Google Algorithm Updates & SEO Changes 2021
1. Content, Content, Content
Content is king. Since the Google algorithm changes in winter 2020 we noticed a big shift to content-rich websites really taking over high ranking spots in Google. For some searches we were analysing, the top website was in a different county to the area we were searching in. This is unusual. Looking at these websites they had one thing in common. Great content!
5+ Pages, video content, mobile optimised, lots of blog entries. This should give you some clues.
Having a few pages of content SEO optimised on-site and off-site is not enough anymore. SEO is constantly evolving and Google have announced more algorithm updates in March and May 2021 so no doubt there is more to come.
So what else do you need?
At one point we were minimal with pages. My mindset has changed on this, but rather than having an about page, and generally padding out pages that waffle on about what you do with no real aim, target them at other keywords, services or areas that you are focusing on…
Demonstrating your experience and knowledge helps potential customers get an insight into your experience. Which helps to sell your product, service and business.
Preach about your practice! This will create valuable content easily.
Get started on that blog. Demonstrate what you are up to, pass on information on what you are learning, take pictures of your work whenever you can – and stay active. The content generated will be perfect to share across social media too.
2. Backlinks are important!
The sites we manage that have more backlinks had a positive jump in performance since the latest algorithm update. This tells us that backlinks are still as important as ever.
Of course we already know that links from trusted sites and relevant sites (or both!) are best.
If this is something you have never focused on give it some time. Business listing sites are an easy place to start. There will normally be specific ones for your industry too, so search these out and try to get that relevance box ticked.
There are techniques that can help you check the quality of a site you are creating a link from. If the website is not a recognised company or one that you know it might be worth taking the time to check. It is not worth creating links from bad sites after all. Here is a free tool: https://websiteseochecker.com/
You can also use backlink checker tools to see where competition websites are getting their links from. This might give you some interesting ideas for your own back linking project. We use Long Tail Pro but there are also free tools you can start using before subscribing: https://ahrefs.com/backlink-checker
3. Optimise for Mobile
Mobile browsing is as popular as desktop browsing in 2021. So mobile user experience has grown in importance. In fact, think of mobile first, desktop second.
In many WordPress themes you can show and hide sections for different devices. This allows you to duplicate sections and optimise them for mobile view.
A few quick optimisation points:
- Use Webp images.
- Optimise image size in mobile sections.
- Use Webm videos.
- Use lazy loading.
- Keep backgrounds simple in mobile sections.
- Enable caching on mobile devices.
- Make sure you have meta tags for both desktop and mobile.
- Make sure alt tags are used in images for mobile sections.
Don’t forget to test your site throughly on mobile. Google Pagespeed Insights can give some good feedback on potential improvements for your website.
4. Safety & User Experience
All sites should have SSL, HTTPS is a standard for all sites if you haven’t sorted this out on your website already stop reading and go and do this now. Google Chrome will show users an unsecure site warning if this is not done.
User experience is also a major ranking factor. Browse your website with the mind of a customer. Factors include:
- Smooth Loading
- Responsive Features
- Website Navigation (Internal Website Links)
Make it the experience great for customers from loading elements quickly, looking great, taking them through a logical journey through your information and keep them interested. Link to other relevant pages, relevant blog posts and use analytics to gain more information on user behaviour. Make changes, analyse, rinse and repeat to find what works best.
5. Long Form Content
Anything over 700-200 words is classed as long form content. Long, well written texts are going to keep people on you page longer. Also these longer articles appeal to Google’s E-A-T guidelines:
E-A-T: Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness (or Page Quality)
‘Websites should be used to help users’
Websites with long form content are out performing sites with regular 3-500 word length content. Show people you are an expert and keep pushing that word count!