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10 Tips for Optimizing Your Website for SEO in 2021

Published on 10.07.2021
Updated on 08.13.2023
23 min read

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a technique for increasing the amount and, more importantly, the quality of traffic directed to your company’s website from major search engines like Googe, Yahoo!, and Bing.

When potential customers type a question into the Google search console, web crawlers are sent on an automatic, detailed search across the whole of the internet to find an answer that best answers their question. The answers that are then presented are those that the web crawlers deem the best fit and the ones your potential customers are most likely to click on 

But how do these crawlers work? These programs use automatic tools and processes to search websites for content that contains the keyword that matches an individual’s unique query.

These crawlers then collect all of the content and create an index, which is what makes up the list of search results presented to a potential customer.

The goal, of course, is to get as high on this presented list as possible; the higher your website is listed, the more likely it is that a potential customer will click on your link, be presented to your site, and, ultimately, decide to utilize your service. 

But what can you do to get high up on the list? The answer lies in optimizing your website content.

When you decide to create or revamp your website content with search engine optimization in mind, you make it more likely that the search engines will view your page as valuable. 

Most people are aware of some of the basics, like deciding on just the right keyword to optimize, creating an attractive landing page, optimizing your meta description, link building, avoiding a high bounce rate, and ensuring quality page speed.

But your meta description and page speed aren’t enough to get as high up on the search engine ranks you’d like to be.

The truth is, you need to do far more. Search engine optimization takes time and effort across all your pages.

The task of search engine optimization may seem complex, but as the title of this page suggests, there are some simple steps you can take to achieve this goal. These SEO tips for optimizing your website in 2021 are:

  1. Optimizing visual content for SEO
  2. Following top SEO blogs to stay updated on trends and best practices at all times
  3. Utilizing videos as often and appropriately as possible
  4. Claiming (and completing) your Google My Business profile
  5. Understanding the differences between long-tail and short-tail keywords – and utilizing both correctly
  6. Optimizing your content for featured snippets
  7. Developing and implementing long-form content
  8. Optimizing your URLs for keywords and length
  9. Mastering search intent
  10. Pruning zombie pages

In the following guide, we’ll provide all the information surrounding search engine optimization, needed to ensure your website shows up on all the most relevant searches and reaches your ideal target market.

From learning how to write the right URL for your links, to proper keyword research, to best link practices, to content marketing, to learning how to optimize each image and post, our article will help marketing experts rank as high up on the SEO list as possible to generate new users and traffic to your web page.

Optimize Your Visual Content for SEO

Every relevant content marketing expert understands the value Google places on having a high repository of images to be used throughout their site. 

Why Visual Content Is Important

Images play a crucial role in creating an impactful, engaging, and relevant post or site for your users. Not only do they increase the media-richness of your site, making it more enjoyable for web and mobile users, but they also offer an excellent opportunity for including additional SEO-grabbing opportunities within a post.

In order to reap these benefits, though, you need to make sure each image in your high quality content has been optimized.

Importance of Image Size for Desktop & Mobile Users

For example, consider the size of your images. As most digital marketing experts know, if the files are too large, they’ll slow down the load time of your site, which will decrease its usability and negatively impact your search engine rankings on search engines. Compress each image to a smaller size for the best results. 

Another example digital marketing and page SEO experts recommend considering is how the search engine will read the visual on your web pages and site. Unlike a title tag, images don’t have words crawlers can scan

As such, you need to implement relevant alt tags and keywords associated with your images as part of your SEO strategy. Without this information, Google and SEO crawlers are unable to decipher what the context of your visuals are and will therefore be unable to accurately present them in any given search. This means your link or links won’t get the SEO value you’re looking for, and the traffic to your site, post, or image will suffer.

Why You Need Alt Text

Alt text is one of the most important SEO features factored in by the Google search console. It provides helpful hints to these search engines by giving them key phrases to scan within the image or post, so it can correctly direct relevant users and traffic to your site.

With these key SEO phrases in place on your site images, Google can better determine the SEO value of your images and determine when and where to present your visuals and, as a result, your website, to users. 

Follow Top SEO Blogs and Stay Updated

While the basic rules of SEO strategies remain the same, best practices, trends, and insights are always evolving.

Take, for example, the varying algorithms rolled out by Google. Each of these algorithms features rules by which Google determines which types of high quality content provide the most value.

The Evolution of SEO

Years ago, a piece of content with excessive links might have been considered inherently valuable simply because of the rule about including external links on your website. Link building has always been an important part of a strong SEO strategy and digital marketing strategies, and back then, this was the best way to achieve that goal. 

Today, though, that same page would actually be detrimental to your website’s SEO ranking. This is because Google now requires outbound links to be implemented naturally and appropriately within the text. 

This is just one small example of how quickly and significantly SEO best practices and trends change. So, what can you do to ensure you keep up with it all?

