With 2020 over, it’s easy to think that businesses can breathe a sigh of relief. However, the New Year has only created further challenges for most industries, with Brexit, the continued political turmoil in America, and the virus all impacting negatively on most markets.
That doesn’t mean that businesses should give up; on the contrary, it means that small businesses need to adapt to survive.
One of the most significant changes that the pandemic has created is that more people are spending much more time online than ever before.
Whether they’re working remotely or shopping online for treats to cheer themselves up, people are using the internet to deal with the pandemic. To adapt around this development, businesses need to improve their SEO and focus on digital marketing.
For small businesses, search engine optimization and online marketing might not have been a focus in the past, particularly if you also had a physical location to manage.
In 2021 however, small businesses cannot afford to neglect SEO. If you’re interested in learning more about the SEO factors that you must consider in 2021, then read on, and I’ll share the main areas you need to know about this year.
SEO Is Constantly Evolving
If you take one thing away from this article, make it this: SEO is a continually evolving market. A wide range of factors, including regular Google updates, changing consumer expectations and more mean that SEO is always changing. If you stay still and keep doing the same things, you’ll always be one step behind. Some of the best ways to stay ahead of the latest SEO developments are:
- Follow SEO and Digital Marketing Influencers On Social Media
- Listen to SEO Podcasts from Industry Experts
- Sign Up for Newsletters From SEO Service Providers/ Influencers
- Set Up Google News Alerts For Relevant SEO Keywords
By working to stay up to date with the latest developments in the SEO market, you’ll ensure that you develop a flexible SEO strategy that will ensure your business has a competitive online presence.
The first step is to keep reading this article and find out more about the ways that you can adapt your digital marketing strategy in 2021 to maximise your chances of success.
Know The Basics
As mentioned above, SEO is an ever-evolving discipline, but there are some basic SEO rules that you need to follow and information that you should know.
If you’re completely new to SEO, then you need to inform yourself before you start engaging SEO agencies and outsourced service providers.
After all, these companies are here to sell to you, so they won’t give you impartial advice. Some cheaper providers might not tailor their services around your business, so you need to learn what you need before you create a digital marketing strategy.
There are two main types of SEO; on-page and off-page SEO, and you need to know about both of them. I won’t go into the basics here, as that would take too long and that isn’t what this article is for, but there are many basic SEO guides online, so try reading a few of them to understand the basic principals. You should also check out Google’s help pages to find out more about how the world’s biggest search engine ranks websites.
With this information, you can make informed choices that will benefit your business, and you can quickly adapt no matter what further challenges 2021 throws at you.
The SEO Influencers You Should Be Following
In the first section, I mentioned the importance of following SEO experts and influencers. Getting a list of the ones you like, who offer impartial, quality advice, is crucial to helping you to keep your finger on the pulse of the latest SEO developments.
Most SEO experts share reviews of the latest software and practical tips that they use themselves, as well as the latest press releases and news stories.
So, you’ll have the benefit of their expertise and can see the latest SEO news, all explained by someone friendly and interesting that you relate to.
Some of the biggest SEO influencers out there right now are:
- Jason Brooks
- Neil Patel
- John Mueller - Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst At Google
- Rand Fishkin- Co-Founded Moz
There are many other SEO influencers out there, so search through and read some of their work to find a selection that you want to follow. If you use specific SEO tools, then check out the people behind them; many of them will have blogs and social media profiles so that you can find out more about their product and their views on the market currently.
When reading SEO news and insight online, remember that the people providing it usually have an agenda. Whether that is furthering their reach or selling their solutions, you need to remember to take what they say with a pinch of salt and investigate further before you make any decisions about your SEO strategy. Use digital marketing influencers and experts as a stepping stone, and don’t simply follow them blindly.
Video Is The Content Trend That’s Not Going Anywhere
Some trends come and go, but there are some that stick around, one of which is the increasing focus on video content. Hiring an SEO photographer or videographer goes a long ways towards creating an effective SEO strategy.
Over the last few years, we’ve seen a growing trend for video marketing, as consumers turn towards this easy and fun solution.
In fact, as many as 55% of individuals watch online videos every day. As such, companies can no longer afford to overlook video in their digital marketing strategy.
Videos come in many different forms, ranging from long explainers through to short-form videos with lots of special effects that are favored by TikTok fans.
Thankfully, creating videos yourself has become much easier over recent years, and there are now many different applications and editing tools to make the process smooth for almost anyone.
As such, you can quickly create professional-quality videos that will enhance your brand. You need to make sure that you create a video marketing strategy, and that you use your content to funnel viewers through and turn as many as possible into paying customers.
Budgets Are Shrinking
The pandemic has affected every industry, and even those that are thriving right now know that their luck might falter in the future.
As such, many companies are tightening their belts in all areas, including SEO. While you can’t afford not to engage in SEO, there are many ways to cut down on the cost.
One of the best ways to do this is to review your SEO spend and work out where you can reduce it. For example, if you signed up to a subscription for a keyword tool years ago, but you don’t use it anymore, then cancel it.
These subscriptions are easy to forget, but the cost will mount up over time and can eat into your budget. By scrutinizing your SEO spend, you can work out where your money is being spent and if you’re making the most of it.
Another way to reduce your spend is to bring more facets of your SEO strategy in-house. While this might take more time, it will save you money in the long run, and give you the chance to take more control.
Some simple tasks, such as SEO audits and regular blog posts for your site that convert readers into leads, can be done in-house with relative ease. If you have staff with reduced duties thanks to the pandemic, then consider getting them involved in your SEO strategy to keep them busy and use their time effectively.
Use What The Pandemic Has Already Shown You
Learning from the past can help us to make informed decisions about the future. The pandemic has taught SEOs and business leaders a lot about consumer expectations, successful strategies and more.
So, when you’re planning your SEO strategy for 2021, make sure that you review what worked for your business during 2020, particularly when the lockdown began, and what didn’t work.
You can use this information to drive your 2021 strategy and ensure that you don’t repeat past mistakes and benefit from previous successes.
For example, you might notice that a specific piece of content bought in a lot of traffic. You can use this piece of content as a pillar in your future online sales funnel/ marketing campaign, as well as reviewing what tactics you used and trying to replicate them in future content.
Using past information from 2020 can help you to improve your chances of earning the online recognition that you need in 2021.
Overall, 2021 is probably going to be as challenging, if not more so, than its predecessor. While the vaccine could help to get economies back to some semblance of normal, that is far off, so small businesses need to be focusing on digital marketing if they want to hit the ground running.
For small businesses that worked predominantly offline in the past, SEO can be a challenging concept. This article should help you to understand the main factors that you need to consider. For more advice and support, work with a white-hat SEO agency that can advise you on the best approach to get your company noticed online by bored, locked-in consumers.
Thank you so much for reading Small Business SEO In 2021: Key Factors To Consider. We really appreciate it! If you have any questions about our article, or can suggest any other topics you think we should explore, feel free to let us know.
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Hannah Stevenson is the Content Marketing Manager at UK Linkology, one of the UK’s highest-ranking link building agencies dedicated to quality customer service and white-hat technical SEO support. Hannah is a former journalist who now runs the firm’s content marketing strategy, runs its in-house writing team and manages her own blog, so she is well equipped to provide practical advice and reliable information to help small businesses navigate 2021.