The Complete Guide to SEO in 2021

As we usher in a new year, so do we welcome new and exciting opportunities for growth in the online marketing field.

Daniel

During the age of this pandemic, more and more people are spending time online – whether it be to shop, research, or to lodge queries. As such, website growth is flourishing. And, of course, you can’t talk about the growth of your online presence without talking about SEO.

SEO, or search engine optimisation, may stay the same in terms of its definition. But, its application is ever-changing according to how our world (and the world of technology) continues to develop as new SEO trends come about. Because of this, we need to engage in continuous assessment on how best to use SEO to our advantage.

In this complete SEO guide on “how to do SEO”, we will tell you everything you need to know about this practice. This includes what it is, why it is important, how to achieve it, and even a few tips and tricks on how best to apply it this year in particular. Keep reading this simple yet informative SEO Guide, and come out on top this year!

SEO 101: THE BASICS

Before we delve into the world of search engine optimisation, it may do well to remind ourselves of its core definition and what it seeks to achieve. So, let’s start with the basics, shall we? In this section of our SEO guide, we will cover what SEO is and why it is so important for your website.

WHAT IS SEO?

SEO is categorised as a digital marketing strategy. In essence, it is a way to increase the visibility of your website. This is done by optimising the content of your website to improve how quickly your website will be found through the use of a search engine.

The aim of SEO is for internet users to be able to find your website organically, without the use of ads. This saves money on the part of the business, while also ensuring that the internet user feels as if your site is the most reputable option for what they are looking for.

KEYWORDS AND CONTENT

Think about it – how often do you venture onto the second page of your search results? You are more likely to reword what you have typed into the search engine than to keep searching through pages of search engine results.

This wording is also extremely important to search engine optimisation. Internet users will generally type in keywords or key phrases in order to get the best selection of search results and find the answer to their query.

Because of this, you should apply SEO practices in such a way that keywords are, well, key. However, this isn’t all that SEO is about. There are many other things that will contribute to improving the ranking of your website in search engines like Google.

One of these is content. Without quality content, your website will fall lower in the ranks. Content needs to be informative, well-written and valuable to users.

With great quality content comes the practice of using backlinks. These, too, need to be of a high standard and will increase the authority of your website. We will elaborate more on how to hone in on this aspect of search engine optimisation later on in this SEO Guide.

WHY IS SEO IMPORTANT FOR YOUR WEBSITE?

Search engine optimisation is rapidly becoming the cornestone of marketing strategies used in the digital marketing world. This is because of its many benefits and advantages towards not only increasing the visibility of your website but also contributing towards the ultimate growth of your business.

To better understand the importance of SEO, let’s take a look at another online marketing tactic: PPC.

SEO has in many cases proven to be far more advantageous than PPC. PPC stands for “pay per click”. This means that you can get your website to appear at the top of the internet user’s search results, but you will have to pay for each time a user clicks through to your website from that link.

This can be an unnecessary expenditure, especially considering that stats show SEO actually has more than 20 times the traffic opportunity than PPC. And, there are many more SEO statistics where that came from. So, what does this mean for your website?

Learning how to do SEO can well and truly impact the growth of your business as a whole. It goes without saying that the more clicks and traffic you have on your website, the more likely you are to sell your product or service.

Plus, it’s a once-off expenditure, and that’s only if you are paying a professional for SEO services to help optimise your website content, rather than applying SEO practices yourself. This is different from PPC in that pay per click advertising requires continuous funding. You can therefore regard SEO as an investment into your website and business.

Ultimately, it is up to you to decide whether or not SEO is the best route to take for your business. Keeping in mind the importance of it for your website’s traffic, visibility, and growth, however, this SEO Guide may well lead you in the right direction.

ON-PAGE AND OFF-PAGE SEO GUIDE

There are two aspects to search engine optimisation that you need to keep in mind: on-page SEO and off-page SEO.

We’ve already spoken a bit about on-page SEO in this SEO guide through keywords and content. On-page SEO refers to the optimisation of content, keywords, title tags, and internal linking – everything that shows up on your web pages.

In a nutshell, you will need to ensure that the actual content of your website boosts your rankings in search engines. What’s more, you’ll want the website link to look both reputable and informative. This is where the title tag and website preview are extremely important!

Off-page SEO is very different. This is a tactic that refers to the use of other websites such as blogs or social media to promote and link back to your own website.

Search engines love it when you have quality backlinks to your website: this improves the authority and value of your website and ultimately results in it being pushed further up in search engine rankings.