The answer is simple: create a list of industry experts and follow their blogs to keep up with what they’re saying.

Regularly reviewing SEO tips, insights and recommendations from the top SEO blogs will ensure your website always adheres to the best practices possible and maintains a positive online status. 

Videos Continue to Surge

Video content is incredibly useful for a number of reasons when comes to appealing to search engines. First, much like pictures, they further expand the type of content provided on your site, thus creating the best media-rich experience possible for the user.

Search engines are far more likely to present a website to a user if they believe the experience of being on that website and the content featured will be both helpful and enjoyable. 

Videos also help your SEO ranking by indicating to search engines that users spend a long time on your site. When a user takes the time to watch video content hosted on your site, they can spend anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes longer on your page.

This suggests that your website is one of value; as a result, you’ll likely see a significant boost in search engine rankings. 

Claim (and Complete) Your Google My Business Profile

Google My Business profiles serve as the best online directory of businesses and their relevant information. This includes your name, office location or headquarters, contact information, and a link to your website. Claiming and completing this profile is one of the simplest and most effective ways to help direct users to your website when they’re searching for a product or service.

Once you claim and create this profile, be sure to keep it active and up-to-date. This means providing as much information as possible – the more you include in your profile, the higher Google will rank you in a given search. Add images when possible, include your hours of operation (when applicable), and always respond to reviews or feedback from customers in a timely manner. 

Target Long-Tail Keywords vs. Short-Tail Keywords

Keyword research is one of the few examples of tasks that will forever impact a web page and it’s ranking factor. There are two primary types associated with this keyword research you should be aware of. 

The first example is a long keyword. Long content keywords are unique search phrases comprising three to five words. 

The second example is a short-tail keyword. These are terms used in keyword research that comprise three words or less.

Many businesses make the mistake of thinking shorter content keywords are broader and therefore more likely to bring in a wider net of potential customers. However, Google prioritizes natural content, activity, and searches above all else.

Chances are, a user won’t simply type in a content phrase like “pizza” if they’re looking for a good family-friendly restaurant in their area. Instead, they might type in “pizza restaurants near me” or “family-friendly pizza place in my area.” 

For this reason, most SEO tips focus on having businesses target long content keywords over short-tail content keywords.

Think about the types of content phrases your customers might use to find your services, and then implement them throughout your website. Just be sure to incorporate them in the rest of your content in a natural way so Google doesn’t ding you for keyword stuffing!

Additionally, keep factors like social media, meta descriptions, and local SEO in mind when putting this information together. The best digital marketing strategy is one that is cohesive across the boards and takes each page into consideration.

Your meta descriptions should encompass the same keywords as a long-form piece of quality content. If you target users consistently, be it through their mobile device, voice search, a blog post, you’re more likely to rank higher on any given search engine.

When you build a content strategy as part of your marketing efforts, you likely do so with the hopes of improving the user experience with the highest ranking keywords and material that is easily accessible on both mobile devices and desktops.

But your marketing and content strategy should also have one very important goal in mind: the goal of becoming a featured snippet. 

Featured snippets is a short content example from a website that appears in the Google search console results to rapidly answer a user’s question.

Why Do Featured Snippets Matter in a Post?

Google automatically pulls featured snippet content from websites that have been indexed and deemed the best available. Definitions, lists, steps, and tables are the most typical types of highlighted content snippets.

Having your content used for a featured snippet in a Google search is one of the best and most effective ways to increase traffic, so try to keep this type of content in mind when crafting your pages.

SEO tips usually recommend creating content in formats like the ones mentioned above. Keep the content valuable, insight-driven, and easy to read.

Be sure to also utilize your content keywords in the H2 tags, as well as within the first 100 words of the content to increase the chances of Google finding it for your targeted search. 

Develop Longer Content

Long-form content is the best way to bolster the time spent on your website. As we previously discussed, the longer a user spends on your page, the better Google will view your site and, as a result, the higher they’ll rank you in a user’s Google search results. 

Opting to create longer pieces of content as part of your overall content strategy also offers an opportunity to utilize a number of best SEO practices, such as inbound and outbound links, varying types of media, numerous heads (H2s, H3s, etc.), and keyword tagging. 

When you go to create your long content, don’t just aim for as high a word count as possible. Instead, create content that is both informative and engaging. A well-written 1,600-word article will do far better than a repetitive, unengaging, fact-devoid whitepaper spanning 2,500 words. 

Include Keywords in URLs, But Keep URLs Short

Unlike the content we discussed in your last section, you want your URLs to be as short and succinct as possible. Long, drawn-out URLs create complications for both search engine crawlers and potential visitors.

For the first example, it makes it difficult for them to identify and index the type of page your URL leads to, which could force them to rank your site low down on the list. For the second example, it could lead them to believe your site is unorganized or “spammy,” which decreases the likelihood of them deciding to visit your page. 

