As we race headlong to put 2020 behind us, business leaders are laser-focused on strategies that will help them regain lost ground in 2021.
The digital landscape is the obvious place to gain a toehold to push growth in the coming year. The clamor to claim space in the online world will send companies scrambling for an SEO strategy to make the most of the anticipated recovery.
But as the need for good SEO grows, so does the carnival barking of snake oil peddlers claiming they know how to game the search system.
Don’t. Be. Fooled.
SEO, done right, is a long game — won by doubling down on the fundamental principles of Google’s mission — providing universally accessible and useful information to the people who need it.
To gain traction in the coming year, resist flashy tactics and hyped-up SEO trends and instead, focus on the core principles of optimizing for search.
Build a sustainable SEO strategy on the time-tested pillars of these three fundamentals:
1 – Technical SEO
Google’s Core Web Vitals algorithm update, set to release in May, will measure page experience through objective metrics such as page load time, first input delay, and visual stability.
These page experience signals are less about what’s on the page and more about what technical barriers might prevent users from enjoying the content you’re sharing. If your technical ducks aren’t in a row, your search rankings could suffer.
Once considered an indirect ranking signal, the algorithm update will mean that in 2021, good technical SEO becomes table stakes to stay in the game.
2 – Content
Crowned the “king” in an essay penned by Bill Gates in 1996, content still reigns supreme. Why? Because the internet is a curiosity machine. As long as people have questions, they will blaze a path to the person (or website) with the answers.
Crafting user-centric content that consistently offers specific, unique, and helpful solutions is still the best way to be found in search results. But, with more than half a million new web pages being built every day, the only way to cut through the noise is to match your content to precise search intent.
It’s about finding consumers at the right time with the right medium to spark a conversation and help them take the next step on their journey.
Demonstrate to Google that you are an authority in your space by engaging consumers with valuable information and supplying a frictionless path to conversion, whether through sign-up, subscription, or purchase.
3 – Active Link Building
Active and consistent link building is a traffic-boosting powerhouse. One of the ways Google determines your content’s expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T), is by measuring its distance from reliable, high-quality websites or “seed pages.”
That means the link quality matters a whole lot more than link quantity. Link building on the up-and-up requires a manual lift to forge relationships with trusted sources. This takes time and patience.
Beware of the increased commoditization of link building in 2021. Carefully vet potential link building partners to confirm that their techniques will drive organic traffic to your site while boosting authority signals.
Just as there are no shortcuts to building trust, there are no shortcuts to building authority.
Link building merchants selling cheap solutions will damage your position as a trusted expert. Their techniques could set off a ripple effect of spammy signals that deliver a deathblow to your page rankings.
A trusted SEO partner to outsource your link building will make sure you’re building an appropriate anchor text portfolio and building natural links on trusted sites while auditing any links that could damage your page rankings.
Onward and Upward
The coming year holds great promise for businesses that are willing to invest in SEO. When you show up for potential customers, even without the immediate promise of increased revenue, you’re building a currency of trust that will accelerate your growth in an economic upswing.
Seize the opportunities of the moment without appearing opportunistic by embracing a long-term SEO strategy built on a solid foundation of fundamental practices that will organically lead customers to the solutions you offer.
This article was originally published on Martech Cube — SEO Predictions for 2021: Back to Basics.