It is important to keep in mind that both of these aspects of search engine optimisation are extremely important to the growth and traffic of your online presence. Without paying for an ad, you’ll want to ensure that your website has both exposures as well as credibility. A successful SEO strategy will therefore make use of both on-page and off-page SEO.

SEO GUIDE: HOW TO DO SEO

Now, let’s get into this SEO Guide’s details on how to do SEO. Here, we’ll cover the 9 things that make up the perfect SEO strategy, and elaborate a bit further on what exactly SEO seeks to achieve.

DOMAIN AUTHORITY

Domain authority, or DA, refers to a search engine ranking score of a website in a particular industry. This score has a direct impact on its ranking in the search engines. The score is a number between 0 and 100, with higher numbers representing a higher rank in terms of search engine result pages (SERPs).

This score is calculated by analyzing the following:

the quality of the backlinks your website has earned the quality of your content the quality of the links included in your content the social signals your website has earned and the structure and user-friendliness of your site It is important to keep an eye on your score when engaging in SEO practices for obvious reasons. You’ll want to have the highest score possible to help your website rank higher when an internet user searches for the product or service you offer.

KEYWORD RESEARCH

Next up in our SEO guide is keyword research. Engaging in keyword research is a very important strategy when learning how to do SEO. You want to make sure that the keywords you use in your website’s content and title tags not only grip the reader but also correspond to what they are looking for.

As such, there are three questions you will want to answer when engaging in keyword research:

What exactly are people searching for? How many people use these keywords every month? In what order/format do these keywords appear? You can do keyword research in a number of ways. There are automated tools for keyword research, or you can do your own investigation into what kind of websites come up when you type in the specifics of your own brand, product, or service.

Once you know the kind of things that people search for, you will be able to use these keywords in the content of your site so that you start to show up on the SERPs for those keywords.

CREATE LINKABLE CONTENT

Creating linkable content is all about improving the quality of the content of your website. You are far more likely to have other sites backlink to your own if you have done your research, used credible resources and links, and created a well-written piece of content.

Quality content is therefore key when it comes to making sure that your website itself is “linkable”. As we mentioned, backlinks can also improve the ranking of your site in search engine result pages.

Overall, then, it is important to make sure that you do not skimp on content quality or use back routes that seek to trick search engines rather than work together with them. An example of one of these back routes comes in understanding

“black hat SEO” or “spamdexing”

– a practice used to boost rankings in an unethical and often irrelevant way.

CONTENT OPTIMISATION

Content optimisation is an important branch of search engine optimisation. This refers to the sole focus on the content that you put out. You’ll want to make sure that the content is not only of high quality but that it is also written in such a way that the visitor of the website finds it both informative as well as easy to read.

As such, keep in mind the following:

the length of your posts the way in which you use your keywords (it must seem organic, not forced) the heading tags that you use and the way that you localize your content. This is when SEO specialists really come into play. People who do this for a living will be able to provide you with content that is optimised to appear on SERPs.

It is however important to be sure that there is no spamdexing in your content as it can lead to low rankings and even website removal.

ON-PAGE AND TECHNICAL SEO

Of course, quality content is nothing without the technical things that make it up. Without these technical aspects, there is no base for your content to work from. On-page SEO (sometimes referred to as technical SEO) covers sitemaps, linking, keyword research, met tags, and JavaScript indexing.

If all of the above is optimised via successful SEO strategies, you will be able to help both yourself as well as search engines out – they will be able to crawl and index your website, read it better, and understand it more. Ultimately, this can result in an improvement of your SERP ranking.

Improving search visibility is obviously one of the key ways of knowing whether or not your SEO strategy is working. Keep it in mind at all times when engaging in SEO practices.

BACKLINKS AND LINK-BUILDING

In this SEO guide, we have already covered the fact that backlinks are important in an SEO strategy. The more times your website is linked to by another website, the more likely you are to receive clicks, traffic, and even business.

Of course, you’ll want these backlinks to come from reputable, high-quality websites themselves. Otherwise, it can impact negatively on your SERP rankings.

This is where link-building comes in. This is a way to work with other websites and get them to link back to your own. Link-building can be more beneficial than merely relying on other websites to backlink yours because you can control what kinds of sites you associated with.

Remember that the higher the authority of the site that backlinks yours, the higher your DA and ranking will be.

There are two ways to engage in link-building: to outsource this process to an SEO professional or to work closely with a website that is related to yours (but not in direct competition with it).

MOBILE RESPONSIVENESS

Another thing you need to be sure of is that your page is mobile-friendly. Over 70% of internet users use their mobile device when shopping. As such, your page will need to have high mobile responsiveness.