Shorter URLs also make it easier to incorporate across a broader range of channels. For example, social media. When you use social media profiles like Instagram or Twitter, you want to keep the information as concise and possible. A shorter URL is easier to incorporate in captions and Tweets. 

Shorter URLs have value outside of social media, too. For example, if a user is doing a voice search for your website, a shorter URL is ideal. Since voice search requires them to speak the URL out loud, a shorter one is less likely to be misspoken. 

While you want to keep your URL as short as possible, you don’t want to forgo the use of targeted content keywords. Never comprise the quality of a URL for the sake of possibilities like voice search or social media. Always include these at the front of your URL slug, and add one or two words that describe the purpose of the page.

Master Search Intent

When doing content keyword research to develop your content strategy, you may come across a keyword with a lot of searches and believe it’s the ideal one to rank for. This isn’t always the case, though.

It’s not always necessary to try and get your content to rank for a term with a significant search volume. Instead, search intent is what you should focus on.

Search intent refers to the line of thinking you expect your ideal customers to have. What types of content phrases would the customers you’re trying to target likely type in? Or, if you think they’ll use social media or voice search to find your business, what types of hashtags or phrases will they speak or type?

The Right Keywords for Your Business

Aiming for a content keyword with high volume that has no relation to your business or your offerings will only bring unqualified leads to your website. As a result, this could negatively impact your SEO ranking, since they’ll likely move on from your page quickly, decreasing the length of time your website garners from a visitor. 

Instead, only utilize high-ranking content keywords that pertain to your business. This is the best way to ensure that when someone does stumble across your listing, they’ll be satisfied with the content presented to them on your website. 

Prune Zombie Pages

The last of our top 10 SEO tips has to do with a little something known as Zombie web pages. 

Unfortunately, the SEO value of your website content isn’t based on all the pages individually. Instead, Google determines the value of your site content by looking at it as one holistic entity. 

As such, if there is a blog post or pieces of content that are doing poorly, they could bring down the search engine ranking of your entire website. 

Pages on a website that receive little or no traffic and are difficult or impossible to find through search engine results are known as zombie pages.

Understanding Zombie Material

Some common examples include:

  • Unindexed Pages: These pages frequently have technical issues, such as excessively high loading times or scripts that fail to function. Since high loading time increases ranking factor by decreasing user experience, Google may not show it to searchers. 
  • Non-Responsive Pages: On mobile phones, pages that are not optimized or take too long to traverse are also at a disadvantage. They will be penalized by Google since they provide a poor user experience.
  • Obsolete or Low-Quality Pages: These are pages that have been published for several years but haven’t been updated, as well as pages without a title tag or with less than 300 words. In this situation, Google may reduce the page’s search engine ranking by assuming that it is no longer current or that it does not provide actual value to the reader.
  • Unoptimized Pages: These pages may be informative and engaging to internet visitors, but they do not follow Google SEO best practices (e.g., a title tag, secure link, clear title, image alt tags, H1, H2, or H3 tags, a bad or lengthy title, no keywords, etc.). In this case, it doesn’t matter what you write. If there isn’t an image alt tag, 
  • Annex Pages: These are frequently found in the site’s footer: contact, legal notices, GTC, GDPR, and so on. They provide legal information and their appearance on a site is an Google SEO need, even if they are of little interest to the average internet visitor.
  • Orphan Pages: Google and its crawler robots just do not find these pages. They are not linked to other pages of the site by any internal links, and they are not accessible through the site’s menu. As such, they won’t be presented in Google search engine results or rankings. No user will ever find your page, unless they are looking for it specifically and physically write the URL into the search bar. 

The Importance of Pruning

Pruning your website content for this type of page is an ongoing must-have to ensure high SEO ranking. For the best Google SEO rankings, try using the tools available to you through Google Search Console, such as the “Performance” tool and the “Excluded” tool.

Then, depending on the issues that turn up, you can either make changes to the web page (such as optimizing it if it has not yet been optimized) or removing the Zombie page to boost your SEO ranking.

What to Do When Pruning

If you need to remove the page, utilize Google best practices when you create the new one. Write your material using key and related keywords, optimize it to be used on mobile devices, use a catchy title and an optimized title tag, and implement accurate link building practices.

Not only will this make the best user experience, but it will ensure Google picks up on your new page so it stands a chance to rank higher for SEO and increase traffic to your links. 

Achieving an Optimized Site Is Within Your Reach

There’s no denying that it takes a lot of work to create a fully optimized site in 2021. Between identifying your key and related keywords, increasing organic search, learning how to use tools like Google keyword planner, and know when to write and post social content, there’s a lot of ground to cover. 

 But by following the tips above and staying up-tp-date with the latest Google updates and industry trends, you can keep the traffic to your website and every page flowing and your search engine rankings high!

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