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SEO techniques have never stopped mattering—in fact, SEO was the force that kept businesses running in 2020. It is, however, important to ponder over the possible developments in the field for 2021, now that we live in a world that’s so different from the one we’re used to living in.
For instance, 2020 already had a major impact on online shopping, E-commerce, and internet usage. Internet usage was up by 70%, there was a massive surge in online holiday shopping, and we even saw something none of us ever expected to happen: boomers and Gen X ventured into online shopping.
Now, why is all of this important to mention? It’s important because, moving forward, these are our new consumer behavior metrics. Heightened internet usage and the changed fabric of E-commerce are two of the major factors around which your SEO techniques should be formulated for 2021—and beyond.
Tap into the Boomer Market
You won’t find a lot of people talking about this—but you just got exposed to a whole new world of potential customers. It’s an expanded target audience and a new niche you never expected to come your way. The opportunity, however, has come—and it’s just sad if you don’t tap into the market.
Millennials Aren’t the Only Audience
So far, SEO techniques and hacks have always been targeted at the millennial market—because it is generally assumed that millennials, and millennials alone, use the internet.
While it’s true that millennials make up the majority of the online shopping community, they aren’t the only audience that makes up this consumer market. Gen Z was already a big enough group to tap into—internet-savvy but not exactly a group that boasted disposable income.
That leaves us with two generations that aren’t known for being particularly internet-savvy: Gen X and the baby boomers. Superstitious, screen-skeptical, untrusting, Gen X and boomers were a largely Luddite population—until the pandemic hit.
As they say, necessity is the mother of invention.
We’ve seen boomers turn to the internet and to E-commerce at an unprecedented rate. Prior to the pandemic, 87% of boomers reported preferring in-store shopping. 67% of them said that if an item was present in retail stores as well as online, they’d prefer to buy it from the store.
However, a LaserShip commissioned study shows us that Gen X and boomers plan on continuing online shopping post-pandemic.
And that means SEO experts have to optimize all new and existing content, web pages, images, and other particulars for this new audience. Bear in mind that boomers:
- Have different priorities than millennials
- Don’t use Google (and other SERPs) in the same way millennials do
- Gravitate toward a different set of keywords than millennials
- Might prefer calling to place orders as opposed to using the checkout option’
Do the drill: understand your audience and optimize—you’ll be good.
SEO Techniques: Rehash Old Content
In the SEO world, there’s one word that’s thrown about quite a lot: timeliness. Not only is your content supposed to be relevant and value-additive, but it’s also supposed to timely—unless you’re writing for a very particular time, such as Christmas.
Time will pass, but the audience will keep returning to the content you uploaded on your website over the years—which is why you can’t really restrict it to a particular timeframe.
Now, rewind to December 2019, and there wasn’t much need to rehash any old content or worry about its timeliness—because it was already plenty good. However, the pandemic has changed everything: from consumer concerns to consumer behavior.
This is particularly important for businesses that sell products or offer services relevant to disease and hygiene—such as vitamin supplement sellers, house disinfecting service providers, etc.
If your product and/or service is relevant to the aforesaid, we highly suggest that you revisit your older content and look for pandemic-specific keywords (“virus” and “contagious” are good places to start).
Modify your content to ensure search engine spiders are still indexing and crawling these pages. You want valuable content to continue showing up in search engine results—rehashing old SEO content is one way to ensure that.
Artificial Intelligence is King
Let’s start with Google’s algorithm—RankBrain. Relatively new, RankBrain is the AI algorithm that decides whether or not your page should rank higher. RankBrain’s information retrieval system is highly sophisticated because it doesn’t just rely on information-collection. It also relies on learning from user behavior, internet usage, online purchases, and even from the very language they use in their SERP queries.
The time isn’t far away when a computer will know you better than the people around you—we’re looking at you, Facebook algorithm that sends us ads about anything we happen to be thinking about.
Think about it: your potential consumers are spending most of their time on computers and phones. If they like something, they’re going to search for it. They’re going to frequent forums, social media groups, and platforms that appeal to them.
Their browser information is on there. A sophisticated algorithm—such as RankBrain—can learn so much from this reservoir of information.
More Tailored Results
Now, we know that these algorithms are documenting and learning from user behavior and internet usage—but why? What’s the purpose?
The purpose is to produce more tailored results for the users—such as whether or not to show your website as a result when a user searches for something. There are several ways an algorithm decides whether or not your web content is important enough, such as:
- The CTR rate
- Page bounce rate
- Traffic—how many people have visited your page?
- Repeat client information—have people returned to your pages frequently?
Factors such as the aforesaid help these algorithms determine that your web content—and your website at large—are good enough to produce as SERP results. That, of course, is directly linked with better rankings, higher web traffic, better sales, more conversions, and so on.
Fight Search Engine Fatigue
We’d highly suggest improving your SEO in 2021, keeping Google’s RankBrain in mind. Find out what’s different in older Google algorithms (such as PageRank) and RankBrain.
One of the things that are different is that RankBrain also takes people’s linguistic searches into account. It relies, therefore, on Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) to make informed decisions.
Google rolled out the RankBrain update in order to specifically fight search engine fatigue—which is a result of ambiguous queries from a variety of people. A person in India, for instance, will use a slightly different vernacular to search for the same thing as a person in the States.
RankBrain solves the problem of linguistic diversity and difference by studying word vectors, making linguistic connections and syntactic eliminations, and continuously learning from how its users are speaking into its search bars.
Google has been investing in machine learning and artificial intelligence since 2015—and it won’t stop any time soon; which is why you need to understand how these algorithms work. Understanding them is important if you want to manipulate them for better SEO in 2021.
Wrapping Up: the Steps You Need to Take
We’d suggest you take note of people’s Google searches, study Google trends, and just observe how your ideal target audience speaks in general. Enable reviews and comments on your pages and social media profiles, be responsive to customers when they drop in queries, and take out time to formulate your own annual studies regarding:
- Consumer interest in your product/service
- Consumer concerns regarding your existing product/service
- Consumer questions about upcoming/expected product/service
- Consumer complains
- The jargon and vernacular people are employing when they talk
One of the things we’d suggest would be greatly beneficial in this regard is introducing a “Search” feature on your web page—this will feed you exclusive information about what your target audience searches for the most/the least, what words they use, what spelling mistakes they’re likely to make, what products you need to introduce or re-launch, etc.
Small SEO techniques and hacks and mindful reimagining of your SEO strategizing can make a huge difference for your businesses and digital presence.