We’re not being dramatic when we say that 2020 (and, let’s be real, most of 2021 too) has been crappy. #StupidPandemic. But, you know what helps get us excited and motivated to keep trudging on? Helping awesome people like you improve your SEO and drive your business results. Buckle up, kids, because we’re taking you on a wild ride through search engine optimization (SEO) and the top trends that you should be focusing on to grow your business in 2021 and beyond.
Core Web Vitals
So what in the heck are Core Web Vitals and why should you care about them? These are what Google considers to be important (or vital, get it?) to the page experience score. There are three core web vitals metrics that Google measures:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
- First Input Delay (FID)
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP):
This is a super important, user-centred metric for measuring the amount of time it takes to render the largest content element visible on the site right from the moment when the user requests the URL.
The largest element is typically an image or video, or perhaps a large block of text. A good score is measured at 2.5 seconds or less. A fast LCP “helps reassure the user that the page is useful.” It’s all about providing a great user experience, right? In this case, the faster the site loads, the better.
First Input Delay (FID):
This metric measures the time from when a user first interacts with the page (e.g. clicking a link or button) to the time when the browser is actually processing the response to that action. A good score is an FID of 100 milliseconds or less.
Google states two important reasons why the first input delay is important:
- The first input delay will be the user’s first impression of your site’s responsiveness, and first impressions are critical in shaping our overall impression of a site’s quality and reliability.
- The biggest interactivity issues we see on the web today occur during page load. Therefore, we believe initially focusing on improving a site’s first user interaction will have the greatest impact on improving the overall interactivity of the web.
As you can see, first impressions matter to Google. Which means they MUST matter to you too.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS):
Have you ever tried to click a button, but you mistakenly click on something else because the page shifted as you were clicking. Bummer, right? Well, CLS is a metric that measures this type of visual page stability. This directly impacts a user’s experience with your site and that’s why a good CLS score is 0.1 or less.
Optimizing Existing Content
As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day. And, neither were most websites and blogs. It can take a while to build and optimize your website. Think of your website like a layer cake. You wouldn’t create, bake and eat each layer separately, would you? No, of course not. You would start with the bottom layer and build up from there to create one cohesive (and delicious) cake. Or, website. Or both.
The point is, instead of starting from scratch and writing a whole bunch of brand new content for your website, why not audit what you currently have and repurpose that existing content into something bigger, better, and more badass? For example, take a look at your blog posts and identify the ones that aren’t ranking well. Could you tweak, update, and optimize it to reach page one? In other words, why would you create entirely new blog posts when you already have existing blogs to build upon and improve? Let’s not try and reinvent the wheel here, folks.
When it comes to content, you want to make sure you’re creating stuff that people actually want to read. If you can be certain that what you’re about to create will provide value to your target audience, then go forth and conquer, my friend! But, if you’re unsure, we suggest you go back to the drawing board.
Backlinks from Credible Sources
Okay, so before we go any further, full on disclaimer: This step is a f*ckton of work, but it will net you great returns. With that in mind, let’s continue.
Backlinks from credible websites is/has and always will be an important ranking factor in SEO. A single backlink from a top news site can be even more valuable than having millions of links from low quality (AKA peasant) sites. You will likely need to have a PR outreach program in place to help foster these relationships with top tier organizations so you can earn link placements on their coveted and highly-trafficked websites. Good luck. When in doubt, mini muffins are always a good bribe.
Earning Featured Snippets
Google created the featured snippet to help people. The “zero-click” search is when users find answers to their queries without actually having to click on a link. So, how do we get a featured snippet? While there isn’t a clear-cut method or strategy to ensure that you get the elusive featured snippet, there are strategies that we can implement to increase your chances.
Are you beneficial? Does your post actually answer the user’s question? You’ll also want to use a keyword research tool like Google’s Keyword Planner or Semrush when you’re creating content. The ultimate goal of your content is to answer a user’s burning questions better than your competitors.
Intent and Experience
Lastly, we have intent and experience. As search engines evolve and grow, so too must our strategies for remaining relevant. We always need to make updates to our site to ensure they’re optimized for speed, and for mobile. We also want your site to be easy for users to navigate, ensuring they can quickly find the information they’re seeking.
The goal is to provide the best user experience possible. Noticing a theme here? Good. Try out some of these tips and let me know how you do! Not interested in jumping into the deep end on your own? Drop me a line and let’s see if we can work together to make your website and business really stand out 😘