search engine optimization

As online competition continues to skyrocket and new websites are being launched left, right and center, you may need to rethink your content marketing strategy.

The digital space is evolving constantly, so it’s important to position your website to get the maximum benefit from these changes. 

Today, it’s not enough to publish content unless that content solves customers’ problems consistently. Also, the days when you could rank a website in a week by keyword stuffing and using spamming backlink practices are long gone. Search engines have become smart and the nature of search engine queries has changed.

Search engine optimization or SEO involves creating a good website that sets you apart from the pack and makes it easier for potential customers to find your content; this then drives organic traffic to your site.

Search engine optimization tips

How you can do keyword research for free

There are several ways you can do keyword research for free. You can use search engines like Google, Pinterest, and Youtube. You type in a keyword and more keyword ideas are added for possible search ideas. I show a few examples in the images and videos below:

In this example I’m using Google, the area marked with marker is where they give keyword suggestions. I’m also using the Keywords Everywhere tool that you can find in the Google Chrome extension store.

In the People also ask section, you can find more keywords to use or you can even use these for topics or sections in a blog post.

In the example below you find related search keywords and how the Keywords Everywhere tool is being used.

In the video below, when you type a keyword or small phrase in the search bar, other search suggestions show up.

Using this free method, you can find different keywords and topics to use and learn what your potential client or audience types into a search engine so that you can use them in your content that will make finding your content easier.

In the example above you can create an article like “7 ways to make pancakes” and use the keyword suggestions as topics in a blog post.

You can use these methods on Pinterest too and for Pinterest SEO.

Free SEO tools to help with keyword research

There are a couple of free SEO tools that you can use in your keyword research, but they may eventually become paid tools in the future. The ones you can use now are:

  • Search engines (Google, Bing, Pinterest, Youtube)
  • Keywords Everywhere
  • SEO minions
  • Keyword Surfer
  • Yoast

There’s more but these are the ones I currently use.

It’s also crucial to know the SEO trends on the horizon so you can update your content and make sure more customers and prospects find you in the search engine results.

Here are four SEO trends for 2021.

1. Voice Search

As more people switch from desktop to mobile, and with the increased use of mobile devices, more people are turning to voice search.

Consumers prefer to use voice search because it’s quicker and easier, especially when multitasking. So, understanding how to optimize your website for voice search will enable you to generate more organic traffic. To integrate voice search to your website, you need to implement conversational searches into your search engine optimization strategy.

With more people using voice search, there’s less typing being done. Hence, there’s less abbreviation in searches and more normal conversation. Voice searching entails asking questions as opposed to typing one or two keywords. 

As we move into 2020, consider conversational, natural language and local searches to make sure your website is mobile-friendly.

2. User Experience

Search engine algorithms have become more sophisticated to offer more value and relevant results, and exclude poor content resulting from old discredited SEO practices.

For SEO rankings, Google now counts user experience and user engagement. This is because the user experience is a true indicator of the quality of content.

Thus, a high bounce rate shows Google that the result wasn’t useful or it’s not what the user was searching for. If this happens continually, then Google will rank the website lower. 

There are other user experiences, such as stay time, average session duration, and page views, which can indicate low quality. All these factors paint a picture of the quality of your website.

Since search engines are more focused on offering better and more relevant results to their users, user experience needs to be your focus also.

3. Quality Content

Quality content improves the user experience. Therefore, search engines are looking for quality content to serve up in response to search queries. 

So (if you’re not doing this already), in 2020, focus on quality over quantity. Google’s algorithms are evolving and becoming better in discerning expertise and trustworthiness on a given topic. Hence, good keywords attached to poor quality content will no longer rank.

Online ads help drive business, but they will get more expensive in the coming years. And unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that customers will respond to your ads. 91% of total ad spend is viewed for less than a second. In 2017, this led to a $38 billion waste in digital ad spend. For more information on this you can check this article

Creating quality content is therefore crucial in SEO. Your focus when creating content should be to churn out content that’s helpful, timely, and actionable by immediately answering the questions your customers may have.

Thus, the only type of content that will grow a website’s popularity in 2020 and beyond is informative, casual, and high-quality content. Online customers are smart and they can easily detect and ignore content that’s too salesy.

Make sure your SEO strategy in 2021 is to create educational content that delivers value to your audience.

4. Mobile First and Rich Snippets

Snippets are small excerpts of the website content. And rich snippets are not only relevant for voice assistants, but they are also valuable to mobile device users. With a few clicks, they can display valuable information even on smaller screen devices. 

Rich snippets are a valuable part of mobile optimization, which is important for search engine optimization. They offer important information, and make your listing stand out and attract more clicks.

In 2018, optimizing for a mobile device became a survival measure to be visible on the web. And today, Google only assesses websites if they’re on a mobile device. In other words, if you haven’t optimized your website for mobile devices, you have a lot of catching up to do.

SEO is constantly changing. So, if you want to stay on top of your search rankings and drive more traffic to your website, make sure you know the emerging SEO trends. 

Want to learn more about SEO?

The Content Factory has a lot of great info on SEO, they even have a course on it. You can also check out the Search Engine Journal.

Miles Beckler also has binge worthy videos on SEO for free on Youtube.