To get this right, you will need to improve your user’s mobile experience by increasing page speed to decrease bounce rate, and properly indexing your content. By doing so, you will help your user to feel comfortable and at ease when using your website on their mobile device.

These tactics can be achieved by investing in a proper web and mobile design and, of course, quality, well-written content. With increased mobile responsiveness, your users will be glad to return to your website and even share it due to their positive experience.

LOADING SPEED AND PAGE SPEED

Few things are more frustrating than a page that just won’t load, or only loads some content. Sometimes, these pages even slow down the devices we are working on! As such, you’ll want to make sure that you optimise your page speed.

So, how does this relate to search engine optimisation? Again, it’s all about working together with the search engine that your potential consumer is using. Pages like Google will rank your website far higher on their SERPs if the loading speed of the page produces things like good customer experience and longer amounts of time spent browsing the content of your site.

Good user experience = higher rankings, it’s as simple as that. You can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to analyze the content of your site as well as gain knowledge on how to increase the loading speed of your page.

ANALYTICS

The last (and extremely important) thing to remember when engaging in SEO practices is to keep analyzing your strategy and key performance indicators (KPIs). How has your strategy worked so far? What does the performance data tell you? Have your efforts been fruitful? What does the ROI of your SEO campaign look like?

You’ll also want to ask yourself questions related to who your audience is, where they are situated, and what they are most likely to read. This may all seem like a daunting task because SEO is filled with so many things to analyze, but there are easy ways to get this right.

For example,

Google Analytics

can answer all of these questions for you and more. Using this or a similar tool will help you to understand where you are succeeding and where you are failing in terms of your SEO strategy.

As we have mentioned, the application of SEO will always be changing as the world and what people search for changes. So, continuous assessment is key. To keep up with things, you might also want to look into investing in an SEO automation tool.

SEO GUIDE: TIPS FOR 2021

Now that you know all the basics of search engine optimisation through our SEO guide, what more can you do? Well, whether you’re a small business looking for SEO tips, or a well-established website looking for ways to improve, here are a few tips to help you succeed in 2021.

USE MORE VIDEO

It’s a well-known fact in the emerging world of SEO that adding extra informative content like videos can dramatically improve your SEO ranking. This is because search engine algorithms are starting to prioritize websites with video content. Not only does the addition of a video help to afford credibility to your content, but it also means that users will spend longer on your page.

These videos can either be a way to increase the quality of your external links, or they can even help your own credibility if they are videos created by your own website. Either way, it’s a win, and you’ll end your ranking higher in search engine results pages.

MAKE SURE YOU’RE MOBILE-FRIENDLY

We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again: increase the mobile-friendliness of your page! Your users are far more likely to return to your website, spend time on it, and even share it if they have a good experience with your mobile page.

In this day and age, as mobile devices continue to develop, people use computers and laptops less and less because they can do it all on their smartphones.

Keeping this in mind, you’ll be able to enter 2021 in a tech-savvy and resourceful way. After all, the development of technology is something that a digital agency needs to keep an eye on.

HAVE A STRONG SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE

Another great way to advertise your content without making use of the PPC method is to engage on social media platforms. Of course, this may come with its own costs (like using brand ambassadors), but, in 2021, you may find these costs to be well worth it.

Alternatively, you can build your own social media presence through the use of sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Many people take to these social media platforms to do more research on your business, and you may even lose some credibility without this kind of online presence.

You may also find that designing your website to allow users to easily share your page on these platforms works wonders for free publicity!

PUBLISH WELL-RESEARCHED CONTENT

The last tip in our SEO guide is to publish well-researched content. The credibility of your website can only be improved on by the use of data and statistics. Users really enjoy finding out exact numbers on the things they are researching.

What’s more, they are more likely to keep reading content that they believe to be well-researched and well-informed.

Remember to provide links for these – this will allow for quality external links that increase your page’s visibility on SERPs. This also builds relationships with other websites and increases the possibility that you will be used as a backlink on someone else’s site.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON HOW TO DO SEO

In the ever-developing world of technology and the internet, we need to take control if we want to pop up on the radar of our target market. People are spending more time on the internet and this change can be good for your website and business as long as you take the right steps towards achieving SEO.

So, we need to take active efforts to increase and improve on our visibility on search engine results pages. Over 93% of all web traffic comes from search engines. It is therefore important to the success and growth of your business that you work together with these search engines to boost your rankings.

Remember that working with search engines rather than working to trick them will always bring you and your website out on top.

Keep in mind all of the tips and tricks that we have provided in this complete SEO guide on how to do SEO in 2021 to help your website thrive.