from our SEO analyst:
Questions to ask the company/salesperson
- Ask for a list of previous clients or check their website. Also, search for the SEO company on local review sites and social media (do previous clients have good things to say?)
- What results can I expect to see? (SEO is a long-term process and can take up to 6 months to see results. Promises of overnight success are lies).
- Do you send out reports? (the best SEO companies will send out monthly reports on organic traffic changes, backlinks and keyword rankings).
- How much time will you spend on my site per month?
Questions to ask the company’s SEO specialist
- What do you think is the best way to improve my current position (a knowledgeable SEO specialist will ask about your business goals and work with you to create a strategy).
- Is link building included in this package? (backlinks from reputable websites make a big difference to rankings).
- What does your link building strategy involve? (be wary of any company who mentions payment or owning a network of sites).
- Ask them how SEO has changed over recent years or what they think could be on the cards (a good SEO analyst will be knowledgeable on this subject and talk confidently about the changeable nature of the industry).
Over the years, Webics has helped hundreds of local and national businesses optimise their websites, and seen positive effects in the form of increased traffic and improved conversion rates. We have a specialist team including a dedicated SEO analyst, content writer, graphic designer and a team of web developers. Get a quote now.