1. "Legacy" Issues
Some recommendations that we have been making for several years have now become imperatives. If you have not implemented these yet then you will suffer from poor search engine rankings and your users will find it very difficult to use your website:
2. User Experience
Starting in May 2021, Google began evaluating the quality of your visitors' experience of your website on mobile devices using a new set of "Core Web Vitals". As an example, we all know how irritating it is when a part of a web page moves when we are trying to interact with it, and now is the time to concentrate on such factors before your search engine rankings begin to suffer. Furthermore, Google will begin evaluating the quality of your visitors' experience on desktop devices in early 2022. And if you publish a lot of content and you are really serious about optimising your visitors' experience, you should strongly consider using Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).
3. Publish Original, High-Quality Content
We have always advised both our customers and regular readers alike to publish original, high-quality content on a regular basis. Here are the main reasons for doing so:
- Despite frequently updating their algorithms, the quality of your content remains the most important factor in optimising your website for improved search engine rankings.
- The more pages of unique, quality content your website contains, the higher the chances of ranking in a reasonable position for any of the keywords that are important to you, particularly because in October 2019 Google became better than ever at understanding "natural language" queries.
- High quality content earns repeat visitors. The more visitors you have and the more regularly they visit, the higher your chances of turning them into customers, or retaining their custom.
- Links to your website are still one of the most important ways in which Google ranks your website, so giving your visitors a reason to link to your website is of vital importance.
- If you have use social media or email marketing, regularly producing new, quality content gives you a great excuse to send a marketing email or post a link to your social media accounts.
- If you produce your own content for your website, doing so on a regular schedule will ensure that you keep up-to-date with current trends in your industry.
4. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is nearly always the most important and one of the most cost-effective of all the marketing methods available to you, and yet many website owners ignore it completely. Here are some ways you can relatively easily yield more traffic (and customers) from search engine results in 2021:
- Make sure you are using Google's Search Console to receive straightforward recommendations about improving your website and it's appearance in search results from Google themselves. Acting on these suggestions can often result in a change of a few ranking positions, which can have a surprising effect on your business.
- If your website is for a business with a physical office location that serves your local community, you cannot afford to ignore Local Search Engine Optimization. As increasing numbers of searches are carried out on mobile devices and have a localized element (such as "plumber in London"),any business that relies on local customers must ensure that they are doing everything they can to appear in localized search results.
- Based on the premise that people "want to be able to find answers to their questions as fast as possible", particularly on mobile, the speed with which a web page loads has been a consideration when Google ranks pages for any given search term since July 2018. Even if you think your website loads quickly, you should use a quantitative tool such as Google's own Test My Site tool to ensure that you meet expected standards (anything less than an "average" score should be cause for concern).
- The number and type of links to your website is still one of the most important ways in which Google ranks your website. It is therefore important to periodically perform an audit of all the links to your website to identify any potentially damaging links (which you can instruct Google to ignore or "disavow", using Google's Search Console) and have a plan for improving your website's link profile.
If your website is still suffering from any of the "legacy" issues described in this article, it's time to act before your website drops out of search engine rankings completely, or browsers simply stop allowing users to access your website. And if you don't yet have a content-publishing strategy or don't engage in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) yet, you can start the year by easily giving your business a marketing boost.