SEO in 2021

SEO in 2021; It’s all about the Build!

Having been working in search engine optimisation for over 10 years I have seen a lot of changes in the industry. Whilst the google algorithm changes daily this year Google has bought in Core Vitals… SEO in 2021, is all about the build!

As a technical SEO and web developer, this makes me very happy 🙂

For successful SEO in 2021, every element of your website needs to be considered. We recently rebuilt the minx website due to core vitals and page experience. Google has said that Page Experience will be part of the ranking system from June 2021.

SEO stands for “search engine optimisation.” It is the process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” search results on search engines.

Since the start of Covid, the internet has exploded with new digital agencies. 1000s of them all declare their ‘unparalleled’ SEO and web development expertise but many are simply selling what they know people want to buy without caring if a client succeeds or not.

Core Vitals and Page Experience are the 2 hot topics for SEO in 2021 so if your agency is not working on either of these things, they are probably not the fierce type of SEO you need to have in today’s competitive Internet Marketplace.

A hot topic in Facebook groups, there are many ‘experts’ joining new business groups to sell their services. It drives me nuts that those same people are in SEO groups asking basic questions like ‘is web design a competitive keyword?’. Ummm DERRRR…

In my opinion, an expert doesn’t have a website built with Elementor and get a 10/100 on Google Lighthouse and I have seen that on more than 1 occasion.

Google Lighthouse scores for this blog post – SEO in 2021

SEO 2021 Blog Lighthouse Report
Lighthouse report for SEO in 2021 blog post

Data and Stats

  • 71% of commercial buyers begin their research with generic Google searches
  • In 2019 Google accounted for just over 75% of all global desktop search traffic, followed by Bing at 9.97%, Baidu at 9.34%, and Yahoo at 2.77%. (Source: NetMarketShare)
  • Of the billions of searches that happen on a given day, 15% of daily searches are new to Google. (Source: Google)
  • 70% of marketers see SEO as more effective than PPC. (Source: Databox)
  • Organic search has 20X more traffic opportunities than PPC on both mobile and desktop. (Sparktoro, 2019)

In 2010, Google made 516 algorithm changes. That number increased to 1,653 in 2016 and to 3,234 in 2018. We don’t have data for the last couple of years, but still, you can bet that the number is continually going up.

Neil Patel

SEO in 2021 is challenging

One of the big problems I have always found challenging with new clients is that SEO is often an afterthought.

They come to Minx Digital after spending thousands of dollars on a website then come to us afterwards asking if we can “SEO their website”

This generally results in a very awkward conversation.

I am not a salesperson so when I explain the reasons why the site won’t rank in its current state, the client realises they made a bit of a boo-boo.

It’s not nice to learn that your expensive website won’t rank without significant changes. Often those changes are UX, design and platform choice related.

There are no quick SEO fixes, no matter what you are told on social media. SEO is a marathon, not a sprint.

Google wants to provide the best pages for google users. The internet is flooded with content so Google uses an algorithm to decide which page should be ranked as being the best.

Google asks for consistency, quality, expertise, authority and trust amongst other things.

Selling SEO in 2021

I love it when I see posts listing a few little things that will get 1000x better results. This is misinformation and a sales tactic to get your money.

Much of what you see in ads is geared towards selling SEO. Clients are sold a dream and possibly a package with a lock-in contract that they don’t need.

A small local business may not need a 6-month campaign.

In some cases, an audit with the errors fixed can make a huge difference to a website and is much better for the bank balance too.

Many new digital agencies are coming into the market yet they don’t have the knowledge, skillset or experience to get results. They are simply a salesperson and perhaps outsourcing to cheap overseas freelancers for profit.

I always see those ridiculous Facebook ads with gurus telling you to buy their course for $97 and you will be top of google in 3 days. Sorry but it’s not possible to be top of google in 3 days unless you buy Google Ads.

I started learning SEO in 2010 and in my opinion, it’s important to start with a plan before you build your website as it saves a lot of time!

Having a site built around your keywords with a great technical build and on-page optimisation from the outset truly helps.

I have built sites that are crawled, indexed and ranked with some keywords on page 1 in 6 weeks. No tricks, no hacks, simply achieved by creating a site using google guidelines.

No ongoing SEO packages are required by the client.

