As the world turns, its population only gets more immersed in the digital space.
All behaviors and activities that once occurred separately (e.g., exercise, reading, television, games, socializing, talking on the phone) are unified by the internet. No matter what people do or where they are, the internet seems like it’s involved in some way. It’s all-encompassing.
And the first rule of marketing is to be where your audience is.
Now, if your company isn’t a name-brand, you’re competing with millions upon millions of other businesses for digital space. You may as well be a needle in a virtual haystack.
What makes it even more difficult to carve your online niche?
It’s not good enough for just any old person to stumble onto your website or landing page. You need a relevant audience interested in what you’re selling.
Enter Google and other search engines. The modern-day Yellow pages. Except, instead of people flipping through pages, looking for alphabetical listings, they enter relevant search queries.
How do you ensure your products and services are found during those queries?
Search engine optimization (SEO).
Yes, you can use paid Google ads for an ideal search position, but that can be costly if you make mistakes. Whereas SEO is entirely organic, offering maximum return on your investment. Furthermore, 70% of marketers deem SEO to be far more valuable than pay-per-click advertising.
Is SEO Still Relevant?
You’re probably no stranger to SEO, or you’ve at least heard of it. Regardless, for the sake of context, here’s a quick definition:
Improving the quality and quantity of website traffic to a website or a web page from search engines.
The concept is straightforward.
Execution – on the other hand – is a whole different story. But we’ll get into that in a separate section. Right now, we’re answering whether SEO is vital to businesses in 2021.
Well, let’s first allow the stats to do the talking:
- As of April, Google already received 360 billion searches this year
- Less than 1% of Google searchers click on page 2 results
- There’s been a 200% increase in “Where to buy” and “near me” mobile in the past two years.
- Organic search results get 9 out of 10 clicks compared to PPC.
That tells you everything you need to know. People still use search engines at an exceptionally high rate, and they’re using them to find out about purchases. Furthermore, online users are sticking to the 1st page of search results, placing further importance on following SEO best practices.
Why Do People think SEO Isn’t Important for Businesses Anymore?
Now, you might hear people tell you that SEO isn’t what it used to be.
While these individuals are misguided, there’s a reason for their line of thinking. Namely, SEO is a continually evolving approach meant to satisfy search engine algorithms/crawlers charged with ranking websites for individual keywords and queries.
So, those who think SEO is dead are somewhat correct, but not for the reasons they believe. Because it’s their own version of SEO that’s no longer relevant or valuable for businesses.
You must keep on top of the trends and stop relying on what worked yesterday. For instance, a few years back, all you needed to do was build links in large quantities, and you’d rank on the first page. But, Google’s (and other search engine’s) algorithms and crawlers got wise to that “hack.”
Nowadays, you need to build QUALITY links (one of Google’s most prioritized ranking criteria) instead of spamming the link-building process.
Another issue that might lead some businesses into underestimating SEO’s value is over-optimizing their focus keywords.
Keyword cramming (overusing a relevant search term into your written content) won’t do your business any good. Nowadays, Google will rank readable copywriting that solves user queries. Yes, keywords still matter, but there’s more of a science behind using them.
Making SEO Matter for Your Business
Keeping up with and satisfying current SEO trends will most highlight their importance to your business.
Here’s a couple of examples:
- Google has rolled out guidelines on how they differentiate high-quality content from low quality. The system involves EAT (expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness) and YMYL (your money or your life). Websites can only rank for terms that relate to their given expertise. Having backlinks from other industry websites will provide you with credibility. A quality user experience also makes a huge difference.
- It’s time to be multi-dimensional with how you view your SEO. Your email and social media presence can both play factors. Those two channels help you develop your audience to drive to your website, which indirectly will improve your SEO.
Really, these two suggestions only scratch the surface. There are plenty of best practices for SEO in 2021 that will maximize the importance and value of SEO to your business.