Whilst SEO is a marathon, not a sprint, clients often find the time it takes to see get great organic traffic gains frustrating. Particularly clients with businesses in a competitive niche.

In this post, I am going to break down various parts of SEO to give you an overview and show you it’s not either easy or quick to rank.

SEO is a great marketing channel with excellent ROI for your business long term.

How to hire an SEO in 2021

Often in Facebook groups, I see discussions of recommendations for website creators, where friendly customer service, price or prettiness are the deciding factors rather than technical expertise.

I use the term website creator as many of the offerings for websites are neither designers nor developers and in today’s highly competitive market, having a site built with technical skills and SEO know-how is very helpful to launch your business or also to scale.

I recommend using a website developer who has the skills or if you have a big budget as they do in the corporate world, you can pay a complete team; A graphic designer, UX designer, web developer, brand guru, copywriter and SEO 🙂

Website Designers are often graphic designers so may have a less technical and a more graphic-based approach to websites.

All experts were once beginners

I love the saying ‘all experts were once a beginner’ and whilst some who I have worked with tout me as an expert, SEO moves daily and there is so much to learn all the time, I often feel like a beginner.

I am very experienced in organic both nationally and internationally so I know that google moves goalposts all the time! The only way to stay on top of things is with daily reading, research and testing. Some days I am a bit bewildered by something SEO related and I have done it for years.

It’s not simple, it’s actually really hard to achieve and keep your google rankings. In some cases, it may require almost daily work to stay in the top spots on SERPs.

When you pay for professional services you are paying for expertise and experience that will enhance your online business. You are increasing your market share and hopefully decreasing that of your competitors.

Even the best SEO cannot guarantee you a page 1 position 1 for every keyword of your choice.

Site Performance & UX

Most companies nowadays use the CMS platform due to its flexibility, scalability and robustness. WordPress is great and if it’s built correctly, it’s easy for clients to update their websites themselves.

WordPress is open source with almost unlimited options for your website. Choosing the correct options helps your SERP positioning, choosing the wrong options or adding new options to a current site can change your rankings dramatically.

Making a WordPress site simple, streamlined & lightweight is far more difficult than you can imagine. The foundations of the sites I build have taken my years of knowledge and as well as 100s of hours to research, test & perfect the perfect back end.

Whilst adding lots of stuff makes the look technical to clients. Quality coding and site performance are the keys to seeing traffic gains. A lightweight, fast website is where experience shows in a WordPress Build.

Whilst anyone can create with WordPress but technical skill is shown in core vitals reports

Ranking a DIY website

DIYing your own site is great and I write blogs on how to DIY so please don’t think I am anti-DIY or anti-DIY platforms but as I have said previously, the build of the site is important and Wix, Shopify etc all have limitations to help DIYers to create sites.

It’s all about the build (sorry)

I also regularly speak with people who have wasted money on SEO.

I remember a client in 2020 who had spent $7000 on a new website. The client already had a website and had some good organic traffic, but they were told the new site would see their rankings drop and in around 3 months they would come back… Which does not make sense to me at all?

3 months is what it takes for a new site to start to see some good traction, not an aged domain, so going backwards was due to poor web development and lack of technical SEO skills. The site was worse than a DIY site and it had cost a hell of a lot of money.

A well-developed website will increase rankings

The only time we see a decline is when going from an unsecured site (no SSL) to a site with SSL. Google sees those as 2 different sites so https will be classed as a new site but it will recover as SSL is required by Google to rank high.

However, the site I just mentioned, already had SSL.

After 5 months, of spending $10,000 on Search engine optimisation on top of the cost of the site, the site was still losing rankings & traffic; after spending $13,500 they were losing business… So the client asked me to take a look.

Oh my! It was not good! I could easily see why the site was dropping like a stone on search. The backend development was terrible, it was essentially a whitelisted 2016 WordPress theme stuck together with plugins. So bad!

The former company was let go, I spent 2 weeks recreating the site. After migration, the site went up an average of 12 google positions in a couple of days! Much better than where the site was in January.

We stopped working with that client due to Covid 19 but I looked the other day and their rankings are still really good. That’s due to our build and the SEO foundations we put into the site over the year we worked with them.

SEO in 2021 is complex

All websites are not created equal

A site that is created using Google best practices will rank organically on search engines and bring you warm leads. Clients who find you through your unique website that is tailor-made for you and your unique business.

Companies selling websites often have pretty portfolios and great package deals. These can look like bargains but often when you ask for something you are upsold to ‘custom’ before you bat your lashes.

What may have started out as a good deal or even a bargain turns into a costly website that is your personal taste.

Google may not share your personal taste nor enjoy the poor coding of the site you adore.

Many businesses are created by choosing a website template the owner finds visually pleasing and not realising that is not the best way to do things if they wish to rank high on google.

Unfortunately whilst the sites may be graphically very pretty, without a lot of work & additional cost they won’t index & to get to page 1 they may need to be recreated if you want to see your website rankings on SERPs (search engine results pages)

SEO is not set & forget

Whilst the initial cost of a great website build may turn some businesses off, if you are going to have a website, you want people to see it.

Paid advertising and social media can end up being much more expensive. Google and Facebook ads are great but can be really expensive. Whilst SEO has great ROI, it takes time + requires consistency.

When looking for an SEO you want to work with someone who is passionate about search, someone who lives and breaths it’s as google changes daily & what may have worked last month or last year no longer applies.

It takes a minimum of 3 months to see some SEO results but that is dependent on the competitiveness of your market, it could take 6 months +

SEO will increase your income

The purpose of a website is to increase your business, brand & of course to increase your earnings!

A website is not an extra ad, it should be your crowning glory, the masterpiece of your brand and business.

A pretty site done with a template may be a bargain for only $500 but it’s not much use if nobody sees the site except your friends and family or if people click a link on your social media or find you via a paid advertisement.

Often the package deals make up for their low buy-in cost with affiliate links. You may end up hosted on rubbish that gives good payouts such as Blue Host which is poor quality and overpriced hosting but they pay $75 to the affiliate.

At Minx Digital, we are happy for clients to self-host and maintain their own websites, or we have website care and maintenance plans. We have an up to date list of top quality hosting services on our resources page.

Increase your brand visibility, business and bank balance

For the top 3 placement on SERPS, Google wants your site to be the best it can possibly be!

Everything from the UX and website code to hosting can make a difference to your SEO gains.

SEO has great ROI even though the initial cost can seem daunting.

Unfortunately, it’s highly unlikely (near impossible) that a poorly developed site with a page 1 position 1 on google for any competitive keyword.

SEO is Strategic

First and foremost when creating a strong SEO strategy for your brand, your website should be developed search engine optimised and also for your individual business needs.

The website and marketing need to be aligned with your overall business goals.

Your SEO strategy is developed to attract the traffic most likely to convert into revenue-generating customers for your business.

Having visitors to your website is good. Having visitors who are likely to want what you are offering is far better.

Quality SEO doesn’t focus simply on bringing traffic to your website. It focuses on bringing the right visitors to your unique brand and business.

Your SEO strategy will depend on the intent and purpose of your business and the goals you are aiming for.

The foundation of an SEO website design is a clear vision of what action you want your visitors to take

A Search Engine optimised website design is not for ranking but for visitors to your site

Google’s best practices are people’s best practices so an SEO website design will attract people through search engines and keep them on the site. Keeping people on your site is known as dwell time which is a ranking factor.

10 Essentials for SEO in 2021

Make sure you take care of the following

  • SSL (google asked for that in 2018 and it’s surprising there are so many sites without SSL)
  • Mobile Optimised
  • Quality Hosting and fast site speed (pages loading under 3s)
  • Responsive; Works on Desktop, Tablet and all mobile screen sizes
  • Keyword optimised content and meta
  • Clean, minimal UX that is easy to navigate for both users and search engine spiders
  • Each page serves a specific purpose
  • Optimised for Local search
  • Optimised images
  • Schema

At Minx Digital, we don’t design purely for search engine rankings, but we kinda do 🙂

We work with our client’s website vision and include on-page SEO, off-page SEO & Technical SEO. We build responsive with a focus on mobile. Mobile is how to google indexes & also the majority of clients view sites from their mobile.

Our client’s websites not only keep visitors on the site and returning to the site, but they also generate enthusiasm for our client’s brand.

Depending on your business (and your budget) you may want to do your own ongoing SEO. If we build your search engine optimised website I can provide you with 1-1 coaching and teach you what you need to do ongoing so you can DIY.

I hope you found this blog on SEO in 2021 helpful

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